Saturday, July 07, 2007

Miss Ann is talking

That means that you are listening!

Just in time for the Fourth of July, John Lott, author of the groundbreaking 1998 book "More Guns, Less Crime," has released another amazing book: "Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don't." This book provides studies and analysis proving that your every right-wing instinct is based on sound economic analysis.

To wit:

— Women shouldn't vote: "What changed ... that explains the growth of government? The answer is women's suffrage."

— Fox News Channel isn't conservative: "Even employees of Fox News, which is widely regarded as a conservative channel, donate 81 percent of their contributions to Democrats."

— Public schools are government re-education camps: "(P)ublic education was actually designed to spread government-approved values."

— Nothing good has come from abortion: "(A)bortion, in fact, increases crime."

— Felons vote Democrat: "Remarkably, it looks as if virtually all felons are Democrats."

To make your flights even more enjoyable this summer, consider this interesting incentive system described by Lott: "To receive disability benefits due to job-related stress, air traffic controllers must present a well-documented stressful incident — a collision or close call — that has caused a deterioration in their performance. Unsurprisingly, when it became easier to file for disability, flights suddenly started experiencing more 'close calls.'"

Say, wouldn't it be even more stressful, deserving of a greater disability payment, if the near-miss involved an Iranian Air jet?

Lott shows that there are pretty clear answers to what lowers the crime rate, what increases the crime rate and what doesn't have any effect at all. Despite their popularity as explanations for the remarkable drop in crime in the '90s, the aging of the population and the enforcement of quality-of-life crimes both had virtually no effect.

What did work was higher arrest and conviction rates, concealed-carry laws and the reinstitution of the death penalty. "Generally, the studies found," Lott writes, "that each execution saved the lives of roughly 15 to 18 potential murder victims." So basically, there's a much bigger death penalty for having no death penalty.

Meanwhile, gun locks and gun self-storage laws lead to more deaths, for the obvious reason that if the owner can't get to his gun in time, the beneficial effect of having a gun is lost. Lott also shows that crime skyrocketed in cities that implemented affirmative action policies that lowered allegedly "biased" and "irrelevant" tests for cops.

Speaking of crime, there's even something for Paris Hilton in this book! Lott says that "when we analyze the overall consequences a criminal faces after conviction, we find a surprising result: Rich criminals face disproportionately high penalties."

I am also reading Dr. Lott's latest book and will post a review soon.