Six days ago, in Poland, the President reacted to two fatal shootings of young black men by police, one in Louisiana and another in Minnesota, by saying, “these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents.” The message was clear enough. Two days later, an African American took revenge on a police force in Texas that, the way he saw things, was part of a system of law enforcement that was murdering young black men.
A new report published by the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan federal government agency, estimates a bill awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA), would reduce federal spending by $722 million over the next 10 years. SRCA, sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, would revise federally mandated minimum sentences for individuals convicted of some non-violent federal crimes.
In this episode of the weekly Budget & Tax News podcast, managing editor and research fellow Jesse Hathaway talks with Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions criminal justice fellow Daniel Dye about criminal justice reform, debunking some of the myths around this new idea.
Despite its reputation for freedom, the U.S. has the world’s highest prison population rate, 716 inmates per 100,000 people. More than half the countries of the world have rates less than one-fifth of that. The United States’ rate is six times that of Canada and six to nine times greater than the rates of Western European nations, with whom we have the most cultural and historical ties. Why is criminality so much higher here than in those countries? The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but 22 percent of its prison population.
As we digested events from last week in the light of President Obama’s Executive Order about gun control, it became clear that gun control was secondary to his attempt to marginalize the NRA. There was lots of sizzle, but no steak in the end. Even diverting attention from Gitmo, ISIS, North Korea, China, and the Middle East played a minor, but useful role.
With the tragic deaths of two newscasters at the hands of a disgruntled ex-employee on Wednesday, August 26 come the predictable calls for tighter gun control and keeping guns out the hands of “crazy” people. In no case, however, do the proposed solutions bear any relationship the crime itself. According to the media and progressive politicians, we have a “crime problem” and a “gun problem.”
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Budget & Tax News managing editor Jesse Hathaway speaks with Reason Foundation director of criminal justice reform Lauren Galik. Galik and Hathaway talk about criminal justice reform and the growing “ban the box” campaign.
In rural North Carolina, Lyndon McLellan runs the L&M Convenience Mart, a small gas station and restaurant, half a mile outside the limits of Fairmont. In the summer of 2014, every last penny of McLellan’s business bank account was drained by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, on the pretext McLellan was attempting to conceal evidence of money laundering.
Americans’ rights and prosperity are being threatened by cronyism, Ayn Rand Institute’s Steven Simpson said last week during a symposium hosted by Heartland Institute in Chicago. “The issue is that government has too much power and has strayed far beyond its proper purpose of protecting rights,” Simpson declared.
Imagine police seize your money, your car, even your house. Imagine this happens without you being convicted of a crime or even charged with one. Imagine being told you must sue the government to get back your property and prove you did nothing wrong, and the government can do nothing – nothing – and still keep the property.
In a nation where there is a scarcity of good news, hearing Eric Holder give a farewell speech upon his announcement that he will be leaving as the Attorney General was surely welcome in some circles. I was never a fan of his because he was in my opinion always more of a politician than someone with the responsibility to enforce the laws of the nation.
I have difficulty with viewing these arguments from Wehner and Gerson (and David Frum) as anything but naive posturing. For Gerson, the aim seems to be that the drug war is something that is helping people, and backing off from it is bad for society; for Wehner, he seems to conclude that the path back to electoral success is doubling down on the drug war to appeal to single women and moms.
How is that school shootings were almost unheard of when there was no age limit to buy guns, no licensing of gun dealers, and no such thing as a background check or waiting period? Could the problem be people and not guns, which, after all, are inanimate objects? Do knives compel us to stab? Do baseball bats compel us to bludgeon? Do pills compel us to poison?
For millions of Americans the Second Amendment and its guarantee of the right of the individual to bear arms appears irrelevant and practically anachronistic. It seems a throwback to those earlier days of the Wild West, when many men, far from the law and order provided by the town sheriff and circuit judge, had to protect their families and land from cattle rustlers and outlaw bands. Such people are wrong.