On Wednesday, June 12th, Dr. John Lott, Jr. was the featured speaker for the June member luncheon. I will attempt to share the information Dr. Lott shared at the Biz Club luncheon; which was predominantly focused on the national economy and how this recovery is so different from any other, experienced in the history of the United States.
Dr. Lott began his presentation talking about the U.S. Economic Recovery; now v. previous recoveries. His research shows that in previous recessions, or depressions; once a nation heads into recovery mode there is typically a drop in unemployment rates. The information being given to the citizen’s is that our unemployment rates are dropping, but never before has that been accomplished by omitting the 80% of people who have stopped looking for work. Another anomaly of this recovery is the level of growth that the United States has experienced. Dr. Lott’s research showed that in prior recoveries the United States experience 12% growth after a severe recession and 6% growth after a mild recession. The 2009 great recession and recovery rate, has the United States economy growing at an anemic 2.5%. And, Dr. Lott’s statistics show that the distance, or gap, between the current recovery and past recoveries is growing. Dr. Lott’s research also shows a difference in the occurrence of hires and quits in the workforce. The hiring level is much slower than typical recoveries and the volume of people who have quit their job (s) for better employment is way below average.
One factor that is a likely contributor to the research results is that the Growth Domestic Product (GDP) trend for this recovery does not track in common with previous recoveries and the gap between the current GDP recovery and previous GDP recoveries is also getting bigger. Dr. Lott points out that governments who reduced the size of their governments and concurrently reduced government spending have outpaced all other governments. The statistics for the United States show that the U.S. has spent 21% over inflation, and adjusted for inflation, the level of spending that the U.S. government has done is much larger than the amount of spending that occurred in World War II. National statistics show that the countries that have no net-growth, or reduced government spending, have had employment and GDP growth. The opposite results can be seen for countries who have over spent and grown the size of government. Dr. Lott claims that financial crisis is not always an indicator of a countries ability to recover. His research showed that if Spain and Portugal are removed from the data; the countries undergoing financial crisis are doing quite well in comparison to the United States. He reminded the audience that even though then candidate Obama, promised to reduce spending and reduce the size of government; his actions speak louder than words. The first act President Obama took on was TARP and Stimulus 1 & 2; all monetary spending packages that far outpaced anything ever seen before. Shortly after that President Obama supported and facilitated the passage of Obamacare; the greatest government take-over and expansion of a private industry, in history. There was a lot of resistance to Obamacare, even from his own party, until the threat of no Democratic National Committee (DNC) money to help with re-elections and the more ominous threat that they would put-up and support a candidate to run against them. So, as is typical in a political system that has evolved from a temporary public service, where people served for the good of their country and represented the members of their districts; it’s now merely about power and who has it. Dr. Lott exemplified how this showed itself recently with the gun control legislation that the Obama Administration fought for and continues to fight for. They have threatened Democrat Representatives that they will not receive DNC support or money, and they will find and support candidates to defeat them in the primary race. Dr. Lott capped this part of his presentation by asking the audience:
When have we as a nation ever had to force business to do something that they claim will save money? That just doesn’t make any sense and never will. If you have to bring business kicking and screaming to provide a service that will be good for business and save them and their employees money, under honest conditions the business owner would be anxious to pay for it and make it part of their business model.
The next part of Dr. Lott’s presentation delved into his studies on guns and crime, by sharing with the audience some interesting statistics.
From his research in to governments claim that too many people can and did purchase firearms from non-licensed dealers he applied the results he found at the National Institute of Justice:
- A 1997 NIJ study done over 1991 – 1994 showed that there were 251 gun sales made outside of licensed dealers
- Dr. Lott’s research showed that 36% of these were gun transfers not sales
- That by changing the wording of the study(s), we change the results and thus the perceptions
- Pre President Clinton there were 280k FFL’s (Federal Firearms Licensed Dealers) known as kitchen table gun sales to a large sector of the public
- Post President Clinton there were 100k FFL’s remaining
- The statistics at this time showed that 13% of gun purchases were not done through an FFL dealer; but the fact that most of these dealers operated out of their homes (which they did not advertise for obvious reasons), Dr. Lott believes that even this number is high, due to the buyers lack of understanding of that they were buying from a licensed vendor and the vendors desire to remain inconspicuous.
The next research Dr. Lott shared was in how the government uses language, or changes language, to keep the general public satisfied that their 2nd Amendment Rights are not being abridged:
- By using the word denial v. prohibited, the public misconstrues the results of the governments actions
- That 2 million people received an initial denial due to gun control regulations that have been implemented
- 99% – 95% of these denials were false positives
- A false positive can likely happens when someone has a similar name that is on a federal denial list
- If a private corporation had that high of a failure rate, they would be sued out of business
- The Department of Justice reported in 2010
- 76,142 initial denial requests from a gun purchase
- 66,32 of these referrals did not meet the guidelines
- 62 of the cases were referred for prosecution
- 18 of these cases were the prosecutor declined to discuss
- A total of 13 convictions or verdicts were obtained and these were not hardened criminals; because criminals do not buy guns through this process
- There were 2 million people who were delayed or prevented from defending themselves
- There were 12 million people who underwent a 3 day waiting period and in number of these cases people were prevented from defending themselves
Dr. Lott does not believe that a government entity can fix this abridgement of peoples rights to buy and own guns, because government does not function like a private business, where volume is a motivator, and perfection to facilitate a background check for gun safety is paramount to prevent lawsuits. Government is very difficult if not impossible to sue when they fail. That is not the case for a private business. So, what will happen if an inefficient entity expands an inefficient system? Dr. Lott claims that ever more people will wrongfully be denied their 2nd Amendment Rights and a lot more law abiding citizens will be negatively affected or seriously harmed.
The presentation finished with a couple interesting statistics and one common sense conclusion:
- In 2007 there were 5 million concealed carry permits issued
- In 2012 there were 9.3 million concealed carry permits issued
It’s time that the citizen’s of the United States demanded that our government punish the crime committed; not how the crime was committed.
~ Kris Halterman
Dr. Lott sat down with me for a personal interview where we talked about some of information I’ve shared with you here today and more: Lott Interview
Videographer; Wylin Tjoelker, produced the video’s presented here for the Northwest Business Club. Not to sound too much like a salesperson here, but if you’ve never attended a Northwest Business Club Speaker’s Luncheon you’ve missed some of the best information and theater presented in Bellingham. Their speakers series give the attendee’s valuable information that they will not hear at any other business organization in Whatcom County. Board member Ellen Baker shared in her blast to the members:
As Elliott would say, “Hat tip to Wylin Tojelker!” He processed both John Lott videos at breakneck speed, and I’ve now added descriptive text to them and posted links at the Business Club’s video page: Great effort, everybody!
Published on Jun 13, 2013
Dr. John Lott, Professor at University of Maryland, is an American economist and political commentator. Lott has written for both academic and popular publications, and he is a frequent writer of op-eds, and he has written seven books, including “More Guns, Less Crime,” “The Bias Against Guns,” and “Freedomnomics.” His most recent book is “At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over the Edge?” Nobel laureate Milton Friedman said that “John Lott has few equals as a perceptive analyst of controversial public policy issues.” The program was followed by a question and answer session.
This event, and the earlier luncheon program, were sponsored by the Northwest Business Club, Doug & Robin Williams, Pederson Bros., Spartan Arms & Hydrographics, Skagit Arms, and Yeager’s