Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Piece at the New York Daily News: "Stand Your Ground makes sense"

My piece starts this way:

Call them what you will: “Stand Your Ground” or “Castle Doctrine” laws. Mayor Bloomberg and members of Congress, speaking on the House floor, go so far as to label them “shoot first” laws. 
This is a gross exaggeration — a slander, in fact, against legislation designed to reform a flaw in our treatment of self-defense. Earlier statutes affirmatively required potential victims to retreat as much as possible before using deadly force to protect themselves, sometimes putting their lives in jeopardy.
The supposedly infamous laws passed in Florida and elsewhere, in contrast, use a “reasonable person” standard for determining when it is proper to defend oneself — requiring that a reasonable person would believe that another individual intends to inflict serious bodily harm or death on them.
Pundits who’ve had a field day ripping apart Stand Your Ground laws repeatedly fail to mention that crucial “reasonable person” standard.
The wild speculation that the laws give broad license for vigilantes to go around recklessly shooting people are a totally irresponsible caricature. Ultimately, it is judges or jurors who determine what constitutes a reasonable fear under such a law, not the person who fires the gun. . . .

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Friday, April 13, 2012

W. James Antle III's review of "Debacle"

The review starts this way:
Remember the stimulus plan? The big spending package enacted at the height of hope and change, its legacy reads like a litany of broken campaign promises. It was “only” supposed to cost $787 billion. It was intended to create or save 5.5 million jobs. It was going to keep unemployment from spiking to more than 9 percent. Even before Barack Obama was sworn in, members of his economic team were predicting that unemployment would peak at 7.9 percent sometime in 2009 before falling below 6 percent by April 2012. Does it sound like an alternate reality? Well, prepare to enter into this bizarro world during this fall’s presidential campaign. . . . .


New piece at Fox News: "Krugman's bad predictions"

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:
Few prominent economists have a worse record predicting the impact of Obama’s economic policies than Paul Krugman. Writing for the New York Times and touting his close “genuine contact” with the “smart” economists and others in the Obama administration and the Democratic congressional leadership, Krugman has been, and remains, Obama’s most important champion. Not only has he been defending Obama’s Keynesian-type deficit-spending, but he has been advocating still more of these same failed policies. The economy just can’t gain ground. Thirty-four months since the "recovery" started in June 2009 and the actual number of jobs have increased by just 0.4%. Hardly making up for the 5.5 percent drop in jobs from the peak. Given Krugman’s continued prominence in supporting Obama during the coming election, the best way of evaluating the advice is going to give voters is to see how accurate his claims have been up to this point. It is important to realize just how terrible Krugman’s record has been. He predicted on CNBC: “I am still guessing that we will peak out at around 9 percent [unemployment] and that would be late this year.” . . .

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New piece at NRO: "Where’s the ‘Probable Cause’? The affidavit in the Zimmerman case fails to justify a second-degree-murder charge."

My new piece at NRO starts this way:
The charges brought against George Zimmerman sure look like prosecutorial misconduct. The case as put forward by the prosecutor in the “affidavit of probable cause” is startlingly weak. As a former chief economist at the U.S. Sentencing Commission, I have read a number of such affidavits, and cannot recall one lacking so much relevant information. The prosecutor has most likely deliberately overcharged, hoping to intimidate Zimmerman into agreeing to a plea bargain. If this case goes to trial, Zimmerman will almost definitely be found “not guilty” on the charge of second-degree murder. The prosecutor wasn’t required to go to the grand jury for the indictment, but the fact that she didn’t in such a high-profile case is troubling. Everyone knows how easy it is for a prosecutor to get a grand jury to indict, because only the prosecutor presents evidence. A grand-jury indictment would have provided political cover; that charges were brought without one means that the prosecutor was worried that a grand jury would not give her the indictment. . . .


Monday, April 9, 2012

Daily Caller: "Chicago Snub: Gun rights advocate and former Obama colleague: President used to treat him as 'evil'"

The Daily Caller has an interview with me on my new book with Grover available here.



This is the beginning of's discussion of my book:
Grover Norquist and John Lott, Jr. lay waste to the economic claims of Obama-backer, stimulus defender, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in their new, hard-hitting book, Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future. Grover Norquist, who is the President of Americans for Tax Reform, and economist John Lott marshal a mountain of economic data that reveal that, contrary to Krugman’s Keynesian claims, President Obama’s 2009 stimulus plan has made the American economy worse, not better. Their refutation makes for fascinating and sometimes humorous reading. . . .


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Newest Fox News piece: Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman and the media's misleading rhetoric on guns

My newest Fox News piece starts this way:
Democrats want to make gun control an issue in the upcoming November elections. With Obama telling gun control proponents last year to be patient, that he was pushing gun control “under the radar,” it was probably always destined to be an issue. But the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida has opened up an opportunity for Democrats to more openly embrace it. When asked about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law on Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden warned: “as a consequence of the [gun control] laws, [people] unintendedly put themselves in harm's way.” Biden praised Florida's governor for setting up a commission to review the state's "Stand your ground" law and reminded everyone that Obama had already called for everything, including gun laws, to be re-examined. There's no question that the media has pushed the Martin story. . . .

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Monday, April 2, 2012

New piece at Politico: Obama’s stimulus delayed recovery

Politico didn't publish the graphs that I gave them and they were the most powerful part of the whole piece, but in any case, this is how my op-ed with Grover Norquist starts:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner keeps resorting to a familiar excuse for the slow recovery — the financial crisis. “Recoveries that follow financial crises are slower and more protracted, as Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff have famously written. They are slower,” he told the Economic Club of New York last month. 
It is an argument President Barack Obama has relied on repeatedly during his presidency. For example, in April 2011, Obama lamented: “[The economy] is not growing quite as fast as we would like, because after a financial crisis, typically there’s a bigger drag on the economy for a longer period of time.” 
Thirty-three months since the “recovery” started in June 2009, the unemployment rate has yet to fall below 8.3 percent, far exceeding the previous post-World War II record of 13 months. Worse, most of the drop in recent months has occurred because people have given up looking for work and are thus no longer classified as unemployed. Today, there are 12.8 million unemployed and 43 percent have been out of a job for more than six months, almost twice as high as Americans have ever faced in the past. 
But “financial crises” aren’t a valid explanation for the slow recovery.Unemployment actually recovered faster in countries hit by a “financial crisis” than in those that were in a recession for other reasons. . . .

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

New paper: "Trust But Verify: Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy"

I hope that a lot of people download this paper (available here). Here is the abstract of the paper:

In a recent article, Aneja, Donohue and Zhang claim that they are unable to replicate the regressions published by the National Research Council in Chapter 6 of Firearms and Violence. They conclude that the NRC regressions must have been based on bad data supplied by John Lott. The implication is that earlier studies that found that right-to-carry laws reduced crime were flawed because of bad data. However, we can replicate the NRC results with Lott’s original data and with the data set used by the NRC. The earlier studies are not flawed by bad data.

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