In his Star Ledger column, “Crackpot libertarianism at the convenience counter,” Paul Mulshine tries to make the case that Senator Richard Codey’s bill to increase the age to legally buy cigarettes from 19 to 21 is not an infringement on individual liberty. He fails miserably.
Anti-gun rally likely to miss the mark
The upcoming Bergen Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence rally on Sunday is an attempt by well-meaning individuals to address a serious problem in our society. However, the approach is naive and counterproductive.
The coalition says that the majority of people “support common sense legislation to prevent homicides, suicides and mass murder.”
One sure way to reduce “gun violence” in America is to decriminalize such drugs as marijuana and narcotics. In one stroke, gang violence would end in inner cities, where heavily armed drug dealers protect their turf, causing death and destruction in their communities.
There is another common-sense way to reduce crime in our society. Pass legislation that puts citizens and non-citizens on notice that the punishment for committing a violent crime will be deportation, not prison. No ifs, ands or buts. No more career criminals; one strike and you are out.
Lastly, the coalition ignores an important principle, which is the right of self-defense. In New Jersey, however, the only place you can exercise that right is in your own home or apartment. It is virtually impossible to obtain a concealed carry permit to protect oneself in your automobile, mall or street. That means violent individuals can prey on the rest of us. In other words, a defenseless crime victim is at the mercy of the bad guys, a fact that the coalition is comfortable with.
Fort Lee, April 18
The writer is a professor of finance at Ramapo College and a former candidate for statewide office as a Republican and a Libertarian.
In his budget address to the legislature, Governor Chris Christie announced that New Jersey would participate in an expansion of Medicaid as part of Affordable Care Act known to most people as Obamacare.
A recent Quinnipiac poll of New Jerseyans revealed that 76% of voters support raising the minimum wage. Not surprisingly, 94% of registered Democrats favor the use of coercion —the law– to raise the wages of unskilled workers, while a whopping 55% of Republicans also support the state driving wages higher than allowing markets, supply and demand, to determine the appropriate wage for workers who demonstrably have few value added abilities.
In addition, 56% of voters favored a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage while 38% feel that the minimum wage should be raised by law.
Economic ignorance is rampant in the White House, in the Congress, in the Supreme Court, throughout state legislators, among mayors, within the economics profession and the media. Now we have further proof that the public, the last hope in a “democracy” to support common sense ideas, is shamelessly ignorant of the basic principles of economics.
Minimum wage laws cause higher unemployment among the least skilled workers in society than otherwise would be the case, most of whom are young inner city minority youth. So the question we should ask, why is racism so prevalent in our society, especially among Democrats?
The Record’s Sunday Business section (Feb. 2) contains two articles on the front page, “Foes of blue laws gear up again,” and “Minimum-wage battle could cost GOP candidates.” Both articles highlight two laws that reveal how the government abuses its powers to address two economic issues. In addition, the Opinion section published about two-dozen letters to the editor about gun control and the Second Amendment, most of which criticize the ownership of so-called assault weapons and firearms ownership in general.
Article I, Paragraph I of the New Jersey State Constitution under the heading RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES states:
“All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.” (Emphasis added.)
If the above words are unequivocal and correctly understood by the people of New Jersey, including all elected officials and justices of the Supreme Court, then it is obvious that the “natural and unalienable” right of self-defense and to property including the ownership of firearms cannot be taken away by the State of New Jersey. Thus, the government should not infringe on the right to own a firearm because it allows the people to defend their lives, safety and property. That means the right to purchase a firearm–a way to exercise the above rights–should not be subject to obtaining a “permit” from the State nor should the people have to obtain a permit, which is nearly impossible to get, to carry a concealed firearm.
In other words, while the state constitution recognizes the right of the people to defend themselves and their property wherever they may be, that right, the first right enumerated by constitution is virtually nonexistent in New Jersey.
In the State of New Jersey, the right of people to defend their lives and property is restricted by a multitude of regulations that virtually eviscerate the clear meaning of Article I, Paragraph I.
In light of the mini holocaust committed by Adam Lanza on December 14 at the Sandy Hook elementary school, the drumbeat for more gun control has been nonstop. I deliberately use the term mini holocaust to describe Lanza’s savage rampage. What Lanza did on a small scale, targeting young children and their teachers in a school was no different than what the Hiltlers, Stalins, Maos and Pol Pots and other monsters have done during the past 100 years, slaughter groups of people just because they had a common characteristic.
Carnage by governments around the world have not led to world wide calls for disarming governments, the greatest threat to human life and freedom in the history of the world.
And in New Jersey, which has some of the most anti-gun ownership statues on the books in gross violation of the state’s constitution, one legislator wants the state to restrict the number of cartridges in a semi-automatic firearm magazine to five from the current 10. Not surprisingly, a vast majority of New Jerseyans want “tougher” gun controls in the state, despite the fact that more gun control or confiscation leads to more crime. Incredibly, a third of the respondents would favor amending the US Constitution to ban private ownership of guns.
The right to self defense is a logical extension of the fundamental right to life that we are all born with. In short, the right to defend one’s life and property should be nonnegotiable and respected by lawmakers and judges. But the public’s desire to be free from monsters like Adam Lanza is creating a mass hysteria against the right to protect one’s self and our loved ones or those in our care. We all pray that there will be no more Sandy Hooks. But further diminishing the people’s right to self defense guarantees that the evil ones in our society will not think twice about committing mass murder.
The Christie administration is on the warpath against so-called price gougers. Attorney General Chiesa has filed suit against gas stations and hotels and motels charging them with violating the state’s anti-gouging laws. As the Attorney General stated, “Safe, comfortable lodging is not a luxury when people have been displaced from their homes.” AG Chiesa obviously never took an introductory course in economics.
The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy will be felt by Shore residents for years if not decades. Nevertheless, the destruction at Shore communities will cause some residents to relocate and not try to rebuild their homes and businesses. Other residents will rebuild and hope that another “storm of the century” is just that, 100 years away.
My letter to the editor published in the Record today,
Regarding “8 businesses sued over price gouging” (Page A-1, Nov. 10):
The devastation caused by superstorm Sandy was in many ways unprecedented. Homes were destroyed, some communities were flooded, power outages blanketed the state and commerce was disrupted, including the distribution of gasoline. And even if gasoline made it to many service stations, there was no power to pump it into cars. In short, demand has exceeded supply for many days.
When demand exceeds supply, prices tend to rise for any good or service. This is the foundation of a market economy. So instead of market forces (higher prices) balancing the available supply with the demand of drivers, Governor Christie and Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa invoked the state’s anti-gouging laws to prohibit prices increasing more than 10 percent during the emergency. This is the wrong medicine for the temporary disruption of gasoline or any other product or service.
If the price of gasoline had been allowed to rise to balance supply and demand in the state, drivers would have had to conserve the gas they already had in their tanks and purchase only the gas they needed at the higher prices to get them through the supply disruption. In addition, suppliers in other parts of the country would have had an incentive to divert gasoline to New Jersey because of higher (temporary) profits, thereby alleviating the gasoline supply shortfall.
Unfortunately, Christie has made matters worse for the people of the state when he asserted that “profiteers take unfair advantage of people at their most vulnerable.” So in the governor’s view, it is better to have little gas at pre-crisis prices than more supply at market prices, whatever they may be, to increase gasoline supplies.
Fort Lee, Nov. 10
The writer, a professor of finance at Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah, has been a candidate for statewide political office as both a Libertarian and Republican.
On Sunday, November 11 history was made in Bergen County. For the most time in recent memory all commerce could be conducted legally in every town in the County. How apropos economic freedom came to Bergen County on Veterans Day, the holiday we commemorate the service of the men and women who fought to keep America a free country.
While driving back from the Hackensack Costco a few minutes ago, where the blue laws were suspended today, and seeing so many gas stations closed, it dawned on me that the oil companies and the the big box stores, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Target, etc., could have come to the rescue by leasing–or donating–generators to the gas stations that lost power and cannot pump the gas out of their tanks. Whether this would have eliminated the short-term shortage is doubtful, but at least more gas would have been flowing to drivers who have to now wait hours in line. Of course, prices should rise to reflect the demand/supply reality but that obviously is too much common sense for our intrepid leaders to contemplate.
Where are the creative folks in corporate America? And what a PR coup for “big business” if they had been proactive and used a little imagination.
Sunday blue laws in are suspended in Hackensack and Mahwah today because of Hurricane/tropical storm Sandy. Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan wants the state to suspend blue laws throughout the county today as well…but only for today.
Here is a better idea. Suspend the blue laws permanently so consumers have choices seven days a week. Sunday blue laws are a defacto establishment of religion. If people want a “day of rest” they don’t need a law to take a day off. For those of us who want to shop on Sunday, leave us alone.
On August 25th I was driving home with my wife when I was stopped by a Fort Lee police officer at 9pm about a half-mile from our apartment. The officer asked for my license, registration and insurance card. I had the first two in my wallet and handed them to the officer. I keep the insurance card in the console but could not find it. I told the officer it was here because my insurance policy was renewed a month earlier and I put the new insurance card in my car immediately.