Since Jul 3, 2004

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Federal Firearms Freedom Act Proposal

I think that we should eliminate federal gun control. I believe that most of it is located in two portions of the federal code, in Title 18 and in Title 26. Both Title 18 and Title 26 guff are derived from the NFA, the FFA, the GCA, and the FOPA. (Please FReepmail me if I have missed any other sections of the U.S. code related to the private ownership of firearms.)

Here's my proposed text for a repeal:

Federal Firearms Freedom Act

1) United States Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 44 is hereby repealed in its entirety.
2) United States Code Title 26, Subtitle E, Chapter 53 is hereby repealed in its entirety.

The first part takes care of all of 922 and 923. The second part takes care of the Internal Revenue Code related to 922 and 923.

A Brief Chronology of the Kenyan Clown's Circus

This election brought a few firsts:

It should be an interesting four years.

Here are a few random predictions:

The United States of America

President Ronald Reagan said it best: we should strive to be the shining city on the hill. Let's do the best that we can, and lead by example -- as the Good Book says, do unto others as you would be done by.

At a societal level, I am very concerned about how impolite we are becoming. Good manners are the essence of civilization, and if we cannot practice them ourselves, we will never be able to instill them in our children.


At an economic level, I am very concerned about our economy; I believe that all of the economic evidence of the last 20 years shows that "free trade" is anything but -- it seems to be unsustainably expensive. Even Gramlich at the Federal Reserve is having reservations about the level of foreign debt (see Figure 2 from that paper a bit on down this page, it shows a very unhealthy upswing in our foreign debt to GDP ratio) though Gramlich is still firmly in the free trade camp. Robert Rubin puts his concerns about the debt level in general even more strongly in this paper. Another paper on debt concerns by Michael O'Hanlon is here.

Our external debt is growing rapidly:

Source: Federal Reserve Board Governor Gramlich's speech on debt

This is a serious matter. The World Bank has objective criteria for moderately indebted and severely indebted nations:

Indebtedness : Standard World Bank definitions of severe and moderate indebtedness are used to classify economies in this table. Severely indebted means either of the two key ratios is above critical levels: present value of debt service to GNI (80 percent) and present value of debt service to exports (220 percent). Moderately indebted means either of the two key ratios exceeds 60 percent of, but does not reach, the critical levels. For economies that do not report detailed debt statistics to the World Bank Debtor Reporting System (DRS), present-value calculation is not possible. Instead, the following methodology is used to classify the non-DRS economies. Severely indebted means three of four key ratios (averaged over 2000-2002) are above critical levels: debt to GNI (50 percent); debt to exports (275 percent); debt service to exports (30 percent); and interest to exports (20 percent). Moderately indebted means three of the four key ratios exceed 60 percent of, but do not reach, the critical levels. All other classified low- and middle-income economies are listed as less indebted.

Looking at the non-DRS criteria, our national debt to GNI (GNI for 2003 was $10.9 trillion) is certainly over 50% at around 60-70% (our external debt alone is 25% of GNI); our national debt to exports is around 600%-700% (we exported $1.02 trillion in goods and services in 2003) which exceeds the 275% criterion; our national debt service to exports is well above 30%; our interest on our national debt to exports is over the 20% criterion.

Notice that I am using public debt figures; our debt positions as a country are worse, not better, since we are a large debtor nation.

So on all 4 non-DRS criteria, we are already in the "worrisome" category:

U.S. Debt position versus World Bank non-DRS criteria
Criterion Severely indebted threshold Current U.S. level Numerator value Denominator value
Ratio of debt to GNI 50% 62% Public debt (2003) = $6.7832 trillion GNI (2003) = $10.946 trillion
Ratio of debt to exports 275% 665% Public debt (2003) = $6.7832 trillion Exports (2003) = $1.02 trillion
Ratio of debt service to exports 30% 418%(* see note) Public debt service (2003) = $4.264 trillion(*) (= $3.9281 debt rolled over(*) + $0.318 trillion interest payment) Exports (2003) = $1.02 trillion
Ratio of debt interest to exports 20% 31% Interest on public debt (2003) = $0.318 trillion Exports (2003) = $1.02 trillion
(*) I find this figure astonishingly high -- does anyone have a better figure for our debt service? Surely we aren't really rolling over $4 trillion in debt each year? Freepmail me if you do. Thanks.

I imagine that the first effect will be that day when Moody's or S-and-P decides to put our sovereign debt "on review" of its AAA status. Moody's has not hesitated to lower Japan, which if you know anything about the Japanese economy in comparison to our own should give you pause, since Japan has arguably a far more robust economy than we do.

For reference, Moody's rating for Japan is based mostly on Japan's large and increasing public debt -- about 170% of GDP while we are still in the 70% range -- but there are some significant differences, including the fact that Japan, despite its lowered rating, is paying far less interest than we are due to accommodative measures from the Bank of Japan and the fact that Japan is wealthy -- Japan has strong positive income from not only its strong exports but also its overseas investments such as the Japanese government's $700+ billion dollars worth of U.S. Treasury debt. Amusingly, Japan is issuing lower rated debt at anywhere for 0% for short term money to 2.4% for long-term money to buy AAA debt (ours), and is benefiting from the spread since we pay over 5% for long-term money.

Strong Defense

A strong defense is as necessary now as it ever has been; the lessons of history have not been repealed, and we must remain strong and vigilant. We cannot ship all of our industry to China and remain a viable military power, much less a superpower. We cannot ship all of our research to India or China, and remain a military leader.


The people have spoken again, and for the first time we have elected a radical left-winger. It's going to be an interesting four years.