Saturday, December 15, 2012

Guns - Freedom and Safety

The recent tragedy involving the fatal shootings Friday of 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school - including 20 children - immediately reignited the debate about national gun laws.

I hope people don't see this tragedy and start demanding more regulations that will make it harder for people buy guns to protect themselves from criminals or to go hunting. Although the intensions of people who want more government regulation is good the outcome is usually bad. We can create laws that will make it harder for law abiding citizens to buy a gun but it will not stop criminals from getting more guys because by definition criminals do not care about gun control laws.

We don't ban fast cars or planes because car or plane crashes kill people but instead we make cars more safer to drive my deploying more safety gear in them. We can reduce the incidents of gun violence by creating gun free zones and screen people for guns before they get into schools, movies and other gun free zones. These screenings can be left to private owners / local community discretion. Metal detectors managed by private owners or just selective screening for anomalies by the security guard.

It's interesting to see left leaning people and liberals who believe in personal freedom and call themselves pro-choice wants to hand over their choice to government when it comes to guns in the hope that creating a law that bans certain types of guns will make them safer.

People should be free to keep guns at home for protection and hunting. Yes, some criminals and crazies will be able to sneak in guns but they would do that even if all guns are banned.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Economics of Corruption

I was shocked recently to hear from some of friends with graduate degrees in computer science and engineering that some form of corruption is OK and necessary because running a government is a complex operation and greasing the palms of politicians and government employees makes government work faster.

Corruption or any use of public power for private gain has large negative implications beyond the amounts paid as bribes. I will highlight a couple here and point to few sources for details.

1) Corruption disrupts free markets and allows inefficient companies to thrive by shielding it from competition.

2) Corruption diverts government funds to people who are able to pay kickbacks and bribes instead of investing in most productive sectors like education, infrastructure and health services

3) Corruption creates moral hazards for companies and people when "buying" favorable tax structures and environmental regulation becomes cheaper than building an efficient and productive company.