Because guns reduce crime. Take the United States, a federated republic with wildly divergent gun laws. In the parts of the nation with the highest per capita gun ownership (Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, the Dakotas), violent crime is low and mass shootings unheard of. In the parts where the populace has chosen to elect representatives who restrict gun ownership (Chicago; New York City; Washington, D.C.), violent crime is absurdly high. The negative correlation between firearm availability and murder is unmistakable.
This extends to other nations, too. In South Africa and Colombia, it’s all but impossible for private citizens to own guns. Murder rates in both countries dwarf those of even the most dangerous parts of the U.S. In Switzerland and Israel, practically everyone owns a gun, and murders are rare (excluding that there’s not a lot you can do when a lunatic Arab decides he wants to use a bomb to blow himself and several passersby up.)
Yeah, but what about Newtown?
What about Newtown? From a mass murderer’s perspective, Sandy Hook Elementary was the perfect soft target. Little kids and unarmed adults, not a single one of whom is going to be able to confront a shooter in any meaningful way. There’s a reason why mass shootings rarely occur at gun stores or on firing ranges. One of the dead Newtown adults was a school psychologist, whose academic credentials were considerably less helpful that day than firearm training would have been.
And if that’s not a worthwhile introduction to this week’s Carnival of Wealth, nothing is. Personal finance blog posts from around the globe. Some awful, a few good, none boring (the boring ones don’t make the cut.) Let’s get started:
This week we welcome Michael Kitces of the eponymous Kitces, a man with a preponderance of designations after his name. This week he explains the new 3.8% Medicare tax on investment income, and how IRS agents and administrators will gladly exercise their power to ensure that you don’t manipulate your net investment income. Aren’t mass social programs beautiful? All the government has to do is assume responsibility for private citizens’ health, and everything else falls into place. Including spending the next 4 generations (and counting) defending the indefensible – a multibillion-dollar boondoggle that can’t help but neuter wholesale chunks of a once-vibrant economy. Also, our tax code just isn’t complex enough.
You know how we said that some of the submissions we receive are awful? Here’s a shining example from the lazy illiterates at Credit-Debt-Consolidation-Loans, a site that boasts the telltale sign of the opportunistic and lame (hyphens in the title.) Someone who goes by the imaginative username “admin” wrote this post a year and a half ago, and decided to submit it to us now. And it’s not like he was polishing it into a gleaming jewel all that time:
Before you press the ‘submit’ button on your online form, it may be a good idea to read through the terms and conditions that the online lending firm will send to you for your perusal.
Look, Ace. If you want to submit crap to a pointless carnival that no one reads nor cares about, give Wesley at Yakezie a spin. We don’t have room for that nonsense here.
(Post rejected because it came from a site titled 2008Taxes.org. Congratulations on now being 5 years out of date.)
(Batting .333 right now. This isn’t good.)
Wait, another newcomer? And a literarily adept one, too? Maybe we should run an all-rookie CoW. This elegant submission comes from Dustin Small at Stockodo, who explains the concept of “position sizing”. Don’t diversify for diversity’s sake. A portfolio that includes 100 random companies isn’t going to beat one with 10 stringently researched companies that meet certain criteria.
Another CoW rookie, Mochi & Macarons (no, not “macaroons”, and not “macrons” either) at The Budgeting Tool. She lists age benchmarks at which you’re supposed to have amassed certain nest eggs. The numbers come from Fidelity investments. Our submitter thinks Fidelity’s numbers are too low, at least for her aspirations.
All your IRA contributions are equally tax-deductible, right? Oh, you naïve little thing. Michael at Financial Ramblings reminds us that your adjusted gross income, marital status etc. are at least as important as the size of your contributions.
After an interminable hiatus, Canadian mother-and-son team Boomer & Echo explain how to calculate capital gains and your adjusted cost basis. Crucial information if you’re Canadian, plan to become Canadian, or invest in Canada. Fun, hitherto unknown fact: While in 2011 the IRS required brokers to track and report investors’ adjusted cost base, Revenue Canada has no such requirements. America, land of the free, right?
We speak as former Windows devotees who thought the Apple cult was ridiculous. Until our Dell and Lenovo machines broke down beyond hope in the same week, and we reluctantly bought Macs.
Wait, you mean computers don’t all take 15 minutes to boot up? They don’t crash multiple times a day as a matter of course? And they can be thin, elegant and efficient, too? We had no idea. And will never go back to a Microsoft operating system, no matter how pretty Windows 8 looks compared to its clunky yet ubiquitous predecessors. Harry thinks otherwise, trading out his iPhone for a Galaxy S3. His post also features the wordiest phrase of this week’s CoW:
they can release a 5th version of a phone that is exactly the same as the previous(except for a weird vertical extension in length)
You mean, “height”?
John Kiernan at Wallet Blog says it’s not enough to think “I’m going to save for retirement.” He asks you to go another step, and visualize yourself with grey hair and an AARP card. Merrill Lynch’s new “Face Retirement” tool (what an awful name) will help. It’ll also tell you what your IRA or 401(k) will look like by the time you’re driving a Buick LaSalle and getting fitted for a hearing aid.
A Justin Bieber prepaid credit card? That makes about as much sense as a new single from Charlie Munger, but that’s the world we live in. Liana Arnold at CardHub tells us how the Canadian singing sensation (a phrase that we’ll always associate with Luba, for some reason) partnered with a company with the incredible name of BillMyParents. This card is supposed to “promote financial literacy”, something most teenagers can’t get enough of, apparently. The card is garbage, as you can’t take it out of your wallet without incurring some sort of fee. Still, it’s good for Mr. Bieber’s “brand” that he’s already branching out into business endeavors that will presumably be around after he morphs out of that twink body of his into something approaching adulthood. And to think that people decried KISS for slapping their faces on lunch boxes and PEZ dispensers. At least lunch boxes serve a purpose.