Cops are not Heroes

There are heroes who happen to be cops. But being a cop does not make one a hero. The occasional acts of heroism that earn cops commendations are done by plenty of people who aren’t sworn and paid “to protect and serve.” Rushing into a dangerous situation to aid others? Gestures of kindness or compassion that go above and beyond the call of duty? All routinely done by everyday heroes.

Cops actually enjoy more protection than the average citizen:

  • Law enforcement is not a particularly dangerous career.
  • Cops enjoy immunity against acts of omission – they have no legal obligation to aid any particular member of the public. In contrast, it is often a crime for a member of the public to not come to the aid of a police officer!
  • Cops enjoy special legal protections: merely touching a police officer can constitute aggravated assault and is often its own crime.
  • Cops enjoy qualified immunity against acts of commission. Cops harass and arrest people with such impunity that their abuse of discretion goes by the common name “contempt of cop.” Victims of police abuse have no practical redress: Expensive and often fruitless civil lawsuits can only be filed against the government, not against the abusive officers.
  • Cops enjoy qualified immunity and substantial deference in using force against members of the public. Governments don’t reliably collect data on the use of force by police – not even the use of lethal force. Prosecutors are notoriously hesitant to bring criminal charges against their fellow law enforcement officers. The only redress available to victims of police violence are mostly futile civil lawsuits against the government.
  • Abusive cops are protected from adverse consequences by powerful police unions. Claims of police violence generally disappear into secret internal investigations that impose no apparent consequences on violent cops.

Bad cops may be a minority, but every law enforcement officer is morally responsible for shielding them. If cops were heroes they would not tolerate those in their midst who abuse the office and victimize the public.

Do you think cops need your thanks or support, in addition to the broad Blue Privileges they already enjoy? Take a look at what cops are paid. Of course this varies by jurisdiction, but it’s not hard to find cops raking in six-figure incomes while accumulating a similar government-guaranteed lifetime pension that pays out after as few as 20 years of “service.”

Inflation Fears Again

The Biden Administration is providing the biggest positive stimulus to demand since WWII, and at the same time doing everything it can to suppress supply. Higher [unemployment insurance] benefits, closed schools (which keep one parent at home), and promised corporate tax hikes practically guarantee that supply can not keep up with demand. It is a recipe for an inflation shock we have not seen in the U.S. in a generation.

 Kevin Hassett

It has been a decade since I last wrote about inflation. Now the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve seem to be doing everything possible to spark dollar inflation.

Is this bad? Yes if: (a) you hold U.S. dollars, or (b) you have to pay capital gains taxes in U.S. dollars. Not so much if: you owe debts denominated in U.S. dollars.

What can you do to protect against inflation? Financial securities price in inflation faster than you can (e.g., TIPS give negative yields, commodity futures enter contango), so by the time “inflation” is in the news you can’t generally buy a direct, liquid, inflation hedge in the markets. Buying and holding useful commodities is a hedge against inflation. Real estate is a useful quasi-commodity. Unfortunately real estate prices are, if anything, leading inflation in the last year. But if you already own your primary residence there’s one thing you can and should do: Mortgage your home to the limit. The government actually subsidizes mortgages (offering credit guarantees for some, and offering a tax credit for mortgage interest). Mortgage loan rates are at historic lows – basically equal to inflation on an after-tax basis. And here’s the clincher: Mortgages are dollar-denominated debt – the one thing that comes out ahead in a dollar inflation scenario.

The other subsidized government investment is the inflation-protected I bond. It’s more of a savings vehicle, and I bond purchases are limited to $10,000 per year per person.

Made in China: The COVID Pandemic

This article lays out overwhelming circumstantial evidence that SARS2 was created in and released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.  The level of incompetence that led to the outbreak is astonishing. As is the diligence of the political conspiracy to cover this up.

Researchers at the Wuhan lab were engaged in a project that explicitly involved modifying bat-based coronaviruses to infect the human respiratory tract. (SARS2 is a bat-based coronavirus that is optimized for infecting human respiratory cells.) The most unconscionable news is that this project was conducted in a BSL-2 lab! (As the article notes: BSL-2 is essentially the level of protection against infection practiced in a typical U.S. dental office. I previously derided the idea that Chinese could be relied upon to operate a BSL-4 facility, which is the only place where creation of new human pathogens should occur – if anywhere at all.)

The only obstacle to “proving” that SARS2 was produced in that lab is China’s impounding of the lab records.