By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold -
One of the topics in Monday night's presidential debate was, naturally, crime, law and order. For some implausible reason, Hillary claimed that crime is down from it’s peak in 1991 and continues to decline. This flies in the face of yesterday’s report by the FBI that violent crime is up over 10% from 2015. If we look at a graph of crime rates, we see there was an 80% decline from 1991 to about 2010, when it leveled out then started to climb again in 2015. 10% is not a paltry sum. It means 1200 more murders, nearly 7000 more shootings and 300,000 more armed robberies. The importance of non-fatal shootings should get special attention, because the intent was almost always to kill the victim. Were it not for advances in trauma care, many more would probably die.
The surprising finding is that petty crime continues to decrease. The reasons are vague, but many jurisdictions are putting less emphasis on minor crimes in part due to the increase in violence.
Hillary proposes to keep guns out of the hands of those who would abuse them. Of course, there are thousands of laws which purport to do exactly that, yet criminals get guns anyway, and use them indiscriminately. There are approximately 300 million guns in the hands of citizens, and only a vanishing small percentage, 11 thousand, are used to commit murder. Eliminating guns is an unreliable goal for both practical and constitutional reasons.
One solution is to find those who intend to do harm to others and put them in jail. Keep criminals away from guns. The proven way to find them, before the fact, is by the “broken windows” theory of law enforcement, put forth eloquently by then mayor Rudy Giuliani in NYC. Stop people for minor infractions, and if they have illegal weapons, arrest, charge and try them. Federal law dictates a minimum of 5 years in prison for a felon, gang member or drug seller to possess a firearm. Only a handful are charged under Federal law for this offense (and Obama has released hundreds early). Stops of this sort go under the generic heading of “stop and frisk,” but in a constitutional approved manner. This degraded under Bloomberg and deBlasio to racial profiling, rather than conscientious police work. Careless politicians have managed to reverse thirty years of progress, with the help of a liberal judge or two and failure to appeal.
Former mayor of NYC, Rudy Giuliani, in the spin room after the CNN debate with Sean Hannity on Fox News, spoke about "Stop and Frisk" which Hillary claimed was illegal during the debate, to which Mayor Giuliani replied how New York City was pegged as the "Crime Capitol of America" until he became mayor and instituted Stop and Frisk. Murder decreased by 65%. Mayor Bloomfield, in continuing Stop and Frisk, lowered murder in NYC by 85%. Under Terry vs Ohio (1968) in an 8 - 1 decision, which Hillary should know of as a lawyer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution permits a law enforcement officer to stop, detain, and frisk persons who are suspected of criminal activity without first obtaining their consent, even though the officer may lack a warrant to conduct a search or Probable Cause to make an arrest. Yet moderator Lester Holt called out Trump for his disagreement with Hillary's position on Stop and Frisk. The District judge was thrown off the case, but the case is still ongoing and has not been ruled unconstitutional. Holt was most likely under pressure from the Left to fact check Trump's remarks, which happened several times, but where was Lester Holt's Hillary fact checking?
Another broad challenge is how to improve the economy. There the candidates are diametrically opposed. Trump is denounced for preaching gloom and doom, whereas to Hillary, everything is rosy and can only get better. Before the crash in 2008, the economy was growing 4.7% a year. Now it is less than 1.5%. Until the economy grows at pre-crash levels, we can’t call it a recovery. Trump wants to grow the economy, which will raise more than enough money to offset his tax reductions with room to spare. Hillary wants to continue Obama’s “stimulus” plan by taking money from the successful and spending it on make-work jobs for union members. Under Trump’s plan, money would come from goods and serves created, not by redistributing wealth.
While Hillary calls for the wealthy to pay their fair share, Trump calls for an elimination of “deferred interest” deductions, which is financial jargon for hedge trading, not stocks and bonds. Hedge fund traders are Hillary’s most ardent supporters on Wall Street, so Trumps proposal is toxic to the fortunes of Democrats. That is why Hillary will not release the transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street.
Significantly,Trump describes the present stock market as a “bubble,” which will burst if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. This is factually correct. The stock market is booming because that’s the only way investors can make money. Business is growing at a minuscule rate and bond returns are low because of the zero or low Fed interest rates. Rumors of an interest increase last week sent the market down 3%. Imagine what would have happened if there was actually a change. Chairman Yellen is playing a strictly political role delaying action by the Fed on interest rates until after the election. If Trump wins, he will get the blame. If Hillary wins, it won’t happen.
Neither candidate addressed the racial issue with police well. Riots like the one we saw in Ferguson, Baltimore and Charlotte are driven by false narratives, given credence by Obama and the Democrats that police unfairly target and shoot blacks. Actually police contacts are driven by crime rates, not skin color, but crime rates are many time higher in predominately black neighborhoods. Most, but not all police contacts are just and true. It is incumbent on our leaders to assure the public that justice will be served best by thorough and unbiased investigations, that the guilty will be held to account, but the innocent will not be unjustly prosecuted. We need a commitment to fairness, not narratives on either side. We need it know that protests are legitimate, but mob violence will not be tolerated.
In all an interesting night. As Trump supporter, we believe Trump held his own, gave as good as he got, without going overboard. He was tough on Hillary, but not unfair or debasing. Might Hillary belongs under indictment and not on the stage?