Did David Hogg just call for increased gun sales?
We've clearly reached peak foolishness in the U.S. when adults at certain media outlets feed us a steady stream of lectures from children about how we need to surrender our constitutional rights in the name of safety. The most recent example is the fawning treatment of the anti-gun versus the pro-gun kids from the Parkland school massacre.
The kid who's hogging up most of the media attention, thanks to his anti-gun views, is David Hogg. And his handlers appear to be keeping him well stocked with an arsenal of tweet-ready rhetoric.
In a recent tweet taunting President Trump, he ventured into economics and said:
He then doubled down on his tweet:
Reasonable minds can debate the merits of placing tariffs on certain goods entering the U.S. (I'm generally against but am open to the idea that Trump intends to use tariffs only as a temporary negotiating tool.) But in suggesting a tax on the sale of firearms (what amounts to a sin tax), Hogg fails to realize that his idea (assuming that it was his idea to begin with) would have a very different effect from what he might expect on his original crusade to reduce the number of guns in the U.S.
If David Hogg's #guntax (let's call it the Hogg Tax) were enacted, money from the sale of guns would eventually flow into government coffers and then be used to "harden schools, create new manufacturing jobs and save lives." (Keep in mind that this new tax would punish the poor and their ability to protect themselves and their families disproportionally.) To make that happen, new government employees would need to be hired, new office space taken up, and recipients of this newly created tax identified and ultimately subsidized.
Once in place, the newly created bureaucracy would be filled with busy government employees, all creating programs (surely wrongheaded and inefficient ones) with the tax dollars collected from the sale of those "evil" firearms.
But human nature will have something to say about this, as explained by Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teacher's union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
Keeping in mind that David's original mission was to have fewer guns on the streets, once the bureaucracy and government programs (made possible only by the Hogg Tax) were in place and doing "wonders for humanity," would either group as described in the Iron Law of Bureaucracy now prefer that gun sales decrease? Would the politicians who control all this money, the government employees (who have bills to pay like everyone else), and the recipients of this redistributed wealth really want gun sales to suddenly dry up or even slow down? After all, their very livelihoods would be tied directly to a steady flow of firearms sales.
In fact, not only would the Iron Law's second group fight to protect its existing bureaucracy, but it would actively attempt to grow it in the wake of any declining sales due to the high taxes – just as we saw bureaucrats advertise in Mexico to help grow the food stamp program during the Obama administration.
Of course, why make our society poorer by instituting the silly Hogg Tax when David Hogg and his ilk in the mainstream media have done more to increase firearms sales than even the most seasoned bureaucrats could ever dream of doing?
Follow Scott on Twitter: @Politiseeds.