In a March 16 post to RegBlog, University of Pennsylvania Economist Adam Finkel takes his University of Chicago colleague Deirdre Mccluskey to task for her flawed math in an op ed piece she wrote for the NYTimes. In the op ed essay published on December 23, Ms. McCloskey asserted that
“[a]s a matter of arithmetic, expropriating the rich to give to the poor does not uplift the poor very much. If we took every dime from the top 20 percent of the income distribution and gave it to the bottom 80 percent, the bottom folk would be only 25 percent better off.”
As Mr. Finkel pointed out in this post (and to the NYTimes editors), this would only be true if EVERYONE started with the same level of wealth… and in our country that is clearly NOT the case. Indeed, instead of using Ms. McCloskey’s assumption that everyone has equal wealth of $500,000, Mr. Finkel used some real world numbers to calculate the impact of redistribution:
In the real United States, however—where $500,000 is indeed a reasonable estimate of the average individual networth, but where the top 20 percent own 85 percent of all wealth—the math is very different. Among a representative sample of 1,000 Americans, there would be $425 million to redistribute among the bottom 800 people, who would each start with only $93,750.
When Mr. Finkel dissembles Ms. McCloskey’s argument further, however, he overlooks one key flaw in her thinking:
First, McCloskey asserts that once the poor have “a roof over their heads and enough to eat,” they have no further need for any of society’s accumulated wealth. Elsewhere, she claims that all progressives seek a “forced equality” that would require brain surgeons and taxi drivers to earn the same amount. The former assertion is callous, and the latter is a strawman: even the most repressive Communist regimes in history sought equality of opportunity—not equality of outcome. Surely, somewhere within the 99 percent of the ideological distribution between dystopian Darwinism and utopian equality-for-its-own-sake, there is room for fruitful discussion about whether we should favor some modest redistribution via a progressive tax code and social programs. But McCloskey’s caricature of both positions makes any compromise impossible.
This just in, Mr. Finkel: Ms. McCloskey’s assertion is more than callous. It completely overlooks the fact that in January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States. and 42,200,000 Americans lived in food insecure households, including 29,000,000 million adults and 13,100,00 million children. In all, 13 percent of households (or 15,800,000 million households) were food insecure. So by Ms. McCloskey’s logic, those lacking a roof over their heads and enough to eat, HAVE a further need for society’s accumulate wealth.
The most discouraging part of Mr. Finkel’s article was this section:
Unfortunately, the basic mathematics of McCloskey’s claim are mangled. She may not prefer that we seek progressive tax and regulatory policies, but her claim that these policies do not “uplift the poor very much” is erroneous. That the Times has decided not to correct her error—even in the face of an email exchange in which the author herself acknowledged her mistake—may be an example of how tempting it is to ascribe black-and-white factual issues to the realm of “healthy controversy.”
We cannot hope to have a meaningful dialogue about redistribution until we face the unpleasant truths of homelessness and hunger… as well as some basic mathematical truths.
Guardian articlereporter Sam Thielman posted an decrying the Trump/GOP budget’s decision to cut funds for school lunches by $200,000,000 despite solid evidence that they are a cost effective way to improve student performance and health outcomes. In yet another case of the Trump administration’s ignorance of science (see the denial of climate change for countless other examples), the President’s budget director offered this explanation for the cuts:
When Mick Mulvaney, director of Donald Trump’s office of budget management, told press on Thursday that the administration’s attack on school meal programsbecause they “don’t work”, he did not mean that they don’t feed hungry children.
“Let’s talk about after-school programs generally: they’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence that they’re actually doing that,” Mulvaney said. “There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually helping results, helping kids do better in school.”
This last statement got the attention of Dr. Michael Weitzman whose studies DID demonstrate that “kids who don’t get fed at home” do better in school when they receive a nutritious meal:
That statement is “an outrageous, fallacious comment that clearly reflects a lack of knowledge, or perhaps even worse, dishonesty”, said physician Michael Weitzman in an interview with the Guardian. Weitzman is the former chair of pediatrics at New York University, where he currently teaches, and this year’s recipient of the John Howland award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Pediatric Society.
And Guardian writer Thielman offers more evidence in case Dr. Weitzman’s word is insufficient:
The connection between childhood nutrition and hard educational metrics such as attendance and test performance has been documented repeatedly, by universities as well as government agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Weitzman and the other researchers who worked on the Boston study demonstrated explicitly that federally funded nutrition programs improve academic performance. That they help to alleviate poverty as well is simply a bonus.
So why would the Director of the Office of Budget and Management fly in the face of scientific findings and support cutting school lunch? For the same reason that the current administration and the GOP want to ignore the findings of climate science: the benefactors of scientific findings are not profiteering lobbyists with deep pockets. School children raised in poverty do not vote and do not have anyone with boatloads of money for political campaigns who can speak on their behalf. The planet earth has vocal supporters who generate petitions but there is no profit-making group advocating for clean air and clean water that compares with the auto and petroleum industries…. or the nascent water sellers.
So taxpayers save a few cents in order for corporations to save huge sums on their tax bills while children suffer and corporations no longer need to follow “stifling regulations” that help sustain planet earth. Welcome to the plutocracy.
With the GOP in control of the House, Senate, and White House, their President has an opportunity to advance a budget that accomplishes everything set forth the GOP platform, and, as NYTimes writer Yamiche Alcindor related in an article that appeared on Thursday, cities are going to suffer mightily as a result. Here’s Mr. Alcindor’s overview of the HUD budget cuts:
Mr. Trump spent months on the campaign trail promising to fix “broken” inner cities, appealing to African-Americans with the question, “What do you have to lose?”
In terms of money, the answer turns out to be: plenty. Mr. Trump would cut the budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 13 percent and eliminate programs like the Community Development Block Grant, which cities have used to fund programs like Meals on Wheels as well as homeless shelters and neighborhood revitalization initiatives.
His budget proposal would eliminate the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency, the Education Department’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which run before- and after-school programs, as well as low-income heating assistance, community services block grants and the HOME Investment Partnership, which helps state and local governments build, buy and rehabilitate affordable housing.
It would cut funding for rental assistance and job training. In fact, the budget reaches deep into every agency to cut programs for the urban poor. Even the Department of Energy’s small weatherization program to help insulate the houses of the poor — obscure to even seasoned government watchers — would be eliminated.
Using the city of Baltimore as an example of the adverse impact, Mr. Alcindor offers some specific examples of the impact these cuts would have on one city. He quotes Karen D. Stokes, the chief executive officer of Strong City Baltimore, on the citizens who benefit from her program: “These are people who are trying to better themselves. They are here trying to become productive citizens. There is nobody here looking for a handout.”
Even GOP leaders are wary of these cuts, viewing them as contradictory to the message conservatives are trying to send and ultimately do not help solve some of the intractable problems he faced as the mayor of a small city:
Scott Smith, a Republican who was mayor of Mesa, Ariz., for six years, said the Community Development Block Grant program lined up with the ideals of small-government conservatives by providing communities flexible money. Mr. Smith said he used the funds to operate a shelter for dozens of homeless veterans with mental health issues.
“If you cut home grants, you still will have people struggling to get housing,” he said. “If you cut Community Development Block Grant programs, you will still have the homeless veteran.”
This just in, Mr. Smith: your political party no longer cares about “people struggling to get housing” or “the homeless veteran“… They are looking out for their donors who are “makers” and not those who are taking from them to enroll in programs that help those who “… are here trying to become productive citizens”.
A Deeper Dive into the Trump-GOP Budget: $$$ for Wars, Cuts for Peace, Poverty Programs, and Children
David Ingold, Chloe Whiteaker, Michael Keller and Hannah Recht, three Bloomberg writers, posted an article Thursday that identified 19 agencies that would be completely eliminated and “at least 61 other programs” that would lose funding altogether in the Trump-GOP budget. They also identify those programs that stand to gain from the cuts. The verbiage in the article itself is as spare as the spending will be for social programs:
U.S. President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal includes massive cuts across most of the federal government. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture face unprecedented discretionary funding cuts in excess of 25 percent, as Trump attempts to boost the military and national security.
Trump’s budget also proposes eliminating discretionary funding altogether for at least 19 agencies and 61 other programs. Plans for new NASA missions, climate change research, aid for low-income families and funding for commercial flights to rural airports would all be on the chopping block. Trump says many of these programs are inefficient or duplicative. All this could change; Trump will deliver a final budget in May and Congress would have to approve the cuts—something they have often resisted in the past.
The cuts to the EPA should be no surprise to anyone given the GOP platform. The GOP does not want anyone to sacrifice their truck or SUVs, their 72 degree homes, or the use of fossil fuels to provide electricity. The EPA, on the other hand, exists to defend the environment against degradation.
The cuts to agriculture seem surprising at first glance. But an examination of the programs listed in the Bloomberg article indicate three programs that will be eliminated as part those cuts:
Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program
◦ Provides funding for clean drinking water, sanitary sewage disposal and storm-water drainage programs in rural areas.
Rural Business and Cooperative Service’s discretionary programs
◦ Provides financial assistance for economic development programs in rural communities, including renewable energy and biofuel initiatives.
McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program
◦ Supports education, child development and food security initiatives in low-income, food-deficit countries around the world.
These cuts are consistent with the GOP’s desire to deregulate everything and oppose any federal efforts to move away from fossil fuels in favor of clean energy initiatives. They also show the GOPs desire to move away from any efforts toward international governance, towards sharing the largesse of our nation with other countries around the world in the same way the party opposes sharing the largesse of the wealthiest individuals with those who are most in need in our nation.
The cuts to education programs were described broadly in an earlier post. Here are some specific education programs that will be completely unfunded:
Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants
◦ Provides grants to non-profit organizations that recruit and provide professional enhancement for teachers and principals.
21st Century Community Learning Centers
◦ Supports community learning centers that provide before-and after-school programs for children, particularly those in high-poverty areas.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
◦ Provides need-based grants of up to $4,000 to low-income undergraduates for postsecondary education.
◦ Helps states fund literacy programs for children, birth through grade 12, including those with disabilities and limited English.
Teacher Quality Partnership
◦ Funds initiatives aimed at improving the quality of new teachers through better development and recruiting methods.
Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property
◦ Provides funding to school districts that have a diminished tax base due to federal property ownership in the district.
As the underscored and italicized sections indicate, three of these programs are targeted for low income and/or disabled and immigrant students with the other two targeted for new teachers who often serve those same students. The cuts to Health and Human Services programs reinforce the GOPs intent to move away from international governance and providing a safety net for those living in poverty:
Fogarty International Center
◦ Supports global health research initiatives, including infectious disease research in developing countries.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
◦ Provides assistance to low income families to help pay for their home’s energy bills and some energy-related maintenance.
Community Services Block Grant
◦ Funds projects aimed at reducing poverty in communities, including projects focused on education, nutrition, employment and housing.
And the Housing and Urban Development cuts amplify the GOPs intent to shred the safety net for those in poverty:
Community Development Block Grant Program
◦ Funds programs that assist low-income people with housing issues, including the elimination of urban blight and other community programs.
HOME Investment Partnerships Program
◦ Provides block grants to state and local governments to create affordable housing solutions for low-income households.
◦ Funds programs to replace distressed public housing and promotes investment for neighborhood improvement.
Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program
◦ Funds nonprofit organizations that build new housing for low-income families through sweat equity and volunteer labor.
Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing
◦ Works with nonprofit groups to fund community development and affordable housing initiatives aimed at low-income families.
And wait… there are even MORE cuts that impact education and children raised in poverty.
- NASA’s Office of Education a program that “Supports education in public elementary and secondary schools and informal settings, coordinates and disseminates findings of NASA research projects” is cut completely;
- The National Endowment for the Arts, an agency that supports programs in public schools across the country;
- The National Endowment for Humanities, an agency that provides grants to public school teachers and schools themselves;
- The Institute of Museum and Library Services, an agency that “…supports libraries and museums through research, policy development and grant making”;
- The Corporation for National and Community Service, an agency that funds “…thousands of volunteer organizations across the country and runs AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and the Social Innovation Fund”;
- The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation an agency that assists organizations who strive to revitalize rural, urban and suburban communities and help individuals secure access to affordable housing;
- The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, an agency that “…coordinates with federal agencies to prevent and end homelessness.
And on top of all of those programs and agencies the budget completely eliminates four regional commissions, the Appalachian, Delta Regional, Denali, and Northern Border Regional, that offer support to those in those geographic areas who need government help to develop businesses in 24 states where jobs are difficult to find.
And low income individuals seeking legal assistance will no longer have the Legal Services Corporation to turn to… and last, but not least, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will no longer receive any federal support if this budget is adopted.
One only needs to look at the GOP platform to see the source of the thinking behind this budget. If more money needs to be spent on war and the budget needs to be balanced, something needs to be cut because it is a given in the GOP platform that taxes cannot be increased. Since the GOP is opposed to “handouts” for those in poverty, is opposed to international organizations who strive for peace, and is opposed to regulations of any kind—especially those that support clean air and clean water, this is what the GOP has to offer. And make no mistake: this IS the GOP’s budget, not President Trump’s.
As President Trump’s budget specifics become clearer, it is evident that children raised in poverty and college students trying to rise out of poverty will be short-changed while those paying tuition to enroll their children in sectarian schools will benefit. In the meantime, the Office of Civil Rights awaits old on its funding levels— which promise to be diminished given the size of the USDOE cuts the President proposes.
Washington Post writers’ Emma Brown and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel article on the President’s education budget proposal flag his decision to cut programs that support low-income Americans in order to fund his highest public education priority: choice.
The Trump administration is seeking to cut $9.2 billion — or 13.5 percent — from the Education Department’s budget, a dramatic downsizing that would reduce or eliminate grants for teacher training, after-school programs and aid to low-income and first-generation college students.
Along with the cuts, among the steepest the agency has ever sustained, the administration is also proposing to shift $1.4 billion toward one of President Trump’s key priorities: Expanding charter schools, private-school vouchers and other alternatives to traditional public schools. His $59 billion education budget for 2018 would include an unprecedented federal investment in such “school choice” initiatives, signaling a push to reshape K-12 education in America.
The president is proposing a $168 million increase for charter schools — 50 percent above the current level — and a new $250 million private-school choice program, which would probably provide vouchers for families to use at private or parochial schools.
Trump also wants an additional $1 billion for Title I, a $15 billion grant program for schools with high concentrations of poor children. The new funds would be used to encourage districts to adopt a controversial form of choice: Allowing local, state and federal funds to follow children to whichever public school they choose.
Brown and Douglas-Gabriel note that these priorities will likely be rebuffed by Democrats and may even find some pushback from the GOP, who rejected the notion of Title One portability when they considered ESSA legislation in 2015.
But the bigger question to me is whether and when colleges and universities and business leaders will speak out against this slashing of funds for college attendance. As Brown and Douglas-Gabriel write:
A host of programs aimed at low-income students are slated for cuts. Federal work-study funds that help students work their way through college would be reduced “significantly.” The proposal also calls for nearly $200 million in cuts to federal TRIO and Gear Up programs, which help disadvantaged students in middle and high schools prepare for college.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, a $732 million program that provided aid to 1.6 million students in the 2014-15 academic year, is also on the chopping block.
Rather than pour those savings into Pell Grants — which the document describes as a better way to deliver need-based aid — the budget maintains the current funding level for Pell grants and calls for the “cancellation” of $3.9 billion in Pell reserves, money that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle had hoped would be used to help students take summer classes.
Employers who are bemoaning the limited skills in the job pool and colleges who rely on students who access these grants should be joining public schools and community colleges in decrying these cuts. As should Mr. Trump’s voters who, presumably, were hoping to gain access to better schooling so they could earn more money.
And among the many mice in the woodpile of cuts is this gem:
In addition, it would shrink or kill 20 programs the administration deemed duplicative or outside the scope of the agency. They include $43 million in grants to colleges for teacher preparation and $66 million in “impact aid” to offset tax revenue losses that communities face when they have federal property within their bounds.
That impact aid goes mainly to school districts that have military bases. Speaking from my experience as Superintendent when a base closed in the district, the loss of that impact aid was devastating. Local taxpayers either had to dig deeper in their pockets to offset the lost revenues or local parents had to sacrifice class size or programs. Knowing the thinking of the austerity budget crowd, though, I imagine they would suggest that paying teachers less should also be on the table… for implicit in all of these budget cuts is the notion of a race to the bottom for wages in academia and public eduction because “that’s the way businesses would handle it.”
And even with all of these cuts, there are still some to come, and minorities are holding their breath to see what happens next, because:
The budget summary also is silent on the department’s Office for Civil Rights, which many in the civil rights community fear will be targeted for deep cuts.
The President’s budget is clearly devastating for public education, but it is also devastating to the environment, to the State Department’s ability to achieve settlements, and the safety net that supports those born into poverty. There was a time when a President would propose a budget designed to unite people in our country and across the world. Mr. Trump’s budget, with it’s emphasis on military spending and law enforcement and it’s de-emphasis on peace-making, protecting the environment, and helping the needy reinforces the divisive campaign he ran. Here’s hoping the American public will begin to turn away from division and see the benefits of unity.
A Channel3000 blogpost by David Dahmer reports what any clear thinking individual already knew: White Inheritance is the key driver in the wealth gap between them and any other non-white minority group. Here are the first four paragraphs of his post:
“Blacks/Latinos/non-whites don’t value education like whites do. They don’t work as hard as whites do. They spend more than whites do on junk,” says your standard white guy at the end of the bar dissecting the large racial wealth gap in the United States. “They just need to get off their butts and bootstrap it up like I did!”
However, the old tried-and-true American bootstrap lore took a big hit this month with a study that shows most families living with the material comfort and range of opportunities normally associated with middle-class status have obtained them the old-fashioned way: inheritance. The racial and wealth gap in the United States is as large as ever and “The Asset Value of Whiteness: Understanding the Racial Wealth Gap,” shows that inheritance plays a huge factor in that gap.
“For centuries, white households enjoyed wealth-building opportunities that were systematically denied to people of color. Today our policies continue to impede efforts by African-American and Latino households to obtain equal access to economic security,” Amy Traub, report co-author and associate director of policy and research at Demos said in a statement. “When research shows that racial privilege now outweighs a fundamental key to economic mobility, like higher education, we must demand our policymakers acknowledge this problem and create policies that address structural inequity.”
In short, the study found that white people inherit stuff and have inherited stuff for generations. And that gives them a supreme advantage. The report shows that typical markers of success in white households – and the chosen interventions in the lives of others – are not translating into lasting wealth and security in households of color.
The Demos Study and the article both make it clear that “inheritances” aren’t of the Rockefeller variety. They are rather modest but ultimately make a difference in opportunities— they give people the bootstraps needed to pull themselves up. Dahmer explains:
To be sure, when we talk of inheritance, we are not always talking about huge sums of money. Even modest gifts at opportune moments can be huge – going to college, buying a first home, enrolling a child in private school. The previous generations have used the fruits of their own life’s work to safeguard a middle-class existence for offspring who have not yet earned it on their own.
My wife and I both have instances in our lives where a “modest gift at (an) opportune moment” made a difference. The small loan I got to make a downpayment on my first home. The small inheritance my wife received that enabled her to acquire more acreage for a farmstead in Vermont. The “bridge loans” I got when I was changing jobs on one occasion. We’ve provided the same kind of small financial loans or gifts to our children… and they can make the difference between getting deep into debt or missing out on an opportunity to get a new house at a reasonable price.
If minority families cannot provide this kind of support, what can be done? Professor Thomas Shapiro has some ideas:
“I think on a local, regional, and state level, there are different levers that we have to work with. I think on a local level, housing markets are the real key. I think attempting to break down racial segregation as much as possible in a community really serves the sustainable long-term interests,” Shapiro said. “It’s residential segregation that really drives the way that housing equity is color-coded and it’s abundantly clear from any study that’s ever looked at data.”
The study closes with a push for policymakers to evaluate proposed policies for their potential to shrink the wealth gap between races in America. Shapiro said he is optimistic about the progress he has seen recently.
“Five years ago, there were five people in the world that when you said ‘racial wealth gap’ that they would know what you meant,” said Shapiro, admitting that he might be going over the top a little bit with his numbers. “That’s no longer the case. There’s been a lot of empirical work about what the racial wealth gap is. There are a lot of folks who are working on it, studies on it. I dare say that the phrase ‘racial wealth gap’ has been sort of branded, at least in some of the public’s mind. They know what it is already.
We now know the racial wealth gap exists and, and Dammer shows in his article, it is demonstrably unrelated to hard work or poor morals. Now we need to take the steps to remedy the situation.
Of all of the Executive Orders made by President Trump, the one that is unarguably the worst for the well-being of children is the one to separate children from their mothers when they are detained at the border or in a situation where the child was born in the country to a mother who is an undocumented resident of the country.
Earlier this week NYTimes writer Elizabeth Harris reported on the impact of this Executive Order on children who find themselves with the possibility of losing their parent as a result of this policy. To date, no schools have been raided by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, but school districts are affected by the fear such a potential raid raises in their students.
“If you’re sitting there in math class wondering if someone is going to burst through the door and pick you up, you’re not going to be learning math well,” said William Clark, chief operating officer of the New Haven Board of Education in Connecticut. “The kids should not be worried about this. They’re here to learn.”
And even though schools are currently off-limits to ICE raids, administrators and school boards are concerned because, in Ms. Harris words, immigration policies have changed sharply and without much warning. So across the country school districts are being advised of the information they must share and the information that should remain confidential:
For the moment, much of what school systems are offering is guidance, and whether it is written by the Connecticut public university system, the New York City Education Department or the State of Virginia, many of the recommendations are similar. Schools often say student information must not be shared without a court order or subpoena. They instruct that if an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer comes looking for a student, the school officials should demand to see a warrant and review it carefully to find out what exactly it permits.
“The law does provide protections for students, and there are limitations of what law enforcement can do,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York. “We’re doing our best to fill in the background and to tell them that students have a lot of rights.”
Many guidance documents also offer advice on how to prepare for raids that might happen outside school.
One question that has not been clearly answered for the resident children who are citizens and who lose their parents is what happens to them? The treatment of families captured trying to enter the country might be an indication. A post yesterday from Diane Ravitch included a link to a CNN story that included a portion of an interview between Wolf Blitzer and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief John Kelly. When asked about how the government will deal with children who are separated from their parents at the point of illegal entry, Mr. Kelly responded:
“We have tremendous experience of dealing with unaccompanied minors. We turn them over to (Health and Human Services) and they do a very, very good job of putting them in foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States.”
So presumably the ICE officers who raid the home of an undocumented mother will also have the authority to turn them over to Health and Human Services who will do a “very, very good job of putting them in foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States“. That would be the HHS Department that is expected to incur deep cuts in their budget in the year ahead. But children shouldn’t worry: DHS along with the military will be getting a boost in spending, part of which is intended to build and staff detention centers to house the refugee families who are attempting to cross the border to seek asylum in our country. Once the refugee children are turned over to HHS there will be room for the children of undocumented parents who fled to this country years ago, some of whom have paid taxes and held jobs during that time.
In the meantime, those children should focus on boosting the standardized test scores and pay no attention to the threats of losing their parents… If worse comes to worse they might end up in a foster home where their new parents can use vouchers to place them in a for profit or sectarian school where they can adjust to the new country they can now live in without fear.
- Edelblut, Like DeVos, Gets Appointment as Chief School Officer Despite Inexperience, Potential Conflicts of Interest
- Trump’s Spending Cuts Would Create the Black America He’s Been Talking About
- Montgomery County Superintendent Does the Right Thing in Handling Alleged Rape by Immigrant Students… Fox News Doesn’t
- School Choice in Iowa, a Preview of Other States, Hitting Some Bumps
- Pittsburgh PA Schools Debate Indicates Police are a “Given”, Guns are a “Variable”
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