January 20th, 2016
“I love my country, but I fear my government” once struck me as a bit paranoid. However, recent accounts of citizens who’ve fallen into bureaucrats’ crosshairs is a reminder that “just because I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after me.”
Consider these examples of government run amok:
• Oregan ranchers Steven and Dwight Hammond face five years in a federal prison after two controlled burns drifted past their property boundary and onto federal property. Judges ruled that one fire might have caused $100 in damage to federal land while another “burned about an acre.”
Still, the Hammonds who, even prosecutors admit, “have done wonderful things in their community,” were prosecuted under a federal anti-terorrism law that mandates a five-year minimum sentence. [Read more →]
Tags: Blog · Capitol Review
September 29th, 2015
Some 30 years ago, a common retort by my classmates when told that we could not do something was, “It’s a free country, isn’t it?”
I don’t hear that rhetorical question much these days. Maybe that’s because the answer is changing before our very eyes.
One of my favorite restaurants posts a sign that was once common: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”
Well, if they refuse service to someone who isn’t an able-bodied heterosexual white male, they’d better have a good lawyer and deep pockets defend themselves. [Read more →]
Tags: Blog · Capitol Review
April 17th, 2015
Acknowledging the humanity of an unborn child is always the right thing to do, and it shouldn’t always have to be discussed in the context of abortion. That’s why the recently introduced “Offenses Against Unborn Children Act” is a worthy cause. [Read more →]
Tags: Capitol Review
April 4th, 2015
Coloradans’ eyes understandably pass over reports about legislators working on the annual state budget. After all, the “long bill” – so named because it spans nearly 500 pages – is a necessary but mind-numbing legislative drudgery, salted with indiscernible acronyms, and largely incomprehensible to anyone outside the State Capitol.
To most inside the State Capitol, the budget is a Very Big Deal – a $26 billion big deal. That’s nearly $5,000 for every Colorado resident. And that’s not table scraps!
While normal Coloradans go about living their lives, the spending lobby at the State Capitol is paying very close attention to the state budget. Incidentally, “spending lobby” need not be taken as a pejorative; it simply describes those paid to lobby lawmakers on behalf of agencies, organizations and individuals whose programs are funded with our tax dollars.
Consider some illuminating numbers that chart key developments in Colorado over the past eight years:
• State population has grown by 12 percent. Personal income is up 22 percent.
• Enrollment in K-12 public schools has increased by 10 percent, and general fund money spent on those public schools is also up 10 percent.
• The total state budget has grown by 45 percent, and general fund (which consists primarily of state income and sales tax receipts) spending is up 55 percent.
So, why isn’t school funding generally keeping pace with overall budget growth? Here’s the answer:
In those same eight years, spending on Medicaid and the Department of Health Care Policy and Finance is up 148 percent. Enrollment in Medicaid is up 196 percent. [Read more →]
Tags: Capitol Review
February 15th, 2015
“Our greatest primary task is to put people to work.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933.
Although sometimes considered the father of the American entitlement state, FDR understood that our sense of achievement and self-sufficiency comes from our work.
Forty years later, another Democrat, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan likewise grasped the degrading affect of welfare on those it supposedly benefits: “It cannot too often be stated that the issue of welfare is not what it costs those who provide it, but what it costs those who receive it.”
In the past 50 years, our federal government has made it increasingly easy to collect a check for doing nothing. We are now witnessing the rotting fruits of those policies falling from the tree of good intentions and spoiling our society from within. [Read more →]
Tags: Capitol Review · Notes
January 13th, 2015
Colorado’s economy has shown remarkable resiliency in the wake of the Great Recession.
Unemployment has steadily fallen from a high of 9.6% in 2010 to an estimated 4.1% in November 2014.
Income indicators roared past pre-recession levels and now both wages and salary and per capita income are significantly higher.
In the past five years, taxes and fees paid by Coloradans to their state government have grown by 43% from $8.5 billion to an estimated $12.3 billion in the current year.
And next year, state revenue could surpass the state’s spending limit for the first time in 15 years, triggering a modest rebate to taxpayers of $116 million or 0.4% of next year’s state budget.
But those in the Government Always Needs More Money Choir just can’t stand this prosperity. They are howling that that this modest refund – and perhaps future refunds, if the economy continues to grow – are somehow strangling our state government. [Read more →]
Tags: Capitol Review
July 16th, 2014
Fortune cookies and Mark Udall have more in common than Colorado’s Democrat U.S. Senator might like to admit.
You probably know the juvenile prank of reading the message inside a fortune cookie – like “Now is the time to try something new” – and then adding “. . . in bed” to give it an off-color twist.
Sadly, Udall’s campaign rhetoric is strikingly similar.
The 64-year-old Udall hasn’t had a for-profit job in more than 30 years. But he’s made a political career by telling ordinary Americans that he and his Washington cronies know better than the rest of us about everything from educating our children to the type of vehicle we drive.
Ironically, he says in his campaign commercials that “each of us has the freedom to make our own choices, to live life on our own terms. That you have the right to be an individual.”
If Udall were honest, he would have added “. . . about sex” after each of those clauses because he doesn’t seem to appreciate freedom elsewhere. [Read more →]
July 7th, 2014
Liberty is something you would expect liberals to understand. Instead, the liberal view of liberty is backward, confusing rights with entitlements.
Rights and freedom should be synonymous. Authentic rights can be enjoyed without someone else’s permission and without imposing a burden on someone else’s liberty – including their liberty to use the fruits of their labors however they please.
Liberals also believe that they enjoy the sole prerogative to define which freedoms are truly important – primarily those related to sex and drugs. Other freedoms, they say, are not so important – e.g., the right to self-defense, freedom of religion, the right to own and enjoy your property, freedom of association, educational choice, or freedom to support the candidate or cause of your choice. [Read more →]
June 16th, 2014
It’s been said there are two political parties – The Evil Party and The Stupid Party. Take a few minutes to read the following, and then decide which label fits.
Four years ago, a group backed by Democrat billionaires Tim Gill and Pat Stryker spent $500,000 to help a virtually-unknown candidate, Dan Maes, rise from obscurity to win the Republican primary for governor.
Maes narrowly upset former Congressman Scott McInnis, 50.7% to 49.3%.
So why did Democrats – even very wealthy ones with money to burn – spend a half-million dollars to influence the Republican primary? Obviously, because they thought Maes would be easier for the Democrat candidate to beat.
They were right. [Read more →]
March 4th, 2014