Coloradans deserve health care choice, not mandates

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it." — Mark Twain.

You might say the same goes for health care.  Politicians are constantly tinkering, making promises they can’t deliver, and usually creating a bigger mess than the one they promised to fix.

Ironically, despite the abysmal record of lawmakers and bureaucrats to produce lower prices or create greater choice, the public still clamors for government to "do something."  Perhaps the more logical outcry should be: "undo something." (more…)

Is our compassion consistent or convenient?

Given the special relationship we have with our pets and the tenderness we feel toward animals that rely on us for protection and sustenance, it’s no wonder that so many of us feel disgust and contempt when we read about people who show blatant disregard for animals.

A Denver man accused of twisting the head off a tame duck in the lobby of a St. Paul, Minn., hotel is the most recent grotesque example.  That deadly, drunken trantrum seems mild, however, compared to the pattern of habitual cruelty exhibited by the likes of former football star Michael Vick who train dogs to rip each other apart for profit and amusement then kill them by horrific means when they are no longer useful.

We express our intolerance for such actions — yes, intolerance can be a good thing — through our laws. (more…)

No wonder Americans won’t do those jobs

Much of our country’s simmering dialogue on immigration sooner or later turns to the question of hiring people to perform certain "jobs Americans won’t do."

Rarely, however, do policymakers address why Americans apparently refuse to do certain jobs while immigrants go to great trouble and expense to come here to perform those very jobs.

Many of the jobs now commonly performed by immigrants were once filled either by students or by adults who saw work as noble and idleness as shameful.

Today, our relative prosperity and appetite for instant gratification is becoming our enemy. (more…)

Voters scammed by Ref C ’shuffle’

Two years ago, lawmakers asked voters for a "timeout" from the spending restrictions of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) in order to allow the state budget to rebound from the recession of 2001-2002.

Referendum C, which passed by a narrow 52 to 48 percent margin, erased the TABOR spending limits for five years and permanently increased spending caps thereafter. Voters were promised that K-12 education, colleges and universities, and health care would split the lion’s share of the resources if the measure passed.

Following the 2005 vote Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald said, “‘We already agreed, if Ref D failed, it would be 33 1/3, 33 1/3 and 33 1/3,’ for schools, colleges and health.”

But a funny thing happened after the election. Spending on programs not associated with Ref C has grown more than twice as fast as spending on education and health care. Now, voters have cause to believe they were sold a bill of goods. (more…)

Property: Rights or privileges

Anyone who has grown up on a farm or ranch hears this maxim, "Take care of the land, and the land will take care of you." A farmer or rancher who doesn’t take care of the soil will soon find that the soil won’t produce enough to make ends meet.

But you don’t need to be a farmer or rancher to understand the importance of private property rights. What’s more, property isn’t simply a piece of land or a home. Property is anything you own — your clothes, your car, your business. (more…)

Rights do not burden others

When we consider drastically altering our expectations of government, we risk undermining the principles on which our country was founded and proving Ronald Reagan’s maxim: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

Every expansion of government entitlements masquerading as rights — like a "right to health care" — is a dangerous step along this path, no matter how well-intentioned.

The Founders of our country lived more than two centuries ago in a vastly different era, but they understood that certain principles are timeless, such as the corruptibility of human nature and the danger of unrestrained power. (more…)

Study’s aim for Colorado misses the mark

If you’ve ever been disappointed by a meal at a fancy restaurant or researched a major purchase, you know that a big price tag doesn’t guarantee the best quality.

Careful consumers want the most bang for their buck — not the most bucks for their bang.

Unfortunately, big-government liberals seem to think that spending is the best benchmark to judge state government and that spending more is always better.

Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute’s "Aiming for the Middle" whitepaper concludes that you, Mr. and Mrs. Colorado, are under-taxed to the tune of $3.3 billion a year — maybe more.  That’s $1,030 a year for every man, woman and child in the state. (more…)

Lobbying isn’t the problem; big government is

"When buying and selling are controlled by the legislature, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators." — P.J. O’Rourke.

Money spent on special interest lobbying at the State Capitol jumped 14 percent this year over last, despite measures like the so-called "Ethics in Government" Amendment 41.

Lobbyists’ contracts generated more than $11 million in just the first four months of 2007, according to a recent Denver Post report — the twelfth straight year that lobbying expenditures exceeded the previous year.

But before you fall prey to the common misconception that there’s too much money in government, take a step back. (more…)

Health reform should promote choice, not coerce consumers

If you’re unhappy with health care, you’re obviously not alone.  For most people, the problem isn’t availability.  The problem is cost – cost of treatment, cost of prescriptions, cost of insurance, or cost of paying for the uninsured.

For more than 60 years, government has tinkered with the way we pay for health care.  Unfortunately, when government "solutions" fail, lawmakers rarely admit their mistakes and go back to square one.  Instead, they layer more dubious solutions on top of those that failed until the problem becomes so intractable that far more people suffer from the solution than from the original problem.

Last year, the state legislature created the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on Health Care Reform and charged it with divining a proposal to expand coverage, reduce the number of uninsured and decrease costs.  (After that, curing cancer should be a snap.)

A final recommendation is due this November, but the BRC now appears headed toward a nightmare "solution" consisting of higher taxes, lower wages and fewer choices. (more…)

‘Ordinary Coloradans’ can’t afford this kind of help

The bad economist sees only what immediately strikes the eye; the good economist looks beyond. – Henry Hazlitt.

When Democrats at the State Capitol trumpeted their successes on behalf of "ordinary Coloradans" recently, I couldn’t help but reflect on this key point from Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.

The way top Democrats tell it, we ordinary Coloradans stand to benefit from a flotilla of renewable energy bills, measures to "help small-business combat soaring health insurance costs," legislation to punish "slipshod construction," and more.

These and so many other bills that passed the legislature this year illustrate what happens when politicians get so close to a perceived problem that they don’t see how their "solutions" will obviously harm the rest of us. (more…)