Trial lawyer logic: Right to sue more important than jobs

To hear trial lawyers and their anti-business enablers tell it, the only thing that prevents Colorado employers from literally chaining workers to their desks is the “right to sue” their dastardly bosses.  In this fantasy world, trial lawyers never bring frivolous lawsuits and fired employees never file dubious claims motivated but grudges against their former employers.

In fact, listening to testimony recently on Senate Bill 72 (sponsored by Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, and Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder), the uninitiated could be forgiven for wondering — given the obvious virtue presumed by the bills’ supporters — why the sponsors don’t propose a new law that simply accepts employees’ claims at face value, dispenses with the inconvenience of a trial, and orders those heartless employers to immediately deposit funds into plaintiffs’ bank accounts.

Maybe that’s on their agenda for next year. (more…)

Unions, mandates at root of states’ budget stress

The high-stakes battle to determine whether the people will serve government or government will serve the people is unfolding in state capitols.

Wisconsin is the tip of the iceberg.  Though not as fiscally imperiled as California or Illinois, Wisconsin is symbolic — the birthplace of government employee unions, once considered illegitimate even by liberal icons like FDR and the AFL-CIO.

“All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining . . . cannot be transplanted into public service,” Roosevelt said. (more…)

Are we serious about debt? We will soon find out

The next two years will almost certainly determine whether Americans possess the resolve and courage necessary to save our country from fiscal disaster.

If we do not, then the Americans will likely succumb to the European mindset that work is not a source of accomplishment or satisfaction but merely a way to bide time between vacations and weekends while relying on government for health care and retirement.

Most European young people recognize that their opportunity to pursue happiness is lost – squandered by unsustainable entitlements to which their parents and grandparents have become addicted. (more…)

Balancing budget won’t be easy, but must be done

It’s a political reality: talking about how to govern is far easier than actually governing.

Government, after all, is a reflection of the governed and nothing requires individual voters or “the people” in general to act responsibly.  That observation is not an indictment of the electorate but an acknowledgement that voters are never forced to confront tough choices about government spending. (more…)

House GOP sets sights conservatively on spending

During much of the last decade December has greeted legislators with gloomy revenue forecasts that confirm there won’t be enough money to pay for the spending they budgeted in April.  Drastic budget reductions ensue in order to balance the budget in final few months of the fiscal year.

Generally, legislators respond as if trapped in the Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day.  Year-after-year they pass budgets in April based on revenue estimates that they surely know will require severe pruning come December.  (Unlike Congress, the Colorado legislature is constitutionally required to balance its budget.)

This week, House Republicans — back in the majority after six years in the cheap seats — signaled that this practice will change, arguing for a spending target nearly $200 million below the more conservative of two forecasts by government economists. (more…)

What we should expect from Republican majorities

As Republican majorities take the reigns of power both in Congress and in the Colorado House of Representatives, they carry the lofty expectations of their supporters alongside the inconvenient reality that Democrats still control half of the legislative branch plus the executive.

Practically speaking, Republicans can do only so much, but that certainly doesn’t mean they are powerless.  Here’s what a good strategy for the next two years might look like:

First, kill bad bills.  There’s truth in the maxim, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”  Legislation that empowers bureaucrats or creates new opportunities for litigation simply cannot be “fixed,” so kill it. (more…)

Punishing success an article of faith for Left

Give at least this much credit to the liberals “progressives” (LPs) in the Democratic Party:  they don’t let little things like losing 63 seats in Congress discourage them.

For LPs, a Robin Hood tax policy – one that extracts higher taxes from the successful and industrious and spends it on expensive social welfare programs for the slothful and underachieving – is an article of faith that cannot be compromised. (more…)

Phantom damages defy law, common sense

Whether “haggling” at a garage sale or for the best deal on a vehicle, most of us understand the give-and-take that often determines a fair price.

A seller asks a price that is more than he needs to cover costs and a potential buyer responds by offering less than she is actually willing to pay.  If the two parties settle on a price, common sense tells us that price is reasonable – i.e., it meets the seller’s need to cover costs and fits the buyer’s ability and willingness to pay.

A 4-3 majority of the Colorado Supreme Court doesn’t seem to understand that the advertised price and the actual cost are often vastly different.  In Volunteers of America vs. Gardenswartz, the court considered whether someone injured by another’s negligence is entitled to recover the amount originally billed for his medical expenses or the only the amount actually paid to the hospital and doctor. (more…)

Colorado deserves straight-shooting Senator

In this year’s race for U.S. Senate, Colorado voters have a clear choice both in substance and in style.

Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet has backed President Obama 97 percent of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly.

His opponent, Republican Ken Buck, opposes virtually every significant measure passed or pending in the current Congress – massive “stimulus” spending, government-mandated health care, and cap-and-tax energy policy. (more…)