Given the difficult, courageous, and ultimately successful legislative battle they just waged, the supporters of Colorado’s landmark teacher tenure reform bill –SB-191- should not be denied a brief moment of celebration over an initiative that is already winning high praise across the nation. Nonetheless in the cold light of morning they must surely be aware that the greatest obstacles to the implementation of this potentially transformational law yet lie ahead. They should also be under no illusions about the skill and tenacity which teacher unions will exhibit in their continuing opposition to SB-191. Similarly they should be aware of the sad fate of other past reform initiatives that began with much fanfare but ended in failure. As with all complex and far-reaching legislation “The Devil is in the Details” for SB-191. As it begins the journey from Governor’s signature to statewide implementation in 2013-14 SB-191 will move from the bright spotlight of media attention and public awareness to the less illuminated precincts of an intricate process of recommendations by the governor’s Council on Educator Effectiveness defining “what is an effective teacher”, review and approval of same by the State Board of Education and the Legislature, and pilot programs in several school districts in 2012-13. At each stage of this process SB-191 will be susceptible to “improvements” and at each stage union influence will be anything but absent. Another major obstacle is the matter of who will pay for this reform. Without question the lure of millions of federal dollars attached to the Race To The Top program (RTTT) was a substantial motivator for cash strapped Colorado to pass SB-191. Visions of the six hundred million dollars divided between Delaware and Tennessee in the first round of funding understandably weighed heavily with legislators completing a season of brutal budget cuts and anticipating even more severe cuts next year. While SB-191 will certainly burnish Colorado’s reform credentials, future RTTT funding is no slam dunk. It should be remembered that a major reason cited by the U.S. Dept. of Education in its’ awards to Delaware and Tennessee was those states had near 100% pledges of support from their local teacher unions.
As the Washington Post pointed out in an article entitled “In Race to the Top, It Helps to Wear the Union Label” several other reform friendly states- including Colorado- were marked down precisely because they lacked such pledges. Very instructive is the recent experience of Florida where the legislature passed a sweeping teacher quality bill which included merit pay and the phasing out of tenure. The President of the Florida Teachers Union (FEA) bluntly warned that the State’s application for round two RTTT dollars was doomed if that bill became law. Soon thereafter Republican Governor Charlie Crist vetoed the bill giving as one of his reasons that he didn’t want to jeopardize Florida’s chances for RTTT funding.
Among those testifying against SB-191 was the President of the National Education Association. In the NEA’s view they may have lost a battle in Colorado, but they know they will get another turn at bat in Washington where political appointees will set the rules, select the reviewers, name winners, and allocate dollars in all future rounds of RTTT funding. In this context one is reminded of the words of the legendary teacher union leader Albert Shanker when his opposition to teacher reform was criticized as “not thinking about the kids.” Said Shanker with brutal candor, “I’ll start worrying about the kids when kids start paying dues to the union.” In the end however those legislators who voted for SB-191, particularly those Democrats who courageously crossed the aisle at considerable risk to themselves, did not do so for the money, or political advantage, or because this was a perfect piece of legislation. Rather they acted because it was a reasonable address to one of the greatest deficiencies plaguing American public education- the lack of effective mechanisms of teacher assessment which strike a decent balance between the rights of educators and the needs of children. In doing so they manifested something we used to call civic virtue. For this they deserve not just our praise, but more importantly our strong support as they seek to shepherd this still fragile initiative forward to successful realization.
Centennial Fellow William Moloney was Colorado Education Commissioner, 1997-2007. His columns have appeared in the Wall St. Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Baltimore Sun.
('76 Editor) A Colorado Springs citizens group working against over-government hosted me for a luncheon talk on April 28. The Limited Government Forum's theme this month was Tax Freedom Day 2010, which falls on April 9 if you exclude the deficit or on a near-record May 17 if borrowing is counted. My comments on "Independence or Dependence: The Choice is Ours" drew upon an upcoming Denver Post column, a warning from Scottish historian Alexander Tytler, and a Rudyard Kipling poem. Those materials are linked here: Andrews at LG Forum 042810.doc (39.00 kb)
(Centennial Fellow) After imposing more than $1 billion a year in tax and fee increases - without once seeking voter approval - liberal Democrats in the Colorado legislature now want voters to permit them to raise taxes without limitation and without ever asking voters again.
Can you say, "Oblivious to irony"?
Colorado's constitutional stipulates that taxes cannot be increased without asking the voters. But voters have an annoying habit of saying "no" to big-spending politicians who think their priorities are more important than those of the voters, so in just the past four years Democrats have:
· Increased vehicle licensing taxes by $40-$50 per vehicle per year, plus substantial penalties, and called them "fees" just so they didn't need to ask for voters' permission.
· Increased assorted taxes on Colorado families and businesses by $50 million last year and another $130 million this year, again without ever seeking voters' permission.
· Increased your property taxes by some $150 million this year alone, again without voter approval, calling that scheme the "Colorado Children's Amendment."
Apparently, liberals are betting that voters have a very short memory because, as you may recall, the 2007 Children's Amendment was touted as a "commitment to pre-school programs, full-day kindergarten and local school districts" and as a plan to prevent the State Education Fund from becoming insolvent, according to a press release from Gov. Bill Ritter.
Now, we're told, schools are on the brink of financial catastrophe and, oh by the way, the State Education Fund is broke anyway.
House Concurrent Resolution 1002 asks voters to exempt K-12 education and higher education - which account for 60 percent of state general fund spending - from all constitutional spending limits and from the requirement that tax increases must be approved by the voters.
Because money is fungible, it would eviscerate the last meaningful taxpayer protection in the state constitution.
To be sure, local school districts have had a couple tough budget years. But so has the State of Colorado and so have taxpaying families and businesses.
Despite numerous attempts to shield education from economic reality, the legislature's bag of tricks finally ran out this year along with taxpayers' money. Since voters adopted Amendment 23 ten years ago, in yet another plan to give schools all the money they need, schools have been exempted from the cuts that confronted the rest of the state budget.
Ten years ago, the state spent an average of $5,168 per pupil. In the recently-approved 2010-11 budget, the average is $7,279 - a cumulative increase of 40 percent.
Last year, even after the legislature rescinded $148 per student, schools still received an average increase of more than $200 per student over the previous year.
Despite two recessions in the last decade, per pupil spending has increased each and every year. That doesn't mean that schools haven't experienced increasing costs for health care, for energy and for funding retirement pensions or that the legislature hasn't cut back in other areas. However, these are conditions that businesses and families must manage as well - and they must do so without the power to tax.
Because it seeks to amend the state constitution, HCR 1002 needs a two-thirds majority in both the Colorado House and Senate. It will almost certainly fall short of that goal. However, proponents could put their proposal on the ballot via petition.
Selling it to voters will be an uphill climb, as proponents of Amendment 59 learned in 2008. That proposal, which sought to repeal parts of TABOR and Amendment 23, was far more even-handed, backed by more than $2 million and opposed by less than $50,000. Nonetheless, voters rejected it 54 to 45 percent.
The prospect that voters, whose trust of government is near an alltime low, would reward the tax hikers with even more power to tax is a longshot.
That liberal Democrats are so tone deaf that they are forging ahead anyway demonstrates their abject isolation from the financial hardships facing ordinary Coloradans.
Editor's Note: The annual Conference on World Affairs, hosted by CU-Boulder each spring since 1949, wrapped up last week with at least one conservative undergrad having a sour taste in her mouth from the liberal intolerance, intellectual bullying, and groupthink she encountered in place of the "civil discourse" CWA is supposed to foster. Erin Flynn filed the following report with one of her professors, Vincent McGuire (who is also a Centennial Fellow).
I've attended three CWA panels over the past two days and at the 2nd and 3rd I got to ask questions. So I'm at the third panel "Progressives Getting Their Groove Back" which I find to be very interesting since I think progressives are ruining America (that's just me though). But to the point, I get to ask the first question, and this is what I say (directed to the proud card-carrying socialist speaker):
"How can you defend and rationalize socialist government when our forefathers fought a bloody war to protect us from government and wrote a great document known as the Constitution of the United States to prevent socialism and progressivism?"
Though my wording was aggressive, my delivery was quite nervous-sounding, since I was in front of a couple hundred people in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. But before I could get any sort of answer, another speaker on that panel says "Wait, just wait a minute, are you some sort of plant? You keep coming to these and asking conservative questions so what's the deal?"
What followed was the panelists, moderator, and crowd ganging up on me. People in the crowd were yelling at me to "sit down" and "shut up" and the panel continued to insult my intelligence while simultaneously cutting me off. The socialist-loving speaker didn't even answer my question (and in his response decided to say that totalitarian governments haven't existed since Stalin fell. Apparently China and Cuba don't count).
I was really upset, but sat through the rest of it and listened to the all of the other questions. As soon as I got back to my computer, I sent Glenn Beck an email but I know that was just a whim. So what should I do, Professor? The CWA program states "it's conversation, where CWA promotes civil discourse, debate, disagreement, depth, discernment, and delight". I can easily disprove all of this alliteration. But I feel like even if I write to the CWA leader or some dean they'll just ignore me because really they don't care about me having any sort of voice, since I'm sure I would disagree with them politically too. All of the panels are recorded, so maybe that's a start.
It's so frustrating, and I'm sick of people hiding by saying they are about something reasonable when they are actually the opposite. Do you know of anyone reasonable I could talk to as a start? Or maybe 9News would care about intolerance on the Boulder campus?
By the way, the panelist who called me a conservative "plant" happens to be a student government officer who is paid in part by MY fees. I will definitely be going to all future panels featuring that individual. Maybe with a video camera too.
The author can be reached at Erin.Flynn@Colorado.EDU
('76 Contributor) As truth seekers we are obliged to review everything, including term limits, with the utmost objectivity. My complaint about term limits is that this reform is far too modest to save us from what ails our society. A point from the book Reinventing Government was spot on, "The New Deal paradigm of government is obsolete." Clinton was president then and made the book famous, but did nothing to build on its few sound points. I approached the authors (Osborne and Gaebler) to ask why he had not articulated what the new paradigm might be. No response.
The Reason Foundation countered the left-leaning book with Revolution at the Roots. In short it said "follow the 10th Amendment" and equally offered more words than vision and failed to articulate a new paradigm. Each side followed with another round of rebuttal books, lots of interesting reading and a few fresh ways to view a few things, but no one really touched further on the need for a new vision ... a new paradigm.
Because a practical new vision has not yet been articulated by either the left or the right, problems fester. Public anger and frustration grow ... and you know what I'm talking about. The welfare state (that obsolete paradigm) labors to irretrievably entrench itself, at the same time global free trade and global tax competition threatens to bankrupt all welfare states. My point is ... we have a lot more substantial things to focus on than term limits at this point. My Reform Party friends in the mid 1990s never gained the understanding, that it was the system that corrupted the people more than the incumbents were fundamentally corrupt. They were incapable of thinking any more deeply than kick the bums out. Writing for the elimination of term limits will bring attention to your name. That may be the only benefit. An activist movement to that effect will fail (particularly with the current mood on the street) ... with the net result of your time and mine being consumed and diverted from items of greater consequence and current relevance. It saddens me as much as it anyone that profound leaders such as Bob Schaffer and John Andrews were victims of term limits. Yet, your title "brain drain" both insults our population and suffers myopic vision. It infers a point that I know Bob would never claim himself, that he is, without contest, the most intelligent of the 700,000 people in his CD. Surely there must be at least a few in 700,000 who can match his intellect and leadership. Your title also degrades their subsequent achievements since leaving office as less important than being in office. At best, such an assertion is debatable and my personal view is with Jefferson's and what they learned in serving helps them to contribute to society in their later endeavors ... making their in-office contributions less substantial than their subsequent contributions to society. We should be on our guard of anyone who views serving in office as an end. Like success and happiness it should be part of the journey. None of us should allow ourselves to fall into the trap of worshiping the golden calf of government or our elected officials. This view is counter to the Declaration ... counter to freedom and liberty.
Dennis Polhill is a senior fellow at the Independence Institute and co-chairman of the Colorado Term Limits Coalition. Editor John Andrews thanks Mr. Polhill for his gracious compliment above, but maintains as always that every glance in the mirror gave Andrews an argument for term limits -- namely his own fallen human nature, not to be trusted with power too confidently or too long.
('76 Contributor) As a political scientist I was trained to go to the root of issues, to trace the origins of events to the distant past and to reflect on the quality of government by reference to types of regimes. Frequent elections, conducted from the highest to the lowest level of government, enables public opinion to express itself, correct previous errors or reward elected officials for competent or incorruptible service.
Though there are times in American politics—like today—when popular uprisings occur that aim to throw out the “bums,” for the most part the American electorate—those who register to vote and actually vote in elections—is satisfied to re-elect incumbents. Over time these same incumbents tend to represent special interests, not the public interest, and they remain in office well past normal retirement age.
That is why many states impose “term limits” on service of public executives. Colorado is an example.
Article V, Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of Colorado states as follows:
Section 3. Terms of senators and representatives. (1) Senators shall be elected for the term of four years and representatives for the term of two years.
(2) In order to broaden the opportunities for public service and to assure that the general assembly is representative of Colorado citizens, no senator shall serve more than two consecutive terms in the senate, and no representative shall serve more than four consecutive terms in the house of representatives. This limitation on the number of terms shall apply to terms of office beginning on or after January 1, 1991. Any person appointed or elected to fill a vacancy in the general assembly and who serves at least onehalf of a term of office shall be considered to have served a term in that office for purposes of this subsection (2). Terms are considered consecutive unless they are at least four years apart.
Though Colorado Term Limits serve the purpose of changing the occupants of important seats in the State Legislature, those same Term Limits also have negative consequences.
Let’s begin with the quality of elected state legislators. Why is it that the Colorado State Legislature is laughingly referred to as “stupid”? A more considerate term might be “unskilled.”
Elected bodies that change membership frequently seldom retain the knowledge of past experience. For example, if your memory was erased every eight years, you would, at best, be described as “unskilled.”
Yorktown University’s Gary Wolfram reports that Republicans in the Term Limited state legislature of Michigan crafted legislation intended to bind the spending practices of Michigan’s Democratic Governor. The legislation was crafted imperfectly and, as a result, the spending power of Michigan’s Governor was increased.
Recently, the Minority Leader of the Colorado State Senate,Josh Penry, announced that he would not seek another term of office. After all, service in the legislature requires enormous sacrifices of time, and with Term Limits, those sacrifices will be for naught in a very short period of time.
With Josh Penry and many other worthy legislators departing public service per the terms of Article V, Section 3 of Colorado’s State Constitution, the state legislature loses their knowledge, commitment and leadership. That’s just those who serve. Term Limits deter ambitious politicians to seek election to the State Senate.
But, something else occurs as well.
When legislative and executive service is Term Limited the state bureaucracy grows in power. Power doesn’t evaporate just because elected politicians leave. It moves to more permanent offices. As the repository of regulations, historical knowledge and practices, non-elected public executives play increasingly important roles in Term Limited states. And the numbers of bureaucrats grow.
I encourage readers to click here to access statistics kept by the U.S. Census Bureau on the number of federal, state, and local government civilian employees and their gross payrolls.
You will find that Term Limited states have more public employees per capita than non-Term Limited states.
In other words, citizens will pay, one way or the other, by Term Limiting or not Term Limiting their elected state officials. States that have Term Limits will grow their professional bureaucracies and those that do not have Term Limits will have incumbents who stay too long in office.
Which is worse?
If you consider that elections are the means by which the will of the people is expressed, the empowerment of non-elected public executives is clearly worse.
I’m concerned, frankly, that Term Limits in Colorado block one avenue through which well intentioned politically active citizens can bring their knowledge and skill to serve the public good.
Remember Rick O’Donnell? He served Governor Owens as head of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. He ran for Congress, lost, and now works for an academic institution in Texas.
Remember Marc Holtzman? He served in Governor Owens' Cabinet. Holtzman ran for Governor, lost, and now works for Barclays Bank in London.
Remember former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff? He was term limited, decided to run for Governor and now is seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate.
The State Legislature of Colorado is not an avenue that the politically ambitious travel. They seek to become top officials with Colorado’s Governors and then run for federal office. This “brain drain” is very real because public service in the State Legislature is Term Limited.
The only way to stop this brain drain is to repeal Article V, Section 3, of the Constitution of the State of Colorado and allow men and women of ability and ambition to serve their fellow citizens as members of the State Legislature for as long as they are re-elected.
Dr. Richard Bishirjian is President of Yorktown University, on whose Yorktown Patriot blog this article first appeard as "Colorado’s ‘Brain Drain’ and Term Limits," March 28, 2010.
(Centennial Fellow) Legislators talk frequently about the Law of Unintended Consequences but rarely seem to recognize when a bill they support will, if passed, inevitably collide with that law.
Such is the case with House Bill 1021, which would require individual insurance policies to cover a normal pregnancy, childbirth, maternity care, pregnancy management and contraception.
At first glance, that sounds like a reasonable idea: women who buy their own health insurance ought to be able to purchase coverage for pregnancy.
Now stand in the shoes of another woman - one who isn't pregnant, or plans not to become pregnant, or is beyond childbearing years, or is unable even to have children: if state law requires all policies to cover pregnancy, then state law requires everyone to pay for pregnancy coverage, whether they want it or not.
Why is it necessary for the state to require women in the latter group to pay for something they don't want, won't use, or cannot afford?
This bill is sponsored by Reps. Jerry Frangas and Beth McCann, both Denver Democrats. Frangas is one of the nicest people in the legislature, and McCann has demonstrated in other cases that she clearly understands the economics of insurance, both for consumers and insurers. Their sponsorship, while undoubtedly well-intended, is nonetheless frustrating.
Two years ago, my wife and I had our first child. We are both self-employed and buy policies through the individual market. We specifically chose not to buy pregnancy coverage, although coverage for "complications of pregnancy" were standard with our Assurant Health policy.
The reason we didn't want to buy coverage for a normal pregnancy is the same reason everyone should have that choice - a normal pregnancy is not an "insurable event." An insurable event is defined as something that occurs without warning, is unlikely to occur, and is unwanted.
Consumers understand this concept well in every situation except health insurance. We buy home insurance to pay for losses due to fire, hail storms, tornadoes or theft - not to pay for repainting the family room or updating the kitchen. We buy auto insurance to pay for accidents, storm damage or vandalism - not to pay for a new set of tires or an oil change.
Over the years, health insurance has moved away from the concept of insurance and become a complicated financing scheme for everything related to health. That's why it's so expensive.
Pregnancy isn't a complete surprise, most of the time, so my wife and I had saved money to pay for it. (Yes, it's costly, but not nearly as expensive as buying a car and people manage to pay for that without "insurance.")
We visited two hospitals to ask about costs if we paid the bills ourselves. When our son was born, he decided to show his posterior first, so a C-section was necessary. We paid for everything associated with a normal delivery, plus our deductible - about $7,500 in total. Our insurance paid some $8,300 for the surgery and extended hospital stay.
Everyone understands that one way to reduce costs is by eliminating the middleman. That's what we did by paying for normal costs of pregnancy ourselves.
HB 1021 would eliminate that choice for everyone by requiring that every procedure related to pregnancy be financed through an insurance company - the very insurance companies for which so many legislators profess profound disdain.
Worse still, the bill encourages cost-shifting and irresponsible behavior by prohibiting insurers from denying coverage for pregnancy as a "pre-existing condition." Translation: a woman can wait until she learns she is pregnant, buy insurance for a few months to cover pregnancy, and then drop the insurance.
Who pays the bill for that? Everyone else who pays their premiums month after month and year after year - including those women who need affordable coverage for serious illnesses and conditions which, unlike pregnancy, are undesirable and unavoidable.
While HB 1021 will likely help the handful of pregnant, uninsured women who can buy their own coverage, it's unintended consequences are costly and destructive for everyone else.
(Denver Post, Mar. 7) “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” mutters a world-weary American to his paramour at the end of a Hemingway novel. The acid dismissal of love typifies suspicion of idealism in any form, a timeless temptation for humankind.
Hemingway gave his story a modern setting but borrowed its title, “The Sun Also Rises,” from Ecclesiastes, a world-weary classic of 2200 years ago. Since the novel’s publication in 1926, Americans have gone on to conquer the Depression, defeat Hitler and Tojo, end segregation and polio, win the Cold War, computerize earth and explore space. Still the stance of cynicism toward nobility and goodness is widely fashionable.
To enter the new wing of the Denver Art Museum, for example, you walk past a huge whiskbroom-and-dustpan sculpture and make your way into a jarring, angular Daniel Liebeskind structure that resembles a glass skyscraper felled by an 8.8 earthquake. Don’t assume you know what beauty is, the objects seem to say. Not so fast with your delight in the human spirit and your pride in our civilization.
After running this gauntlet of the unpretty on a recent afternoon, however, I was more than rewarded by the DAM’s enthralling exhibit of the works of Colorado painter and muralist Allen True, 1881-1955. His heroic depiction of man and nature in the older and newer West may not tell the whole story, but it immortalizes a proud part of it that we should gratefully cherish. You need to see our state’s past through True’s eyes.
Trappers, prospectors, pioneers, cowboys and Indians, builders and aviators come to life under his imagination and brush in a way that celebrates their “men to match my mountains” vision and purpose while escaping Hollywood cliché. And equally striking as the art itself is the self-confidence of an era that could give it a public place of honor all across the city and region, not so very long ago.
“More people, more scars upon the land,” the gate-closing grumble of John Denver in “Rocky Mountain High” (named an official state song in 2007), was not the way Allen True’s generation viewed the human settlement and beautification of this vast territory previously written off as the Great American Desert. A good example is the specimen of his art most familiar to Coloradans, the water saga with True’s murals and Thomas Hornsby Ferril’s verse in our State Capitol rotunda. The theme is people flourishing as modernity advances – rather than the depopulation grimly sought by leftist scolds.
Water project construction: True mural in Colorado Rotunda. "[Let] aqueducts be laid to nourish cities," says the caption by Ferril.
Under the painted, silent gaze of True heroes and heroines, lawmakers not only in our capitol but also in those of Wyoming and Missouri (from which Lewis and Clark, Pike and Fremont started west) make decisions for this new century. You’d like to think the vitality, generosity, and optimism of his art – and of Ferril’s poetry, sure that “beyond the sundown is tomorrow’s wisdom” – would guide them more than the cramped and gloomy green ideology now ascendant.
“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world,” said Shelley. The way we visualize and verbalize our sense of possibilities has more power to limit or liberate us than any government. Sentimentality is no substitute for reason and reality, of course, as Hemingway’s scorn for “pretty” thought reminds us. But there is a realism in the American success story, captured by the painter True and the poet Ferril, superior to the sentimentalism of frightened Gaia-worship. Let’s embrace it.
The West portrayed in old songs, an open range and Front Range with never a discouraging word, mountain majesties near gleaming cities undimmed by tears, may lack practicality. Yet it’s a better ideal to strive for than anything in Al Gore’s lugubrious poetry – and Allen True depicts it gloriously. The True exhibit runs through March 28, not to be missed.
I recently got an email from a university professor in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova. He was my colleague, when I was a visiting Fulbright professor to his country five years ago, and he visited CCU in 1998, debating me publically on whether Vladimir Putin was responsible for the decline in personal freedom in Russia and a threat to the United States. So the other day he wrote me to ask, “How is the current US President viewed in Colorado, specifically knowing your state's political view. You know I was always interested in U.S. politics, elections.” Since my friend is a leading expert in his country on western politics and often serves as an advisor to his government, I felt compelled to respond: Dear Vitalie: America was born in a tax revolt. A European king was trying to squeeze as much money as possible from his subjects to fund his global agenda. Those very settlers had already fled Europe to avoid tyrannical government. Their dream, what we know call “The American Dream” was to create a better life for themselves and their family, to build their own wealth, which would not be siphoned off by a government claiming to represent their interests. When they finally began to organize their own government, they made sure there were certain safeguards built in their explicit written constitution to insure their freedom. They wanted:1) Free Markets, not manipulated by government bureaucrats, who would claim to speak for the masses but actually look out for their own corrupt special interests. In a free market everybody gets a voice. Every time one spends a dollar, it is a vote for more of that product to be produced. They spent that dollar because they felt they got the best product at the most reasonable price. If the government had set that price, it would have been a bureaucrat not the people who affected the economy. As in any command economy, bureaucrats look out for their own interests, which results in a corrupt system where those who know the bureaucrat get the product. When I lived in your country, I was amazed at the level of corruption within the government. Free markets empower the people. Governments subjugate the people. For that reason America’s founders also wanted: 2) Limited Government. If governments made decisions for individuals, those decisions would benefit bureaucrats, not the people. Who knows what is best for you and your family, a government official or you? Who cares most for you and your family, a government official or you? Statist political experiments from both right and left have been tried around the world and have failed. They have only brought massive violence, death and poverty.Most Americans I know prefer the ideas of John Locke and Adam Smith, to those of Karl Marx and Mao Tse-tung. Locke and Smith wanted personal political and economic freedom, and produced untold prosperity. Marx and Mao wanted to control the masses, and brought untold suffering to hundreds of millions. Many here in Colorado with whom I have spoken fear that Obama will not bring the hope many expect, but instead bring another failed experiment in social planning and human deprivation. Respectfully, William Watson