(Centennial Fellow) In the aftermath of every Republican Presidential defeat in the last half century the Democrats aided and abetted by the “mainstream” media have declared the GOP to be dead, on the “wrong side of history’’ and about to disappear like the Whigs.
The template for this tactic was set following Lyndon Johnson’s thrashing of Barry Goldwater in 1964. Amazingly the Democrats showed no inclination to abandon this tactic even after losing five of the next six Presidential elections- four of them by landslides.
Even their worst defeats never called into question the sublime virtues of the Progressive Agenda to which they have been devoted since the days of Woodrow Wilson. Instead they blamed their losses on Republican “dirty tricks”, stupid voters, unworthy candidates or campaign misstep.
To understand the persistence of this ideological conviction one must view the Democratic Party in its’ historic context. Going all the way back to the party’s founder Thomas Jefferson who saw much to admire in the French Revolution there has been an element in the Democratic party that has had an enduring fascination with European Leftism.
Philosophically this belief system espoused the vague but attractive principles of “equality” and “social justice”. In practice these principles disguised an unchanging commitment to State Planning (Big Government) and Income redistribution (“Fairness”).
In this Socialist/Progressive world view the enemy is invariably Capitalism in general and the “Rich” in particular.
In the campaign of 2012 the doctrine of Big Government/Income Redistribution found an advocate of remarkable skill in Barack Obama who inveighed endlessly against “millionaires and billionaires”, and promised to aggressively tax and regulate the “fat cats” and “greed-mongers” of Wall Street.
As we know by a margin of 51% to 48% this campaign of unalloyed Class Warfare- the Politics of Envy- succeeded.
Despite the relative closeness of the election the Democrats are acting as if they have a clear mandate to aggressively implement the above noted Progressive Agenda.
In the Democratic view the only obstacles to these plans are a badly outdated Constitution and the appalling unwisdom of American voters in granting Republicans continuing control of the U.S. House of Representatives and a majority of state governments.
The Democrats however believe that these obstacles can be overcome if they persuade a significant number of Republicans that the only way the GOP can get on the “Right Side of History”, and avoid the fate of the Whigs is to start acting (and voting) like Democrats.
With mock solicitousness Democrats and their media echo chamber urge Republicans to yield to “historical inevitability” and start supporting Amnesty, Gay Marriage, more taxes, more regulation, and less freedom because it’s the “right thing to do”.
In return for this betrayal of their principles Republicans can hope to someday “rise from the dead” as a political party, and maybe- just maybe- win a County Council election or two, somewhere down the road.
What all this amounts to is as follows: Having thoroughly “Europeanized” themselves over the last half century, Democrats are urging Republicans to do the very same thing.
The bottom line- should this happen- is that the United States would continue to have a two party system, however, both parties would be Liberal, just like our European role models.
It is more than ironic that Republicans and by implication our whole country are being pushed leftward toward the Socialist Welfare State at precisely the moment we are seeing that model beginning to crumble in Europe.
The crisis of the European Union derives from long standing inherent contradictions best summed up by the famous dictum of Margaret Thatcher: “The Problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”.
The looming economic catastrophe in Europe is simply a more advanced case of the same disease that is already metastasizing in the United States where the exponential growth of ballooning debt and deficits is on track to wreck the world’s greatest economy and destroy the American Dream in the process.
This stark object lesson unfolding before our eyes both here and in Europe should be more than sufficient to deter any Republican even toying with the idea that the Democratic Agenda is the way to go.
So, if becoming Democrat-Lite is a non-starter for Republicans, what is the better road for the GOP going forward?
First, Republicans must recognize that they have more control over the “Fiscal Cliff” than they realize. Without delay Speaker John Boehner should give the following speech.
“As it is now clear to all that President Obama and the Democrats have zero interest in real compromise or negotiation, the House of Representatives must do all in its power to avert economic catastrophe for the American people.
Up until now we had hoped for a ‘Grand Bargain’ that served all Americans. In Good Faith we even offered to discuss the issue of revenues though only in the context of reforming the Tax Code which all serious parties agree needs to be done. We hoped that before the end of this session a beginning could have been made. The only response to these hopes has been endless demagoguery by Democrats. All our efforts have been rebuffed.
The Senate has passed a bill that makes permanent the Bush Tax Cuts for the Middle Class- 98% of the population.
Until now Republicans had sought to preserve the Bush Tax Cuts for all Americans including our small businesses who must be a principal driver of any real economic recovery.
It is now clear however that as recent remarks by Senator Murray, Governor Dean and others illustrate, the Democrats want to raise everybody’s taxes. As Governor Dean very candidly put it: “Raising taxes on the wealthiest 2 % won’t give us anywhere near the revenue we need. We must raise everyone’s taxes, including the Middle Class”.
Thus we see the Democrat’s pose as defenders of the Middle Class as a sham and a deceit. They want Middle Class Taxes to go up, but only if Republicans alone get the blame.
The House of Representatives is refusing to accommodate them. This day we have passed the Senate bill making the Bush Tax Cuts for the Middle Class permanent without any changes.
We now call upon President Obama to do what he has repeatedly promised: Sign the Bill into Law on the very day it achieves final passage.
Doing so will give tax stability and predictability to the vast majority of the American people, and will be an enormous boon to the American economy.
At the same time we sadly note and decry President Obama’s unswerving determination to wage class warfare. Tax rates on the upper 2% of earners will rise on January 1st not because it is just but because such result is the ideological “pound of flesh” that he demands.
The severe damage that will be done to our economy will not fall upon the “billionaires and millionaires” the President endlessly decries, but instead will devastate the small businesses that are the principal job creators in America.
So the end result will be less revenue for the Treasury and fewer jobs for the American people.
Also this day the House of Representatives has passed an appropriation that fully restores the Sequestration of Funds for the Department of Defense.
Every dollar of this appropriation has been paid for by spending cuts enumerated in the bill.
We do this to avoid what Defense Secretary Panetta rightly called a “catastrophe” and a ”hollowing out of the U.S. military” that would dramatically increase the vulnerability of our people from the many threats posed by this dangerous world.
We call upon President Obama and the Democratic party to step away from the “War on the Military” and instead support this bill which is essential not just for our brave men and women now serving in Harm’s Way but also for the continuation of the United States’ indispensable role as World Leader.
My Fellow Americans, today we in the House have done what we can and what we must. So much more needs to be done, but we cannot do it alone.
Finally, let me thank you for the chorus of support we have heard from across our great country. It is you who are the vital foundation of the work we do this and every day in the People’s House.
God Bless You and God Bless America”.
If Speaker Boehner were to do and say the above the following things would be achieved:
1. GOP would have saved the Middle Class- the 98 %
2. Obama would lose his most devastating one liner: “Republicans are holding the Middle Class Hostage to save their billionaire and
Millionaire friends “
3. GOP would disassociate itself from Tax Increases on Anybody thus uniting the House Caucus
4. Democrats would be deprived of the trillions in future revenues that they have been lusting for.
5. Obama and Reid would bear the burden of the Defense Sequester.
6. The largest single element in the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ – Middle Class Tax Increases- would be averted.
7. 7. The pernicious extension of unemployment benefits- The Democrats' hoped for road to a permanent dole- would be avoided.
8. Advantage in any future negotiations would shift from Obama to GOP
Someone have a better Idea? Time is Running Out.
William Moloney is a Centennial Institute Fellow and former Colorado Education Commissioner. His columns have appeared in the Wall St. Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post and Human Events.
(Centennial Fellow) In the course of perusing the “fiscal cliff” rhetoric dominating the political world recently, I came across a story about deliberations over the Times magazine “Person of the Year.” While meditating on the issues surrounding the fiscal cliff, it occurred to me the perfect nominee for the Times cover is Julia — the haplessly dependent animation the Barack Obama campaign used to show the joys of cradle to grave handouts. Sure, Sandra Fluke does a mean real-life impression, but I doubt her actual impact.
I’ll get back to that. First, the fiscal cliff. The American economy faces a
lose-lose proposition. Absent some kind of deal between President Obama, Senate Democrats and House Republicans, tax rates will rise across the board, including those for the middle class, and send the economy back into recession.
Well, we don’t want that. So what is option B? Unfortunately, the only option seems to be Obama’s vengeance tax on the wealthiest. Oh dear.
One thing that’s curiously absent from any of the current bedlam surrounding the “fiscal cliff” negotiations is any proposal to actually deal with the provenance of this theatrical mess — debt and spending. Neither of these options address the problem, let alone repair the beleaguered economy.
Democrats remain intoxicated with “tax the rich” hysteria fueled in part by their election victory. Their blood lust for a tactical victory in the Great Class War has blinded them to much else. So we are left with a Democratic president and Senate whipped into a frenzy to punish the rich with tax increases and a largely ignored spending crisis.
It’s unlikely a deal will be hammered out that isn’t economically harmful, let alone beneficent. As conventional wisdom suggests, Democrats have little to lose.
If we do plunge off the cliff, they can blame Republican intransigence. If a deal is struck, they get their tax increases — nothing else is on the table — and still blame the resulting economic disaster on whatever token concessions they might have thrown to “ideological” Republicans.
Still, lurking in the background as the Dems raise celebratory glasses will be the persisting situation of stagnant growth, ballooning debt and unsustainable spending — problems freshly compounded with higher taxes.
So what are Republicans to do? Holding firm and insisting on real solutions will send the economy over the cliff — and they will be blamed for it. Caving in to White House demands for tax hikes makes them responsible for the outcomes of such irresponsible policies and lends credence to complaints of Republicans being no better than Democrats.
Well, it might not be quite as bleak as that. Yes, it’s stinging after the election, but the GOP has more leverage than conventional wisdom would suggest.
First, President Obama no longer has another election to worry about, but a legacy – one he has no desire to see tarnished by renewed recession.
Second, even if the Republicans take the brunt of the blame for cliff-induced consequences, Democrats won’t be immune. They are, after all, the party in power. Continued or worsening economic malaise will offer the GOP the chance to demonstrate they were right all along.
The Republicans, as I eluded to in my previous column, need to present an alternative, a real solution — pro growth tax reform that doesn’t raise anyone’s taxes; cuts to federal spending based on an analysis of what the federal government is really for; and meaningful, even revolutionary, entitlement reform — a conservative program that can position the GOP as a reasonable and wise alternative to the status quo … if the GOP is adroit enough to make the case. That’s a big “if.” In any event, it’s the Republicans’ best, perhaps only, play in addition to being proper policy.
Yet, I remain pessimistic an economically acceptable deal can be reached. What’s ultimately driving the U.S. off this coming cliff is an electorate comprised of real-life “Julia’s.” Obama appealed to Julia. Julia voted en masse for Obama. Obama will either steer us off the cliff or into the mountain. And Julia is who the GOP needs to speak to after her taxes and costs rise in inverse proportion to her economic prospects.
Julia, therefore, receives my nomination for most influential person of the year — for better or, I fear, worse.
Thursday, 27 September 2012 03:18 by Admin
It's something new and notable in Colorado politics: An unapologetic liberal and an unwavering conservative agreeing in spite of themselves that tax increases for metro-Denver municipalities and school districts on the November ballot are an overreach.
In the September round of Head On mini-debates for Colorado Public Television, sponsored by Centennial Institute, Susan Barnes-Gelt, a Democrat and former Denver city councilwoman, takes the lead in calling for a "no" vote on these measures and John Andrews, a Republican and former Senate President, seconds her motion. Here is the script:
DENVER and CENTENNIAL SEEK TO DE-BRUCE
Susan: Denverites should vote NO on 2A. The measure promises to repave streets, add police training classes, expand library and recreation center hours and eliminate furlough days for city employees. Truth is, it’s a substantial tax hike with no guarantees – just unenforceable promises.
John: Government always wants more. It never has enough. Politicians always believe they can spend our money better than we can. I too would oppose Denver’s tax hike, if I were an urban guy. I am opposing Centennial’s tax hike as a suburban guy. Our little city wasn’t created to be a revenue hog.
Susan: Denver voters have a choice. Approve a blank check that never expires for higher taxes, or send Mayor Hancock back to the drawing board to craft a balanced initiative with a mix of reduced expenses and tax increases. 2A is bad for jobs, small business and homeowners. Vote NO.
John: The first word in Tea Party stands for “taxed enough already,” and I’m delighted to hear you of all people urging Denverites to vote that way on school construction and the Hancock proposal. If Coloradans look at the huge tax increase Obama plans for Jan. 1, they will vote him out too.
PUBLIC SCHOOL TAX INCREASES
Susan: Several school districts are on November’s ballot with tax increases for K-12 education, including Denver. DPS wants more than a half a billion for new schools, renovation and updating of existing schools and increased operating funds. It’s a tough time to ask for the biggest tax increase in history.
John: I’m voting no on Cherry Creek school taxes. And I agree with your no vote in Denver. Taxpayers in Jeffco, Aurora, and all 29 Colorado districts where a total of $1 billion is being requested should join us. The answer for better education is more choice, not more money.
Susan: Regarding DPS, I’m undecided. Should Denver build new schools when existing ones are way under capacity. Should the District go to a 12-month school year to support student achievement? Yes – I support 3B – increased operating funds. I’d like to see more reform before we build more schools.
John: A lot more reform. Something is happening when I as a conservative Republican and you as a liberal Democrat begin agreeing that taxpayers forever digging deeper while teacher unions keep making excuses is no longer a viable strategy for helping kids learn. For devastating proof, see the new movie “Won’t Back Down.”
When Gov. John Hickenlooper announced that the state will appeal a Denver court’s ruling that the state inadequately funds education, he acknowledged what Judge Sheila Rappaport — and previously the Colorado Supreme Court — would not: money is a finite resource, even when it’s spent on worthy causes and when it’s spent by government.
The state legislature allocates $4.3 billion to educate more than 800,000 students — just under $6,500 each — in K-12 public schools. According to the Colorado Department of Education, other sources bring that total to a statewide average of nearly $13,000, as of 2009-10.
Over two years ago, the supreme court ruled, in a contentious 4-3 decision, that a lower court should entertain claims brought by a group of parents and school districts that the state constitution’s call for a “thorough and uniform” system of free public schools should be interpreted to require a specific funding amount.
That lawsuit, Lobato vs. Colorado, reverted back to Rappaport’s courtroom, albeit with instructions that “the trial court must give substantial deference to the legislature’s fiscal and policy judgments.”
Rappaport’s decision, however, offered no such deference. Her ruling reads like a brief for the plaintiffs — not like a judgment that gives even a modicum of respect to the legislature’s constitutional authority to fund public schools or, more broadly, to adopt a state budget.
She condescendingly dismissed the state’s arguments, while fawning over various creative claims and tendentious documents provided by the Lobato plaintiffs, leading to these incredible conclusions:
* “[T]he entire system of public school finance . . . is not rationally related to the mandate of the Education Clause.”
* “There is not one school district that is sufficiently funded.”
* “Current economic conditions . . . have made an unworkable situation unconscionable. But Colorado’s history of irrational and inadequate school funding goes back over two decades.”
If irrationality is a disqualifier, then Rappaport’s decision is on thin ice.
For example, she consults the dictionary to accurately define “rational,” “irrational” and “relationship” because the Supreme Court used those terms in remanding the case. She does not, however, provide that same level of analysis to ascertain what Colorado’s founders intended when wrote, “[T]he general assembly shall . . . provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state . . .” (emphasis added).
Because “thorough” and “uniform” appear in the state constitution — unlike “rational,” “irrational” and “relationship” — a judge seeking to objectively apply the law might want to know if those terms dictate a necessary and quantifiable level of spending.
Of course, they do not. An earlier supreme court said, “We are unable to find any historical background to glean guidance regarding the intention of the framers.”
Rappaport adopts the Lobato plaintiffs’ argument that, because lawmakers have implemented a means of measuring schools’ and students’ performance against quantifiable expectations, the state is obligated to radically increase funding, perhaps to nearly double current levels.
Her ruling rests on the plaintiffs’ creative assertion that a specific funding mandate is created by the convergence of standards and assessments, the constitution’s “thorough and uniform” clause, and the constitutional stipulation that local school boards control instruction.
She never mentions “emanations and penumbras,” but clearly Judge Rappaport, like judicial activists before her, is blessed with a rare talent entrusted to only a select cadre of law school graduates — the ability to interpret words that aren’t there.
In a final flurry of irrationality, Rappaport strikes down the state’s school finance law and orders a new system of funding, but she concludes the order by allowing this “inadequate,” “irrational,” “unconscionable” finance system to continue, pending further action by the Supreme Court.
In announcing the state’s appeal, Gov. Hickenlooper observed: “There are more appropriate venues (than a courtroom) for a vigorous and informed public debate about the state’s spending priorities.”
Yes, and, more rational, too.
Mark Hillman served as Colorado treasurer and senate majority leader. He is now a Centennial Institute Fellow and Colorado's Republican National Committeeman. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.
(CCU Faculty) President Obama’s proposal to increase taxes by 1.5 trillion over the next 10 years in the name of “fairness” is merely a smokescreen for increasing revenue to temporarily maintain what is ultimately unsustainable government spending. As many conservatives have stated: “we don’t have a revenue problem; it’s a spending crisis.” A massive tax increase is not the solution to this problem.
President Obama is of the opinion that if he can just get some more money from America’s rich people, he can continue to spend at the record pace he directed from the beginning of his administration. He is also of the opinion that the government has greater wisdom when it comes to people’s money, greater than the very people who earned it. He is convinced that if government directs the economy, it will lead to a reduction in American unemployment. There are three major problems with Obama’s view of economics and his plan to reduce the deficit:
First, even if he could obtain all of the capital of America’s wealthy people, it would only temporarily suspend our deficit spending. Andrew Stiles at National Review Online summarizes the limited impact that even a 100% tax on our nation’s millionaires or even a complete confiscation of the wealth of nation’s 400 wealthiest citizens would have:
(1) The federal government will spend about $3.6 trillion this year (a rate of $300 billion per month), running an annual deficit of about $1.3 trillion. So, even if the IRS decided to confiscate every cent earned by millionaires in a given year, it would amount to less than half of the new debt we are taking on each year, and would barely be enough to fund the government for two months.
(2) According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest individuals in U.S. are worth a combined $1.37 trillion. Confiscating all their wealth (not just annual earnings) would buy us another 4.5 months.
So even a tax scheme exaggerated beyond the levels proposed by President Obama and an even more unrealistic confiscation of wealth would do no more than keep us going at current spending levels for a few months!
Second, President Obama continues to argue that our wealthiest citizens aren’t paying their “fair share.” Fairness is a subjective standard. Nevertheless, when you consider that between 47% and 51% of Americans are paying ZERO in federal income tax (depending on which measurement is being used), that the top 1% of earners pay 38% of all federal income taxes, and that the top 10% of earners pay 70%, there may indeed be a fairness issue, but is probably that the rich are paying too much as a percentage of total revenues.
Finally, the issue must come back to who knows what best to do with money earned. I doubt that Warren Buffet has always felt that he was taxed too little. While he was an ambitious young businessman, seeking to turn small investments into large gains, Buffet, like most businessmen, must have known that with every dollar he possessed, there was an opportunity to make more. And in the process of turning his thousands of dollars in investment into billions, he would be making possible new businesses: businesses that hired one, ten, one hundred or perhaps thousands of new employees.
With each of these employees having new spending power that would have generated new economic activity. And in some cases moving people off of government assistance; and, yes, creating new taxpayers. Warren Buffet used to know that this is the key to growing an economy, reducing unemployment, and creating new wealth. Unfortunately his sidekick, President Obama, never did. Combined, the two are a danger to American prosperity.
We don’t need new taxes and new government spending. We need businessmen like the old Warren Buffett to use their talents and their entrepreneurial energy to grow the economy, in an environment with will minimal government interference.
('76 Editor) Listening to Ken Buck, the Weld County DA and 2010 GOP Senate nominee, make the case at CCU yesterday for a constitutional stopper on deficit spending, I kept thinking of the Tytler Thesis. Whether not the authorship of this famous warning is accurately cited, its ring of truth is convincing and - amidst our present circumstances - chilling.
What is the warning? About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tytler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, is supposed to have made these trenchant observations about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. from bondage to spiritual faith;2. from spiritual faith to great courage;3. from courage to liberty;4. from liberty to abundance;5. from abundance to complacency;6 from complacency to apathy;7. from apathy to dependence;8. From dependence back into bondage.
Where do you think America is today, on that ladder from the top to the bottom and back?
Ken Buck spoke yesterday at a Centennial Institute forum on the federal-level Balanced Budget Amendment. While Congress debates raising the debt limit yet again, the long-term strength of our economy becomes ever more threatened.
Permitting more debt won't bolster our economy. Only massive spending cuts can re-establish a strong basis for fiscal stability and economic growth. Substantial cost-cutting can be achieved by not funding desirable but non-essential programs: some aspects of entitlement programs and Obamacare, some government payrolls, much foreign aid and UN funding, support for multi-language programs. Purchasing and labor contracts could be canceled or re-negotiated.
If we taxpayers run into debt, we can't instruct our bank simply to raise our debt limit. Instead, we must find ways to cut our spending. It is time for the federal government to face reality. We need the federal-level Balanced Budget Amendment.
To: Justice Anthony Kennedy **From: Coloradans for Benevolent Despotism **Re: Enough with the Uppity Teabaggers **
(Denver Post, May 29) Tony, can we use first names? You have your dignity to think of, U.S. Supreme Court and all that – but we have a spending racket to sustain, so here goes. Let’s drop the formalities and lay it out candidly. Barring a Wikileak, this won’t be in the papers anyway.
It was a banner week in Colorado for all of us who know what’s good for the public better than the public themselves. With the filing of Herb Fenster’s federal lawsuit to declare the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights unconstitutional, we may see the end of 20 long years of politicians having to ask citizens for permission to tax them. The galling indignity of it all! As a fellow member of the enlightened elite, Mr. Justice, you’ll sympathize.
TABOR, as the tax limit added to our state constitution by voters in 1992 is called, is alleged by wild right-wingers like House Majority Leader Amy Stephens to have protected Colorado from unchecked spending and California-style deficits. Is she delusional? TABOR’s “bad consequences for economic development and education” are notorious, as true Republicans like former Sen. Norma Anderson can attest.
But we both know money isn’t the real issue here. The issue is position and power. Who knows best? Who are today’s philosopher kings? As a judge, you see one every time you look in the mirror. We 34 plaintiffs in the Fenster suit sense in ourselves the same superiority. Why else would the common folk have elected us to state, county, and local offices, school boards, RTD? Born to rule, all of us – weren’t we, Tony?
Never mind if the district court and the appeals court laugh at our looney legal theory that Article IV, Section 4, “guarantee(ing) to every state in this union a republican form of government,” disallows the taxpayer a chance to vote on how much of his hard-earned money the government can take. Eventually it will come before the Supremes. When it does, since you’re the swing vote out of nine, please do the right thing.
Save us from the voters. Please. Deliver us, rescue us, spare us, Mr. Justice, from a miseducated (with too few teachers, overworked, underpaid), misinformed (with too little public broadcasting), stingy, stubborn, selfish, skeptical, bigoted, unwashed, unruly, SUV-driving, Fox-watching, gun-loving, greedy, grasping, holy-rolling, hard-hearted, ditto-headed citizenry who don’t understand that everything belongs to us – except what little we let them keep.
The reason our anointed guild of educators and legislators, incumbents and used-to-be’s, frank Dems and faux GOP, formed Coloradans for Benevolent Despotism is that it has gone really sour between us and the electorate. They no longer do our bidding. Arnold and Maria aren’t more estranged than we and those uppity teabaggers.
We’re not quite saying one man, one vote, one time – the way Mubarak did things – but honestly we’re sick of the sheep having so much control over their own shearing. “One man, one vote, pony up, and shut up for two years,” would suit us fine. Hence Fenster, unsupported though he is by the Founders or case law.
So we’re counting on you, Antoine old buddy. Understand? The high court can be our Seal Team Six in black robes – except we only need five to win. Yourself plus Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor (“wise Latina” is just another way of saying philosopher queen, after all) will stop all this excessive democracy. No more voting on taxes, California here we come, party on, woo hoo!
Saturday, 28 May 2011 10:36 by Admin
An in-depth analysis by a nationally known economist shows that a tax increase proposed by State Sen. Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) that is aiming for the 2011 ballot would reduce 119,000 jobs over the five years the higher rates on sales and income taxes are to be in effect.
The study was conducted by Dr. Eric Fruits of Economics International for the Common Sense Policy Roundtable to measure the likely effects of possible ballot initiatives on the Colorado economy. The study examines the effect of the prospective tax increases on job growth in the state as well as the migration of taxpayers and their income.
As shown in the table below, the tax increases under Sen. Heath’s proposal would have a negative impact on employment in Colorado and slow the state’s recovery from the recent recession. The study indicates that Sen. Heath’s proposal would reduce employment by 5,500 in the first full year, and that the reduction in growth rates over time will reduce employment by 30,500 by 2017, with a cumulative impact of 119,700 fewer working Coloradans.
IMPACT OF HEATH MEASURES ON COLORADO EMPLOYMENT
Year Reduction in Employment Cumulative Reduction in Employment
1st: 2012 5,500 5,5002nd: 2013 14,300 19,8003rd: 2014 19,300 39,1004th: 2015 23,200 62,3005th: 2016 26,900 89,2006th: 2017 30,500 119,700
In addition to the harmful impact on employment, the study also shows that Sen. Heath’s proposal would substantially slow the migration of taxpayers to Colorado by 3,610 a year.
“Our study concludes that Sen. Heath’s initiative will be a step backward for Colorado’s economic recovery. While Sen. Heath touts his initiative as a way to make up for cuts in education spending, the fact of the matter is, nobody can guarantee that the new revenue will go to education”, said CSPR Spokesman Dustin Zvonek.
“Appropriation of General Fund revenue is determined by the legislature, and with the composition of the legislature changing every two years nobody can guarantee what Sen. Heath is promising”, added Zvonek.
To view the full study, go to www.commonsensepolicyroundtable.com
Common Sense Policy Roundtable is a non-profit free-enterprise think tank dedicated to the protection and promotion of Colorado’s economy. CSPR actively follows tax- and budget-related legislation and initiatives. To learn more visit www.commonsensepolicyroundtable.com or call Dustin Zvonek at 303.518.1663
(Centennial Fellow) Because those doggone Coloradans just won’t vote to increase taxes often enough, a cadre of folks who just can’t bear to see state government spend less is asking a federal judge to do something voters won’t – to strike down voters’ constitutional right to approve tax increases.
Led by Democrat State Rep. Andy Kerr, plaintiffs contend that the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) in the Colorado constitution violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee that all states have a “republican form of government.”
Don’t think that the plaintiffs have become orthodox disciples of James Madison. They’re just sick and tired of state government being forced to tighten its belt during a recessionas ordinary Coloradans must do. They’d rather raise our taxes and hope we’ll forgive or forget before the next election.
The complaint claims that it’s permissible for citizens to vote on regular ol’ laws – but not on limiting government’s power to tax or spend.Without the power to tax and spend, the legislature is little more than a debating society, suggests Kerr, who is joined by Democrat legislators Sen. John Morse, Rep. Claire Levy and Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst.
That’s quite a stretch given that the Founding Fathers explicitly placed severe restrictions on the legislative branch that they created (see The Bill of Rights). Congress wasn’t even authorized to collect an income tax until 1913 when the people and the states passed the 16th Amendment.
Even more absurd is the proponents’ one-sided view of what citizens may be allowed vote on. Although they rant against “direct democracy” as an imposition on legislature’s authority to tax and spend, they suspiciously ignore the numerous spending mandates that voters have approved.
For most of the 31 plaintiffs this is not a principled lawsuit –not a testament to the superiority of representative government over direct democracy, but a convenient argument concocted to dismantle the most effective spending limitation in the nation.
• For 101 years, the Colorado constitution has provided voters with the unrestricted right to change state laws, including the constitution.
• For18 years, TABOR has given voters the last word on tax increases and has limited the growth of government spending.
Never before has anyone argued that these provisions somehow run afoul of the federal constitution.
TABOR doesn’t impose a “straightjacket” on the legislature, as plaintiffs claim; it requires that lawmakers must ask the people. But Colorado voters aren’t pushovers. Since TABOR passed in 1992, voters have approved four of 16 measures to increase taxes or modify spending limits.
Referendum C, passed in 2005, has enabled the state to spend an additional $4.5 billion over the past six years and eliminated the perverse incentive to prop up spending in order to preserve maximum spending authority for subsequent years.
Still Democrat lawmakers — with a wink from the state Supreme Court — have routinely skirted TABOR’s limitsby raisingmore than $1 billion from higher property taxes, vehicle registrations, hospital “fees” and assorted other taxes without once asking voters for permission.
The dirty little secret is that TABOR isn’t the problem – unless you want to balance the budget by raising taxes. State spending for 2011-12 is $1.2 billion below the TABOR/Ref C limit.Erase TABOR completely and the state would not have one more dime to spend unless legislators taxed us more.
“Colorado government has a revenue shortfall because Colorado families and businesses have a revenue shortfall,” reminds Senate Republican Leader Mike Kopp, who opposes the lawsuit.
Indeed direct democracy has created its share of problems (e.g., no one is accountable when voters pass initiatives that just don’t work out), and we’d be better served by less of it rather than more.
However, the way to correct course is for lawmakers to re-gain the voters’ trust (as Democrat former Speaker Andrew Romanoff tried to do)and to stop surreptitiously passing taxes and fees.
Asking a federal judge to tell us that certain subjects are too important for us to contemplate will only make voters more cynical.
Mark Hillman served as Colorado senate majority leader and state treasurer. He is now a Centennial Institute Fellow.