Why Taxing Bicycles in Colorado Is a Dumb Idea

Stunningly, some Colorado Democrats have finally found a tax they don’t like. After Republican State Senator Ray Scott suggested he might propose a bicycle tax similar to one Oregon just imposed, Democratic Senator Andy Kerr slammed the idea as an “anti-business, anti-freedom policy,” Colorado Politics reports. If only Colorado Democrats were always so skeptical of taking people’s money.

And yet the case for taxing bicycles seems compelling, at least on the surface. Continue reading “Why Taxing Bicycles in Colorado Is a Dumb Idea”

Jared Polis’s Fantasy that Aspen Runs on 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Let’s talk about a little place called Aassspen. Jared Polis, member of Congress from Boulder and a Democratic candidate for governor of Colorado, touts a “bold goal of 100% renewable energy” in the state by 2040. Surely Colorado can do it, he suggests on his campaign page, given that Colorado’s own Aspen “became the third city in the country to already achieve 100% renewable.”

But Polis’s claim about Aspen is pure fantasy, and, insofar as Aspen does run on renewable energy, various aspects of its power program are unique to the wealthy ski town and cannot be scaled statewide. Continue reading “Jared Polis’s Fantasy that Aspen Runs on 100 Percent Renewable Energy”

Why Vouchers Subsidize Religion

When government helps to finance the operations of a religious organization, it violates the rights of the people whose wealth it forcibly takes for the purpose. Such funding violates not only people’s right to control their resources, but their right to follow their conscience, insofar as they are forced to propagate ideas with which they disagree. I’ve argued these points in a first, second, and third article responding to the Supreme Court’s decision that a playground operated by Trinity Lutheran Church must be considered for government grants available to others.

But when exactly does government funding constitute a subsidy to a given party, when does a subsidy promote a religious purpose, and what are the ethical implications of various government programs, such as tax-funded vouchers that parents can spend at religious schools? Continue reading “Why Vouchers Subsidize Religion”

Conservatives Play the Bigotry Card to Support Tax Funds for Religious Groups

Tax subsidies to religious organizations are not justified just because laws that ban such subsidies arose from anti-Catholic sentiment.

We expect people on the left to argue that government should counter bigotry by forcing private parties to do things they otherwise would not do, such as, in the case of a Christian baker who opposes homosexuality, bake a cake for a gay wedding.

We do not usually expect conservatives to make comparable arguments, but, when it comes to tax funding for religious groups, many conservatives do just that. Continue reading “Conservatives Play the Bigotry Card to Support Tax Funds for Religious Groups”

Cakes, Playgrounds, and Conservative Hypocrisy on Religious Liberty

Many conservatives back freedom for religious business owners but not for taxpayers when it comes to matters of conscience.

Many conservatives are logically inconsistent when it comes to religious liberty, as their positions on two prominent legal cases illustrate. Continue reading “Cakes, Playgrounds, and Conservative Hypocrisy on Religious Liberty”

The Religious Liberty to Spend Other People’s Money

The forgotten person, whose freedom of conscience and right to direct his wealth are ignored, is the one forced to help finance a project a government agency deems best.

Religious organizations have the same right as nonreligious ones to use wealth taken from others by force, according to the Supreme Court and its conservative cheerleaders. Continue reading “The Religious Liberty to Spend Other People’s Money”

The Nonsense Economics of “Climate Action”

The climate apocalypse is coming now that Donald Trump has stepped the United States away from the Paris climate agreement, if we believe some critics. Never mind that compliance was voluntary and that, at least absent tighter controls in the future, the agreement was unlikely to have much effect on global temperature increases by 2100.

The effects of continued industrial emissions of carbon dioxide—and what (if anything) governments should do about it—are important discussions. Unfortunately, those discussions frequently are derailed by nonsense economic claims by some advocates of “climate action” that throttling fossil fuels and subsidizing solar and wind energy somehow deliver an economic boon rather than a painful cost. Continue reading “The Nonsense Economics of “Climate Action””

In Trump Piñata Case, Greeley Tribune Shamefully Blames Victim for Threats

What’s crazy is not that a Colorado teacher let his students smash a piñata with pictures of Donald Trump and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto on it; that was merely foolish. What’s crazy is what happened after that, culminating in a local newspaper blaming the woman who publicly complained about the incident for threats of violence made against her and her daughter. Continue reading “In Trump Piñata Case, Greeley Tribune Shamefully Blames Victim for Threats”

Ongoing Violations of the Rights of Immigrants

Arturo Hernandez Garcia was working peaceably in Denver putting in floors when he was arrested by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Garcia is married with two children—both U.S. citizens—and he has no criminal background. Yet he was forcibly taken from his job and his life and confined, and he now faces the possibility of being forcibly ejected from the country. Garcia is one of thousands of people treated in this manner so far this year.

America’s immigration “policy” in many cases is to send out heavily armed thugs with badges to snatch peaceable people from their homes and jobs and rip apart families. This policy is a moral outrage and a profound violation of people’s rights. Continue reading “Ongoing Violations of the Rights of Immigrants”