Around Colorado: 1/31/09

Stimulating Wildlife

“The massive federal stimulus package would rain dollars on Colorado’s wildlife sanctuaries, shoring up visitor centers, tour routes and wildlife habitat, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Friday.”

Yet if we are attuned to what Henry Hazlitt calls the unseen, we realize that all this money “raining down” is actually diverting resources away from other spending and investments. Expanding such spending with pork-laden projects will offer some people a more enjoyable recreation experience. But “stimulate” the economy it will not do, as it will only take resources away from where they are most desperately needed to turn the economy around.

Moreover, there’s no good reason to force those who don’t use the favored recreational areas to subsidize those who do. Instead, recreational areas should be funded by those who use them.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Colorado journalists thought of their job as something other than to serve as political lap-dogs? Very few seem to. Which may be one reason why they’re making themselves extinct.

Reason on Plastic Bags

Linda Gorman pointed out a Reason article that reveals some of the flaws of plastic-bag bans.

Owens Versus Churchill

And here I thought Bill Owens and Ward Churchill were a couple of has-beens. But Churchill is suing to get his job at CU back, and this has dragged the former governor into court proceedings. Churchill refused to shake hands with Owens, but Owens definitely won the fight, saying, “In retirement, he’s starting to look a lot like Michael Moore… Ward Churchill is a plagiarist and a fraud, and, regrettably, we continue to pay for his deception.”

Rocky Blasts “Stimulus”

Even calling it “simulus” spending is a lie — this pork spending will damage, rather than help, the economy.

The Rocky Mountain News does a good job pointing out some of the basic problems:

The 647-page, $819 billion bill that passed the House – close to what Congress spends to run the government in a normal year – sprawls all over the place, defers major spending to a time when we hope the recession has run its course, greatly expands the federal government’s role in health care, education and energy, and much of the bill is not likely to be temporary.

But the larger problem is simply that the federal government cannot “stimulate” economic growth by forcibly transferring wealth from some to others. It can only fund politically-favored projects at the expense of economically justifiable ones.

Barack Obama Caesar

“President Barack Obama today promised to lower mortgage costs, offer job-creating loans for small businesses, get credit flowing and rein in free-spending executives as he readies a new road map for spending billions from the second installment of the financial rescue plan.”

Oh, I guess I didn’t realize we just elected an economic dictator.

Debating the Bailout

Today the Denver Post published several letters today that included the following comments:

“Cutting spending will cause aggregate demand in our economy to further shrink, and may well put us further down the road to economic collapse. We urgently need to support government spending on domestic projects, such as infrastructure renovation, etc. Spending on domestic projects will create jobs, increase tax revenues, and enable our economy to recover from the current crisis.” — John S. Dixon

But Dixon ignores the obvious fact that federal spending diverts funds from other spending and investment. Rather than flow to highest-priority investments that would create long-term economic prosperity, the funds will go to political pet-projects and special interests. A couple other comments at least point out that “free” federal money is not really free:

“[T]he dollar would be debased and cheapened, and the ways in which the resulting inflation in prices would furtively steal money from the pockets of each one of us, rich or poor.” — Jim Muhm

“…Colorado gets nothing from Washington except what it will need to pay for someday through higher taxes.” — Brian Richter

Meanshile, the Gazette argues, “It appears this bill, while sold as economic stimulus, has been transformed into a massive and perhaps permanent increase in federal spending that includes everything that has been on the wish lists for years.”