Around Colorado: 2/10/09

Stop Nudging Me

Colorado’s own Dr. Paul Hsieh has an excellent op-ed out with Pajamas Media criticizing Cass Sunstein’s Nudge. As Hsieh makes clear, Sunstein’s “nudge” is euphemism for “Do it or else;” it is a bridge to a full Nanny State and worse:

The basic premise of libertarian paternalism is that the government should use its power to “nudge” people into acting in their best interest, while leaving them the choice to “opt out.” … However, nudging represents an assault on freedom, because it undermines man’s basic tool of survival — his mind. … If Americans surrender their minds to the government, they become easy prey for demagogues and dictators. Once we concede the legitimacy of “nudging,” nudges will inevitably escalate. Over time, libertarian paternalism will become less “libertarian” and more “paternalistic.”

The basic problem is that, ultimately, the people doing the nudging can send in their armed thugs to make sure the “nudge” sticks.

Health Insurance: Relaxing the Grip

One problem with health insurance is that politicians have dramatically raised its cost by imposing all host of controls. At least one Colorado legislator is trying to slightly mitigate those controls. This is from the Colorado House GOP press secretary:

State Rep. Spencer Swalm, R-Centennial, believes that offering a low-cost alternative is an essential first step to ensure that Coloradans have access to affordable health care. Swalm will introduce his measure to allow health insurance companies to offer basic health care plans this afternoon.

“There are too many Coloradans who can’t afford insurance the way it stands,” Swalm said. “We need to make sure everyone has access to quality care and to health insurance.”

House Bill 1143 would provide a low-cost option to Colorado’s uninsured by creating a benefit plan with basic coverage for a low monthly premium. The plan was designed for working class employees who otherwise couldn’t afford health insurance.

Let the Socialism Begin

So the so-called bailout passed the Senate. This is a shameful day for that body, and a tragic day for our nation. It’s also a sad day for the generally sycophantic media.

But there are still some strong and independent voices out there. This morning the Rocky Mountain News editorialized: “The bill threatens even greater damage to the nation’s fiscal health by expanding health-care entitlements. These new obligations would saddle future taxpayers with untold costs, potentially making millions of Americans – even those recently earning six-figure salaries – eligible for taxpayer subsidies.”

Senators Udall and Bennet both voted to pass the monstrosity. That sounds like a challenge to me, friends. But who will rise to meet it?

Legislative Updates

In a letter to the Rocky Mountain News, Peter Gross blasts corporate welfare for tourism. D. Padilla criticizes the proposal to fine plastic bag use.

Max Noel writes to the Denver Post in defense of political spending restrictions.

The legislature blocked an attempt to modestly limit the reach of oil drilling controls. Of course the larger problem is that politicians own practically all the land on which oil is drilled.