Around Colorado: 2/1/09

Udall Squishes on Bailout

“U.S. Sen. Mark Udall says he’s open to adding more money for infrastructure projects to the Senate version of the stimulus package.”

This is a profound disappointment. When Bush was in office, Udall voted against the bailout. Now apparently he’s voting for it. I guess the difference is that now the special-interests are his special buddies.

We do not need more federal spending. It will not “stimulate” the economy. It will only divert precious resources away from the market spending and investment that would establish a basis for long-term economic recovery.

It is also misleading of the Associated Press article to focus on “infrastructure,” when that is but a small portion of the total package.

Vote “no,” Senator, if you have any principles.

School Drills

The Rocky Mountain News editorializes about a bill to establish expanded school safety drills that one “superintendent was concerned that, considering that many violent incidents in schools are perpetrated by students, the drills would simply alert a would-be assailant of the evacuation zone and lockdown procedures.

This is not a legitimate concern, if the drills are properly conducted. I heard a presentation from Alon Stivi, who described safety drills as involving select adults with communication tools who could change evacuation routes and procedures based on the nature and location of the threat. Any student who knew this would be less likely to try an attack, as it would be far less likely to succeed.

Will on Social Security

George Will points out that Social Security, by inflating the cost of hiring somebody, “suppresses job-creation.” Currently the tax takes in more than is needed for the program, diverting resources to other federal spending, but the burden will soon surpass the tax, meaning that “the true national debt is $56 trillion, not the widely reported $10 trillion.”

As I’ve written, the real answer to Social Security is to slowly phase it out. Everybody currently collecting benefits should continue to collect them. But the pay-out age for new recipients should slowly be increased, say by three or four months every year, until the system is phased out. This would be the least-painful way to reduce the tax burden while giving people time to prepare for retirement.

Absent reform, not only will the costs of hiring employees rise to debilitating levels, but fewer younger workers will want to work and see such a huge portion of their paycheck sucked up by the welfare state.

Health Welfare

The Denver Post reports that the poor economy is stressing not only health welfare but service providers who are forced by the federal government to offer care without compensation.

The federal government seems set to massively fund health welfare this year. Many in the state are already clamoring for higher taxes to fund welfare spending. The left argues that increased “need” justifies more forcible redistribution of wealth. Those who continue to take economic liberty seriously point out that more forcible redistribution of wealth increases claims of need while undermining the ability of producers to meet it.

Post Gets Nervous

When even the Denver Post gets nervous about the proposed federal special-interest spending, we know something’s up.

Bell Muffles Liberty

The Bell Policy Center, absurdly named after the Liberty Bell, promotes the opposite of liberty, political economic controls. Amazingly, the Bell’s Wade Buchanan actually acknowledges that state politicians can cut some programs without causing the sky to fall. However, he wants to maintain health welfare, tax-funded education, corporate welfare (programs to “help stimulate economic and business activity”), and “programs that expand opportunities for kids and working families,” whatever that means.

Wade tweaks the Independence Institute for “dust[ing] off a 4-year-old report” on spending cuts. He does have a point: we need in-depth analysis of this year’s budget. It’s too bad that the news media have failed to provide it.

Sign of the Times

A Colorado legislator wants to send a lobbyist to Washington, D.C. As in, Colorado taxpayers would get to fund a lobbyist so that state politicians could beg for more handouts from federal politicians, again funded with tax dollars.

Or we could decide that we live in America and that this nonsense has gotten quite out of hand.

2 thoughts on “Around Colorado: 2/1/09”

  1. “As I’ve written, the real answer to Social Security is to slowly phase it out.”

    How about this? 1) Eliminate both halves (employer and employee) of the social security tax. 2) Allow, for the next 10 years, for people to voluntarily pay both halves of the social security tax on whatever income level they choose, up to their inflation-adjusted average earned income over their life history (this will allow anyone short of the 40 quarters of coverage to get them). 3) Eliminate all “refundable tax credits”, many of which were passed in part under the theory that they were returning social security taxes. 4) Adjust income taxes and/or (preferably) cut spending to balance the budget.

  2. Ironically, state legislatures had previously been able to see that the state’s interest was advocated in Congress.

    Instead of lobbyists, they sent Senators.

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