Around Colorado: 2/8/09

Hillman on TABOR

Mark Hillman writes, “In Colorado’s current budget crunch, leading Democratic lawmakers wouldn’t dream of admitting that they should have socked away a little money when the economy was growing or that they should have been more conservative in adopting this year’s budget. Now, it’s time to blame the state constitution — namely, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.”

This may become a huge fight over the next year or two. Again.

Corporate Welfare

Sean Paige points out something that should be obvious: corporate welfare is inherently politicized.

Tax Obscenity

“The nonpartisan Tax Foundation estimated the cost of tax-code compliance last year at $300 billion. Meanwhile, the IRS reports individuals and businesses spend roughly 7.6 billion hours a year tracking receipts, accounting for expenses and performing all the other exercises that are necessary to file accurate tax returns.”

Such figures may not seem so high given the recent spate of profligate federal spending, but it still amounts to around a thousand dollars for every person. The cost may be somewhat inflated because, absent an income tax, people might still do much of the same tracking for other reasons, but still. Our political leaders seem hell-bent on driving our economy into the ground.

‘Stimulus’ Summary

Charles Krauthammer succinctly summarizes the so-called “stimulus” package: “[S]o much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple.”

Kopel Versus Amateur Media

Dave Kopel points out that professional journalists tend to write better stories than amateurs. Hardly a surprise. But his example doesn’t do justice to his case: he discusses coverage of a hockey game. Nobody will care who won a hockey game five or fifty years from now. I don’t care if all sports and entertainment “news” is written by amateurs.

But real news is very difficult to gather. Covering the state legislature, for example, is a full-time job, and a difficult one to do right. Of course, ambitious amateurs can and do produce good material, but they are necessarily limited by time constraints. The huge problem is that paid journalists often produce amateurish content.

Take, for instance, an article by Bernie Morson for the Rocky Mountain News. It is essentially cheer-leading for environmentalist causes.

Morson writes, “At the legislature, HB 1126 by Rep. Dickie Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, and HB 1149 by Rep. Michael Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, encourage solar energy.” “Encourages?” As in, the bills state, “Resolved: The legislature would really like to encourage people to think about using solar energy”? I somehow doubt it.

Maybe if newspapers produced professional content more often, more people would read them.