Around Colorado: March 5, 2009

Mike McConnell Discusses Food-Stamp Diet

Yesterday (March 4) I appeared on Mike McConnell’s radio show for about a quarter of an hour to discuss my “Low-Carb Food Stamp Diet.” The audio file is available. I argued that the main problem with federal programs like food stamps is that, by forcing people to contribute, such programs sever the link between donors and recipients. (The more fundamental problem is that such programs violate people’s rights, but I left that point in the background for this brief radio appearance.) This ruins the incentive of donors to watch how their dollars are spent as well as the incentive of recipients to use the benefits responsibly and gratefully. The result is hard feelings and an overpriced program rife with problems.

Government Transparency

This should be a cause that everyone can support — everyone but those wasting tax dollars, that is: transparency, or putting all documents related to government spending on the internet, for everyone to see. Following is a March 4 media release from the Colorado House GOP:

Taxpayers scored a victory today when the House Finance Committee gave unanimous support of Rep. B.J. Nikkel’s, R-Loveland, Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act. The act, House Bill 1288, would create an online database to detail how the government is spending the taxpayer’s money.

“The state government is one of the only institutions that will spend your money without telling you what it’s spending it on. This is not the government’s money, it’s your money, and you have every right to know how it’s being used,” said Nikkel.

The legislation is similar to bills that have passed in several states, including Missouri, Kansas and Texas, as well as in the United States Senate. The U.S. Senate version of transparency was sponsored by then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and Sen. Tom Colburn, R-Oklahoma.

“Democrats and Republicans alike understand that this needs to be a law, not just an executive order that can be rescinded at anytime,” added Nikkel.

HB 1288’s next stop will be the House Appropriations Committee.

Forfeiture Update

The Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition sent out an update regarding the nasty asset forfeiture bill. The bill is now scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on March 16 at 1:30 p.m. CCJRC reports, “The bill sponsor, Rep. Rice, has requested a later hearing date because he is working on a substantial amendment to the bill as introduced.” But why amend something that so obviously deserves a stake through the heart?