Julie Mallon cordially invites you to attend our 30th anniversary Founders’ Night dinner on Thursday, April 9th! Our keynote this year is comedian, actor, author, magician, and Cato Institute H.L. Mencken Fellow Penn Jillette! To purchase your ticket on the phone, call us at 303-279-6536. If you’d like to purchase them online, visit our webpage here.
Welcome to Jon Caldara
Jon Caldara's official blog! Caldara is the President of the Independence Institute, Colorado's free-market think tank in Denver, Colorado. Caldara also hosts a radio talk show every Sunday, from 5 to 8pm on 630 KHOW. His current affairs television program Devils Advocate, on Colorado Public Television Channel 12, airs on Fridays at 8:30 pm repeated the following Monday at 1:30pm. Be sure to follow Jon on Facebook and Twitter!
Mike Krause intro’s former Littleton mayor Doug Clark’s explanation of why gambling with taxpayer money on real estate is almost always a bad idea in this short 1 minute video.
Littleton voters will be able to have a say on whether government uses their money to get into the land speculation business with Ballot Measure 300.
To learn more about tax increment financing (TIFs), urban renewal authorities (URAs), and Littleton Ballot Measure 300, watch the full Devils Advocate episode below.
In our latest Freedom Minute, Health Care Policy Center Director Linda Gorman questions whether government officials in charge of implementing are attempting to follow the law or just making it up as they go along.
The percentage of total income received by the top one percent of income earners is a commonly-used measure of income inequality.
The Wall Street Journal recently published a list showing how each state, together with the District of Columbia ranks on this index.
Funny thing: Deep blue states—those dominated by Democrats and liberal Republicans—make up a disproportionate share of the states with the greatest inequality.
In order, the top “income inequality” jurisdictions are:
It’s easy to explain why Wyoming, Florida, and Nevada are on the list: Those three are among the relatively few states without a personal income tax, so the wealthy might be expected to shelter income there.
But all the rest are solidly “progressive” jurisdictions.
If “progressives” have the answer to income inequality, then how come there is so much income inequality where they are in charge?
The answer, of course, is that “progressive” policies really don’t cure inequality. They aggravate inequality. Policies of government control and and crony capitalism benefit those rich enough to buy influence in the political system and use it to smother the rest of us.
We just got a cool new green screen here at the Independence Institute offices so…. we decided to make one minute, editorial videos. Cause why not?
You can find all of our Freedom Minute’s on our YouTube channel, IITV.
Here are the first few that we’ve done:
As you know, we here at the Independence Institute sometimes fundraise for charities with whom we feel a special connection, like our work supporting Children’s Hospital. Well, there’s another charity that needs your help. Badly.
I’m proud to announce our goal of helping the Denver Post, Colorado’s newspaper of record, hire an actual copy editor.
If you are unaware, a copy editor is the person at a newspaper that not only checks an article’s spelling, grammar, and style before it is published, he or she also checks that the story is factually correct to certain standards. In other words, they’re the poor slob who has to make a liberal’s article seem at least plausibly objective.
And the poor Denver Post, well, they must not have even one.
We all know the Post has issued a fatwa against the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, but they really let their anti-TABOR Freudian slip show when they labeled it the “so called” Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, even though that’s exactly what it is called in the state constitution. Funny, when slobbering over the Affordable Care Act, they never reported it as the “so-called Affordable Care Act.”
The conservative blog, ColoradoPeakPolitics.com, beat us to the punch skewering a poorly-written, typo-filled Post hit piece on the new Republican senate president. Any veneer of professional journalism the paper tried to project was wiped clean. Check it out.
Anyway, we’re thinking maybe of starting a 10-mile “Copy Editor Fun Run,” or something like that. A blind newspaper reader could be the poster-child. Won’t you help one of “Dean’s Kids”?
Let me say, I might disagree with most of the Denver Post’s editorial stances. However, they have every right to have them. But for the sake of honesty, shouldn’t they replace their front-page masthead with the simple words, “Editorial Section”?
Speaking of editorials, we do a number of them, including some in video form. We call them the Freedom Minute.
Today is Colorado Gives Day. Great charities in Colorado will be asking you to give because giving today gets leveraged by the Colorado Gives Foundation, and credit card fees are waived as well. This makes it a great day for end-of-year gifts in Colorado.
But the greatest gift you can give to our state is Liberty. From Freedom and Free Enterprise, all other gifts come.
And there is only one organization out of the 1,500 participating in Colorado Gives Day whose mission is to fight to free Coloradans from the overreach of government. In fact, many of the groups participating today actively work for the Left, working against Free Markets. The money they raise today gets matched proportionally by the million-dollar Colorado Gives Fund.
So investing in the Independence Institute today not only counters that, but it means your investment in Freedom goes even further. But you have to give today for that proportional match.
Please take a moment right now (yes, please stop what you are doing for just a minute right now) and help us fight for a freer Colorado.
Thank you so very much!
An incredible tradition has taken hold in Colorado-Colorado Gives Day, a day when gifts to the state’s charities get a boost. And while most of the charities funded by Colorado Gives Day do overwhelmingly spectacular work, I can’t help but notice how much of the Left’s political infrastructure benefits from it, too.
While perusing the charities on the Colorado Gives website, you’ll find a myriad of liberal causes in which to invest. Here are just a few: Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Common Cause, Ethics Watch, Colorado Fiscal Institute, League of Woman Voters, NARAL, Progress Now, Open Media, PFLAG, Rights for all People, 9 to 5 Colorado, Chinook Fund, Citizens Project, Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition, Colorado Progressive Coalition, Greater Education Colorado, New Era Colorado, Planned Parenthood, The Bell Policy Center, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, and many more.
No surprise. It’s us.
The Independence Institute is the only free-market, limited government charity on the ColoradoGives.org website. And next Tuesday, December 9 (Colorado Gives Day), is going to be more important than ever because of a new $1 million Incentive Fund. This fund, one of the largest giving-day incentive funds in the country, proportionally increases the value of every dollar donated. For example, if Independence receives 10% of the total donations made on Colorado Gives Day, we receive 10% of the $1 Million Incentive Fund.
As you can tell, the cards are stacked against us and in favor of the machinery of the Left. (Shocking, huh?) It’s up to you whether this extra funding goes towards the Left’s already well-funded grasp over Colorado or towards the only group in the bunch to fight for Liberty.
Last year, we raised over $12,000 on Colorado Gives Day. Next Tuesday, would you PLEASE go to ColoradoGives.org and help us break that number?
Remember, with every dollar invested with us, a smug liberal cries. And isn’t that what charitable giving is really all about?
The Independence Institute, Cato Institute, and Reason Foundation have filed an amicus brief in support of the SCt cert petition in Kerr v. Hickenlooper. Primary and Cato Authors: Ilya Shapiro, Julio Colomba, David B. Kopel, Manuel S. Klausner. Nov. 20, 2014.
Synopsis of the amicus brief from Cato’s Ilya Shapiro:
Not many people know that there’s a clause in the Constitution that charges Congress with guaranteeing every state a “republican form of government.” What even fewer people are aware of is exactly what that means. Historically, the Guarantee Clause is considered to have been a measure the Framers included to ensure that state governments of the states—which used to have far greater autonomy—didn’t devolve into monarchies or other despotic forms. But the clause’s legal effect has never been fully fleshed out. Not that there haven’t been opportunities; claims based on the Guarantee Clause are peppered throughout U.S. history. Courts have typically disposed of them by invoking the political question doctrine, which they use to avoid deciding an issue they believe is more appropriately left to the elected branches. Since there’s no legally binding definition of “republican,” a court applying the Guarantee Clause has little to work with, also contributing to the tendency to treat such cases as non-justiciable. Accordingly, when a group of legislators and citizens groups supporting big government banded together to attack Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) based on a Guarantee Clause claim, it seemed like a longshot. Their claim was that the state no longer had a republican form of government because the TABOR—a voter-approved state constitutional amendment—restricts the legislature’s ability to raise taxes without approval from the people of Colorado. Colorado’s (Democratic) governor, defending the state’s constitution, moved to dismiss the case in federal district court, but, surprisingly, lost the motion. Even more surprisingly, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed that denial, which meant that the plaintiffs’ claims could go to trial and jeopardize the continued existence of the state’s popular anti-tax measure. Colorado has one more chance, however, to prevent poorly constructed Guarantee Clause claims from being heard in federal courts and thus jeopardizing the dozens of state constitutional measures that use popular input: the Supreme Court. Governor Hickenlooper has filed a petition for certiorari requesting that the Supreme Court, among other things, put to bed the erroneous notion that elements of direct popular participation and direct democracy can’t exist in a republican government. Joined by the Independence Institute, Reason Foundation, and Individual Rights Foundation, Cato has filed a brief supporting Colorado’s petition. We argue that the Court should hear the case so it can inform the lower courts that pretextual Guarantee Clause claims don’t belong in federal courts. We give three reasons for this position. First, the plaintiffs’ complaint fails to provide a court with legal standards coherent enough to decide the case under the Guarantee Clause. Second, under Supreme Court precedent, the idea that initiatives and referenda are incompatible with republican government was resolved (and rejected) when Congress admitted states that used these popular procedures into the union. Third, even a brief look at the history of the Founding Era’s understanding of the words “republic” and “republican” dispels the myth on which the plaintiffs base their claim: that direct popular participation is incompatible with the republican form. Our brief provides that historical context. In sum, the suggestion that the Guarantee Clause—meant to ensure that state governments would remain governments “of the people” and wouldn’t revert to despotic monarchies—could be used to wrest greater control of the taxing power from the people makes the plaintiffs’ claims risible. The Supreme Court should take this opportunity to put an end to this laughable case.