Archive for the 'debt' Category

Urban Renewal and Littleton’s Ballot Measure 300

Posted by on Feb 13 2015 | debt, Economics, Regulation, Taxes, Video

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.

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Cato Institute gives Hick an “F”

Posted by on Oct 02 2014 | debt, Economic LIberties, Economics, Economy, TABOR, Taxes

Our friends over at the Cato Institute just came out with their Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors (2014). You’ll never guess where our governor lands in their ranking. Would you believe it if I told you Hick is 2nd?! Yes, Governor Hickenlooper – Mr. I haven’t met a tax or debt increase I haven’t liked – earned 2nd.

SECOND FROM DEAD LAST THAT IS. Only California Governor Jerry Brown was ranked lower than Hick.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture (click to enlarge):

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 3.39.26 PM

Each state get its own little paragraph. Here’s the commentary for Colorado, ranked 49th out of 50:

General fund spending has ballooned over the past three years under Governor Hickenlooper, from $7.2 billion in 2012 to a proposed $9.2 billion in 2015. The governor’s proposed spending increases have averaged 6 percent over the past three years. His most recent budget included a 15 percent spending boost for higher education and new spending on corporate welfare programs. State government employment is way up under Hickenlooper, rising 16 percent since he came to office. He pushed for a huge personal income tax increase on the ballot in 2013 to fund education, which would have raised more than $900 million annually. If passed, Amendment 66 would have replaced Colorado’s flat income tax of 4.63 percent with a two-rate structure of 5.0 and 5.9 percent. Luckily for Colorado taxpayers, this increase was soundly rejected by voters, 65 to 35 percent.

Read the whole thing here.

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Not raising the debt limit = balancing the budget

Posted by on Oct 16 2013 | congress, Constitutional Law, debt, federal shutdown, Government Largess, Government Largess, Growth of Government, Spending Clause

Not raising the debt limit is simply running a balanced budget.

Yes, that’s right: The President and Congress may have to balance the federal budget in the next few days! Horrors!

Let’s get some clarity here. When the federal government hits the debt limit it does NOT mean that it can’t borrow or that it can’t pay existing debts. It just means it cannot continue to run a deficit. Spending becomes limited by revenue, and existing debt may be replaced by new debt. The government just can’t add MORE debt.

That means the government has to prioritize. The obvious priorities are:

* First, pay principal and interest on existing debts to avoid default. (There is plenty of tax revenue for this.)

* Pay the military and spend what is necessary for defense. (There is plenty of tax revenue for this, also.)

* Pay for other programs authorized by the Constitution. (Ditto)

* If money is left over, pay debts previously incurred for programs not authorized by the Constitution. (There will not be enough for this, so they will have to be closed down and paid off over time.)

This is the basic situation that Washington, D.C., its hangers-on, and the mainstream media think is so terrible.

Granted, suddenly balancing the budget may not be pretty. The states will have to take up some of the services the feds have been running on borrowed money. But they can do it better and more efficiently, anyway. (Colorado already is responding by keeping Rocky Mountain National Park open during the partial federal shutdown.)

Even if it’s not pretty, the history of other indebted nations during the last few decades—including our neighbor Canada—shows that shock treatment may be the best way for a country to get its fiscal health in order.

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Those budget ‘cuts’ are actually spending increases

Posted by on Apr 15 2013 | debt, Government Largess, PPC

At’s new Page Two, Independence Institute senior fellow Barry Fagin warns against getting faked out by the Orwellian language trickery being used in the ongoing budget debate in Washington, DC:

We’ve all heard the typical media spin on the budget negotiations. The Democrats are proposing a “balanced” plan of spending cuts and tax increases, while the Republicans are being dogmatic and unreasonable. After all, who can argue with balance? It makes it seem like the alternative is falling over.
Let me state this as clearly as I can: A “spending cut” is when you spend less money than you did before. It’s not that hard to understand. Think about it: If your family has to cut spending, are you going to spend more, or less? It just couldn’t be any simpler.
Unless you’re in Washington. There, cutting spending means spending less than you were hoping to. That’s a very different thing. Think about it this way. If you get a 3 percent raise when you were expecting 5 percent, was that a pay cut? If your taxes go up 5 percent when you thought they would go up 10 percent, were your taxes cut? According to Democratic Party Newspeak, the answer is yes.

Enjoy the whole thing here.

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What We’re Up To

Posted by on Aug 16 2011 | Constitutional Law, debt, energy, Environment, Government Largess, Health Care, Idiot Box (TV Show), obamacare, PPC, U.S. Constitution

Few things I want to highlight real quick:

Editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette Wayne Laugesen was kind enough to write a little blurb about and link to the show we did a couple weeks ago. We talked about the horribly fallacious campaign to smear the Springs with deputy director of the Colorado chapter of Americans For Prosperity Sean Paige.

While we’re on the topic of the Gazette, make sure to check out the Reason Foundation’s Colorado kid wonder Harris Kenny in his op-ed, Colorado Should be Wary of Handouts to Hollywood.

Over on our Environmental Policy page, Amy Oliver shows us once again how much green it takes to be green. Both taxpayers and ratepayers will find their wallets just a bit lighter because of this. Additionally, over on Amy has a little fun with our national debt. Guess how many Superbowl tickets you could buy with our national debt? You’ll have to check out Amy’s article to find out.

Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson shares his thoughts on the most recent ruling against Obamacare on his blog, That unconstitutional individual mandate just can’t catch a break these days…

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The “Economic Silent Spring”

Posted by on Aug 09 2011 | debt, Economics, Economy, Government Largess, PPC

In a perfect world, our queen MAD (Mothers Against Debt) Mom Amy Oliver would be the 21st century’s Rachel Carson. And I don’t mean that in the environmental way. What Rachel Carson did in 1962 with her book Silent Spring was to start a worldwide environmental movement. The book helped launch the ban on DDT. Turns out that DDT was not the evil pesticide it was portrayed as, and banning it actually kills millions of people who suffer from malaria. (oops) Despite being wrong and extremely deadly, Rachel Carson and her book were able to sound the alarm, get activists fired up, change policies, and set in motion a movement that lasts some 40 years later.

Although Amy Oliver doesn’t have a book (yet), she is on a mission to kick start a movement to get activists fired up and policies changed. In this Townhall op-ed, Amy outlines her version of the Silent Spring – what she calls our “Economic Silent Spring.”

Right now every man, woman and child in the United States is shackled with more than $46,700 of national debt and that does not include interest or unfunded liabilities such as Medicare and Social Security. Assuming we continue down the superhighway of spending, by 2015 every child in America and their parents will owe more than $70,000 each according to the U.S. Debt Clock.

Debt is the new DDT. But unlike the harmless pesticide, debt is toxic. As it grows and grows it poisons our children’s future. Amy’s plea for less spending and a brighter future for our kids is not going unnoticed. Mothers Against Debt is getting bigger each day (like our debt). More Moms are coming to understand the danger in having policies that promote the “spend now, leave bill for later” lifestyle of Washington, DC. After all, the bills we are accruing at an unprecedented rate are neatly stacking up in each and every baby cradle across the country. Forget your kid’s impending college debt. They’re already tens of thousands in the hole before they take their first class.

If Amy gets her way, the Economic Silent Spring will start a movement that lasts over 40 years and changes business as usual in Washington. Help Amy ban wreckless debt. Join Mothers Against Debt today.

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Bipartisanship… Ugh.

Posted by on Aug 08 2011 | debt, Government Largess, PPC, Taxes

[Copyright Ben Hummel at]

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Cuts? What Cuts?

Posted by on Aug 05 2011 | congress, debt, Economics, Government Largess, PPC

Was anyone out there happy with the debt deal Congress just made? I haven’t seen much in the way of praise for the deal, either from the left or the right. The left doesn’t like the “draconian cuts” made to their beloved social programs, while us free marketers don’t like the complete lack of any cuts at all. See, in Washington, a “cut” is when you don’t spend as much as you originally wanted to. For example, say you were going to spend an extra $1,000 next month. If you decided to take it easy and instead only spend an extra $950 next month, that would be a “cut” in Washington-speak. Despite all the “cuts” the left is wailing about, the federal budget is scheduled to increase next year. And the following year. And the year after that… etc.

In addition to senior fellow and Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson’s severe disappointment with the debt deal, our Barry Fagin is also not impressed. In yesterday’s Colorado Springs Gazette, Barry outlines why he isn’t a fan of the deal and also what we could do to end our perpetual federal spending crisis. Hint: it doesn’t require any action from those spendaholics in Congress.

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If You Hold the Sword, You Can’t Hold the Purse

Posted by on Aug 02 2011 | debt, Economics, Economy, Government Largess,, PPC, U.S. Constitution

Even though the whole debt ceiling fiasco is on its way out, I want to point this podcast in your direction. Last week a new narrative emerged from the debt ceiling = default storyline. It advanced the idea that the president could raise the debt ceiling unilaterally – Congress be damned! As you might have guessed, our constitutional scholar Professor Rob Natelson had some serious constitutional issues with this narrative. It’s no accident that the president does not enjoy both the power of the “sword” and the power of the “purse” at the same time. The Founders rightfully feared a president who was both commander and chief and guardian of the nation’s checkbook. Thus, the idea that President Obama could raise the debt ceiling by himself would have angered (and frightened) the Founders. Professor Rob Natelson addressed this issue in a blogpost on and in this podcast.

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Fiscal Child Abuse – in a 2 min video

Posted by on Jul 28 2011 | debt, Government Largess, PPC, Video

Power Line just ran a highly contested and highly coveted contest for a grand prize worth $100,000 to “whoever can most effectively and creatively dramatize the significance of the federal debt crisis.” They allowed any and all types of creative art – like sculpture, paintings, songs, poems, videos, dance, etc. The Independence Institute decided to get in on the action so we created a video for the contest that you’ll find below. It focuses on the fiscal child abuse our national debt is hanging around the necks of our future generations. Although we didn’t win, we did get 7th place! I am so proud of our team for making such a high quality video, while having to work with such difficult on-screen talent (Todd!). You can see some of the other top entries here.

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