Archive for the 'Economic LIberties' Category

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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Global Warming? Here’s the Other Side of the Story

Posted by on Oct 29 2013 | Economic LIberties, Global Governance/World Government

Debates about climate change always have been clouded (wordplay intended) by two key facts: (1) The discussion is dominated by government agencies and by persons and entities soaked in government money, and (2) their incentives are to promote stormy scenarios that (supposedly) justify even more government control.

For example, a lot of the high pressure blast on the subject (and some would say “hysteria”) blows out of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC is not only funded by governments, but is, in turn, sheltered by the UN, an entity consisting of governments.

An alternative to IPCC is the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), a collection of distinguished scientists whose conclusions differ markedly from the views of their governmental rivals. The NIPCC has issued a new report. It finds that, not surprisingly, global temperatures have changed over time, but that
* There has been no warming for the last 15 years despite an increase in atmospheric CO2,
* the past shows that warming tends to precede CO2 buildups, not follow them,
* by historical and pre-historical standards, the present atmosphere is actually “starved” of CO2,
* if the planet does experience a rise in CO2 levels, with or without some warming, this would be a sunny, not a dismal, thing for the environment.

The findings are much more detailed that that. Get a summary of the full tsunami of evidence here.

P.S.: The summary doesn’t say so, but even if the best forecast is for significant warming, the best response would be freedom, not regulation. History shows that the wealth and flexibility of free economies afford far more ability to respond to changed conditions than command-and-control “solutions.” Wealthy people can afford ecological response; impoverished people cannot.

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VIDEO: Walter Williams 2013 Founders’ Night Keynote Address

Posted by on Mar 15 2013 | Economic LIberties, Economics, Economy, PPC, U.S. Constitution, Video

In case you missed our annual Founders’ Night dinner last Thursday, here is the keynote address given by world famous George Mason economist Walter Williams.

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28th Annual Founders’ Night Featuring Walter Williams

Posted by on Jan 28 2013 | Economic LIberties, Economics, Economy, Events, PPC, Taxes, U.S. Constitution

Mark your calendar right now for the biggest party of the year. And it’s coming up fast. Our 28th Annual Founders’ Night Dinner will be held March 7th at Infinity Park in Glendale.

Every year we honor one person who has gone above and beyond to fight for Liberty and the future of Colorado with our David S. D’Evelyn Award. Past recipients include Mike Rosen, Jake Jabs, Bruce Benson, William Coors, Hank Brown and many more.

This year we are thrilled to recognize with this award a true Independence Institute original – one of our former Senior Fellows and former Board Trustee. This person was a lawyer for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a free market public interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty and property rights. This person also served as Attorney General for the State of Colorado and later as the Secretary of the Interior of the United States of America.

Haven’t guessed who it is yet? Here’s a hint – liberal actor/activist Robert Redford was so enamored with this person that in a public letter to her, he said, “Sadly, since assuming the Interior Secretary post, you have compiled an abysmal record of capitulating to big businesses at the expense of the nation’s public health, public lands and wildlife.” How can you not love her?

Yes that’s right: Liberty’s Warrior, the Honorable Gale Norton will receive our D’Evelyn award.

And now for the main act…

America is on the edge – the edge of fiscal ruin by governmental spending, the edge of moral ruin by mortgaging our children’s future, the edge of Constitution ruin by an unchecked federal government.

Perhaps like you, we at Independence find ourselves wondering – is it too late?

We wanted to bring that question to someone qualified enough to actually answer that question. After a great deal of in-house argument as to who was best to understand and explain the role of government in a free society, we all found ourselves drawn to the same name.

I am more than excited to announce our keynote speaker on March 7th is the great economist and communicator, Walter Williams.

Following in the trail blazed by Fredrick Hayek and Milton Friedman, Walter Williams is the nation’s finest, clear-thinking economist. And his thinking has brought him to what he told me was his solution for the nation’s crisis – Obey the Constitution.

Dr. Williams is Chairman of the Economics Department for George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He is the author of over 150 publications which have appeared in scholarly journals such as Economic Inquiry, American Economic Review, Georgia Law Review, Journal of Labor Economics, Social Science Quarterly, and Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy and popular publications such as Newsweek, Ideas on Liberty, National Review, Reader’s Digest, Cato Journal, and Policy Review. He has authored ten books including Do the Right Thing: The People’s Economist Speaks, More Liberty Means Less Government, Liberty vs. the Tyranny of Socialism, Up From The Projects: An Autobiography, and Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed On Discrimination?

He has made scores of radio and television appearances which include Nightline, Firing Line, Face the Nation, Milton Friedman’s Free To Choose, Crossfire, MacNeil/Lehrer, Wall Street Week and was a regular commentator for Nightly Business Report. He is also an occasional substitute host for the Rush Limbaugh Show. In addition Dr. Williams writes a nationally syndicated weekly column that is carried by approximately 140 newspapers and several web sites.

Seats for this event will be going quickly, very quickly. If you wish to join us, you have the opportunity to purchase tickets online here, or you can email Mary MacFarlane at Mary@i2i.org.

Don’t be the person who someday says, “Oh, I wish I had been there!”

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Like Free Markets? Like Movies? Check This Out!

Posted by on Sep 17 2012 | Economic LIberties, Economics, Economy, Events, Government Largess, Growth of Government, nanny state, PPC, Video, War on Drugs, War on Terror

From September 28th- 30th, the Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will host a weekend full of films, presentations, and thought provoking discussions at the Second Annual Free Minds Film Festival. The festival explores the ideas of a free society and the specific topics will include the war on drugs, eminent domain, cronyism, gun control, the trail of tears and government sponsored genocide, luck and equality, lessons from ancient Rome and Panem, the horrors of the Soviet Union, and, of course, how to change the world!

Featured titles include blockbuster “The Hunger Games,” Academy Award shortlisted documentary “Battle for Brooklyn,” locally made “Guns and Weed: The Road to Freedom,” the inspiring true story “Amazing Grace,” and “The Soviet Story” will return as a permanent tradition.

Local and national experts will speak after the films and take questions from the audience. Speakers include Lawrence Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education, Metropolitan State University of Denver Economics Professor Dr. Alexandre Padilla, Isaac Morehouse from the Institute for Humane Studies, Dr. Amy Sturgis Interdisciplinary Studies professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University and the Mythgard Institute, retired Denver Police Officer Tony Ryan, and Denver- based Philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh.

Friday and Saturday night will conclude with free beer and food and great conversation at BJ’s Brewhouse courtesy of Liberty on the Rocks.

The first Free Minds Film Festival was nominated for “Event of the Year” at the International Students For Liberty Conference and attracted over 90 attendees. The event is free and open to the public and the media.

A full schedule of the weekend including trailers, biographies, and directions to the event is available at www.freemindsfilmfestival.com.

Register here for FREE!

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Colorado Senators Prefer Warantless Federal Raids

Posted by on May 27 2012 | congress, criminal justice, Criminal Law, Economic LIberties, overcriminalization, PPC, Thuggery

Reason magazine’s Mike Riggs reports that the U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 78-15 to table an amendment offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY.) to basically demilitarize the Food and Drug Administration. As Riggs describes it Paul’s amendment would have, among other things, “prohibited FDA employees (as well as all other Health and Human Services employees) from carrying weapons and making arrests without warrants.” The amendment would have also added a mens rea, or “guilty mind” requirement for criminal prosecution of laws and regulations the FDA enforces.

Senator Paul’s wholly legitimate beef with overreach and abuse by the FDA comes from armed FDA bureaucrats raiding Amish dairy farms, seizing property and arresting dairy farmers without warrants for selling milk directly from the cow (raw milk).

Both of Colorado’s U.S Senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennett voted in favor of tabling the amendment, and thus voted in favor of continuing warrantless raids by militarized FDA bureaucrats on farmers earning a living by engaging in peaceful commerce with willing customers.

Update: While the 15 Senators who voted in favor of due process, the Fourth Amendment and reigning in over-zealous, armed federal bureaucrats were all Republicans, a sharp eyed facebook commenter notes that 28 other Republican Senators from across the country joined with Democrats to create a supermajority in the Senate in favor of warrantless raids by the FDA. Putting Bennett and Udall in poor company indeed.

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Independence Throws Left, Right Combo at Obamacare

Posted by on Jan 20 2012 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Economic LIberties, Health Care, health control law, obama, obamacare, Originalism, PPC, U.S. Constitution

Obamacare is headed to the Supreme Court. Great news! The cherry on top is that The Independence Institute is filing not one, but TWO amicus briefs (amici) on behalf of liberty and against the health care takeover. Constitutional scholars Dave Kopel and Rob Natelson take on the Medicaid mandate in one and the individual mandate in the other. Before I get into the Obamacare briefs, let’s take a step back and understand what this means. Dave Kopel has a rich history of influencing major Supreme Court decisions. For example, both the Heller and McDonald decisions were influenced by Dave’s Second Amendment work. For Dave’s most recently submitted amici, visit his website DaveKopel.com and go to the “In the Courts” section. There’s a half dozen briefs listed there that are just from this past year. To say that Dave is prolific is an injustice. He’s more like Gandalf casting unconstitutional demons out of Mordor Washington, DC.

Ok, back on track. The first brief on how the Medicaid mandate is unconstitutional was filed earlier this week (PDF here). I won’t get into the details because, well, I’m not what you call a “reader,” but I was able to get through Rob Natelson’s summary on his blog. The gist of the argument is quite simple: the Feds are big bullies. If the country were a playground, they’d be going around giving all the state’s wedgies and stealing their milk money. But it’s actually worse than that. Rob makes the case that it’s not only bullying, but also hostage taking. In other words, a bully with a taste for kidnapping. Double bad. Built into the Medicaid mandate in Obamacare are requirements that the states expand their Medicaid programs… OR ELSE. The “or else” part is the threat of withholding federal Medicaid funding. Hence, a large sliver of each state’s budget held hostage. As Rob puts it,

Since federal Medicaid funds are a huge portion of all states’ budgets, the effect is to subordinate state fiscal policy to the whim of federal officials. This is clearly unconstitutional.

Stay tuned for details and PDF of the other amicus. It will focus on the unconstitutionality of the individual health insurance mandate. Word is, Rob and Dave work their magic on the Commerce Power and the Necessary and Proper Clause. I also hear that they plan to sit down for an iVoices.org podcast with my main minion Justin Longo on both briefs. I’ll post the brief and the podcast here when they come out.

Until then, say NO to bullying.

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Free People, Free Markets: Principles of Liberty is BACK!

Posted by on Dec 20 2011 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Economic LIberties, Economics, Events, federalism, History, PPC, The Founders, U.S. Constitution

You may have heard about our Free People, Free Markets class, you may have even taken the course already. If not, I want to encourage you to learn more about something that is certain to enrich your life. Over the years, Free People, Free Markets: Principles of Liberty has taught hundreds of interested liberty lovers the fundamentals of economics, philosophy, and history regarding our country’s founding and economic foundations. If ever there was a time to deepen your love affair with liberty and freedom, THIS is it.

The class meets for 5 consecutive Saturdays, from 9am to noon, starting with the last Saturday in January, the 28th at Colorado Christian University’s business school, room 103 (8787 Alameda Ave, Lakewood). For more info, please call Andy Anderson at 303-829-9435.

Need more reasons why you should enrich your love of liberty? How about this:

You have a strong love of freedom. It’s a natural part of being human. But too few of today’s adults were taught the fundamentals of a free society. We have a wonderful seminar to offer you. It pulls together the basic principles of liberty and a free market, showing you that these cohesive fundamentals allow society to work well, and to honor the individual. The course material springs from the great thinkers and achievers who shaped America. It is designed for business and community leaders and the general public as well as for college students.

The course makes the moral and philosophic case for free-market capitalism. One of the most important concepts of Western Civilization is the acquisition of property as an unalienable right. The course develops the relationship between economic liberty and political liberty. Participants learn the principles behind wealth-creation. They are introduced to the philosophy of the Austrian School of Economics and its connection to the founding ideas of the American experiment. Participants are awakened to their heritage of economic liberty. It will be more than worth your time.

Classes held on five consecutive Saturdays. The course is designed for business and community leaders, college students, and the general public. If desired, you may obtain three college credits through the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs by paying the usual college per-credit fee.

Come if you love liberty. Come if you love collectivism, but need to understand the libertarian position. Come if you want to receive an inexpensive, thorough, and energetic exposure to the founding principles of economic and political liberty.

For more information about the course itself contact Penn Pfiffner at 303-233-7731 or constecon@hotmail.com. For more information about registering and any other matters contact CRBC at 303-829-9435 or principlescourse@smallbizgop.

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Prop 103: Colorado’s Job Killing Tax Increase

Posted by on Oct 20 2011 | Economic LIberties, Economics, Economy, Government Largess, PPC, Press, Proposition 103, Taxes

Yesterday the Independence Institute held a press conference here in Golden to illustrate the job destroying results if Proposition 103, Sen. Rollie Heath’s tax hike, passes this November. Like I say in the video below, we wondered, “how in the world can we show the domino effect of job loss if Prop 103 passes? People’s jobs will fall like dominoes! How do we show this???” Well, after much thought and some whiskey, we finally came up with the perfect illustration… LET’S KNOCK THOUSANDS OF DOMINOES DOWN! So I got on the phone and called up 5-time domino world record holder Robert Speca to see if he wanted to come to Colorado to knock some dominoes down. Thankfully, he said yes and within a day, he was out near our offices in Golden setting up thousands upon thousands of dominoes to represent all of the jobs that will be lost if Prop 103 passes.

Yesterday at 2pm, we held the press conference and I was the lucky guy who got to push the first domino over. It was REALLY fun! In total, Robert the “Domino Wizard” set up 5,500 dominoes, with each domino representing TWO jobs lost due to this tax increase. Take a look at the video below to see the job killing destruction Prop 103 will wreak on our economy. Prop 103: Colorado’s job killing tax increase:

Fox31′s political reporter Eli Stokels also covered our event. Here is the article and video they took. You’ll notice in the video that Eli Stokols makes a mistake. He says that only 1,100 jobs will be lost because of Prop 103. Oops. It’s actually 11,000. Eleven thousand. Big difference.

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Time Magazine: Meet Professor Rob Natelson

Posted by on Jun 27 2011 | Commerce Clause, Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Economic LIberties, health control law, obama, obamacare, PPC, U.S. Constitution

The fiery debates over our national debt, ever expanding undeclared wars, and Obamacare have resurrected a new found interest in Constitutional matters. This is great for us because we happen to have one of the leading scholars on the Constitution in our Independence Institute offices, Senior Fellow in Constitution Studies Rob Natelson. He writes a great blog for us over at constitution.i2i.org and does weekly podcasts with a minion of mine over at iVoices.org.

I’d like to point out his blog post for this week that completely eviscerates the cover article on our Constitution by Richard Stengel in Time Magazine. In it, Rob deconstructs some points Mr. Stengel was trying to make in regards to the meaning of our Constitution. As an expert on the meaning of the Constitution, Rob was able to point out the many flaws in Mr. Stengel’s points. The Time Mag article is instructive as I believe it reflects many people’s thinking about our founding document. As such, Rob wrote an entire book exploding many of the common myths that Mr. Stengel repeats tirelessly in the article. To keep yourself from making many of these popular mistakes, keep following Rob’s work on constitution.i2i.org.

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