Freedom Updates: January 31, 2004

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom

Freedom Updates: January 31, 2004

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.

The Growth of State Government
State Senator Mark Hillman sent out a "Capitol Review" on January 25 describing the growth of government. He writes, "I sit firmly in the TABOR [Taxpayer's Bill of Rights] camp because, in good times, its provisions slowly and methodically reduce the size of government -- not in real dollars but compared to the state economy. However, in the past three years, falling tax revenues -- caused not by TABOR but by a struggling economy -- drastically accelerated that shrinkage.

"Here's what I mean: when TABOR passed in 1992, state government spending represented 5.91 percent of the state economy; by 2000, state spending fell to 5.29 percent; by 2002, state spending dipped to 4.45 percent. (In two years of those years under TABOR, the size of state government increased slightly even by this measure.)

"In actual dollars, spending increased from $5.39 billion in 1993-94 to $8.87 billion in 2000-01, then dipped to $8.08 billion in 2002.

"Compared to the state's economy, government spending fell by 12 percent in those first eight years but fell by an additional 16 percent in the next two -- abruptly compressing reductions which would have been implemented gradually over more than a decade into just two years of very difficult budget choices...

"To my notion, it's not only rational but desirable for the economy to outpace government growth. After all, the economy's growth is based upon the production of goods and services and the willingness and ability of citizens to purchase those goods and services. By contrast, government's growth isn't based upon a willing transaction but upon a coercive tax system. We may 'willingly' pay taxes, but we would most certainly willingly pay less if not for the legal consequences."

Hillman's devotion to relatively limited government is laudable. However, an even better idea would be to set a cap in absolute dollars the state can spend. Currently, TABOR allows state spending to increase with inflation and population growth. But advocates of the free market must resist all attempts to water down the provisions of TABOR.

Self-Defense Notes
According to a recent article by Scott Norvell, "BBC Radio 4's Today program... asked its 6 million weekly listeners to propose a new law for the new year. A labour MP, Stephen Pound, was drafted to front the bill when it was all over... [W]ith 37 percent of the vote, was a law allowing homeowners to use 'any means' to defend their property from intruders... The winning law quickly became known as 'Tony Martin's Law' after the Norfolk farmer who spent nearly four years in jail for killing a 16-year-old burglar who had broken into his home."

Of course, politicians and the media lambasted the result.

Here on the home front, Burts Automotive and Home Depot maintained policies that initially were suspected of prohibiting legal concealed carriers from carrying a means of self-defense into their facilities. However, after gun owners inquired about the stores' policies, both businesses affirmed those with legal permits would not be banned from exercising their right of self-defense within those establishments.

Conservation of Socialism
A group calling itself "Colorado Conservation Voters Education Fund" has mailed two full-color flyers to my house. Among other goals, the group wants to mandate and/or forcibly fund "renewable energy sources, like wind and solar." Now, I plan to eventually check out those technologies for my own use, but I don't need the government telling me I must do it or stealing my money to pay for it.

The group also wants to "pass FasTracks," the multi-billion dollar socialist transportation program likely to face a popular vote this fall. It seems the main goal of the group is to promote socialism, not a healthy environment.

Death to Cooking-Oil Smuggler
The January 19 Rocky reprints this interesting bit of news: "A Chinese court sentenced a company manager to death Sunday for smuggling vegetable oils through the southern province of Guangdong and bribing customs officers to help him, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Yang Giaqung, 48, was convicted of evading more than $290 million in tariffs by smuggling 910,000 tons of edible oils into mainland China, including olive and soybean oil, it said."

How dare he help feed people! Yang Giaqung. His story should become as well-known as that of the young man who faced down the tank. A U.S. President with half an ounce of courage would offer to bring the man over to the U.S. and offer him full citizenship.

On January 30, Al Kolwicz, a leader of Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election Results, sent out an e-mail claiming, "There's big trouble in Boulder County." He said a January 29 public hearing had failed to result in assurances a new voting system would be reliable and verifiable. Kolwicz continued, "Nobody is watching the store. County Commissioners have refused to oversee the Clerk's outrageous voting system proposal. After chastising the public for asking, the Clerk has refused to answer the public's questions."

A January 28 story in Colorado Daily reports, "Following the early January announcement by Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Linda Salas that the county will recommend the purchase of an election system from Hart InterCivic to be used for the 2004 election, the rest of the month has seen a virtual tennis match of claims about that voting system's security. Some members of the Boulder non-profit group Citizens for Verifiable Voting (CVV) wonder if the county has done many man/woman-hours worth of research on voting systems without fully addressing security issues regarding the Hart system."

The Colorado Freedom