A Colorado Libertarian’s Response to ‘The 2019 Fat-State Address’ by Jared Polis
By Marc Montoni
In his first “state of the state” address on January 10, 2019, new Colorado governor Jared Polis proved something: Namely, he is just another in a long line of tax-spend-regulate-subsidize-suppress-penalize political hacks who think they have any moral right to govern the affairs of private individuals.
Libertarians in Colorado listened, where we could stay awake, to Polis’ comments with same understanding we have had with every other new governor:
- Taxes will go up
- Spending will fatten
- Regulations will suppress more and more entrepreneurs
- More individual rights will be trampled upon
- Transparency will fade further
- More citizens will be killed by police enforcing ever more new laws
- The war on the recreational choices of individuals will rage on and expand
- Health care will be further taken over by the state
- Bureaucrats will expand their drive to choose economic winners and losers
- Colorado will continue to become the exclusive playground of the upper classes
In short, Polis will do all of the same things that every other governor has done.
Some Libertarian reactions to Polis’ fat-state policy desires:
POLIS: “Our economy is strong. From agriculture and outdoor recreation to aerospace, bioscience, energy, and cannabis, we’ve watched industries succeed and create jobs.”
LIBERTARIANS: Meanwhile, the political class, including Polis, have endeavored mightily to destroy and marginalize industries they don’t like, ruining the jobs those sectors supported.
Libertarians call for a free, unfettered market economy and elimination of regulations that stifle growth and eliminate hobs.
POLIS: “We’ve become a model for how we can put politics aside and work together.”
LIBERTARIANS: That’s what everyone is afraid of. Thinking individuals know that whenever politicians agree with one another, your right, liberties, and property are at risk. Gridlock preserves liberty to some degree.
The only reason that statesmen should put aside differences and work together is to repeal and eliminate the Byzantine layers of law and bureaucracy in Colorado. The state code could be halved, and no one would die and everyone would benefit.
THE POOR AND MARGINALIZED
POLIS: “Despite all of our progress, far too many people are either barely getting by, or falling behind.”
LIBERTARIANS: Well, when you increase the tax and regulatory load on taxpayers, some of them break and can no longer keep up.
The cure for that is to eliminate the load on the taxpayer by eliminating taxes.
POLIS: Seeks local government takeover of broadband internet.
LIBERTARIANS: Competing with the private sector is never a good idea.
And what happens when “communities” decide they can disconnect or deplatform individuals or groups who wish to freely exercise their right to freedom of speech or religion?
It’s bad enough that private-sector entities sometimes refuse to allow uncensored speech (much of that so-called “private sector” censorship, by the way, is driven by government pressure).
It will be much worse if there is only the government monopoly provider and no other outlet for free speech. And cost per user will skyrocket, same as with everything else bureaucrats take over.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
POLIS: “We [must] address the inequities in our criminal justice system. That means tackling discriminatory practices that make people of color, individuals living with mental illness, and Coloradans experiencing poverty more likely to face incarceration. And it means working to make sure Coloradans who do serve prison or jail time are able to live a dignified and fulfilling life after they’ve paid their debt to society.”
LIBERTARIANS: The biggest single issue looming over criminal justice is the number of nonviolent drug offenders who go through the system.
Libertarians suggest the one reform that would eliminate much of the injustice of our current syustem is to fully decriminalize all victimless crimes, including all recreational drugs, sex work, and gambling. It’s time to end our national experiment with the Progressive Era’s national socialist legacy of Prohibition. Prohibition has been a disaster, costly in both human lives and in expense. It has decimated several generations of young men in minority communities — which were revenue-farming targets for law enforcement for decades prior to Prohibition.
Private, consensual behavior is none of the government’s business.
Ending state prosecution of drug and other victimless offenses will eliminate the need for many drug warrior jobs, allowing government employed individuals currently fighting that utterly unwinnable war to seek productive work in the wealth-producing private sector.
EARLY CHILDHOOD INDOCTRINATION
POLIS: “[We will introduce] state-funded early childhood education.”
LIBERTARIANS: Hasn’t government done enough to our children? In Colorado the average public school spends a little over $10,000 for each child already, and the results are sub-par. Meanwhile, homeschoolers and private schools continue to outstrip their government indoctrination centers’ results. The real reason for the push to get kids into the government’s indoctrination system earlier and earlier is… well, to increase the amount of time the state has to indoctrinate.
The same kind of bureaucrats who can’t seem to deliver mail or keep violent criminals locked up should not be trusted around children.
LIBERTARIANS: Polis’ budget package coming up on the 15th includes a formal request to provide paid parental leave for all state employees.
He also wants to force the private sector to establish a paid family and medical leave program.
So he’s going to make it more expensive for the private sector to pay their own employees, and then he’s going make sure they pay for his patronage of Colorado bureaucrats too.
Where does he think that money is going to come from?
Libertarians call for government to stop regulating everything in life. Whether one’s employer provides leave or not is a private matter that should be left to negotiation by employers and employees.
As for leave for government employees, it would cost a lot less if government employees simply left.
POLIS: Wants to lower “the outrageous cost of health care”.
LIBERTARIANS: The only way to do that is to get the fickle fingers of bureaucrats completely out of the health care pie. A good start would be to eliminate the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, end all government funding of or subsidies to the health care industry, and begin eliminating state licensure so that private certification can take over.Perhaps the most laughable of Polis’ demands is his proposed “Office of Saving People Money on Health Care“.
Maybe this will buck the trend of government agencies being created for a purpose but then having the exact opposite effect in reality (and growing to gargantuan proportions in the process), but that’s probably a pipe dream.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS
POLIS: Wants to “address the appalling costs of prescription drugs“, and cites the factoid that “Canada has the same drugs from the same manufacturing plants that we have here in the United States; but often at one-half, one-third, yes, even one-quarter of the cost.”
LIBERTARIANS: And the reason for that is Canada’s government lets those manufacturers sell their drugs there only at the prices the government sets — edicts which do not take into account drug development costs. So when Colorado and other states start buying drugs from Canada and elsewhere at regulated prices, and re-importing them here, expect the pipeline of new life-saving drugs to start drying up.
Polis is just like every other politician in that respect: They are too shallow and ignorant to look for the real reasons why things are the way they are.
ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE DEBATE, GREEN ENERGY
POLIS: Wants “good-paying jobs in the clean-energy sector that can never be outsourced.”
LIBERTARIANS: This is an example of politicians thinking they have any moral right, or the authority, to pick winners and losers.
What the green energy sector needs is for the government to get completely out of meddling in any kind of energy — green or not. Eliminate the subsidies, eliminate the penalties, and protect property rights, and the markets will gravitate towards clean energy just fine and without government help.Perhaps the most ironic part of Polis’ state of the state speech was his twin arguments for spending billions and writing impossible-to-comply-with regulations to mitigate climate change, and forcing a changeover to electric vehicles on the one hand, but then building more and bigger highways.
If Polis really wishes to reduce emissions, then he should be working towards eliminating land-use regulation by localities that force builders to spread out developments further and further away from city centers. He should also be looking at privatizing infrastructure so that users pay the full cost of building and maintaining it.
In the meantime, one of the methods Polis and populist politicians like him use to “help” get electric vehicles into use is by penalizing the use of fossil fuels. Libertarians suggest instead getting government out of the way: Don’t subsidize or penalize **any** form of energy.
It is also ironic that Polis cited the all-solar coffee shop and windmill plant in his address. Politicians like Polis, by making mining the minerals needed to build windmills, solar panels, and other tech either impossible or costly. Which means that mining such minerals goes overseas, where slave and child labor is used and where environmental oversight is lax or nonexistent.
Polis says he wants to “help” businesses of all kinds start, grow, thrive, and create good-paying jobs. Once again, this means he will attempt to pick economic winners and losers, when the only thing he needs to do is to get government out of the way by eliminating taxes, fees, licenses, permits, and regulations. This is clearly not what he intends. He wants to protect the “right” of communities:
“to have a voice when it comes to industrial activities within their borders. It’s time for us to take meaningful action to address the conflicts between oil-and-gas drilling operations and the neighborhoods they impact, and to make sure that all of our communities have clean air and water.”
“Communities” don’t have rights. Governments don’t have rights. Only individuals do, and only by protecting the right of individuals to do what they wish with their own honestly-acquired property will liberty be preserved. If a company damages neighboring properties, the solution is to allow those damages to be addressed in court.
STATE INCOME TAXES; TAX CODE
POLIS: Wants to “make our tax code more fair, so that we can reduce rates for Colorado families and small businesses. Our tax code gives too much power to the special interests who can afford expensive lobbyists, while forcing ordinary families to pay more. As legislators, I know that many of you find these tax giveaways offensive.”
LIBERTARIANS: Again, this is because previous iterations of Polis have tried to pick winners and losers using the tax code. Rather than continuing to trifle with who gets the better deal at tax time, the Libertarian Party suggests making all taxpayers the winners by eliminating taxes for all and allowing the private sector to provide better services at lower cost — and without the free rider problem.
Polis referred to alleged “tax breaks” for this or that group as “tax expenditures”. In other words he assumes every penny of your money actually belongs to government, and if the government deems you worthy of keeping some of it, that’s “spending” by the government. That is a disease just about every politician suffers from. A name for it might be “Grabitis”.
Libertarians think you and everyone else in the private sector own every penny you have earned, saved, and invested; while the leeches of government should not expect a penny.
So yes, Jared — let’s modify the tax code.
By eliminating it.
SALES TAXES, OTHER TAXES
POLIS: “90 percent of the retailers in our state are small businesses. It’s time to cap the vendor fee, which is a giveaway to the largest and most profitable retailers in the nation, and use the savings to lower rates, which will benefit small businesses and millions of working Coloradans.”
LIBERTARIANS: Again, Polis wants to use the tax code to pick winners and losers. But the only way to level the playing field is to abolish the vendor fee (tax) altogether.
POLIS: Wants to implement “true tax reform that reduces taxes for hardworking Coloradans instead of giving breaks to special interests while forcing families to pay more.”
Families pay all taxes. No corporation pays one cent of tax — because taxes for corporations are just one more expense of doing business. If you buy a loaf of bread one day for $1.00, and the next day a new $1.00 per loaf tax takes effect, that family will then have to pay $2.00 for the same loaf of bread.
Libertarians want an “economy where Coloradans from all walks of life don’t just get by, but thrive,” same as Polis said he wants.
But the difference between Polis and Libertarians is Polis wants you to believe he can wave his wand and do that by saddling Coloradans with higher taxes and more regulation; while Libertarians would eliminate barriers to producing wealth and improving one’s lot in life.
MAKING THE STATE “WORK BETTER FOR ALL”
POLIS: He says he “will work tirelessly to make our state work better for you – so that you can earn a good living and share in our special way of life. And I know that this Legislature will do the same, because every single one of us wants to see every single Coloradoan succeed. A Colorado for all.”
LIBERTARIANS: What he doesn’t say:
- Except oil workers, whose industry is slowly being restricted into oblivion.
- Except the poor, who are being displaced rapidly from their homes due to escalating real estate taxes.
- Except gun owners, who are being threatened with confiscation.
- Except for antique car hobbyists, who are being regulated and harassed out of working on their own cars.
- Except for Republicans, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and other political minorities.
- Except for the victims of police shootings and beatings.
- Except for those who believe Freedom of Association is an inalienable right.
- Except for those who say unpopular things.
- Except for people in alternative relationships, like polyamory.
- Except for singles.
Polis asked a few rhetorical questions.
Which, unfortunately for him, are easy to answer.
POLIS: “Will our ideas be good for Colorado?”
LIBERTARIANS: Nope. His ideas will mean more job security for bureaucrats, and more looting from taxpayers.
POLIS: “Will they reduce health care costs?”
LIBERTARIANS: No. Polis’ “solution” for health-care costs are no different than any other worshiper of state meddling. They will increase costs and make the health-care system even more difficult for patients to navigate.
POLIS: “Will they improve our schools and help our kids get a strong start?”
LIBERTARIANS: No. Schools will continue to deteriorate and leave students further behind homeschoolers, private schools, and the rest of the world.
POLIS: “We all agree that every child deserves a great education, so let’s start there.“LP: Excellent idea. A terrific start would be to begin transitioning government indioctrination centers by selling them to parents.
POLIS: [Detailed a long laundry lists of things he wants to burp forth using other people’s money.]
In summary, Polis is just another in a long line of tax-spend-regulate-subsidize-suppress-penalize political hacks who think they have any moral right to govern the affairs of private individuals.
Libertarians suggest an alternative to politics-as-usual:
- Get government out of the way.
- Eliminate taxes.
- Stop allowing localities within the state to violate individual rights; including property rights.
- Slash spending.
- Eliminate government jobs.
- Abolish regulation.
- Repeal all all unconstitutional regulation of freedom of speech, conscience, religion, expression, and Freedom of Association.
- Privatize government functions.
- Allow the private sector to work.
- Leave people free to improve their own station in life, and don’t penalize them for doing so.
- Get government out of education.
- Cease all regulation of private, consensual behavior.
- Eliminate all state laws that compromise citizens’ rights as protected by the Bill of Rights; particularly the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments.
And leave us the hell alone.
Vote Libertarian * 800-ELECT-US * http://www.LP.org
Written by Marc Montoni <AMCAmbassador@gmail.com>, January, 2019. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.