post

Long Live the Incumbents!

ByIan J. Roy

In politics, there’s nothing worse than a coordinated political ploy just before an election.

In this particular case, Senate Democrats didn’t stop at just the usual controversial bill; they introduced a dead-end Amendment to the United States Constitution to rile up their party’s base. The unfortunate and shocking aspect is that the Amendment would’ve effectively gutted free speech in the name of protecting incumbent politicians.

Of course this isn’t how the bill is being sold to the tens of millions of voters on partisan e-mailing and fundraising lists however. With the “War on Women” narrative losing traction and almost every poll and prediction coming out saying that Democrats will likely lose control of the Senate in 2014, party leaders will now harp on an old rallying cry, overturning the Citizens United decision.

If you don’t recall, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission involved a documentary filmmaker’s non-profit organization being forbidden from making a Pay-Per-View film about Hillary Clinton just months before the elections in 2008. This was due to the McCain-Feingold law, which banned corporations, non-profit issue organizations and unions from speaking ill of any Federal candidates within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.

Now, you might say wait a minute… Isn’t 30-60 days before an election normally around the time that every citizen starts looking into whom they might vote for?

You’d be precisely correct.

The fact is that most Americans are too busy working full-time jobs, secondary jobs, raising families, and trying to enjoy a few moments of life during the rest of the year. Unless you’re a political junkie, you only start paying attention to races when they get down to the wire. What McCain-Feingold did, and what Udall’s S.J. Resolution 19 would have done, is ensure that just as we begin to pay attention, the only people telling us how to vote is the incumbents with their built-up war chests of cash.

“Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.”

The sentiment behind the law is understandable. What society would want only the richest of their members deciding whom our lawmakers will be? The knee-jerk urge is for arbitrary restrictions to be placed to try to obstruct the influence of the rich. What supporters of these proposals don’t understand is that dark money and mega-donors will ALWAYS find a way to their preferred politicians.

The most powerful players, from George Soros to Michael Bloomberg to Charles Koch, all have armies of lawyers, political connections and loosely associated organizations figuring out how to navigate campaign finance laws. Think of it in economic terms. When mountains of regulations are laid at the feet of business and industry, who is better positioned to come out on top? Is it the small companies struggling to survive or the giant corporations with million dollar legal teams?

The big and politically connected corporations will always weather the storm. They stand to be even better off in the aftermath, once their small-time competition is removed from the picture. This is exactly the power shift that we will face in elections if the goals of this Amendment are given serious consideration.

The more grassroots organizations that we take pride in supporting and identifying with will be the ones that will be shut up by this law, not the rich. Whether you are a member of the NRA, Greenpeace, a labor union such as SEIU, the National Taxpayers Union, or a civil liberties organization such as the ACLU or FreedomWorks, your issues and grievances will be silenced just when they need to be echoed the loudest. This law limits the marketplace of voices at election time to one, that of the powerful and wealthy incumbent.

You might ask, isn’t that the case now? As an individual who works for a small, 2-person, state based organization, I can tell you that we still have power in this system. I spend much of my time processing $10, $25, even $2 donations from countless supporters who simply want us to change the narrative being shoved down their throats by incumbent politicians and party bosses. We use minimal resources to speak to voters in a direct and down to Earth manner about what’s affecting their lives. Keeping our organization off of the TV and radio waves would simply silence the small-town voters that we help to represent.

You would think that with 15 of the top 20 big money donors from 1989-2014 being strongly Democratic leaning (including Goldman Sachs), and with the boogie men at Koch Industries only coming in at #58, the left would be a bit more cautious to use this as a partisan issue. In fact, if billionaires and millionaires can so easily purchase elections, why don’t we have a President Romney, a Governor Meg Whitman out in California or debates on President Perot’s reforms in the 90’s? Why did a freshman Senator from Chicago defeat the Clinton Empire in a ruthless primary campaign?

The truth is that American’s can smell a billionaire rat better than Senate Democrats and Senator McCain give them credit for. Manipulation of economic grievances is no reason to throw away free speech rights. When government stops picking winners and losers and inserting itself into every crevice of the economy, there will be far fewer billionaires inserting their check books into buying politicians and legislation. That is how we fix the problem, not by giving Harry Reid and John Boehner the power to decide who can speak to us before we vote.

post

GUEST COLUMN: Health Care Needs More Innovation, Not More Government

August 8, 2014

Free The Future

By Geoff Wilson and Wesley Coopersmith

So much for Obamacare making health insurance more affordable – analysts have firmly established that insurance premiums, especially for young Americans, are rising. Obamacare will increase the cost of premiums by an average of 44 percent for young females and 91 percent for young males.

Obamacare has expanded government intervention into health care but done nothing to reduce the costs, leaving young people in quite a bind. What can be done to fix this problem and make health insurance more affordable for everyone?

Proponents of government-run health care claim that intervention into America’s health care system is necessary because the free market doesn’t provide quality and affordable care on its own. These same proponents neglect to mention that government intervention has long distorted the health care marketplace pre-Obamacare.

Instead of more of the same, let’s reduce overzealous regulation of the health care marketplace to create more competition, innovation, and choice for all Americans.

When numerous companies have to compete with one another to win our business, they are incentivized to provide their goods or services for the lowest possible price at the highest possible quality. Decreasing regulation allows more businesses and products to make it to the marketplace and thus gives the consumer more options.

Unfortunately, the president’s health care law does not address the underlying lack of competition and innovation that keeps costs so high and limits the quality of care Americans receive. Obamacare increases demand by forcing everyone to buy health insurance while doing nothing to increase supply. It’s the perfect recipe for higher prices.

Under our current health care system, obtaining prosthetics can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Much of the blame for such high costs lies with government bureaucracy. It shouldn’t have to take millions of dollars and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval to make a quality, safe, and affordable medical product.

Leon McCarthy, a 12-year-old boy in need of a prosthetic hand, couldn’t afford $30,000 for the existing prosthetic product. Instead, Leon’s father, Paul, worked with an international team that included a puppeteer and a carpenter and built a $150 3-D printed prosthetic.

It’s now available online in a newer design with parts as cheap as $5! This is a prime example of the sort of innovation that everyday people can come up with to solve medical challenges at low cost. Sadly, FDA red tape makes many innovations needlessly expensive and time-consuming, depriving all Americans of a greater supply of useful medical treatments. If Obamacare proponents are serious about reducing the cost of quality health care, they should address the overregulation of medical technology.

But that’s not the only way the government limits the supply of health care. The government should be encouraging doctors to open new clinics and hospitals and welcoming the prospect of new options and lower costs for American patients. But Certificates of Need (CON), essentially government permission slips allowing would-be health care providers to operate, make it more difficult for doctors to expand the supply of medical practices. These certificates effectively serve to protect the profit margins of existing hospitals from new competition at the expense of patients. This needs to change.

If our goal is to make health care affordable for every American, increasing the supply of medical care is the best way to meet that goal. Obamacare has increased the demand for health care by forcing every American to buy it but failed to increase the supply. Hence, individual premiums are growing out of control.

Unless the government allows the free market to expand supply and stimulate competition and choice, American health care patients will be stuck with the same expensive treatments at the same expensive hospitals and face years upon years of rising costs.Obamacare only makes a bad situation worse.

View the original post here.

video

post

How the Government Keeps Us from Jobs

Free the Future

By

July 2, 2014

This is a Guest Blog Post.

If you can’t find a job, what’s the next best option? Create a job for yourself, of course. In a time of high Millennial unemployment and rising college tuition, skilled labor is the only option that many young people have. Unfortunately, many young professionals face expensive red tape from government-required occupational licensing.

According to the 2012 Institute for Justice report License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing, occupational licensing is widespread across the country and affects a broad range of professions:

“On average, these government-mandated licenses force aspiring workers to spend nine months in education or training, pass one exam and pay more than $200 in fees. One third of the licenses take more than one year to earn. At least one exam is required for 79 [out of 102] of the occupations.”

For example, a young aspiring professional who already knows African style hair braiding is, in many states, banned from braiding anyone’s hair simply because she hasn’t paid hundreds of dollars and gone through hundreds of training hours for a state-issued piece of paper. According to licensure expert Morris Kleiner, only one in twenty Americans needed a license to do their jobs in the 1950s. Today, that number is one in three and includes taxidermists, travel agents, and cosmetologists.

Burdensome licensing laws don’t benefit consumers, like you and me: they benefit established businesses that fear competition. New entrants in the market can offer lower prices and better service. To restrict competition, big businesses support burdensome licensing requirements so that it is too expensive for more businesses to get started. A fair playing field free of government protection for special interests gives everyone the chance to offer their skills to the market. Consumers get more options, and more people, including many Millennials, can make a living from their skills.

Besides, there are many alternatives to government-issued licenses.

Private industry associations are capable of issuing their own certifications to members who demonstrate the necessary skills and safety knowledge. For example, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence already does this for car mechanics. Their certification has certain requirements, and it’s up to consumers to decide whether or not they value the certification. The Better Business Bureau is another example of a private organization that holds businesses accountable for misleading advertisments and scams. And, of course, the Internet has made it easier than ever for consumers to write and read reviews.

Let consumers choose the best professionals with the private certifications they value in the free market. No one, including Millennials, should be shut out of the skilled labor market just because they don’t have the money to obtain a government-issued permission slip.

You can view the original post here.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Geoff Wilson studies Political Science and Public Policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, in New York. He also writes both fiction and non-fiction, and enjoys participating in the liberty movement. His proudest achievements include his Eagle Scout award, and the publication of his first book in Fall of 2013. Geoff can be contacted at: grw8367@rit.edu
video

post

BUTT OUT OF MY MEDICINE CABINET — It’s Not About Birth Control

Original post here.

By Laura Carno

6/30/2014

The Supreme Court today sided with Hobby Lobby, and other similarly situated privately held companies, allowing them to choose not to offer specific types of birth control in their health benefits package.

The religious freedom argument is ubiquitous today, and I will not add to that.  Instead, I will approach this topic from a different angle: Is it the government’s job to tell companies what must comprise their benefits package?  Why must they continue to butt in to the medicine cabinets of private citizens?

Let’s take away the special category that birth control has been assigned in this health care debate.  It is sometimes discussed as if birth control would not be available but for ObamaCare.  That is just factually inaccurate.  Birth control is widely available, and is in no danger of becoming unavailable.

I take a prescription thyroid medication.  It is critical to my living a healthy life.  My doctor and I talked about the options, agreed on a medication, and I filled the prescription.  Why is no one up in arms over universal coverage for thyroid medication?  Isn’t birth control just another medication —like cholesterol medication, blood pressure medication, or the thyroid medication I take?  They are all lifesaving medications that many patients can’t do without.  Birth control is not in some magical medicinal category of its own. But is it the government’s job to tell an employer that they must offer any of those medications in their benefits package?  Why would that not be a voluntary agreement between the insurance company and the insured customer?  Why should the government be involved at all?

If you say, “Yes, all of those medications must, by law, be covered.”  To those who believe that should be the law, I ask, “Upon what principle is that based?”  You must believe in a government so powerful that it can tell the employer all sorts of things about employee pay and benefits.

If you want the government to mandate birth control, then to be intellectually consistent, you must also be supportive of the government determining the pay, benefits, sick leave, vacation days, etc. for all jobs at all companies.  Is that OK with you?  It’s not OK with me.  Pay, benefits, sick leave, and vacation days are all decisions that should be agreed upon by the employer and the prospective employee.  If they can’t come to a voluntary agreement, it is not the government’s job to step in.

There are many conversations we should not be having with our government.  We should not be compelled to discuss with them the contents of our medicine cabinet.  That is between my doctor, my insurance company and me.  I want the government to butt out of my medicine cabinet.

video

post

Courage vs. “Courage” – The Colorado Gun Control Debate

May 1, 2014

lauracarno.com

By Laura Carno

Courage vs. “Courage” – The Colorado Gun Control Debate

California High School student Ben Wolman recently wrote an essay, for which he won an award in a Profiles in Courage contest, called “John Morse: Small Price to Pay.” Wolman and I have different definitions of “courage.”

Wolman paints then-Senate-President John Morse as an independent-minded legislator, concerned only about the safety of the citizens he serves, and not concerned at all about his political career.

The facts do not support this. First, the 2013 gun-control bill agenda was a much larger effort than just John Morse. Joe Biden was calling key Democrat holdouts during floor votes.  Michael Bloomberg and Governor John Hickenlooper were directly talking during these same debates.  And during the successful recall of John Morse, Bloomberg wrote a personal check for $350,000 to try to thwart the effort.

Wolman also writes that Morse “has a long record of making other people’s well-being a priority,” indicating that these gun control bills would actually make people safer. Unfortunately for Wolman, this is just not accurate. A Harvard study shows that strict gun control does not mean less crime.

True courage is the mom who stands between her children and an intruder with a loaded firearm rather than see her family harmed.  Courage is the widow who fights for concealed carry laws that would have allowed her husband to save his own life instead of being murdered in public by a stalker.

Politicians are not kings. They are not elected to jeopardize my safety. They are not elected to tell us what to do with our lives. They are not elected to tell us how we may or may not defend ourselves. Those who think they know better how we should live our lives should not be held up as heroes.

See the original post here.

post

GUEST COLUMN: With Sen. Udall actions speak louder than words

March 24, 2014

The Gazette

By Laura Carno

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Mark Udall was one of the “Obamacare 12″: senators who cast the 60th and decisive vote for Obamacare. His constituents were against Obamacare. Had he simply done his job and represented them, the entire nation would have been spared the miseries of Obamacare. Like President Barack Obama, Sen. Udall told us we could keep our doctors and our health plans. He lied, and, now, 335,000 Coloradans have had their health care plans canceled. Every day we read of people who have lost their insurance, only to have it replaced by coverage they don’t want – at a higher price. Does Udall deserve re-election in November, when he lied about something so critical to all of us, regardless of political party?

While Udall has consistently supported taxpayer funded “green-energy” technologies, he’s placed roadblocks in the way of further oil, gas and coal development in Colorado, while opposing the Keystone Pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline would go a long way toward American Energy Independence. Meanwhile, average gas prices in Colorado have gone up from $1.76 to $3.50 during Udall’s tenure in the U.S. Senate. This isn’t about the environment; this is about energy decisions Udall made for you and your family that don’t work – and, in fact, work against you.

Udall also voted for an amendment to limit firearm magazine capacity to 10. As we said in our TV and radio ads during the recent recall of state Senator President John Morse, “Don’t you dare tell me how to defend myself!” It’s not Sen. Udall’s job to make self-defense decisions for us. That’s our job.

Regarding the NSA spying scandal, Sen. Udall has said that one of our key freedoms is, “the freedom to be left alone.” I agree, Udall, but actions speak louder than words. Butt out of our personal health care, self-defense and energy decisions.

Politicians are not kings. Sen. Udall acts as though it’s his job to make these critical decisions for us. It is not. That’s our job.

We love living in Colorado. But we just can’t afford Udall’s destructive policies anymore.

-

Carno is a political strategist based in El Paso County and the founder of I Am Created Equal.

Dunn’s response:

Whom do you trust? Isn’t that what this is really all about? I trust Mark Udall. As a senator representing all of us, wealthy, middle class and poor, in Colorado, Mark will continue taking steps toward a better, more progressive future. A better future isn’t every-man-for-himself health insurance, a polluted environment and a gun in every hand. A better future requires a responsible, well-educated citizenry who take steps to protect themselves, one another, and our environment – together.

That’s the future I am heading towards with Sen. Mark Udall, and we encourage you to join us.
Read more here.

post

LOLA of the Month Laura Carno

March 6, 2014

Ladies of Liberty Alliance

By Ladies of Liberty Alliance

We are pleased to announce March’s LOLA of the month, Laura Carno! Laura is a Colorado citizen who most recently won the 2014 Leader in Action Award from the Leadership Program of the Rockies.

Laura believes that as adults, we don’t need to be told how to live, but we do need to stand our ground when government gets the relationship with its citizens upside down.

Laura has become the face of the idea that politicians are people, not kings. After a 25-year management career in the banking industry, Laura decided to take her passion for advocacy to the next level. Not only has she volunteered for a number of local political campaigns, she has managed successful ones.

What caught our attention was Laura’s influence in the recent Colorado recalls. Laura is the founder of several non-profit advocacy groups including I Am Created Equal and IACE Action. Laura is committed to making a difference, not just making noise.

A recent article from the front page of the Washington Times highlighting Laura’s activism can be viewed here.

See the original post here.