It’s the beginning of a long and cantankerous month of candidate interviews for the mid-term elections of 2010. So far, things are going swimmingly. Still, as this candidate and I talk about the deficit, unemployment rate, taxes and healthcare policy, the candidate begins to get, for a lack of a better word, pissed. He works to keep the anger from bubbling to the surface and exploding into some wrathful public display of awfulness in the middle of the busy Starbucks.
Carefully, he cools himself off and moves the conversation into a less destructive direction. “Listen, we can’t continue with this spend-happy form of government.”
He is not afraid of being the Party of No. He will say no to everything and anything that makes the government bigger, more powerful, more bureaucratic.
He is angry. And he isn’t alone. The masses are tired, used and abused, and run ragged. They have no money to spend yet they see representatives spending willy nilly. They are being forced to get insured, forced to fund the bailouts of banks that now can’t even offer them credit, and they aren’t gonna take it anymore.
And politicians are milking this populist rage, using the anti-government angst to propel their own twisted vision into public discourse.
That’s the impetus behind “The Evil Three” or “The Bad Three” or “The Ugly Three,” as the trio of tax and spending measures on the November ballot have been termed. The proponents of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 talk about how we must take action, we must do whatever we can to shrink government and lower the burden on the taxpayer (see your blue book for details for the ballot language); they say, “Schools must learn to do more with less,” “I don’t want to pass this debt on to my children,” and “Average people have to learn to balance their checkbook, even when times are tough. The government can too.” They say these measures are simply a reaction to the bureaucracy-loving democrats of the Colorado Legislature who keep raising fees without voter approval. This is for the people, they say. For the children.
I see it as a cannonball in response to a doorbell. Neither effective nor appropriate—and full of rage.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper says 60, 61 and 101 will cause “a voter-approved recession;” the state’s Republican attorney general, John Suthers, calls them pure anarchy. They would have a $30 to $40 million impact on Boulder County alone; the state’s losses would be in the billions. More than 70,000 jobs will be lost. The Colorado Union of Taxpayers, which actually supports the measures, says public libraries should be closed and light rail should be sold.
It’s a dangerous game we are playing with 60, 61 and 101. Those on both sides of the great partisan divide say these measures go too far and the impacts are just not worth the benefits of lower property taxes or $10 car registration. The Yellow Scene editorial board now joins the large group of publications endorsing NO! on 60, 61 and 101.
Voters must realize these measures have serious, long-term consequences, that state and local governments are not punching bags to take out your frustration on, and that no matter how angry, scared and pissed off you are with the current economic downturn, the national debt, the lack of jobs and the glut of smooth-talking bureaucrats, don’t vote for something that force feeds small government down the throats of state legislators, large and small businesses and residents alike.