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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Referendum C- A Freedom View

Governor Owens visited our campus Tuesday, as did Douglas Bruce, the El Paso County Commissioner who authored TABOR. I realize that there has already been a lot of commentary on Referendums C and D, but I would like to add my view from the perspective of economic freedom.

First, it is clear that referendum C would constitute a tax increase on some sort of permanent basis, given the way TABOR is structured, even after we return to its enforcement, we would experience a higher tax rate. Here I think it is important to remember that government is composed of people, and it is certainly not the most efficient handler of money, since there is little or no incentive for the people in government to use other people's money efficiently. One of the main arguments I have heard for referendum C is that it would cause a tuition increase. Perhaps this really is the case, but I don't think that from an economic freedom standpoint it makes sense to raise taxes to pay for individuals to go to college. If people own themselves, wouldn't it also make sense that people are responsible for themselves? I pay for my school; all my other classmates are responsible for paying for theirs. It seems wrong to me to take money from other people to pay for my schooling. I think that it would make sense, after what we have studied of spontaneous order, that the problem, if it really is one, would be taken care of without government intervention.When we allow people to take care of problems, rather than the government, we preserve our freedom. There has also been some evidence to support that economic freedom has a certain amount of correlation to economic freedom, so it makes sense, if the goal is to maintain economic prosperity, that we should allow people to be responsible for themselves and each other, rather than allowing the government to take our freedom. If people do not want tuition to increase it would make more sense for those people to donate money to the school, rather than forcing everyone to donate money to the school through taxation.

Another argument that I have heard for referendum C is that it will help Colorado economically. I really struggle with this idea, since the referendum is for a tax increase, which is more likely to reduce consumer spending. If we want Colorado to have more economic growth, it would make more sense to either keep taxes the same or reduce them, and allow people the freedom to spend their money on what they choose.

Overall, it seems like referendum C is unnecessary government intervention. I found it most helpful to understand the referendum through thinking critically about its possible effects.

I certainly agree. We as a community need to inform other people that the increases in revenue will be generated by a tax. We need to stop the increased taxation of our society and rely on market forces to generate price.
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