There are some core principles that unify many of the various grass roots groups (TEA Party, 9/12, Liberty, Gadsden, Libertarian, etc.), which I submit would include 1) a commitment to a limited, Constitutional role for government that, 2) protects individual liberty and encourages personal responsibility, 3) a commitment to a free market economy that is not strangled by government regulation or distorted by government intervention, and 4) fiscal responsibility in the fulfillment of government’s limited role. Interestingly, these are some of the principles of the Republican Party as well. This is why all of these groups should be able to find common ground in these areas.
One of the biggest problems that we face today as a state, and as a nation, is that many in the Republican Party either do not truly understand these principles, resulting in the ever‐increasing misapplication of government, or else they are willing to forego them for political gain.
While the tagline of both political parties today is “jobs, jobs, jobs,” the reality is that not only is job creation not the role of Colorado government (a word search of the Colorado Constitution confirms that job creation is nowhere to be found), but government, in general, is not designed for, nor is it competent at creating jobs. While our state government could help create an environment that is more conducive to job creation by lowering the regulatory and tax burden on the private sector, protecting personal liberty and property rights, and establishing the fiscal, judicial and statutory stability that businesses need in order to be able to make plans for the future so that capital will be attracted toward investment here, our government does not create jobs.
Some political representatives may be well acquainted with the politics of job creation, but they seem to be behind the curve when it comes to the meaning of a free market economy and the role of government. Government intervention in the market for the well intentioned benefit of the common good by allegedly creating jobs is misguided at best, and destructive in the end.
Today’s version of statist policy clothes itself with a combination of euphemistic public policy goals. Especially prevalent is the go‐to statist formula of environmentalism + job creation = green economy.
Want to score some political points? Simply create a government intervention into the free markets to incentivize some portion of the green economy. Throw in some funding by gifts, grants and donations, perhaps a little TIF (Tax Incremental Financing, which allows government to issue debt to be repaid by the future anticipated tax revenue increases expected to be brought about by their latest intervention), toss some direct tax‐incentives to specific industries to encourage participation, and then of course, liberally apply for federal money because it’s just sitting there waiting to be spent and if we don’t do it someone else will, and voila – you have just done something noble and beneficial for everyone by helping the environment and creating jobs (not).
Now, if you’re a Democrat and you just read that last paragraph thinking it sounds good, that’s to be expected. A true classical education, complete with critical thinking, will be required for a full recovery. If you’re a Republican and you think that this sounds good, you need intervention. This is the type of thinking that has spawned the current liberty movement!
Republicans must embrace the principles that are woven through the various patches of fabric that make up today’s liberty movement. Republicans must awaken their commitment to a limited, Constitutional role for government that protects individual liberty and encourages personal responsibility. Republicans must maintain a commitment to a free market economy that is not strangled by government regulation or distorted by government intervention. And Republicans must be committed to fiscal responsibility in the fulfillment of government’s limited role. Anything less would deny the message of today’s liberty movement.
Rich Bratten is an actuary, entrepreneur, and CFA in Douglas County, Colorado, and is also a graduate of the Leadership Program of the Rockies (LPR). As a member of the LPR class of 2011, Rich won the coveted and highly competitive “Defender of Capitalism” award. He created the “Principles of Liberty” at www.principlesofliberty.org in an effort to help Coloradoans create accountability and impact policy in the state legislature. Rich also serves as the Executive Director for the Republican Study Committee of Colorado (RSCC), which can be found at www.rscc.us.