The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Utah Constitutional Amendment ABCD's

I'm not a huge fan of amending our Utah State Constitution, let alone FOUR TIMES as is the proposal before us on November 2nd. Like dude, what is this a Constitutional Convention or something? As with voter propositions, my default is set to NO unless you can prove its a great thing we really, really need. So I got out my voter pamphlet and put the Amendments to the smell test.

Amendment D: Creating a Legislative Ethics Commision

This creates a 5 person "independent" panel of "distinguished Utahns" (language in "Argument For" section) to review complaints of unethical legislative behavior. So, let me get this right, we are creating a non-elected oligarchy to pass judgement on the legislature? And what the fishwiskers makes someone a "distinguished Utahn"? This is an absurdity of an amendment.

Then I saw who was pushing this: David Clark, Speaker of the House. Oh. That makes sense now. The same guy who lead the standing ovation to Kevin Garn's hot tub-with-a-minor confession. (Holly on the Hill) Yep. This Amendment will decidedly vault Utah into a State of Enoch where distinguished panel members appointed by noble legislators will stand as 5 wise Solomons in executing perfect judgement. NOT!!!!

If there's one thing I've learned about a Republic is WE THE PEOPLE bear the burden of executing judgement and whenever we think to give up our power to someone else to do our job we suffer the consequences of their wrong decisions and encounter huge resistance in reigning back the power that is justly ours.

Chris Buttars, the sole Republican to have the wisdom to vote against this asp summed it up in the "Argument Against":

The current process places you, the citizen, in full control of ethics violations. In fact, you ARE the ethics committee, because YOU decide whether a candidate is allowed to serve.

Do not use ethics legislation as a feel-good crutch when the real problem is that too many citizens fail to properly scrutinize before they vote.

There are no short cuts to running a proper democratic republic.

It's quite the shame more Republicans couldn't grasp the vision of Senator Buttars. I believe, if passed, this panel will permit or create far more unethical behavior than it will ever solve. This is the worst of the four proposed Amendments and gets a NO! vote from me.

Amendment C: Specific Property Tax Exemptions

This Amendment provides some property tax exemptions for entities providing water and had no opposition. Here's my take: I can find no Federal Constitutional justification for Property Tax--that is, the governmental misappropriation of private property--so if we can give anyone any break on property tax let's do it and vote YES.

Amendment B: Eligibility for Legislative Office

The innocuous intent of this Amendment belies masking the debate on appropriate requirements for office. The Amendment seeks to normalize the requirements for office between elected and appointed officials. Fair enough so far.

Where I disagree is that it limits the citizens freedom to choose whomever they want to represent them. Having a 3-consecutive year citizenship in the state seems stringent in our mobile society. Suppose someone lived in Utah all their life, but moved away two years ago for a year for employment reasons. That person is ineligible for holding office. What if my citizen-legislator has to relocate across town and outside their district to care for an aging parent? They would not be able to serve.

If the citizens feel like someone is being a carpetbagger, then let the citizens have freedom through our competitive caucus system to elect someone else.

Until requirements are eased, there is no need for normalization which moves in the direction of stringency. We the People need fewer laws and more freedoms, so it's NO on B for me.

Amendment A: Further Definition of Utah's Secret Ballot

A bit of background: there is a growing national movement to do away with secret voting when it comes to forming a union (aka "card check"). I am strongly for keeping one's vote private when it comes to unionization because a public vote opens the door for intimidation and coercion of the workers in getting them to sign on to the union. It is easy to see through the fallacy of open union balloting by simply asking promoters to defend why then shouldn't all voting be public rather than secret?

Our Utah Constitution currently says that "all elections" should be by secret ballot so it seems like we should be protected from Federal intrusion into our state (IE feds: what part of "all elections" don't your understand?) and thus we shouldn't amend our Constitution whimsically.

The problem is we have seen the unchecked iron fist of the Federal government reach in and steal our lands we need to fund our schools, steal franchises from car dealers in our state, and force us into purchasing health insurance meeting their requirements. The 10th Amendment has been spit upon and "enumerated powers" has grown to a neverending Santa's list of wants.

If this small Amendment helps clarify our laws and keep the secret ballot for unionization we currently have--which I believe it does--then do I justify this Amendment with a YES vote.

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