November 07, 2013
In 2013, voters
didn’t pick a president, determine partisan control of Congress, or settle the
fates of dozens of gubernatorial candidates. The election -- let’s face it -- bordered
on a snoozer.
are some items worth noting. And happily, on balance, this November’s Tuesday
after the first Monday did not yield many wins for the unlimited-government
Liberals were delighted
by the approval of a hike, to be followed by inflation-indexing, of New Jersey’s minimum
wage. (The “raise” will likely prove to be of dubious
value to the measure’s alleged beneficiaries, who comprise a mere 1.3
percent of workers in the Garden
But Americans have consistently demonstrated their appalling ignorance of the unintended
consequences of minimum-wage mandates. Votes against them are quite rare.
(Kudos to Montanans
giddiness over its utterly predictable victory on the East Coast should be
tempered by its stunning defeat in the Pacific Northwest.
voters rejected a labeling requirement for genetically modified food.
Organic farmers and “sustainability” scolds, whose claims have about
as much credibility as the fabulations of “ancient-alien
theorists,” were aghast. After all, the Evergreen State is reliably
blue. Its population is concentrated in crunchy Seattle,
most of its fedpols are Democrats (while its Republicans are hardly tea-party
stalwarts), and Washington
hasn’t cast its electoral votes for a GOPer since the Gipper’s 1984 landslide.
Yet Initiative 522 fizzled, garnering
just 45.9 percent support.
measure’s proponents were quick to blame the loss on corporate money. One
“reporter/columnist” helpfully averred that a “deluge of food-agribusiness
bucks wiped out a I-522’s early lead in the polls.” But whining about the deep
pockets of your opponent is usually an indication of poor campaign management,
a failure to accurately gauge public opinion, or both. Here’s an alternate take
on the initiative’s outcome: A majority of voters decided that the issue of
food transparency is best left to farmers, processors, grocers, and customers. Imagine
Try telling Colorado’s tax hikers
that big bucks buy elections. Moonbat financiers Bill Gates and Michael
Bloomberg each donated $1 million to aid the passage of the Centennial State’s Amendment 66. Unions
supplied millions more. The measure was about schools -- or as a nincompoop columnist for The New York Times put it, “children,
knowledge and the future itself.”
Amendment 66 was
projected to raise $950 million -- in its first year -- for rehiring teachers
and expanding preschool. The extra revenue would come from hiking Colorado’s flat 4.63
percent income tax to 5 percent for filers earning under $75,000, and 5.9
percent for those earning more.
Colorado is moving leftward, and fast. While
never deep red, both its U.S.
senators are now Democrats, and Barack Obama prevailed there in 2008 and 2012.
Its governor is a liberal, and last year, voters legalized
marijuana. Amendment 66, it once seemed, was a no-brainer. “It’s a tax
increase, but what we get out of it is the No. 1 public education system in the
country,” Governor John Hickenlooper promised.
Evidently, Colorado is occupied by public-education
haters. An impressive 64.6
percent of voters rejected Amendment 66, despite little organized opposition.
And the state produced additional returns that augur well for smaller, more
accountable government. Of the 11 Colorado counties
that asked residents whether they wished to secede from
Denver’s suzerainty, five
chose to bolt. Durango
repealed a politician-imposed fee for plastic bags, and Telluride
rejected a soda tax.
County, home to Kansas
City and Independence,
offered what was inarguably this year’s nuttiest tax measure. Question 1 sought
to annually raise $40 million -- not for roads, schools, or sewers, but medical research. Alas, the half-cent
tax for the proposed “Jackson County Institute for Translational Research and
Medicine” was annihilated, The Kansas City Star reported, by a “greater than
5-to-1 ratio.” Once again, campaign-finance
orthodoxy was disproved. The pro-tax side had piles of dough. Its anti-tax
nemesis was strapped for cash.
In several Oregon communities,
property-tax hikes for bonding projects saw little love. A majority of Houston’s voters rejected a
kooky, corporatist, $217 million scheme to preserve the Astrodome as an event
space. In nearby Katy,
the school district’s $99 million bonding plan -- which included a 14,000-seat
football stadium -- was defeated. (That bears repeating: Texans declined to fund a football stadium.)
All in all,
Election Day 2013 was not a happy one for government-employee unions, Nanny State ninnies, and
corporate-welfare queens. Savor the victories, freedom fighters, but get to
work soon on the challenges that await in 2014.
D. Dowd Muska (www.dowdmuska.com) writes about government, economics, and technology. Follow him on Twitter @dowdmuska.
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