Discontinue the Oscars
Well, Oscar time is over again for another year (sigh of relief). I have not watched the Oscars since I became an adult more than 40 years ago. I never really understood why this self-appreciation society has continued to air over and over again, for so many years. How can a broadcast event that devolves into bad politics and continues to insult and ridicule a large part of the United States population continue to exist? How is it that a particular group of people in the business of making entertaining movies (some of which are pretty good BTW), can fail so badly at just being normal, decent, human beings?
I understand that this year's Oscars had the lowest ratings ever! Whenever Hollywood has a show with such low ratings, it's quickly canceled. It just makes good economic sense to not throw good money after bad. Why waste resources on a show that so few people watch or even like, especially when those dollars could help the homeless in California (the state with the lowest standard of living in the U.S.). Well Hollywood: Don't you think it's time to cancel the Oscars?
Kingpin of pot
The Gazette blows its own horn, reporting they have a great investigator investigating marijuana. But they didn't investigate one of the biggest drivers - state and local taxes and regulations. The Gazette should ask why Colorado doesn't have a big black market in beer, wine and liquor? Why aren't booze businesses and home brewers carrying guns? Is Colorado government one big kingpin of marijuana?
Begging is a job, part II
I couldn't agree more with the writer of "Begging Is a Job" - Ken Thompson. I have said to myself many times that the general public is the problem as they enable this behavior with handouts. Some of the people begging on the medians are able-bodied young people. Some walk their walkers down the street to their spot day after day. They are not necessarily hungry & if they are there are many sources of a free meal. They want money and yes this is tax free. They are people who write graffiti on the Safeway wall on Colorado Ave. that says "never gonna work." What does that tell you?
I read with great interest your editorial this morning regarding the recently introduced PERA bill.
I support the effort to improve PERA's unfunded liability (although 100 percent funding is extreme for a publicly funded pension fund) and am gladdened to see the bill includes a request for a 2 percent funding increase from the state, especially after shorting the fund $4.5 billion since 2010, I am concerned with several items in the bill and in your editorial.
I fail to see how encouraging new employees to opt out of the defined benefit plan for a defined contribution plan fixes the problem with the unfunded liability. Logic seems to dictate that if membership declines in the defined benefit plan the problem becomes more acute.
Second, salary for teachers and other state employees should increase based upon their own merits and not upon which plan they choose. Since 2000, when the Legislature eliminated the step and grade pay system replacing it with the pay for performance and a subsequent merit based pay system, employee and teacher salaries have progressively trended downward towards the bottom end of the pay range.
Since the employees and employers contribution to PERA is based on a percentage of an employee's wage, the amount going into PERA since then has also suffered. Finally, I find it odd that we speak in such a cavalier fashion about a two-year Cost of Living Adjustment freeze followed by a reduction to 1.25 percent annual increase for retirees. Since the reduction in COLA benefits to 2 percent in 2010, the CPI for Denver/Boulder/Greeley averaged 2.5 percent per year. And, in the last three years alone, retiree health care costs have increased more than 25 percent. While state employees and teachers continue to be squeezed and shoulder most of the burden for the unfunded liability, the governor and Legislature continue to skirt their responsibilities.
Dionne tortures economics
In his exegesis of the causes of populism, E.J. Dionne quotes historian Richard Hofstadter who posits a false dichotomy between whether "comfortable people tend to identify, psychologically, with the power and achievements of the very successful or with the needs and sufferings of the underprivileged." ("Chaos around world blamed on the haunting specter of 'populism,' " Opinion, March 9).
The failure to recognize the needs of the underprivileged, Dionne argues, breeds a kind of noxious populism.
Liberals view a society's highest goal through the prism of equality of outcomes which obliges them to torture economics to support wealth redistribution rather than equality of opportunity. Such moral preening presupposes those in the lower income quintiles are incapable of succeeding without the insulting economic condescension called noblesse oblige.
While we should provide for those in real need, the most successful economies are structured to incentivize hard work and delayed gratification, with a tax structure that provides rewards commensurate with effort and outcomes. Moreover, government systems that are most resistant to the kind of disruptive populism that can breed revolutions are constitutional republics because they provide the best guarantee of accountable representation.
That's why Colorado's populist impulse, which gives rise to constitutional amendments via referendums versus legislative action, abridges the true will of the people. Dionne astutely cites Princeton University professor Jan-Werner Muller's criticism of populism, arguing that "in defining 'the people,' populists often exclude large segments of the people." That is precisely what happened with the misinformed passage of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana.