Dumb Masses | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Hits & Misses

Dumb Masses

Also: Tax Breaks, Science Rules



Dumb Masses
Well, it is the end of the world as we know it, if you are to believe Fair Elections Utah. The group wants to stop left-leaning, socialist types like former Gov. Mike Leavitt, Kirk Jowers of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, and the state GOP. It’s not because they want to change the caucus system, but because they want to involve more people—or, as Karl Marx put it, the masses. Worst yet, they’ve threatened to do that through a citizen initiative, which the Legislature hates because of “the people” factor. Dan Jones says that only one-third of Utahns participate or know about caucuses. Paul Mero of the Sutherland Institute isn’t entirely opposed to a change, but sums up the opposition: “Democracy is overrated … lasting freedom requires a modicum of intelligence from the citizenry. … Not all voters fit that description.”

Tax Breaks
While Congress struggles with how to balance the budget and spark the economy, we get questionable cost-saving ideas that must be part of the trickle up & down theory of economics. Enter Rep. Jason Chaffetz with his second try at legislation to fire federal employees who have “seriously delinquent tax debt.” In 2009, federal employees owed about $1 billion in unpaid taxes. “Federal employees, contractors and grantees have an obvious obligation to pay their taxes,” Chaffetz says. “They owe it to the taxpayers themselves to be compliant. Those that do not, should be fired or lose funding.” The problem is not so much that it’s unnecessary, as the National Federal Employees Union says, but that it’s unfair, since Congress always exempts itself from the pain it inflicts on others.

Science Rules
Try as they might, legislators have yet to require public schools to teach creationism. Climate change could be another matter. In the last session, legislators defeated a Republican-run bill that called climate change human-caused. Now, the state is reviewing Next Generation Science Standards, which include a discussion about human-caused climate change. A West High School senior is a co-founder of iMatter, a national student group that wants policymakers to address climate change. Conservative groups have opposed and will continue to oppose any changes to science curriculum, even though it would emphasize scientific inquiry from all sides of the question. Evidence be damned.