Editor's Note: The Steamboat Pilot & Today has asked the Routt County Democrats to prepare an essay on behalf of Democrat Bill Ritter that will appear in this space.
This year's Colorado governor race presents a stark choice concerning the proper role of government in our lives.
According to Bill Ritter's Web site, Bill has not worked in the private sector since graduating from law school more than 25 years ago. Bill has never run a business. Bill has never created jobs. Bill has never had to make a payroll.
By contrast, Bob Beauprez grew up in dairy farming and returned to run the family farm after college. Bob prospered in running the farm. As the character of the area surrounding the family farm changed, Bob became a successful land developer. He and his wife, Claudia, later bought a failing bank, which, with hard work, was turned around and now prospers.
In these different career paths lies the essential difference between Bob Beauprez and Bill Ritter. To Bill Ritter, the default solution to all problems is further governmental programs and regulation. This is natural because all of his adult life Bill has been a part of the government bureaucracy. Just look at the Ritter Web site or listen to his supporters. You will hear a litany of programs that he supports.
What is completely overlooked in the Ritter approach is how these programs must be paid for with your hard-earned money, and any recognition that when any governmental program is instituted for the benefit of some, it works to the detriment of others. I would ask you to reflect on your frustrations when last dealing with government, whether in paying your taxes, dealing with the regulation of your business, or property, or just trying to solve a problem. Did you enjoy it? Do you want more of it?
Bob Beauprez recognizes that the genius of America lies not in the government, but in its people. Consequently, Bob looks first to the private sector to solve the problems of the day. While it is certainly true that public projects that are infeasible for private enterprise sometimes offer improvements for society, this approach should not be our default first choice.
Consider for a moment the American condition 150 years ago. There were no electric lights, running water or indoor plumbing. There were no telephones, computers, cars, buses or trains. Did these wonderful improvements to our lives come from government programs? Certainly not. They came from creative and entrepreneurial Americans, like you. While government can, to some extent, help create an atmosphere conducive for private enterprise, government does not create the innovations that improve our lives - people do.
Today, the rate of invention and improvement has further accelerated to a staggering pace. We cannot conceive of the improvements that lie ahead of us. As a society, we need to facilitate private enterprise and innovation. In the final analysis, as observed by Nobel laureate, Milton Friedman, government primarily just spends other people's money and meddles in other people's affairs. This retards progress for perceived short-term gain. This is the fundamental flaw with the Ritter approach and underlines the strength of the Beauprez philosophy.
Limited space does not permit me to recount to you how this basic difference in approach translates into each of the current issues, but you can read Bob's positions that are clearly set out at bobbeauprez.com.
When you study the issues in this governor's race and any other race, however, I would ask you to consider this basic difference, Beauprez's faith in the people versus Ritter's faith in government, and ask yourself which approach is in the best interest of our country and our state.
If you do this, I think that you will join me in supporting Bob Beauprez.
Rick Akin is an attorney practicing in Steamboat and Austin, Texas, and is a former member of the Pilot and Today Editorial Board. He is the Routt County campaign chairman of Beauprez for Governor.