The Richmond Register


December 16, 2012

Twelve days to a merry, free-market Christmas

FRANKFORT — On the day I’m writing this, there are exactly 12 days until old St. Nick reveals his decision about which Kentucky legislators and judges have been naughty and which are nice.

So I decided to try some good old-fashioned political caroling to express my wishes – and those of a growing number of Kentuckians – for a more prosperous and competitive commonwealth in the days to come.

All who have “less government and more freedom” on your Christmas wish list, sing with me – don't be shy:

On the first day of Christmas, Frankfort gave to me: passage of a superb charter-school bill.

On the second day of Christmas, Frankfort gave to me: pension reform for retired political cronies.

On the third day of Christmas, methamphetamine fear mongers gave to me: an un-prescribed box of Sudafed.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Frankfort gave to me: Kentucky’s very own right-to-work law.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Kentucky’s education department gave to me: a true, spin-free assessment of our public schools’ performance.

On the sixth day of Christmas, the EPA gave to me: a white flag of surrender.

On the seventh day of Christmas, the EPA also put up in its window for me: a “Going out of Business” sign.

On the eighth day of Christmas, laid-off coal miners gave to me: copies of paycheck stubs.

On the ninth day of Christmas, Kentucky’s political leaders gave to me: proof they have a backbone.

On the tenth day of Christmas, elected officials gave to me: more transparent government.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, future Kentucky’s tax reform commissions gave to me: approval to remove moochers and replace them with economic experts and free-market supporters.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the commonwealth gave to me: another NCAA championship…for some Kentucky team. 

And while we’re at it, I’m adding my New Year’s resolution list here, as it applies to Kentucky, its politics and policies.

• I resolve to use this column in 2013 to promote economically sound policies in a responsible manner, using credible sources and indisputable facts to advance ideas that make Kentucky stronger and more competitive.

• I resolve to clarify for Kentucky citizens the impact of complex, complicated bills and proposals in Frankfort. Taxpayers often are unaware of consequences – especially the unintended ones – of decisions made by elected officials.

Here’s one thing we need to be crystal clear about: It’s time for uninformed, out-of-touch politicians to quit fear mongering about what getting rid of some antiquated telecommunications regulations would mean for elderly Kentuckians. 

Let’s make 2013 a year we open the door for business to telecom companies who stand ready to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Kentucky’s wireless infrastructure.

• I resolve to vigorously oppose with mind, voice and keyboard unconstitutional decisions that uphold the nanny culture growing like mold in Kentucky’s health departments.

This culture is clearly exposed by the recent Kentucky Court of Appeals’ maddening decision to overturn a lower court’s ruling that implementation of a smoking ban on private property by unelected officials at the Bullitt County Health Department is unconstitutional. 

If the state Supreme Court doesn’t stop this nonsense, these activist, out-of-control health department bureaucrats across the commonwealth will consider the ruling carte blanche to regulate everything from the size of convenience store’s soft drinks to how many cheeseburgers a local diner can sell in a day.

Stopping that alone would certainly make it a Happy New Year for me.

Jim Waters is acting president of the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at Read previously published columns at 

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  • Jim Waters.JPG Frankfort plays ping-pong with public pension transparency

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    March 8, 2014

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg 50 years makes a world of difference

    I wasn’t in Frankfort on March 5, 1964, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and Jackie Robinson led 10,000 on a march to the state Capitol in support of a public accommodations law.
    But a few months later, I stood in front of the “Music Hall,” site of the Glasgow Junior High School located on a street named Liberty, and watched black kids “walk up the hill” of College Street on the first day of integrated schools in Glasgow.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 02.23 Mike Duncan mug.jpg Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter

    This winter, temperatures across the country dipped to historic lows. Here in our home state of Kentucky, the near-arctic climate caused increased power demand which resulted in an incredible strain on the electric grid and rising energy costs.

    March 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Protecting citizens’ data is a no-brainer

    Target Corp. is learning the hard way: The price is steep for retailers who don’t protect customers’ sensitive financial information.
    Target’s profits fell a whopping 50 percent during its fourth quarter of 2013 as the result of a massive security breach involving as many as 110 million of its customers’ credit- and debit-card accounts, which began the day before Thanksgiving and extended throughout much of the holiday shopping season.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Making plans for spring planting

    My brother Keith (Keeter) probably planted peas on one of those warm days last week, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that brother Steve did likewise to try to be the first two fellows in Letcher County to actually be digging the soil in their 2014 gardens.
    Keeter’s father-in-law, the late Dock Mitchell, used to get my brother to drive him a 50-mile round trip to get pea seeds and potting soil for early February planting. Dock raised mammoth melting sugar snow peas and sugar snaps around every fence on the place. 

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Cynicism, optimism both on display in Frankfort

    Those who spend little time in Kentucky’s Capitol and who read columns by cynics who cover it should be forgiven their disillusionment about how the people’s business is conducted.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Even Scrooge would enjoy library mystery

    Saturday afternoons and evenings are usually down time for Loretta and me.
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    February 20, 2014 1 Photo

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