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Live and Let Live

Article by Drew Sakson

Congressional Election – November 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

I am running because the rights and the values of the people in my district are not being represented in Washington. We in Colorado, and especially on the Western Slope, understand the concept of being left alone to pursue our own goals and happiness so long as we don’t interfere with the right of others to do the same.

“Live and Let Live” is a message well understood in this part of Colorado. It means I don’t have the right to dictate to my neighbor what he can read, eat, drink, believe, purchase or possess. It means I respect my neighbor’s ability to make decisions in his own life, and I expect the same from him. “Live and Let Live” also means I expect the same respect from my government. Our government, our elected representatives, have forgotten this principle.

After two more years of countless laws being passed and tens of thousands of new regulations pouring out of Washington, I say, “Enough is Enough.” It is time for us to take back control of our lives and property. It is time for you to be the one who decides how you will spend your money, which charity, which service company, which special interest will benefit from your dollars. It is time for you to be the one who decides how you will get from one place to another, how much it will cost you and your community. It is time for you to be the one who decides how much personal risk is too much when deciding what pastimes to enjoy, what you choose to eat or drink, what items to possess.

It is time to send the message to Washington, “Enough is Enough”. The people of Colorado want to take responsibility for their own lives, without the ever-watchful eyes of the federal government. They want to be free to interact peacefully without asking permission from the federal government. The people of Colorado want to make decisions about their lives without wading through stacks of federal regulations and forms.

My campaign will focus on three issues:

1) End the death tax

Currently the Federal Government imposes a 55% estate tax, after a small deductible, upon the death of a property owner, even when the property remains in the family. This forces many families to sell their lands, their businesses or their farms to pay the tax. Children who have worked the family farm since their youth discover they owe a tremendous amount in taxes when their parents die, even though they helped maintain the farm through the years. And they owe this tax even if the farm is not sold. In other words they owe taxes on profit they do not make.

Many family farms are being slowly dismantled by this unfair tax. Pieces of the farms are being sold off to pay the taxes. Sometimes the whole farm is sold to satisfy Washington’s claim against the owners’ estate.

I do not believe that my labor or life belongs to my government; instead I believe that my government belongs to me. I believe the same is true for every person in America. In Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address to the nation in 1801, he described a wise government as one that “shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread that it has earned.”

This rings especially loud and true when talking about families who have worked hard to build up a family farm or business. Scott McInnis has denounced the death tax yet continues to vote for budgets and bills which include this tax.

2) Growth

Growth is an issue faced by many communities, especially in the faster growing states like Colorado. There are many ways to curb excessive growth that can be done without the interference of the federal government.

First, if we end the death tax it will make it easier for families to retain their family farms instead of selling to developers to pay this tax. Many people would rather have a legacy to pass onto their children and their children’s children than the money that can be obtained by selling their land. We should not make it difficult for these families to do so.

Second, we need to have developers, whether they are companies or simply private landowners to pay their own way. No more handouts from the government to help dissipate the owner’s cost of development. Often these handouts are in forms which we don’t normally think of as handouts; the cost of building highways to allow increased traffic from subdivisions; the cost of insuring that utilities are available.

Third, we need to stop collecting money from other states and using it to develop projects that encourage increased development of our open areas and encourage new residents to move into the area.

3) Ending Drug Prohibition

Prohibition of alcohol failed and prohibition is failing when it comes to drugs. The federal government spends billions of dollars annually to wage war on people’s individual choices and with that money it increases crimes associated with prohibition and decreases the rights of individuals within and without our borders.

It is not drugs that fuel the violence that is associated with the drug trade, but the prohibition of that trade. Prohibition always decreases the supply and increases the profit, which encourages people to become part of the trade. Turf wars spring up. When prohibition of alcohol ended, so did the turf wars where producers and suppliers killed one another for a piece of the action. Consumers stopped going blind from bathtub gin.

America has just topped 2,000,000 people in prison; more per capita than any other nation in the world, even China. Almost 40% of these people are in prison for nonviolent drug offenses such as possession, growing, manufacturing, selling or buying of drugs. These people are not a threat to the security of others yet we use valuable resources to apprehend, convict, house and monitor these people; resources better used to track criminals who are a threat to our security, such as muggers, thieves, rapists, and murderers. It is time to say Enough is Enough.