Opinionated @ CFE

Conversations Versus Lectures


Despite being on the same end of the political spectrum, there is a stark contrast between Sutherland Institute and the Utah Taxpayers Association. Most of this boils down to tone and attitude. Another aspect is the level of engagement with the politically involved, and how ideas are found and developed. In the end, it’s the difference between a conversation and a lecture.

A lecture is a one-way street, presenting your point of view and ignoring or shutting down feedback. This restricts the sources of ideas to just those whom the lecturer has hand-picked, often in a way that reinforces their own biases. All too often, it comes across as condescending arrogance. This, unfortunately, is exactly how the Utah Taxpayers Association operates. There is no debate, no discussion, and almost zero interaction. You’re expected to accept their obviously superior point of view without question or discussion.

Sutherland Institute provides a sharp contrast to this. They regularly interact with politicos of multiple political perspectives and seek input on new policies they may not have thought of. These policies are then discussed openly to try and find a good solution. It’s a conversational tone, one in which understanding is actively sought. This is the opposite approach that the Utah Taxpayers Association takes, seeking a problem and then trying to find solutions via a collaborative process.

I feel like Sutherland Institute is adding to the dialog, whereas the Utah Taxpayers Association is merely trying to shout everyone else down. Which do you think is better serving the interests of our state?

Howard Stephenson, Hypocrite


Sen. Howard Stephenson, president of the Utah “Taxpayers” Association, finds himself in the middle of picking market winners and losers in Paul Rolly’s latest column. Apparently our lobbyist senator pressured a purchasing committee to pick a favored vendor even going so far as to have the RFP re-written to be tailor made for the company. Now the company is bankrupt and the state is out $3.5M with nothing to show for it. And yet, this same Senator and the organization he heads spend an awful lot of time talking about how UTOPIA is unfair market competition and how the free market should rule.

Howard Stephenson, you’re a hypocrite.

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