If foreigners dispersed throughout the United States a poison that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, and drug makers had a safe, easy-to-administer antidote, would the federal government dare restrict its distribution?

It’s an easy answer — because just that scenario is happening right now.

Drug overdoses are poisonings (they’re officially classified as such). The United States is in the midst of a drug poisoning epidemic, with Chinese fentanyl and Mexican-and-Columbian heroin having driven overdose death rates to unprecedented levels. For these opioid poisonings, an antidote exists, but the federal government insists that you get a prescription first. 

The Food and Drug Administration has approved naloxone, better known by the brand name Narcan, for use by prescription only. You might have read stories reporting that naloxone is available “over the counter” in New Hampshire and other states. That is not precisely true. 

In an October memo on the drug’s availability, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb explained why it remains available by prescription only.

“Although the auto-injector and nasal spray formulations have instructions for use, they don’t have the consumer-friendly Drug Facts Label (DFL), which is required for OTC drug products,” he wrote. 

“Before submitting a new drug application or supplement for an OTC drug product, companies need to develop this DFL and conduct the required studies to show that consumers can understand how to use the product without the help of a health care professional.”

People are dying needlessly because the FDA doesn’t think Americans can safely inhale a nasal spray “without the help of a health care professional.” 

States have managed to save some lives by offering work-arounds. New Hampshire and other states have passed what are called “standing order” laws. Those allow doctors to give a pharmacy a standing prescription the pharmacist can use to dispense the drug to anyone who asks for it.

Many pharmacies in New Hampshire now stock naloxone, but the price remains high, and not all pharmacies carry it. 

Even with standing-order laws, naloxone is not as widely available — or as cheap — as it would be were it classified as an over-the-counter drug. The FDA acknowledges this. 

“We recognized the important public health opportunity to bring naloxone OTC,” Gottlieb wrote in October.

In December, the state estimated that drug overdose deaths in New Hampshire will finally fall below the previous year’s level, but by a small percentage. Had the FDA approved naloxone for over-the-counter sales years ago, a downward trend might have been realized much earlier, saving untold numbers of lives.  

OTC naloxone will not get to the root causes of this epidemic. But it would let a lot of people live while policymakers seek solutions. The governor and legislators can help by formally requesting that the FDA quickly approve naloxone for sale without a prescription. 

If the governor got all other New England governors to join him, it would put pressure on the Trump administration to speed this approval process.

If it weren’t for the expectation (among modern governors) that modern governors must use state-of-the-state addresses to excite the populace with a list of flashy new policy proposals, Gov. Chris Sununu could have simply read excerpts from the state’s recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, released December 27. 

We quote a few key passages below.

“In 2018, New Hampshire was no.1 for economic opportunity (US News and World Report); child well-being (Annie E. Carsey Foundation), and, for the fourth year in a row, Politico proclaimed New Hampshire as the Best State in the Union. The state placed high in other areas, including: Best state to live in; to raise a family; quality of life; best economy; best taxpayer ROI.

“As stated, the state’s unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted, non-farm), as of October 2018, stood at 2.6 percent, which was well below the national average of 3.7 percent; both rates remained unchanged from October 2017. Year-to-date, 15,300 more people were employed in Oc-tober 2018 than in October 2017. The seasonally unadjusted rate for October 2018 was 2.1 percent statewide, with some counties below that, including Grafton (1.6 percent); Sullivan (1.7 percent), and Merrimack and Stafford (both 1.8 percent).”

Then there’s the budget news.

“Traditional unrestricted revenue for the General and Education Trust Funds received during fiscal year 2018 totaled $2,577.2 million which was above the fiscal year 2018 Plan of $2,443.9 million by $133.3 million, or 5.5%. The favorable results as compared to the fiscal year 2018 budget resulted, in part, from the following taxes which performed better than expected: Business Taxes by $118.8 million (17.9%); Interest and Dividends Taxes by $9.8 million (10.2%); Meals and Rooms Taxes by $1.9 million (0.6%); and Insurance Taxes by $1.4 million (1.2%). Real Estate Transfer Taxes were below the fiscal year 2018 budget by approximately $5.8 million (3.7%), as well as Tobacco Taxes below budget by $3.4 million (1.6%) and Communications Taxes below budget by $0.6 million (1.4%). The State’s other remaining revenue sources combined were approximately $11.2 million above the fiscal year 2018 budget.”

The non-technical translation of the above passage would read: “We rollin’ in money, ya’ll.”
Business activity is robust, which is generating a lot more revenue than budget writers anticipated. Note that the revenue gains are in business, investment, insurance and entertainment taxes. These are consistent with a strong economy that is experiencing increases in business and consumer spending. 

It’s worth noting that the decline in real-estate transfer tax revenue is a reflection of a cooling real estate market, which is a reflection of increasing interest rates combined with high prices caused by New Hampshire’s housing shortage.

And that brings up another graph of the report.

“New Hampshire’s demographic trends coupled with the third-lowest unemployment of any state in the country demands a focus on workforce recruitment and training to fuel state employer requirements. Growth is in sectors that require an educated and qualified workforce, such as precision manufacturing, biomed tech, high-tech, and healthcare. Positive trends for workforce growth include increases in labor force participation, declining median ages in certain areas of the state, and positive net migration numbers in key age demographics.”
The non-technical translation of this passage would read: “Without more skilled employees, this train’s gonna run outta steam and slow to a crawl right in front of a bunch of hobos burning trash in rusty oil barrels.”

The governor addressed this issue, most notably with his mention of a new plan to offer students a year of community college education at no additional cost to the state. A lot of N.H. employers are deeply concerned about workforce retraction and retention, and for good reason. 
Another important component of the workforce shortage is housing, which remains a serious obstacle to long-term economic growth. The high cost of housing — created by supply restrictions — discourages young people from moving here (or staying) to fill all the jobs our businesses are creating. This is a drag on the economy and has to be addressed. 

Given the rosy revenue picture, one would naturally expect a governor to propose a laundry list of new, permanent spending. Governors often try to cement their legacies by creating permanent programs, which they know are harder to kill than a baboon’s body odor.

To his credit, Gov. Sununu avoided this spending trap. His new initiatives were proposed as one-time expenditures that would not recur in future budgets.

We would prefer that any surplus money be put into the Rainy Day Fund (as the governor’s previous budget did) or be returned via tax cuts. But if it is to be spent, treating one-time money as one-time money is preferable to creating new line items in the state budget.

The governor pointed out that the state is flush with cash because the economy is booming, and it is booming in part because the state has resisted the temptation to burden commerce with higher taxes and heavier regulations. If we had written his speech, we would have mentioned this many more times. He should continue to press the point during the legislative session. It would be hard to stress it too much.

The incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee wants New Hampshire to go from having the second-lowest corporate tax rate in New England to the second-highest (based on Tax Foundation rankings). The incoming House speaker initially expressed opposition to the idea, only to backtrack in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader. 

The message is clear: Expect the House to pass a large business tax increase in 2019. 

Rep. Susan Almy, D-Lebanon, told New Hampshire Business Review that she plans to introduce two business tax bills early next year. One would repeal the rate reductions, started in 2016, which cut the Business Profits Tax from 8.5 percent to 7.9 percent this year, and the Business Enterprise Tax from 0.75 percent to 0.675 percent. The BPT is scheduled to fall to 7.5 percent and the BET to .05 percent in the tax year ending in 2021. 

New Hampshire’s overall business climate is strong, but the state ranks 45th on the Tax Foundation’s corporate tax ranking. Even after the cuts, our business tax rates remain high. Making them once again higher than those in all of our neighboring states would hurt New Hampshire’s economic competitiveness and discourage economic growth. 

It also would hurt small business formation. A Federal Reserve study earlier this year found a strong negative relationship between high corporate tax rates and entrepreneurship. 

More than half of New Hampshire employment comes from small businesses, which comprise 99 percent of all businesses in the state, according to Small Business Administration data. Raising the corporate rate would not only make New Hampshire less competitive among Northeastern states, but it would suppress new business startups.

Speaker Steve Shurtleff seemed to have a good sense of the negative effects of higher corporate tax rates when he told NHBR, “I don’t see why we wouldn’t maintain the status quo…. We’ve got a good robust economy in New Hampshire. We don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that.”

That’s exactly the right attitude, and New Hampshire businesses would be reassured had the incoming speaker stuck to that position. Unfortunately, he later told Kevin Landrigan that he must have misspoken and that Almy’s plans were “on the right track.”  

Almy’s other bill would let the Legislative Fiscal Committee increase the BPT if revenue declines to the point that the rainy day fund is put in jeopardy.

The only track Almy’s bills are on is the one to slower economic growth. Almy thinks the Legislature would have a veto-proof majority to raise business taxes. If that’s true, the state economy is at risk of taking a sudden and entirely preventable downturn next year. 

Merry Christmas, New Hampshire. 

The strong economy has brought gifts for all the girls and boys of the Granite State. It has been dropping jobs and money like Santa dropping misfit toys.

The New Hampshire Department of Employment Security reported on Monday that the state’s unemployment rate fell to 2.5 percent in November. The state added 16,570 jobs from November 2017 to November 2018. From October to November, the state added 1,170 jobs. 

The national unemployment rate in November was 3.7 percent, a full 1.2 percentage points higher than New Hampshire’s. 

The government sector is being showered with gifts too. 

The Department of Administrative Services reported that total state revenues in November were above budget by $3.8 million (3.5 percent) and above the prior year by $2.8 million (2.6 percent).

The department reported that business tax revenues for November “totaled $16.2 million, which were $5.6 million (52.8%) above plan and $1.1 million (7.3%) above prior year.” Year to date, “business tax collections are above plan by $63.8 million (37.6%) and $43.9 million (23.2%) above the prior year.”

From state fiscal year 2016, when the first round of state business tax cuts took effect, to the end of fiscal year 2018, business tax revenue exceeded expectations by $319.5 million, as we reported in the fall. With business tax revenues coming in $63.8 million above plan so far this year, the total in unanticipated business tax revenue since the tax cuts took effect has reached $383.3 million. 

That’s effectively found money. New Hampshire’s business tax cuts are not solely responsible for this windfall. The Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, reported on Monday that U.S. states enjoyed a significant revenue boost in fiscal year 2018. The 7.8 percent increase in state revenue came primarily from individual income and business taxes and is thought to have been driven in large part by the federal tax cuts. 

As we prepare to enter 2019, a state budget year, there will be some pressure to repeal the business tax cuts. Those cuts will be portrayed as a giveaway to wealthy businesses. In fact, they contributed to a long period of economic growth that created thousands of jobs and sent state revenue soaring.  

In January, New Hampshire’s work requirement for most Medicaid Expansion enrollees takes effect. Opponents portray it as cruel and punitive. A new study suggests it will make Medicaid enrollees significantly wealthier. 

Granite Staters enrolled in Medicaid Expansion can have a household income of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The state’s work requirement covers all Medicaid Expansion adult enrollees between the ages of 19-64, minus a long list of exclusions. Thirteen exemptions exclude populations such as the medically frail, people with a doctor’s note excusing them from work, parents of children younger than six and adults caring for ill family members. 

The state will require eligible Medicaid Expansion enrollees to participate in what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calls “community engagement” for 100 hours per month. Qualifying community engagement activities include work, job training, vocational educational training and job searching.

This requirement is not designed to punish those who receive health insurance coverage through expanded Medicaid. Rather, it is designed to help enrollees become self-supporting and avoid the many negative effects of being unemployed. 

A study released last week by the Buckeye Institute’s Economic Research Center concluded that work requirements like the ones adopted by New Hampshire could increase lifetime earnings by as much as $212,694 for women and $323,539 for men. 

The benefits go beyond the financial. Spending a long time out of the workforce produces many negative outcomes. One Urban Institute study summarized the effects this way:

“Being out of work for six months or more is associated with lower well-being among the long- term unemployed, their families, and their communities. Each week out of work means more lost income. The long-term unemployed also tend to earn less once they find new jobs. They tend to be in poorer health and have children with worse academic performance than similar workers who avoided unemployment. Communities with a higher share of long-term unemployed workers also tend to have higher rates of crime and violence.”

Work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients are designed to counter those negative effects.

The Buckeye Institute study suggests that New Hampshire’s Medicaid work requirement can add to the state’s thin labor force and significantly increase the lifetime earnings of many lower-income residents. This effort deserves praise, not condemnation.  

The Foundation for Economic Education is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Leonard Read’s famous essay “I, Pencil” with a series of essays about the essay that are worth reading for anyone who isn’t familiar with the groundbreaking original work.

If you haven’t read “I, Pencil,” you must. It is a short, simple essay that makes profound points about market economics — points that are overlooked every day by millions of people whose lives are enriched by the market economy that we all take for granted.

In the essay, Read writes from the point of view of a basic pencil. His central insight is expressed by the pencil’s simple statement that “not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.”

That seems absurd. Of course someone knows how to make a pencil. But no. In fact, no one person can do it. Because to make a pencil, one has to mine graphite, fell tall trees, forge the metal that makes the eraser band, obtain the rubber that makes the eraser, and, of course, build the factories, ships, roads, trucks, and containers that make and transport all the components. Don’t forget drilling for the petroleum and refining the fuel that makes the vehicles go.

A single, simple pencil is not so simple after all. What makes it possible — and for a few dollars a pack — is the modern market with its division of labor and free exchange of goods and services. Because school children need pencils, thousands of people who don’t need pencils or even care about pencils exchange their labor for some small part of what later becomes a pencil.

It is, in short, a miracle. As Read writes, in the character of the pencil: “If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing.”

“I, Pencil” was so influential, that Milton Friedman, who popularized it, posed with a pencil on the cover of “Free to Choose.”

Even 60 years after the publication of “I, Pencil,” millions of Americans remain suspicious of markets, completely unaware of how and why they work, and possessed of the belief that some controlling force is needed to make sure people get the goods and services they need.

If you know someone who hasn’t read this great essay, share it with him or her. The more people who have even a simple understanding of the benefits of the market economy, the better.


In zombie movies, unsuspecting innocents often fail to recognize that the zombie apocalypse has begun. The first of the undead stumble through the village or city unnoticed or mistaken for drunks. Only when it’s too late do the living realize they’re surrounded.

This horror movie cliche came to mind when Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan released a letter on Wednesday urging Congress to pass a one-year moratorium on internet sales tax collections that were allowed by this year’s Wayfair ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Some states have established implementation dates as soon as January 1, 2019,” they wrote jointly with Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeffrey Merkley.

In zombie movies, as in real life, politicians are usually the last to know.

The Union Leader story on the senators’ letter put the big news at the bottom: The Attorney General’s Office has received its first query from a New Hampshire retailer who has received a sales tax notice from another state.

That’s confirmation that cross-border sales tax collections into New Hampshire are no longer theoretical. The vanguard is here.

The letter was from Indiana. Indiana is not waiting until Jan 1, 2019. It’s post-Wayfair sales tax law took effect on October 1. The letter to the New Hampshire retailer was dated November 9, Senior Assistant Attorney General Frank Fredericks confirmed.

“It was more of a you may qualify” letter, and not a collection letter, Fredericks said. Coming only five 1/2 weeks after Indiana’s law took effect, it indicates that states will move quickly to begin the process of identifying and contacting retailers that sell to their residents.

Indiana is hardly the only state with a post-Wayfair law already in effect. New Jersey’s took effect on November 1. As this newsletter reported over the summer, Vermont’s law predated the Wayfair decision and took effect on July 1.

In their letter, the senators also asked Congress to ban retroactive cross-border sales tax collections. Again, it’s a welcome initiative, though a little late. New Jersey’s law covers sales in the “current or prior calendar year.”

States also are preparing to go after individuals who sell through marketplaces such as Etsy and Ebay. The Multistate Tax Commission’s Uniformity Committee recommended in October that states require marketplaces to collect sales taxes from their vendors.

Panelists at a Bloomberg-sponsored conference in Washington on Thursday predicted that every state with a sales tax will pursue requirements next year compelling marketplaces to collect sales tax from their vendors, Law360 reported.

With no federal or state law in place to protect them, New Hampshire businesses and marketplace sellers are completely vulnerable.

“It’s a little bit of a wild west show because nobody knows where it’s going or how it’ll play out.” Nancy Kyle, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Retailers Association, told The Broadside.

Legislators can provide some certainty — and protections — next year, though they should act quickly. With non-sales-tax states outnumbered 45-5, the odds of Congress passing protecting legislation is about as good as surviving a zombie attack when outnumbered by the same ratio.

Concord is abuzz with speculation about the newly elected Democratic majority’s legislative agenda. It’s no mystery. At a panel sponsored by The DuPont Group and New England College on Friday, incoming Senate President Donna Soucy reminded the audience that Democrats campaigned on an agenda (called the Granite State Opportunity Plan), and they intend to govern by it. 

The priorities outlined in the plan are clear: Higher state spending on health and social services, education and infrastructure; increased subsidies for favored energy producers; more regulations on businesses; and higher business taxes.

The plan criticizes recent business tax cuts as tax giveaways to wealthy, out-of-state corporations. Democratic candidates from gubernatorial nominee Molly Kelly on down used similar rhetoric when campaigning. The state Democratic Party’s website is full of attacks on Gov. Chris Sununu for supporting business tax cuts. 

Yet when Soucy outlined the party’s agenda on Friday morning, she did not mention tax increases. That’s a good sign because the business tax cuts that were so much maligned during the campaign did not reduce state business tax revenue. Since the cuts, business tax revenue has risen far beyond expectations. 

As we pointed out in October, in the three full fiscal years since 2016, when the first round of the tax cuts took effect, business tax revenue exceeded budget expectations by $319.5 million.  

That trend has not subsided. In the current fiscal year, which started July 1, business tax revenues are $58.2 million (36.6 percent) above plan and $42.8 million (24.5 percent) above the prior year.

More than 1/3 of $1 billion in unanticipated business tax revenue has funded a lot of additional state pending. And that puts the new legislative majority in an interesting situation. 

They campaigned hard against those tax cuts. Yet the record shows that the cuts coincided with a sustained increase in business tax revenue that continues to fill state coffers with enough money to fund a host of new spending priorities. 

Will the new majority risk that revenue by raising rates, or will leadership decide to leave well enough alone?

Business tax cuts have helped raise New Hampshire to No. 6 on the Tax Foundation’s Business Tax Climate Index. No other New England state is in the top 25. Vermont is a lowly 41. New Hampshire is a lone outpost of business tax sanity in New England, which is clearly helping our economy. 

Next week, Americans will indulge in the fine New England tradition of consuming a large fowl fattened for the purpose of providing us sustenance. It’s a tradition that symbolizes the bounty of our land and our market economy. We should remember, though, that there are birds to eat and birds to leave alone.

Plump American turkeys? Tasty. Geese that lay golden eggs? Best to let them keep laying. 

The New Hampshire Democratic Party outspent the New Hampshire Republican Party by a significant margin going into the final week of the 2018 elections, a Broadside review of available campaign finance reports shows. 

After Democrats won majorities in the Legislature and Executive Council, New Hampshire Republicans publicly complained about weak financial support from the state party. The last campaign finance reports to be filed before the election show there is merit in their frustration.

Each party organization has political committees that raise and spend money on behalf of the party’s candidates. The candidates are expected to raise their own money, with the party PACs helping out as needed. In New Hampshire, an active and well organized set of party committees continues to give Democrats a huge fundraising advantage.  

Campaign finance reports filed with the Secretary of State’s office through October 31 (the last report filed before the election) show that the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s three statewide political action committees — the New Hampshire Democratic Committee, the Senate Democratic Caucus, and the Committee to Elect House Democrats — outspent their Republican counterparts by $3 million. 

The Democratic PACs spent $4.09 million. Their Republican counterparts — the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, the Senate Republican Majority PAC, and the Committee to Elect House Republicans — spent just $1.1 million. 

The New Hampshire Democratic Committee alone spent more than twice what all three Republican committees spent combined: $2.7 million vs. $1.1 million. 

Showing the relative weakness of the state Republican Party, the New Hampshire Democratic Committee outspent the New Hampshire Republican State Committee by a ratio of 5-1. The Republican State Committee raised just $708,460 through October 31 and spent only $540,570. The Democratic State Committee raised $3.3 million and spent $2.7 million.

The Democratic advantage continued at the local level. County and town Democratic committees outspent their Republican counterparts almost 10-1. Democrats spent $359,462 to the Republicans’ $34,865. 

The Democratic Party enjoyed a huge organizational advantage at the town and county levels as well. Local Democratic committees that filed October 31 campaign finance reports outnumbered their Republican counterparts 30-5. 

Republicans did enjoy a slight financial advantage in the only statewide race this year. Gov. Chris Sununu spent $1.3 million to Molly Kelly’s $1.1 million through October 31. 

The Democratic Governors Association reported raising $139,162 and spending $23,300 by October 31. The Republican Governors Association’s Live Free PAC reported raising $627,000 and spending $625,912 through October 31. 

When all party campaign spending through October 31 is tallied — including spending by the gubernatorial campaigns and out-of-state help from party organizations such as the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (but excluding non-party PACS) — New Hampshire Democrats raised $7.3 million to the Republicans’ $5 million and spent $6.3 million to the Republicans’ $4.25 million. 

(We include the gubernatorial candidates’ own spending because those candidates head each party’s ticket and have the potential to lift down-ballot candidates. Non-party spending, such as ActBlue’s $351,848, is not included because it is not party organized.)

Despite conventional wisdom, spending alone is not necessarily an indicator of electoral success. But spending matters, especially in close races. In a hyper-friendly environment (Libertarians at a Ron Paul pool party, for example), one doesn’t need to throw cash around to be accepted as one of the group. When New Hampshire was more red than purple, Republicans didn’t need to spend a lot to convince voters to support them. With New Hampshire having become more competitive, failing to close the gap will make winning legislative majorities more challenging.  

Incidentally, Jonah Goldberg noted this week that when political parties are weakened, other institutions take up political roles, leading to broader politicization of society. He’s a smart guy, and also the headliner at our Libertas Award Dinner coming up on Dec. 10. You should come.

On Election Day, New Hampshire voters will face two important ballot questions that have received less news coverage than Whitey Bulger’s snitch-murder in a desolate, West Virginia prison. 

Had the proponents of these two state constitutional amendments thought to arrange for prisoners to debate them, with rival gangs taking opposing positions, perhaps the public awareness would be greater. Surely a shanking over the finer points of the right to privacy would generate at least an evening’s worth of news coverage.   

As it stands, thousands of poorly informed voters will decide on Tuesday whether to enshrine in the constitution a taxpayer right to sue the government and an individual right to privacy. 

Question 1

Question 1 amends Article 8, originally titled in 1784 “Accountability of Magistrates and Officers.” It was amended in 1976 to declare that “the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted.”

The proposed amendment states that “any individual taxpayer eligible to vote in the State, shall have standing to petition the Superior Court to declare whether the State or political subdivision in which the taxpayer resides has spent, or has approved spending, public funds in violation of a law, ordinance, or constitutional provision.”

This was standard practice in New Hampshire until the state Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that taxpayers have to show they’ve been personally harmed by a possibly illegal government expenditure. Legislators passed a law saying otherwise, and the court ruled that unconstitutional in 2014. 

As we wrote in March, Question 1 restores a taxpayer right Granite Staters had enjoyed for 147 years. It fits nicely into Article 8, which holds that elected officials are the agents of, and are accountable to, the people. 

Question 2 

Question 2 amends Article 2, the original 1784 portion of which reads: “All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.”.

Article Ii was amended in 1974 to prevent discrimination based on “race, creed, color, sex or national origin.”

Question 2 would create an Article 2 (b) titled “Right to Privacy,” which would read: “An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.” 

Opponents have complained that this language is vague and open to court interpretation. But constitutions are intentionally only slightly clearer than Bob Dylan lyrics. They use broad language on purpose to account for technological and cultural developments the authors cannot foresee. 

The wording of Question 2 is no more vague than, say, Article 4, which reads: “Among the natural rights, some are, in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received for them. Of this kind are the Rights of Conscience.”

Question 2 is intended to protect citizens from government snooping. It is effectively a 21st century version of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, but offering a broader protection of personal information.  

Enhancing the flavor of freedom

If passed, these constitutional amendments would make government more accountable to the people and further protect the people from government intrusion into their private affairs. Those are pretty important protections. 

Though they probably aren’t quite as important to the average person on a daily basis as, say, the Doritos locos taco, they’re still up there. 

Taco Bell got everyone to think about the Doritos Loco taco by creating a World Series promotion for free tacos. But they got the words turned around. Free tacos are great, but Taco Freedom is where it’s at. 

From now until Election Day, every time you pass a Taco Bell or think of tacos (which, if you’re like us, is about every three minutes), think of how valuable our constitutional protections are. 

Because when you think about it, the constitution is basically a giant Taco of Liberty. Like tacos, constitutions contain a whole bunch of ingredients that might not seem to go together, but that make delicious, delicious sense when all thrown together in a nice, crispy Tortilla of Justice. 

You can weaken a taco by throwing in things that dilute or compromise the flavor. Like brussels sprouts or “positive rights.” You can make it stronger by adding things that enhance its taste and make it more powerful. The two additional ingredients on the ballot next Tuesday are flavor enhancers. They might seem surprising at first, but add them in and they taste like freedom.