Sutherland Newsletter – January 7, 2010


Sutherland Institute will host another free Movie Night on Friday evening, January 22, 2010 at 7 pm.  The featured film will be Not As Good As You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School, produced by the Pacific Research Institute, and will be shown in the Sutherland Institute conference room, located at 307 West 200 South, Suite 5005, in downtown Salt Lake City.


The film examines the notion that “good” schools are found in affluent neighborhoods as it takes an in-depth look at public schools in California and Tennessee.  Those schools are then compared and contrasted with charter schools whose students perform at higher levels.  The Swedish education system which embraces choices in education is also featured, offering a fresh view on how to best help students succeed in the classroom.


Popcorn and treats will be provided and there is no cost for admission, however because space is limited those interested in attending are asked to pre-register.  Click here to reserve your seats, or send an email to Dave Kimball at with your name, mailing address and phone number, or call 801-355-1272.


To learn more about the film, visit



Sutherland Institute hosted an Ethics Forum on Thursday, January 14, in an effort to increase awareness of specific provisions in the ethics reform initiative proposed by Utahns for Ethical Government (UEG).  Sutherland opposes the proposed initiative.


Following brief presentations by UEG spokesmen Kim Burningham and David Irvine regarding the 21-page initiative, Sutherland President Paul Mero presented a series of questions to them in an effort to clarify and shed light on particular aspects of the proposal.


“We agree with Sutherland Institute on the need for ethics reform in Utah,” Burningham said.  “We disagree on the particulars of how it should be done.  Sutherland is just being nit-picky about the tiny details of what we’re proposing.”


Burningham said the initiative is more concerned with the process of dealing with ethical issues in the Utah Legislature, and that Utah is “at the back of the pack” in the United States in terms of independent ethics commissions.


Mero concurred that ethics reform is needed, but that Sutherland disagrees with the premise and particulars of UEG’s approach.
As part of the forum session, Sutherland released a detailed analysis of the UEG proposal. Conduct Unbecoming: A Critical View of the “Government Ethics Reform” Initiative can be read


“The reasonable opinion that power and money are corrupting influences is far from the unreasonable opinion that any person with power or money has been corrupted or behaves in an unethical manner and deserves to be treated as a second-class public servant,” Mero wrote in the analysis. “Perhaps the Initiative’s authors might consider renaming its effort ‘The Independent Prosecutors Office of Utah Legislators.’”


Questions posed by Mero during the forum focused on the constitutionality of the initiative, its practical applications, definitions of terms, and implications.


An archived recording of the forum including all of the event’s proceedings can be found at


Sutherland Institute’s full analysis of UEG’s proposed initiative can be found at



The 2010 general session of the Utah State Legislature will begin on Monday, January 25, 2010.  During the 45-day session, Sutherland Institute will again work to protect the cause of freedom and promote responsible citizenship by supporting legislation consistent with its vision, mission, and governing principles.


Sutherland’s policy priorities include

  • Religious Liberty – Sutherland will protect individual religious liberty in employment and housing practices
  • No New Taxes … Period – Sutherland will oppose increases in state taxes
  • Ethics Reform – Sutherland will encourage meaningful ethics reform and oppose poorly written, ill-conceived reform of Utah’s ethics laws
  • Authentic Charity Care – Sutherland will work to lay the foundation for a system of authentic charity care as the means of providing health care to Utahns in need



Despite the economic downturn, Dr. Allan Carlson has good news for Utahns: For young persons willing to be owners rather than wage-earners, innovators rather than security-seekers, and free rather than servile, the future can be bright indeed.


His new essay, Unconventional Thoughts on the Economic Downturn … and the New Economy Ahead, is now available online.  In the essay, a publication of Sutherland Institute’s Center for Community and Economy, Dr. Carlson discusses characteristics of the current downturn.  He asserts that, “these numbers suggest that something more fundamental is occurring than merely another recession.  Indeed, it appears that the economic order created after World War II and sustained for over 50 years, has now completely broken down.”  He then addresses the lessons presented by the nation’s current circumstances.


While this view of the prevailing economy may appear pes­simistic and discouraging, Dr. Carlson believes the economic opportunities that lie ahead are actually quite expansive.  “The key is to learn from the errors and immoralities of the failing economic model and embrace instead a true culture of enterprise.  The formula is fairly simple: real entrepre­neurship bound into resilient communities.”


Dr. Carlson is also president of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society, founder of the World Congress of Families, and an associate professor at Hillsdale College in Michigan.