Resolutions for a new year


Photo credit: Billy Alexander

We asked Sutherland scholars what their goals or resolutions are for 2012. Here’s what they had to say:

Derek Monson, The Center for Community and Economy

Utah’s economy is recovering well from the latest recession, but for continued, stable growth the state should develop more policies that allow and encourage entrepreneurs to expand their businesses.

For example, in 2012, we hope the state will begin a pilot project as part of an economic gardening initiative. Economic gardening helps connect entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to grow. In other states, it has led to thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new economic growth. Economic gardening would be a step in the right direction toward making Utah’s economic development approach more entrepreneur-centered while also growing the state economy. 

Daniel E. Witte, The Center for Educational Progress

In 2012, we would like to enhance modularity in Utah’s education system by reducing barriers faced by students who wish to transfer from one government school to another, or to utilize a combination of academic credits and specialized extracurricular activities offered at government schools and various forms of alternative education. Without limitation, this includes elimination of any barriers designed to artificially prevent Utah student athletes at all levels from participating in any educational programs and/or athletic programs of their choice that they are objectively qualified to utilize.

For example, student athletes should not be ineligible or be penalized a year of athletic eligibility simply because they wish to transfer to another academic institution or play for another athletic program, provided that they are otherwise objectively qualified on the merits for participation as evaluated by the relevant principal and coach. Sutherland Institute rejects any notion that any student or athlete is a serf subject to a feudal system of education, or that a person’s destiny should be based upon the whims of local government education officials rather than one’s own talent, ambition and hard work.

William C. Duncan, The Center for Family and Society

In 2012, we would like to see the conversation around family policy in Utah shift from its current preoccupation with the desires of adults and the convenience of attorneys toward a new focus on ensuring our laws reflect (1) that marriage is a core social institution; (2) that the decision to marry or to end a marriage is morally serious; (3) that children, who are the chief victims of family breakdown, should be the particular concern in family policy decisions; and (4) that handing down to future generations a pro-child, pro-marriage and pro-family culture is the most important thing we will do.

Practically, this will mean inaugurating an effort to strengthen marriage in Utah by removing current incentives in the law for quick divorces in which the state helps the person who wants out of a marriage regardless of his or her actions that may have led to the destruction of a marriage. This will involve, at a minimum, reintroducing waiting limits before divorces are finalized and making sure victimized spouses are not victimized a second time by the state by being forced to pay for a former spouse’s misdeeds.

Ed Robinson, The Center for Limited Government

I would hope that Utah citizens would continue their leadership by example, making their political decisions by applying a conservative philosophy to the world as it really is, and then judging the wisdom of those decisions by carefully and accurately observing their real world effects. This is the opposite of what happens many other places, where things are judged by what they are hoped to be, not by what they really are.

Enacting the proposed government spending amendment this year would be a further expression of this leadership, since it would curtail the well-intended but ill-advised tendencies of elected officials to spend whatever money is on hand, regardless of appropriateness, effectiveness and sustainability.