Roger Koopman

Roger Koopman

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We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s easy to be generous with someone else’s money,” and we know how adept our big spenders are at moving money around from the politically plundered to the politically favored. We know instinctively that government creates no wealth, no jobs, no prosperity. It can only redistribute that which was produced by another person’s ideas, initiative and labor.

In the process, our “generous” politicians are taking a wrecking ball to American freedom — the greatest idea in human history. On the one hand, they are destroying both the incentive and the opportunity to produce. On the other, they are cultivating an increasing dependency on government favoritism, and an attitude of entitlement toward other people’s property. It’s a recipe for national disaster, and unfortunately, too many of us have bought into The Lie, and traded liberty for the illusion of benefit. We’ve been set up.

It’s the easy, sleazy way for our political overseers to get reelected. Almost everyone, it seems, wants something from their government, whether it’s “free” child care, “free” college education, “free” benefits for staying unemployed, “free” payments for farmers not to farm, “free” high-speed broadband, “free” subsidies for alternative energy, “free” subsidies for cheap housing, “free” tax credits for select industries (a Gianforte favorite), “free” wage subsidies for disabled workers (Daines’ latest bill), or (you fill in the blank.) Politicians prey on the fact that most Americans have become convinced that they have a right to claim their “fair share” of someone else’s money.

But wait a minute. That appeal has worked for multi-billion dollar federal spending, but now, with the “never seen a government program we didn’t like” Democrats in control of Congress and the White House, we are talking multi-trillion dollars of new spending. The stakes of their shell game are now so huge, that many Americans are beginning to question both the principles and the sustainability of the entire system. After passing trillions of dollars in so-called COVID Relief (brought on by their devastating shutdown of the economy) Democrats have now passed a $1.2 trillion “infrastructure” bill (much of which has little to do with federal infrastructure), and are rapidly cramming through their “Build Back Better” bill with its current price tag of $2 trillion (far less than they wanted!).

So the narrative has suddenly changed. Just listen to Montana’s own Sen. Jon Tester, whose loyalty to his party’s line has always eclipsed any loyalty to the people he was elected to represent. Tester insists — despite our debt-caused price inflation that belies his words — that moving around existing appropriations and taxing the rich later instead of now means it’s “all paid for.” Knowing that is supposed to make us feel better. No one gets hurt. Everyone is blessed. All we need to do is genuflect to these politicians at election time, and the largess will keep flowing.

Space doesn’t permit me to unravel all of Tester’s deceptions, but let’s just use our common sense. Understanding that government creates no wealth, every dollar the government spends comes from somewhere else. Whether taxed directly or by the cruelty of the Federal Reserve’s printing press, every dollar in government hands is one less dollar the private sector can invest and private citizens can spend. It’s socialism on the fast-track.

Free stuff from the government is an illusion, that hurts most our lower income Americans, who pay the heaviest price for the resulting inflation and reduced economic opportunity. Handout Economics is also a moral abandonment of the free society and its basic foundations: personal responsibility and respect for the rights and property of others. As with every country that has drifted or revolted into state socialism, we will ultimately lose our identity, and the American Dream will become a nightmare for generations to come.

The board does not represent the views of the newsroom, and its opinions have no influence over the Chronicle's news coverage. To submit feedback on this editorial, email

This editorial solely represents the opinion of the Chronicle Editorial Board. The board consists of the opinion editor, the managing editor, the publisher and several community members. The community members are non-journalists who provide input and help shape the board's opinions.

Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Michael Wright, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

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A Bozeman small businessman for 37 years, Roger Koopman served two terms in the Montana House of Representatives and eight years on the Montana Public Service Commission.

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