Do you have any idea what kind of requirements you must meet in order to become Colorado's State Treasurer?
Not much, actually. You must be at least 25 years of age; a Colorado resident for a minimum of 2 years; and a United States Citizen. That's it — that's all there is in the Colorado State Statutes. You don't need to have any sort of special training in finance. You don't even need to have a college degree in, well, anything. Primarily, you just need to have been alive for awhile and in Colorado recently.
Why do we bring this up? Because State Treasurer Walker Stapleton has been trying to get appointed to something called The Colorado Retirement Security Task Force, which is being set up by the legislature regarding…yes, retirement savings (bill sponsors Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. John Bucker outlined their legislation in a recent Denver Post Op-Ed). Stapleton was apparently angry that he did not receive an invitation to the task force, and he and his supporters argued (and whined) that it was inconceivable someone could form a financial task force in Colorado and not include the expertise of the State Treasurer.
This was apparently a big deal for Stapleton supporters, with right-wing blogs devoting multiple posts to the topic this week. In one post this week from the blog Colorado Peak Politics, the author makes the case for including Stapleton on the Task Force while at the same time complaining that the whole idea is stupid anyway — basically repeating what teenagers across Colorado are saying this time of year when they don't get invited to Prom. Here's the "why Stapleton" argument:
Treasurer Walker Stapleton is the only statewide official who sits on the board of the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), and his expertise would be invaluable to the task force. So why block him from participating?
You can see how the circular logic breaks down quickly. The State Treasurer is an expert on retirement security finances because he is the State Treasurer. It's probably true that a State Treasurer is often very knowledgeable about financial matters, but there is no cause and effect relationship here. Quite literally anybody could be elected to the position; you need to be able to win an election, not prove that you can do the job.
House Speaker Mark Ferrandino recently spoke passionately on the House floor about the need for strong qualifications over professional titles, and specifically about Stapleton (the video, oddly, has been edited down to a nice :34 second clip that is posted on the YouTube channel belonging to Walker Stapleton's own campaign, as though it were an endorsement. You can't make this stuff up.) Said Ferrandino, "The Treasurer has no experience [in this area], and putting him on this commission would be insanity."
Now, before you say, Walker Stapleton worked in the financial industry for XX years, blah, blah, blah, let us take you back to the 2010 Republican Primary between Stapleton and J.J. Ament. As we wrote previously, Stapleton was warning in 2010 of "hyper-inflation" and suggesting that the State of Colorado should look at gold as a serious investment strategy. No, seriously:
In [a] 2010 debate against Ament, Stapleton warned of a coming "hyperinflationary environment" due to various evil Obama tax-and-spend depredations, a very popular prediction on the right at the time, and recommends Glenn Beck-style that "using gold" as a "hedge against inflation" is "something we need to investigate."
At the time Stapleton said this, the price of gold was extremely high, and anti-government "Tea Party"
paranoiasentiment was peaking. But as it turns out, we did not enter any "hyperinflationary environment" after 2010, and the price of gold today is hundreds less than its peak–or for that matter, the price it was during this debate in 2010. That should make any financially literate voter very happy that Stapleton didn't take his own advice.
The 2010 video clip of Stapleton's hyper-inflationary nonsense is available after the jump. We're done here.