Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday August 1, 2011

Debt deal seen as victory for smaller government. Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook A Tea Party Triumph: The debt deal is a rare bipartisan victory for the forces of smaller government. “If a good political compromise is one that has something for everyone to hate, then last night’s bipartisan debt-ceiling deal is a triumph. The bargain is nonetheless better than what seemed achievable in recent days, especially given the revolt of some GOP conservatives that gave the White House and Democrats more political leverage. .. The big picture is that the deal is a victory for the cause of smaller government, arguably the biggest since welfare reform in 1996. Most bipartisan budget deals trade tax increases that are immediate for spending cuts that turn out to be fictional. This one includes no immediate tax increases, despite President Obama’s demand as recently as last Monday. The immediate spending cuts are real, if smaller than we’d prefer, and the longer-term cuts could be real if Republicans hold Congress and continue to enforce the deal’s spending caps.” … Most commenters, from all political viewpoints, say the fuss over the raising of the debt ceiling would not have happened but for tea party activists.

Wichita city council. This week the Wichita City Council accepts comment on the city budget at its Tuesday morning meeting. The final public hearing on the budget will be at the August 9th meeting. The city has a page with the budget, supporting documents, presentations, and video at 2012-2013 Proposed Budget. … As always, the agenda packet is available at Wichita city council agendas.

Sedgwick County Commission. This week the Sedgwick County Commission will adopt — or not — its budget. The only remaining opportunity for public input, at least in a public hearing situation, is Tuesday evening at 7:00 pm in the county commission meeting room. At its Wednesday morning meeting the commission will vote whether to adopt the budget, and no input from the public will be taken at that time. More information about the county’s budget is at Sedgwick County Division of Finance. … The commission will also consider an interesting road vacation item that has advocates of property rights split on the matter. The agenda information is at Sedgwick County Commission, August 3, 2011.

Obama on the debt ceiling, 2006 version. As a United States Senator from Illinois in March 2006, President Barack Obama said this: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government can not pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” It’s not uncommon for politicians of all stripes to undergo shifts in thought like this. But, the very real question that we need to ask is this: Did his core values really change, or does he say whatever advances the political goal he wants to accomplish at the moment? … This is not limited to Democrats, as a Republican member of the House — I can’t remember his name — insisted that the Boehner plan had bipartisan support, despite receiving just five votes from Democrats.

New Wichita city council members. This Friday’s meeting (August 5th) of the Wichita Pachyderm Club spotlights the three newest members of the Wichita City Council: Pete Meitzner (district 2, east Wichita), James Clendenin (district 3, south and southeast Wichita), and Michael O’Donnell (district 4, south and southwest Wichita). Their topic will be “What it’s like to be a new member of the Wichita City Council?” … Upcoming speakers: On August 12 Kansas Representative Marc Rhoades, Chair of the Kansas House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, will speak on “The impact of the freshman legislators on the 2011 House budgetary process.” … On August 19, Jay M. Price, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the public history program at Wichita State University, speaking on “Clashes of Values in Kansas History.” His recent Wichita Eagle op-ed was Kansas a stage for “values showdowns.” … On August 26, Kansas State Representatives Jim Howell and Joseph Scapa speaking on “Our freshmen year in the Kansas Legislature.” … On September 2 the Petroleum Club is closed for the holiday, so there will be no meeting. … On September 9, Mark Masterson, Director, Sedgwick County Department of Corrections, on the topic “Juvenile Justice System in Sedgwick County.” Following, from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Pachyderm Club members and guests are invited to tour the Sedgwick County Juvenile Detention Center located at 700 South Hydraulic, Wichita, Kansas. … On September 16, Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, great grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, will present a program with the topic to be determined. … On September 23, Dave Trabert, President of Kansas Policy Institute, speaking on the topic Why Not Kansas,” an initiative to provide information about school choice. … On September 30, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo of Wichita on “An update from Washington.”

Project moves forward, despite missing welfare. The project didn’t qualify for tax exemptions via Wichita’s industrial revenue bond program, but nonetheless the project will proceed. The project is Pixius Communications and its expansion at 301 N. St. Francis Street. According to the Wichita Business Journal, the project will proceed, but on a smaller scale. Moving forward despite the claim that corporate welfare of one form or another is required reminds me of the Save-A-Lot grocery store now under construction in Wichita’s Planeview neighborhood. Rob Snyder, the initial developer was insistent that subsidies were required. But someone else found a way to do it without subsidy.

Wichita downtown restaurants. There are mixed opinions, writes the Wichita Business Journal.

Cato University. Last week I was away attending Cato University, a summer seminar on political economy. (That’s why the articles from last week were reruns.) Besides attending many very informative lectures and meeting lovers of liberty from across the world, I became aware of several brilliant Cato scholars and executives whom I had not paid much attention to. One in particular is Tom G. Palmer, who is Senior Fellow and Director of Cato University, besides holding a position at Atlas Economic Research Foundation. He delivered many of our lectures and is the author of Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice. An important chapter from this book is Twenty Myths about Markets. In this video he discusses being effective in bringing about change.


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