Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday August 29, 2011

Wichita City Council. The Wichita City Council will not meet this week, as Tuesday is the fifth Tuesday of the month. The council will not meet on September 6th, as that is a Tuesday after a Monday holiday.

Government and business. Today’s Wichita Eagle carries a letter to the editor that makes a comparison that would be humorous, if so many people didn’t believe it: that government can be, and should be, run like a business. Here’s part of the letter: “But government isn’t like a family. It’s a business — a business that provides the services we need and want. Things like courts, the financial system, the military, national parks, interstate highways and all the other things that the government does to make our life what it is today. And each of these services has costs. To stay in business, all businesses must make a profit, or have the potential to turn a profit in the near future.” … Government is nothing like a business, however, and failing to recognize this is dangerous. First, customers patronize businesses voluntarily because they like what they get for their money. We don’t have this voluntary relationship with government — we must pay whether we want to or not, and regardless of whether we use the services government provides. Government often becomes the sole source provider of many things, meaning that we must use government, even if we would like to get the service somewhere else. Thus, government is not often subject to competition, which characterizes markets that business operates in. Then, government has no ability to calculate profit, as it conscripts its capital. Finally, just because government currently provides a service, it doesn’t follow that government should provide it, or that government is the only way to provide it, or that government is the best way to provide it.

Developer welfare shop opened. From Wichita Business Journal: “The Wichita Downtown Development Corp. on Friday opened its new Innovation Center. Designed as a one-stop shop for developers interested in building downtown projects, the new center is expected to be a place where ideas are both created and shared.” Should Wichitans be worried about centralized government planning?

‘Kansans United’ formed. The Kansas City Star notes the formation of a new group named Kansans United in Voice and Spirit. According to the group’s website: “Kansans United in Voice & Spirit are concerned citizens throughout the state of Kansas who are uniting to support, advocate for, and protect valuable State services, programs, and policies and to promote government by and for all Kansans.” … Judging by posts on its Facebook page, the group is a reaction to the policies of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, and is in favor of the glorification of government.

Kansas education summit. On Thursday September 15th, Kansas Policy Institute is holding a summit on education in Kansas. In its announcement, KPI writes: “Kansas can expand educational opportunities for students in need — even in our current economic climate. Join a “Who’s Who” of the nation’s education reformers in a discussion on how Kansas can give every student an effective education. … Invited participants include Gov. Sam Brownback, the Kansas Department of Education, Kansas National Education Association, Kansas Association of School Boards, state legislators, and other public education stakeholders.” … KPI notes that we increased total aid to Kansas public schools by $1.2 billion between 2005 and 2011, that 25 percent of Kansas students are unable to read at grade level. The event will be held at the Holiday Inn & Suites, Overland Park West. The cost is $35, which includes breakfast and lunch for the all-day event. … RSVPs are requested. For more information, click on Kansas Policy Institute Education Summit.

No Wichita Pachyderm this week. The Wichita Pachyderm Club will not meet this week. Upcoming speakers: 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: Getting every student an effective education.” … On September 30, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo of Wichita on “An update from Washington.” … On October 7, John Locke — reincarnated through the miracle of modern technology — speaking on “Life, Liberty, and Property.” … On October 14, Sedgwick County Commission Members Richard Ranzau and James Skelton, speaking on “What its like to be a new member of the Sedgwick County Board of County commissioners?” … On October 21, N. Trip Shawver, Attorney/Mediator, on “The magic of mediation, its uses and benefits.”

Myths of capitalism. In a short video, Dr. Jeffrey Miron explains three common myths of capitalism. The first, and one we struggle with in Wichita as our city and state seek to be business-friendly, is the common perception that business and capitalism are one and the same. Miron says: “Nothing could be farther from the truth. The point of capitalism is to make sure that businesses have to compete vigorously against each other, and that benefits consumers. It’s not good for the businesses per se, because they have to work really hard. So many businesses understand this, and they hate capitalism. They are constantly trying to get government to erect various rules, restrictions, and regulations that help them, but they’re not in the interests of consumers.” … Miron also addresses the issue of income distribution, noting that capitalism rewards those who are productive and who come up with good ideas. Some people have very little skill, he notes, and so it is reasonable to support some antipoverty spending. But hampering capitalism to achieve this goal makes everyone worse off. … Also, capitalism is not responsible for the recent financial crisis. We didn’t have unbridled capitalism before the crisis, he says, and it is much more likely that government interference with capitalism causes crises like in 2008. TARP and other bailouts shielded risk-takers from paying the true price for the risk they undertook, and encourages people to take other risks, knowing they will not have to pay. … This video is from LearnLiberty.org, a project of Institute for Humane Studies, and many other informative videos are available.


2 thoughts on “Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday August 29, 2011”

  1. More b.s. Government isn’t always bad. For example, Bob Weeks is able to make his bowel movements in a commode with running water, instead of an outhouse.

  2. Bob,

    Not a lot of Koch talking points written this week. Unemployment checks not making ends meet? I hope you do qualify for the Democrats’ 99-week extension!

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