Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday October 10, 2011

AFP meeting features former Congressman Tiahrt. Tonight’s (October 10th) meeting of Americans for Prosperity, Kansas features former United States Representative Todd Tiahrt speaking on “How regulations affect our economy.” There will be a presentation followed by a group discussion. Tiahrt represented the fourth district of Kansas from 1995 to 2011. He is presently our states Republican National Committeeman. … This free meeting is from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Lionel D. Alford Library located at 3447 S. Meridian in Wichita. The library is just north of the I-235 exit on Meridian. The event’s sponsor is Americans for Prosperity, Kansas. For more information on this event contact John Todd at john@johntodd.net or 316-312-7335, or Susan Estes, AFP Field Director at sestes@afphq.org or 316-681-4415.

Government planning. In an address from 1995, Gerald P. O’Driscoll Jr. spoke on Friedrich Hayek and his ideas on government interventionism. His conclusion should be a caution to those — such as Wichita City Council members and city hall bureaucrats — who believe they can guide the economic future of Wichita through interventions such as TIF districts, grants, forgivable loans, tax credits, tax abatements, sweetheart lease deals, eminent domain, zoning, and other measures: “In all his work, Hayek focused on the self-ordering forces in society. Hayek’s fellow Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow has suggested that ‘the notion that through the workings of an entire system effects may be very different from, and even opposed to, intentions is surely the most important intellectual contribution that economic thought has made to the general understanding of social processes.’ The Arrovian formulation echoes Adam Smith’s observation that, as a consequence of the interaction of conflicting interests, man is ‘led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.’ The classic Hayekian statement visualizes economics as analyzing ‘the results of human action but not of human design.’ The economic conception of society is an affront to the conceit of those who would impose order from above. Economic forces defy the will of authoritarians seeking to mold social outcomes. Human beings respond to each government intervention by rearranging their lives so as to minimize its disruptive effects. The resulting outcome may thus be different from and even opposed to the intention of the intervention.” The full lecture is at The Meaning of Hayek.

Longwell joins Democrats to defeat Republicans. While Wichita city council members are officially non-partisan — meaning they don’t run for election as members of political parties — most members are closely identified with a party. Some, like Jeff Longwell (district 5, west and northwest Wichita), see themselves as leaders in their parties, the Republican Party in this case. Last week, however, Longwell joined with the three Democrats on the Wichita City Council to oppose the votes of three Republicans. (There was a nuance to that vote, but nonetheless Longwell voted with the Democrats.) On Sunday he teamed with left-wing Council Member Janet Miller (district 6, north central Wichita) to write an op-ed that appeared in The Wichita Eagle (Grant helps region). The piece approved increased federal government spending, increased federal government control, and increased centralized planning.

Optimal size of government. Is government too large? Yes, and trying to determine an optimum size for government is impossible. So says a new policy briefing paper from the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, a project of the Cato Institute.

Can We Determine the Optimal Size of Government? by James A. Kahn. In the executive summary, we can read this: “The massive spending programs and new regulations adopted by many countries around the world in response to the economic crisis of 2008 have drawn renewed attention to the role of government in the economy. Studies of the relationship between government size and economic growth have come up with a wide range of estimates of the ‘optimal’ or growth-maximizing size of government, ranging anywhere between 15 and 30 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

This paper argues that such an exercise is ill conceived. Modern growth economics suggests, first, that government policies leave their long-term impact primarily on the level of economic activity, not the growth rate; and, second, that the sources of this impact are multi-dimensional and not necessarily well measured by conventional measures of ‘size,’ such as the share of government spending in GDP.

In fact, measures of economic freedom more closely relate to per capita GDP than do simple measures of government spending. The evidence shows that governments are generally larger than optimal, but because the available data include primarily countries whose governments are too large, it cannot plausibly say what the ideal size of government is. The data can realistically only say that smaller governments are better, and suggest that the optimal size of government is smaller than what we observe today.”

Steve Jobs. What is his legacy? From Richard A. Viguerie: “Steve Jobs, Apple Computer’s late founder and CEO, gave the vast majority of his hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions to liberal Democrats, such as Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy and California Governor Jerry Brown. Yet it is hard to think of a 21st Century entrepreneur who has done more to empower individuals and free them from the demands of the liberal collective than Steve Jobs did through the invention of the iPod, and iPad and the popularization of personal computing. Through the innovative products Apple brought to market, Jobs proved the collectivist premise of John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society to be both absolutely true and utterly wrong.” … More at Steve Jobs’ Conservative Legacy.

Lieutenant Governor in Wichita. This week’s meeting (October 14th) of the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. speaking on “An update on the Brownback Administration’s ‘Roadmap for Kansas’ — Medicaid Reform” … Upcoming speakers: On October 21st: N. Trip Shawver, Attorney/Mediator, on “The magic of mediation, its uses and benefits.” … On October 28th: U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp, who is in his first term representing the Kansas first district, speaking on “Spending battles in Washington, D.C.” … On November 4th: Chris Spencer, Vice President, Regional Sales Manager Oppenheimer Funds, speaking on “Goliath vs Goliath — The global battle of economic superpowers.” … On November 11th: 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 November 18th: Delores Craig-Moreland, Ph.D., Wichita State University, speaking on “Systemic reasons why our country has one of the highest jail and prison incarceration rates in the world? Are all criminals created equal?”

When governments cut spending. Advocates of government spending argue that if it is cut, the economy will suffer. Is this true? Is government spending necessary to keep the economy functioning? “There is no historical credence to this very popular idea that cutting spending now will actually slow down the economy and actually lead to a double dip recession or an increase in economic stagnation.” This is the conclusion of Dr. Stephen Davies in a short video. As one example — he cites others — Davies explains that there was fear in the United States that the end to massive government spending during World War II would lead to a return of the Great Depression. “In fact, as we know, exactly the opposite happened. As the defense spending of the war years was wound down, and as government was pulled back in other ways as well under the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, the result was an enormous period of sustained growth in the United States and other countries that went through a similar process.” Davies says that economic growth accelerates when government reduces its spending. Reasons include the greater productivity of private sector spending as compared to government spending, and increased confidence of private sector investors. … The video is from LearnLiberty.org, a project of Institute for Humane Studies.


One thought on “Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday October 10, 2011”

  1. Thanks Bob for your great newspaper. I do want to say when you refer to the “Eagle”, I don’t subscribe to that (in my opinion,rag), so I dont go reference it. When Longwell joined Dems on the vote. When I cancelled my script to that publication, they sent me a refund, then in about 30 days, they sent an offer for half price. If your readers that scribe to that publication, can go 30 days without it, then they can get it for half price. I have found though that once they go for 30 days without it, they dont MISS it!!!!

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