Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday October 11, 2010

Moran at Wichita Pachyderm: This Friday’s speaker at the Wichita Pachyderm Club is current United States Representative and Republican Party Senate nominee Jerry Moran. As a large audience is expected, please arrive by 11:45 to get your buffet lunch in time for the noon start (the larger meeting room will be used). Cost is $10, which includes lunch.

Wichita, get control of incentives: Rhonda Holman’s lead editorial in yesterday’s Wichita Eagle urged caution and restraint in Wichita’s use of tax incentives — a welcome message not expected from the Eagle. One conservative wrote to me: “I am stunned to find myself to be largely in agreement with today’s editorial by Rhonda Holman. Wow.” The editorial was critical of past city policy and practice, with Holman referring to special taxing districts as “tax tricks.” On the need for public investment in downtown, she wrote “the city must ensure its use of special taxing districts is strategic, fair, farsighted and defensible.” Whether our present political and bureaucratic leadership can accomplish this is, in my opinion, unlikely.

Rasmussen key polls from last week: California Senate moves from “leans Democrat” to “toss-up” … Most Americans feel Nobel prizes are politicalHarry Reid’s son trails in race for Nevada governor … Cyber bullying seen equally dangerous as physical bullying.

Kansas initiative and referendum: The Wichita Eagle takes a look at initiative and referendum. A focus of the article is Secretary of State candidates Chris Biggs and Kris Kobach, which is a little misplaced, as they don’t have a say in whether Kansas has I&R, although they would administer the process and Kobach has made it a campaign issue. Key takeaways: “States with initiatives spend and tax less than states without them.” Politicians of both stripes hate I&R, with Kansas Senate President Steve Morris — a big-spending, big-taxing, liberal Republican — hating the idea, according to the article. Same for Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives Mike O’Neil, a conservative. Not reported in the article is one of the first things the people may do in states that have I&R: impose term limits on their elected officials, an idea most of the political class hates.

China Emerges as a Scapegoat in Campaign Ads: The New York Times reports: “With many Americans seized by anxiety about the country’s economic decline, candidates from both political parties have suddenly found a new villain to run against: China. … Democrats and Republicans are blaming one another for allowing the export of jobs to its economic rival.” Kansas fourth district Congressional hopeful Democrat Raj Goyle is mentioned as one of 29 candidates using China as a foil in campaign ads, just in case you thought Goyle’s attacks were novel. But the issue is murky, as the Times notes: “Never mind that there is hardly any consensus as to what exactly constitutes outsourcing and how many of the new overseas jobs would have stayed in American hands.”

Regulation — Baptists and Bootleggers: “Here is the essence of the theory: durable social regulation evolves when it is demanded by both of two distinctly different groups. ‘Baptists’ point to the moral high ground and give vital and vocal endorsement of laudable public benefits promised by a desired regulation. Baptists flourish when their moral message forms a visible foundation for political action. ‘Bootleggers’ are much less visible but no less vital. Bootleggers, who expect to profit from the very regulatory restrictions desired by Baptists, grease the political machinery with some of their expected proceeds. They are simply in it for the money. The theory’s name draws on colorful tales of states’ efforts to regulate alcoholic beverages by banning Sunday sales at legal outlets. Baptists fervently endorsed such actions on moral grounds. Bootleggers tolerated the actions gleefully because their effect was to limit competition.” From Bruce Yandle, Bootleggers and Baptists in Retrospect. A podcast on the topic is Bruce Yandle on Bootleggers and Baptists.

Obama fails education: From Three Reasons Obama’s Education Vision Fails at Reason: “While he brags constantly about his Race to the Top initiative, in which states competed for $4 billion to fund innovative programs, he’s spent more than $80 billion in no-strings-attached stimulus funds to maintain the educational status quo.” Obama also killed a school choice program in Washington, and has snuggled up to the teachers unions with a stimulus bill to preserve and add union teacher jobs “despite the fact that there are already more teachers per student than ever.” The status quo describes outgoing Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson and his education “vision.” Not that presumptive incoming governor Sam Brownback is a radical on school reform, however. His education plans are quite tepid and not likely to produce the results Kansas schoolchildren need.

Wichita Eagle Opinion Line: “If Kansans want lower taxes and less government, why are there so many homeowners’ associations here?” I guess the distinction between government and voluntary action escapes this person.


3 thoughts on “Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday October 11, 2010”

  1. What makes me the most upset at Goyle’s latest attack about jobs in China, is that apparently he has no concept of what the word “International” means. Sentry has offices in 8 countries, including America, and those American offices are in 13 states, including Kansas. It is a global marketplace, people. Under Pompeo’s watch, Sentry International has returned many of the jobs that were originally lost when Sentry Hesston closed down. How can anyone expect a company of this size to just simply close down all their international offices, and have ALL their work done in one location, in Kansas? The larger their global presence, the more stable the company will be, and the more opportunities that will be created for jobs.
    I want jobs here just as much as anyone – my husband is in aerospace, and I understand the volatility of the marketplace. However, Wichita, Kansas IS NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, and it is arrogant for us to think and act like it is.

  2. It is surprising to read Rhonda Holman’s editorial on requiring the City Council to exercise fiscal restraint when it comes to incentives. It is tough for liberals to distant themselves from those whom they help get elected and now are showing what a disaster they can create. Rhonda threw their liberal friends on the Council under the bus.

    In 1993-94, when we had a Democrat Governor Initiative and Referendum was proposed by the Governor and loved by the Democrats in the Ks House. Why is Biggs and the Eagle against it now? A case of the Democrats loving the message but not the messenger.

    If Goyle’s only message is what is in his commercial, please let him continue to do it. That commercial has ran its course.

  3. As always, Bob is on top of the curve. I heard a candidate in PA claiming his Democrat opponent, Alison Swartz is using the baseless “outsourcing” meme against him. On further review, I also found it being used by Patty Murray (WA) and Barbara Boxer (CA). These democrats are always using it, surprisingly, against BUSINESSMEN, those who create jobs.

    Did the DNC send out this latest “outsourcing fear” template memo to be followed? I think so.

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