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Posts published by “Bob Weeks”

The law vs. markets

One of the criticisms of raising the minimum wage is that it is Congress substituting its judgment for the market's in determining pay. While Congress can force an employer to pay an employee a minimum amount, it can't force the employer to keep the employee.

No end to increasing regulation

Contrary to the popular perception, Bush has been one of the most pro-regulation presidents -- far more so than Democrat Bill Clinton, who, in many ways, was a better friend to the free market than Bush has been.

Political power is the opposite of freedom

The problem is that politicians are not supposed to have power over us – we're supposed to be free. We seem to have forgotten that freedom means the absence of government coercion. So when politicians and the media celebrate political power, they really are celebrating the power of certain individuals to use coercive state force.

The Plunder of the Legislative Process

It is amazing to read the words of Bastiat, written over 150 years ago, but applicable today:

Your principle has placed these words above the entrance of the legislative chamber: “whosoever acquires any influence here can obtain his share of legal plunder.” And what has been the result? All classes have flung themselves upon the doors of the chamber crying: “A share of the plunder for me, for me!”

-- Frédéric Bastiat, Selected Essays on Political Economy [1848]

The decline of local chambers of commerce

"I used to think that public employee unions like the NEA were the main enemy in the struggle for limited government, competition and private sector solutions," says Mr. Caldera of the Independence Institute. "I was wrong. Our biggest adversary is the special interest business cartel that labels itself 'the business community' and its political machine run by chambers and other industry associations."

The taking of private property

Eminent domain is not the only way that private property can be acquired by government. Placing restrictions on the land by law or regulation can also be a taking that warrants just compensation.

How To Judge the Worth of Ethanol

From The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2007: "Ethanol gets a 51-cent a gallon domestic subsidy, and there's another 54-cent a gallon tariff applied at the border against imported ethanol. Without those subsidies, hardly anyone would make the stuff, much less buy it -- despite recent high oil prices."

Remove this subsidy and the tariff. Remove the subsidy paid to farmers who grow the corn that is used to make ethanol. Then, the free market will rapidly tell us the true value of ethanol.

Bureaucracy vs. something that works

Here's how the education bureaucracy and teachers unions won out over students in the creation of the No Child Left Behind Act:

Market forces and teacher (mis)-education

In a system governed by market forces, teacher pay would be based on how well students learn, not how many superfluous degrees teachers accumulate

Denouncing “Greed”

Today there are adults -- including educated adults -- who explain multimillion-dollar corporate executives' salaries as being due to "greed." Think about it: I could become so greedy that I wanted a fortune twice the size of Bill Gates' -- but this greed would not increase my income by one cent. ...One of the reasons why central planning sounds so good, but has failed so badly that even socialist and communist governments finally abandoned the idea by the end of the 20th century, is that nobody knows enough to second guess everybody else. Every time oil prices shoot up, there are cries of "greed" and demands by politicians for an investigation of collusion by Big Oil. There have been more than a dozen investigations of oil companies over the years, and none of them has turned up the collusion that is supposed to be responsible for high gas prices. Now that oil prices have dropped big time, does that mean that oil companies have lost their "greed"? Or could it all be supply and demand -- a cause and effect explanation that seems to be harder for some people to understand than emotions like "greed"?

-- Thomas Sowell

The Value of the Businessman

An outstanding feature of the open market is the businessman, whose success or failure depends entirely on his ability to "focus on consumer needs" and so combine existing and potential factors of production to serve consumers most efficiently. The only constructive role government can play under the free market method of overcoming poverty is to see that the participation of individuals is strictly voluntary--that none is permitted to steal from or cheat or enslave another. In the free and open society, the organized force of government is to be used only if necessary to protect the lives and property of peaceful individuals. In other words, the proper function of government is to protect against robbery rather than practice it.

— Paul L. Poirot

Spending and the true cost of government

(WICHITA) – While lawmakers face a challenge to increase spending from many directions, they need to resist some of these pressures in order to control…

Record setting spending in Topeka

Now that the inconvenience of the 2006 election is behind us, the statehouse is getting back to what it does best: spending your tax dollars. Governor Sebelius’ latest state budget will set two new records for increased spending.

Tax Growth Exceeds Income Growth

Several recent national fiscal surveys have pointed out that Kansas’ fiscal climate is not conducive to economic growth and we rank poorly with most of our neighboring states. There is tremendous tax uncertainty that is reflected in both the high level of property taxes in Kansas but the sizable property tax increases that occur through the appraisal process as well as higher mill levies.

Preserve farmland at what cost?

There are two areas in which I believe this writer is mistaken. First, if the transaction between developer and farmer was voluntary, each is better off than they were before. The developer (and by extension the people he hopes to sell houses to) valued the land more than the farmer did. Otherwise, why would the transaction take place? These voluntary transactions that make both parties better off than before are the basis for the creation of wealth and prosperity.

Wichita downtown arena project’s failing finances

“The arena critics are being proven right,” said Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director of the Kansas Taxpayers Network, the oldest taxpayer organization in Kansas. “As the leading opponent of the 2004 downtown arena project in Wichita, it is becoming increasingly clear that this project is in major trouble.”

Wichita City Council and Cessna Aircraft Company Industrial Revenue Bonds

I received this letter written to Wichita Mayor Carlos Mayans and members of the Wichita City Council. The author makes excellent points about the harmful effects of special tax treatment for special interests. A better goal would be to work to reduce taxes for all companies and all people. This way, each company and individual can decide how to make best use of their own funds, instead of the Wichita City Council deciding for us. That is, in effect, what tax breaks like this do. It is the government deciding that resources should be allocated in a way different than how the market has decided. Our experience tells us that governments aren’t as smart as markets, and that governments almost always allocate resources inefficiently.

Maximum taxes means minimum growth

Kansas has high taxes. Even worse, the high taxes are high property taxes that stifle capital formation and hold down wages. Two new studies rank Kansas at the bottom of this region when it comes to soaring property taxes. That should not be too surprising since Kansas and Nebraska are the two states that provide their citizens will almost no opportunity to vote on whether or not property taxes should be raised.

Minimum wage price controls hurt Kansas

This article presents compelling evidence that raising the minimum wage is not in the best interests of low-wage workers.

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