Free markets

Wichita Chamber calls for more cronyism

Wichita Chamber calls for more cronyism

By advocating for revival of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce continues its advocacy for more business welfare, more taxes, more wasteful government spending, and more cronyism. That may be surprising to read. Most people probably think that local chambers of commerce -- since their membership is mostly business firms -- support pro-growth policies that embrace limited government and free markets. But that’s usually not the case. It’s certainly is not the case in Wichita, where the Chamber supports higher taxes,[1. Weeks, B. (2015). Wichita Chamber speaks on county spending and taxes. Voice…
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Export-Import Bank threatens a revival

Last week members of the United States House of Representatives successfully executed a maneuver that will force a vote on the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The method used, a discharge petition, was signed by well over a majority of House members, including perhaps 42 Republicans. If the petition signers vote the same way, the bill to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank will pass the House. It will then move to the Senate for consideration. No members of the House of Representatives from Kansas signed the discharge petition. In July a vote on an amendment in favor…
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Does Kansas have its own Solyndra?

Does Kansas have its own version of Solyndra, the politically-connected firm that failed and cost taxpayers some $535 million? We don't know. But the Abengoa cellulosic ethanol plant near Hugoton received a $132.4 million loan guarantee under the same program that benefited Solyndra. In January I requested documents regarding the Abengoa loan guarantee and risk assessment from the United States Department of Energy. I had several conversations and emails with a records clerk. We came to agreement as to what I would receive, or at least what I am requesting to receive. But I’ve received nothing so far. I don’t…
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The real free lunch: Markets and private property

The real free lunch: Markets and private property

As we approach another birthday of Milton Friedman, here's his article where he clears up the authorship of a famous aphorism, and explains how to really get a free lunch. Based on remarks at the banquet celebrating the opening of the Cato Institute’s new building, Washington, May 1993. I am delighted to be here on the occasion of the opening of the Cato headquarters. It is a beautiful building and a real tribute to the intellectual influence of Ed Crane and his associates. I have sometimes been associated with the aphorism “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” which…
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Kansas senators vote to advance Ex-Im Bank

In a procedural motion, Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran voted to advance the revival of the Export-Import Bank. The vote was a procedural motion on an amendment to allow a floor vote (invoking cloture). The amendment passed by a vote of 67 to 26. Among Republicans the vote was 24 to 26 against the measure. All Democrats voted in favor. The Export-Import Bank failed to be reauthorized by a June 30 deadline. It has not been making new loans since. The current legislation that passed the senate would reauthorize the bank. Free market groups have long opposed the…
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Are you in the top 1%?

Most Americans would be surprised to learn that they are, in fact, in the top one percent of income -- when the entire world is considered. It is economic freedom in America that has been responsible for this high standard of living. But America's ranking among the countries in economic freedom has declined, and may fall further. View the 60-second video at Economic Freedom in 60 Seconds, or click below.
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Thumbs up for Americans for Prosperity

On the television news program Journal Editorial Report, Potomac Watch columnist for The Wall Street Journal editorial page Kimberley A. Strassel gave a thumbs up to Americans for Prosperity for its work in the recent election. Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com
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ALEC should stand up to liberal pressure groups

ALEC should stand up to liberal pressure groups

From April 2012. Today's Wall Street Journal explains how left-wing activists are using fear of the racism label to shut down free speech and debate. The target of their current smear campaign is American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Liberals can't stand ALEC because it is a strong and influential advocate for free market and limited government principals in state legislatures. Liberals accuse ALEC of supplying model legislation which may influence the writing of actual state law, or even become state law in some cases. Of course, liberal advocacy groups do this too, but they don't let that get in…
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Coalition to Congress: End the wind production tax credit

Following is a letter from a coalition of organizations led by Americans for Prosperity advocating for the end of special treatment and subsidies for one industry. September 24, 2013 Dear Senators and Representatives: On behalf of the millions of members that our organizations represent, we encourage you to oppose extending the main source of federal support for wind energy, the production tax credit (PTC). The problems with bestowing government favors on wind energy are myriad -- it doesn't produce cheaper energy, it threatens electrical grid reliability, it’s inefficient, it’s unprincipled tax policy, to name a few -- and it’s time…
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The real free lunch: Markets and private property

As we approach another birthday of Milton Friedman, here's his article where he clears up the authorship of a famous aphorism, and explains how to really get a free lunch. Based on remarks at the banquet celebrating the opening of the Cato Institute’s new building, Washington, May 1993. I am delighted to be here on the occasion of the opening of the Cato headquarters. It is a beautiful building and a real tribute to the intellectual influence of Ed Crane and his associates. I have sometimes been associated with the aphorism “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” which…
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Wichita airfares, on the rise

A survey by travel website CheapFlights.com shows that airfares in Wichita have both fallen and risen in recent years, even though the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County, and the State of Kansas collectively spend millions each year to keep airfares low. The survey, according to a news release, ranks airports by "averaging the prices our users found during the month of June when searching for flights to popular domestic and international destinations like Miami, Honolulu, London and Cancun." The news release warns that "These rankings can shift dramatically from year to year and prices fluctuate frequently on specific routes." Since…
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Wichita movie theater expands product line, now selling groceries

Possibly seeking to take advantage of impulse purchases while patrons buy movie tickets, a Warren Theater in Wichita has started carrying a limited line of grocery items. A reader submitted this photo, commenting: "I went to the taxpayer-subsidized Warren Theater this weekend, and who was staring back at me across the counter -- none other than the smiling face of the mayor. Warren has a display set up to sell Brewer BBQ sauce and my sandwich included an (unrequested) cup of the stuff." The sauce in the photo is produced and marketed by Brewer's Best, a company recently founded by…
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Wichita STAR bonds project not good for capitalism

Tomorrow the Wichita City Council considers approval of the project plan for a STAR bonds project in Wichita. The formation of the district has already been approved. This action by the council will consider the development plan and the actual authorization to spend money. If approved, the city will proceed under the State of Kansas STAR bonds program. The city will sell bonds and turn over the proceeds to the developer. As bond payments become due, sales tax revenue will make the payments. It's only the increment in sales tax that is eligible to be diverted to bond payments. This…
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Wind tax credit promotes expensive electricity

Conservative and free-market groups are asking Congress to oppose extending the Production Tax Credit for production of electricity from wind. The letter, presented below, is designed for representatives from states that don't have a Renewable Portfolio Standard, which is a policy or law that requires a certain amount of electricity to be produced from renewable sources, which is primarily wind in most places. Kansas has an RPS, and Governor Sam Brownback actively supports maintaining this standard, which will require that more Kansas electricity be produced from wind. Kansas Policy Institute has found that RPS will result in higher electricity costs,…
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Nation can no longer afford wind tax credit

From The Hill: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday said the nation’s fiscal situation has become so dire that the government can no longer afford to maintain a wind power production credit that has been in place since in 1992. “I think there is certainly the largest realization that we’ve ever had that it’s time for it to end,” Alexander said at a Wednesday event hosted by The Hill and sponsored by the American Energy Alliance. In a longer story, The Hill reports on the efforts of U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, a Republican representing the Kansas fourth district (Wichita metropolitan…
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I, Pencil: The Movie

"The spontaneous configuration of creative human energies, of millions of people, with their various skills and talents, organizing voluntarily in response to human necessity and desire -- as if led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of the intention." This is part of the narration from a new short movie I, Pencil, produced by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Lawrence W. Reed, President of Foundation for Economic Education says about this movie: "For more than half a century, Leonard Read’s classic story has opened eyes and changed minds by the hundreds of thousands. It humbles…
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Koch articles draw critics, but few factual

Two large articles in the Wichita Eagle regarding Charles and David Koch of Wichita-based Koch Industries have attracted many comments, and many are not based on facts. The two articles are The Kochs' quest to save America and Charles Koch relentless in pursuing his goals. A curious irony is the claim by many comment writers that Charles and David Koch want to buy America, while at the same time they are running it into the ground: "The koch bros. are funding the conversion of OUR COUNTRY into another third world country." Even if it was possible to buy America --…
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Pompeo: Wind production tax credit should expire

U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, a Republican who represents the Kansas fourth district, and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander contribute the following article on the harm of the wind power production tax credit (PTC). The NorthBridge Group report referenced in the article is available at Negative electricity prices and the production tax credit. Puff, the Magic Drag on the Economy Time to let the pernicious production tax credit for wind power blow away By Lamar Alexander And Mike Pompeo As Congress works to reduce spending and avert a debt crisis, lawmakers will have to decide which government projects are truly national priorities,…
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Pickens changes his mind, again

Energy investor T. Boone Pickens has changed his mind about government subsidy of energy markets -- again. Until recently Pickens has been promoting federal legislation titled H.R. 1380: New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2011, or NAT GAS act. The bill provides a variety of subsidies, implemented through tax credits, to producers and users of natural gas. The goal is to promote the use of natural gas for a transportation fuel, particularly for long-haul trucks. Now, according to reporting in Politico, Pickens said about the transition to natural gas "It's going to happen, and you don't have…
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Minimum wage increase not a solution

Those who advocate for a higher minimum wage law appear to have the best interests of workers as their concern. But as is almost always the case when government intervenes into markets, the unintended consequences create more harm than good. In the case of the federal minimum wage, we need to remember that this law -- as well-intentioned as it may be -- is not the solution to unemployment or raising the standard of living of workers. The great appeal of a higher minimum wage mandated by an act of Congress is that it seems like a simple and harmless…
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