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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday April 10, 2011

Local elections, qualifications of Wichita’s elected officials. On today’s edition of the KAKE Television public affairs program This Week in Kansas, Wichita State University’s Ken Ciboski, Chapman Rackaway of Fort Hays State University and myself join host Tim Brown to discuss local elections in Kansas. Mention was made of a recent article I wrote that was critical of the educational attainment of some Wichita City Council members. See Education gap on Wichita City Council.

Steineger, Kansas senator, to address Pachyderms. This Friday (April 15) Kansas Senator Chris Steineger will speak to the members and guests of the Wichita Pachyderm Club on the topic “Using Business Principles to Restructure State and Local Government For Long-Term Efficiency.” Steineger, of Kansas City, has served in the Kansas Senate since 1997 and in December switched his affiliation from the Democratic to Republican party. Steineger has voted with Republicans on fiscal issues for many years. Explaining why he switched parties, he wrote “I am a fiscal hawk who believes Americans have been borrowing, spending, and living beyond their means for too long.” Steineger has spoken at events organized by Americans for Prosperity.

Washington Monument strategy. At about 11:00 pm Friday night, President Barack Obama spoke on television in front of a window where the Washington Monument could be seen in the background. He said that thanks to the just-struck agreement to continue funding the operations of the federal government, the monument would be open to visitors the next day. This is explicit use of the Washington Monument strategy, in which the response to any proposed cut or slowdown in the growth of government is illustrated in the most painful or visible way. As the Wikipedia entry states: “The most visible and most appreciated service that is provided by that entity is the first to be put on the chopping block.” … The president also said “I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances.”

Soros conference online. This weekend’s conference of the Institute for New Economic thinking has quite a few papers and videos online at the conference’s website. Surprise: Keynes and his economic theories are revered. Attendees are treated to papers and presentations like this: “It is the interdependence between the rule of law and the production and distribution of goods and services that gives capitalism its unity. The autonomy of the economy is thus an illusion, as is its ability to self-regulate. And we are in the current mess because the scales have tipped slightly too far in favour of this illusion. This shift in the balance represents an inversion of values. Efficiency, it was believed, would be better served if the workings of governments were regulated more tightly (especially in Europe, although the theory originates in America) and if the markets were deregulated to a greater extent. The ingenuity of the financial markets initially, then their blind sightedness, did the rest.” … What?

Economics in one lesson this Monday. On Monday (April 11), four videos based on Henry Hazlitt’s class work Economics in One Lesson will be shown in Wichita. The four topics included in Monday’s presentation will be The Lesson, The Broken Window, Public Works Means Taxes, and Credit Diverts Production. The event is Monday (April 11) at 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.

Wichita City Council this week. On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council considers only consent agenda items. Then, tributes — including video — to outgoing Council Members Paul Gray, Sue Schlapp, and Roger Smith and installation of new members. A new vice mayor will also be selected. … I don’t know if the city will be hosting a luncheon afterward. Two years ago a celebratory luncheon titled “Wichita City Council Changing of the Guard” cost over $1,000.

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