Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday February 27, 2011

Boeing tanker contract. While almost everyone in Kansas is celebrating the award of the air fueling tanker replacement contract to Boeing, there are a few reasons we shouldn’t over-celebrate. First, we bought an expensive war weapon. This is guns, not butter. President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the creation of a permanent armaments industry. Now our leaders celebrate defense spending as a jobs creation program, forgetting the opportunity costs of this spending. … In 2008, when the contract was awarded to the foreign company European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (EADS) and Boeing successfully protested the award, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal correctly analyzed the politics: “What’s really going on is a familiar scrum for federal cash, with politicians from Washington and Kansas using nationalism as cover for their pork-barreling.” The article correctly stated the goal of the contract: “The Pentagon’s job is to defend the country, which means letting contracts that best serve American soldiers and taxpayers, not certain companies.” Noting the aging fleet of tankers the contract would replace, and that the protest by Boeing would delay receiving them, the Journal concluded “Protectionists in Congress want to make America’s soldiers wait even longer for this new equipment, all to score political points at home. There’s a word for that, but it’s not patriotism.” … Of the contract awarded this week, the Journal wrote: “The military and Capitol Hill proved so good at fouling up this decade-long contest through political meddling, fake patriotism and sheer incompetence that a clean resolution may be near impossible.” Noting the international nature of manufacturing, the article wrote: “Boeing and Airbus each would have employed about 50,000 Americans to build up to 179 aerial refueling tankers.” Concluding: “The law tells the Defense Department to buy the best hardware at the best price on the global marketplace, regardless of any impact on domestic job creation. The fuel tanker debacle has undermined a competitive and open market for defense purchases free of political pressure. The losers are American taxpayers and soldiers.”

Kansas Economic Freedom Index. This week I produced the first version of the Kansas Economic Freedom Index: Who votes for and against economic freedom in Kansas? for the 2011 legislative session. Currently I have a version only for the House of Representatives, as the Senate hasn’t made many votes that affect economic freedom. The index now has its own site, kansaseconomicfreedom.com.

Elections this week. On Tuesday voters across Kansas will vote in city and school board primary elections. Well, at least a few will vote, as it is thought that only nine percent of eligible voters will actually vote. Many of those may have already voted by now, as advance voting is popular. For those who haven’t yet decided, here’s the Wichita Eagle voter guide.

Civility is lost on the Wisconsin protesters. Lost not only in Wisconsin, but across the country, writes Michelle Malkin in Washington Examiner. “President Obama’s new era of civility was over before it began. You wouldn’t know it from reading The New York Times, watching Katie Couric or listening to the Democratic manners police. But America has been overrun by foul-mouthed, fist-clenching wildebeests. Yes, the Tea Party Movement is responsible — for sending these liberal goons into an insane rage, that is. After enduring two years of false smears as sexist, racist, homophobic barbarians, it is grassroots conservatives and taxpayer advocates who have been ceaselessly subjected to rhetorical projectile vomit. It is Obama’s rank-and-file “community organizers” on the streets fomenting the hate against their political enemies. Not the other way around.” … Malkin details the viciousness of some of the political activity across the country, some of which is especially demeaning to minorities — and women, as we’ve seen in Kansas this week.

Help Wisconsin Governor Walker. Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity explains what’s happening in Wisconsin: “Governor Walker is simply repairing the Wisconsin budget by reining in the overly generous pension and benefits packages that are far beyond what people in the private sector receive. He’s also ending the government union collective bargaining that has been the chief reason why union benefits and pensions have gotten so out of control.” … Phillips recommends supporting Walker by signing a petition stating: “Union dues should be voluntary, and the state should not be in the business of collecting them. Union certification should require a secret ballot. Collective bargaining should not be used to force extravagant pension and health benefits that cripple state budgets. These common-sense reforms have made the union bosses desperate to disrupt Wisconsin government and overturn an election. They must not be allowed to succeed. In fact, every state should adopt Governor Scott Walker’s common sense reforms.” Click on Stand With Walker to express your support.

Wichita city council. On Tuesday the Wichita City Council will take up these matters: First, the council will decide on a policy regarding soliciting charitable contributions at street intersections. Then, the council will decided whether to create a Community Improvement District for the Eastgate Shopping Center. While the council has enthusiastically granted other applicants this privilege of setting their own sales tax policy for their own benefit — and has voted against meaningful disclosure of this to potential shoppers — this CID may not pass. The Wichita Eagle has editorialized against this CID in particular — twice. Vice Mayor Jeff Longwell voted against accepting the petitions for this CID, although he did not explain his lone dissenting vote. … Then Chrome Plus, a manufacturer, seeks forgiveness from paying property taxes under the city’s Economic Development Exemption (EDX) Program. … In the consent agenda, the council will be asked to approve a payment of $235,000 to settle a lawsuit over “damages incurred in an accident between a Wichita Transit bus and a pedestrian in December 2008.”

One thought on “Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday February 27, 2011”

  1. “Protectionists in Congress want to make America’s soldiers wait even longer for this new equipment, all to score political points at home. There’s a word for that, but it’s not patriotism.”

    Perfect neo-con free world trade solves everything elitist. Their spin on this was excruciatingly obvious. And, you bought it and then spread it. Could it possibly be that the legislators who fought for this REALLY BELIEVED in what they were doing? Could it possibly be that it had nothing to do with “political points?” Could it possibly be that a little protectionism may actually make economic sense? Could it possibly be that keeping this critical national security related project on US soil IS in the best national interest? The only way you could make me believe that this project was purely political in nature and pork-focused is if it was NEVER NEEDED IN THE FIRST PLACE. That, I think may be plausible. All the other junk is hooey….at least for a couple of legislators. Now, I can’t speak to the motivations of the rest.

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