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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday April 21, 2011

Can anything Think Progress says about the Kochs be believed? Mark Tapscott, Washington Examiner Beltway Confidential: “Almost certainly not, to answer the question posed by the headline above. Here’s the latest example of why. Think Progress is all atwitter about a Nation magazine report concerning the Koch Industries 2010 Election Packet. This dastardly document, according to Think Progress, was “mailed to 50,000 employees instructing them on who to vote for in the 2010 midterm elections.” Curious, I clicked over to the Nation and read the cover letter in the packet. Here’s what it said about how Koch employees should decide for whom to vote: “For most of you, we’ve also enclosed a listing of candidates supported by Koch companies and KOCHPAC, the political action committee for Koch companies. Of course, deciding who to vote for is a decision that is yours and yours alone, based on factors important to you. (emphasis added)” … At RedState, Erick Erickson contrasts the behavior of unions: “Think Progress and Lee Fang love them some unions. And what do unions do? Unions send out fliers encouraging union members to vote for union backed candidates. Hell, unions even get union members to go door to door for candidates and give union dues to candidates — something KOCHPAC cannot do with all employees, just executives. Additionally, unions will often bus employees to the polls and have a poll monitor watch to make sure the union members have voted. Koch Industries does not do that. But here’s where the real intellectual dishonesty or stupidity come in. Lee Fang and Think Progress support card check. They want unions to be able to stand over a business’s employees and find out whether or not the employee has signed a card to unionize and, if not, intimidate and cajole the employee until he does (not that Think Progress or Lee Fang are on record supporting that last bit).” … Lee Fang is apparently assigned full time to digging up dirt on Charles and David Koch, and Fang’s reporting has been found to be unreliable and misinformed.

Kansas governor on first 100 days. In a press release, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback listed some accomplishments of the first 100 days of his administration. Highlights mentioned were: “First Month Commitments” in the Governor’s Road Map for Kansas accomplished, including releasing a Strategic Economic Development Plan and establishing the Office of the Repealer. … Six Executive Reorganization Orders designed to restructure state government to become law on July 1, 2011 to increase efficiency, restructure government, and cut overhead costs. … Numerous Road Map for Kansas goals achieved through bi-partisan-supported legislation signed into law including the “Rural Opportunity Zones” bill, several deregulation bills, two pro-life bills, a voter ID bill, and a workers compensation reform bill. … On challenges ahead, the Governor said: “I am pleased with what we have accomplished in our first 100 days but our state continues to face a multitude of fiscal challenges that need to be addressed. More than 100,000 Kansans are still out of work. This administration will continue to focus on building a pro-growth environment that includes allowing businesses of all sizes to expense their investments and abolishing burdensome regulations to protect Kansans and encourage job creation.”

Freeloaders come in all types. Recently John Stossel had an hour-long special show that focused on freeloaders. The show is now available on the free hulu service by clicking on Stossel: Freeloaders. The freeloaders Stossel profiles are not just panhandlers, although Stossel did work in disguise as a panhandler and discovered he could make over $90 a day — tax free, he added. One segment of the show uncovered farmers who received $50,000 because they were discriminated against by lenders. But — some of these farmers merely grew potted plants or fertilized their lawn to qualify as a farmer. Another reported on homeowners who stopped paying their mortgages on advice of a website. The homeowners and the website operator said there is no moral obligation to pay their mortgage loans. Corporate freeloaders didn’t escape, as General Electric was mentioned as a large recipient of government handouts. And, they won’t pay taxes: “Despite billions in profit, they’ll pay no taxes this year,” reported Stossel. … The severe poverty of American Indian tribes that live on government-managed reservations and living on government handouts is contrasted with a tribe that accepts no handouts and has no casinos. … Stossel covered his own beach house, which was covered by low-cost subsidized federal fund insurance. It suffered losses twice. … Standing in front of the U.S. Capitol, Stossel said “We rich people freeload off you taxpayers all the time, because the over-promisers in there keep churning out special deals for politically-favored groups. And they tend to be rich people, because the rich can afford lobbyists. … Think about how much money we could save if these guys just didn’t pass so many laws that encourage freeloading. But they do, year after year. They micromanage life with subsidies. And the winners are not so much the needy, but people like Bon Jovi, Ted Turner, Maurice Wilder, and — me. So let’s hope for an end to all this freeloading.”

Are taxes the solution? From Bankrupting America: “It’s Tax Day 2011! And while it isn’t the most pleasant thing to think about, it doesn’t sting as bad as when you consider we’re $14 trillion in debt and face a $1.6 trillion deficit. So what got us into this mess? We’ve had an unfortunate habit of spending far more than we can afford — and have been doing it for years. The logical solution is to … well … stop doing that. But some have suggested we should tax our way out of the hole. Beyond the question of whether we should, there’s a more important question: can we?” … The site has an interesting infographic relating to taxes.

The spontaneous society — centralized planning not required. In the following excerpt from Austrian Economics — A Primer Eamonn Butler explains that we don’t need centralized government planning in order to have great human accomplishment. Also, markets process far more information than any central planner could: Many people find it hard to believe that a society or an economy could survive — much less create and distribute wealth in any organised and rational way — without central planning and authority. Hayek has provided the explanation, however: the liberal human society and economy is, he says, an example of a spontaneous order. Just because something is not planned from the centre does not mean that it is wild, unkempt, random and disorderly, he points out. Societies of bees and termites are very orderly, but they are hardly planned. Human language, similarly, was never “invented”, but evolved, and grew and survived because it is useful. … The market and the price system, similarly, was never planned, but evolved as people exchanged different goods. Nor do they need any central command structure to maintain them: they have survived and expanded because they deliver such enormous benefit to us. In other words, there is a great deal of wisdom in these institutions, despite the fact that they have never been consciously designed and planned. The price system, for example, quickly and efficiently steers resources to their highest value uses, without anyone ever having deliberately invented it. The fact that there is no central planning does not mean that it is “unplanned” and irrational. We are all planners, says Hayek, in that we consciously act in order to satisfy our ambitions with the materials and information that are available to us. In the market order there is in fact far more planning taking place, and far more information being used and acted upon, than could ever be achieved by the single mind of any central authority. … In the case of the liberal market order, the rules are principles like the respect for private property and the right to hold or dispose of it, the rejection of violence and coercion, the freedom of people to enter into voluntary contracts, and the honouring of such contractual promises. Astonishingly, a few simple liberal rules such as these are sufficient to create what Rothbard calls an “awe-inspiring” harmony and co-ordination between individuals, and a precise, swift arrangement to guide resources to the greatest possible satisfaction of consumers’ desires.

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