Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday July 20, 2011

Kansas budget director to be in Wichita. This Friday’s meeting (July 22) of the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Steve Anderson, Director of the Budget for Kansas. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend Wichita Pachyderm meetings. For more information click on Wichita Pachyderm Club. … Upcoming speakers: On July 29, Dennis Taylor, Secretary, Kansas Department of Administration and “The Repealer” on “An Overview of the Office of the Repealer.” … On August 5, the three newest members of the Wichita City Council will appear: Pete Meitzner (district 2, east Wichita), James Clendenin (district 3, south and southeast Wichita), and Michael O’Donnell (district 4, south and southwest Wichita). Their topic will be “What it’s like to be a new member of the Wichita City Council?” … On August 12 Kansas Representative Marc Rhoades, Chair of the Kansas House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, will speak on “The impact of the freshman legislators on the 2011 House budgetary process.” … On August 19, Jay M. Price, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the public history program at Wichita State University, speaking on “Clashes of Values in Kansas History.” His recent Wichita Eagle op-ed was Kansas a stage for “values showdowns.” … On August 26, Kansas State Representatives Jim Howell and Joseph Scapa speaking on “Our freshmen year in the Kansas Legislature.” … On September 2 the Petroleum Club is closed for the holiday, so there will be no meeting. … On September 9, Mark Masterson, Director, Sedgwick County Department of Corrections, on the topic “Juvenile Justice System in Sedgwick County.” Following, from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Pachyderm Club members and guests are invited to tour the Sedgwick County Juvenile Detention Center located at 700 South Hydraulic, Wichita, Kansas. … On September 16, Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, great grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, will present a program with the topic to be determined. … On September 23, Dave Trabert, President of Kansas Policy Institute, speaking on the topic Why Not Kansas,” an initiative to provide information about school choice. … On September 30, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo of Wichita on “An update from Washington.”

All Kansans voted for “Cut, Cap, and Balance.” From Americans for Prosperity, Kansas: “Americans for Prosperity Kansas applauds Representatives Lynn Jenkins, Tim Huelskamp, Kevin Yoder, and Mike Pompeo for standing up to solve America’s debt crisis by voting ‘Yes’ on H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap and Balance Act. The Cut, Cap, Balance Act directly addresses the nation’s staggering $14.3 trillion debt by immediately cutting spending, capping the federal budget and sending a strong balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification. … ‘Runaway spending has buried the United States Government in debt, causing us to hit our statutory ceiling at $14.3 trillion,’ said James Valvo, Americans for Prosperity Director of Government Affairs. ‘It is time for Washington to rein it its out-of-control spending and implement real spending reforms. The Cut, Cap, Balance Act provides necessary fiscal restraint that would get America back on the path to prosperity.’ … ‘Families and businesses alike in Kansas are tightening their belts and making tough choices to make ends meet, while Washington has continued to spend with no end in sight as if there are no limits,’ said Derrick Sontag, Americans For Prosperity Kansas State Director. ‘I thank the Kansas Representatives for safeguarding the future of America and demanding Washington tighten its belt.'”

Foreclosed homes: the maps. We hear about the large number of foreclosed homes, but until you see them on a map, it’s sometimes difficult to comprehend the scope of the problem. For a tour of satellite photographs with indications of foreclosed homes, click on Satellite view of U.S. Foreclosures.

Kansas certificates of indebtedness. Kansas Watchdog: “Without the state’s most recent internal borrowing, a $600 million certificate of indebtedness (COI) issued June 30, the state general fund (SGF) would have been out of money on July 5, just five days into the new fiscal year, and wouldn’t have a positive balance again until June 21, 2012.” Reporter Paul Soutar goes on to explain how these certificates — a loan to the state to be repaid with funds collected later in the fiscal year — are commonly used year after year. But this is just the start of the state’s problems, writes Soutar: “That’s just the tip of an off-balance iceberg according to the Institute for Truth in Accounting, an advocate for more open and honest accounting for government finance. If all financial obligations, including promised pension payments and health care benefits for retirees, are added up the Kansas state budget was actually $5.2 billion out of balance by FY2011 according to Truth in Accounting.” State accounting practices mask the true magnitude of the problem, too: “Accountants familiar with government and private accounting standards told KansasWatchdog the practice is called double counting and would not be allowed in a private business because it represents a fraud intended to deceive whoever reads the financial report. The double counting approved by the Legislature and Sebelius in 2003 continues in Kansas.” … The full article, well worth reading and understanding, is Certificates of Indebtedness Symptom of Bad Budget Choices.

Why more regulation is not the answer. Brad Raple of the adverse possessor explains: “Many people associate pure free-market capitalism with a complete lack of regulation. This is not the case. Regulation is the primary reason free-market capitalism works so well. But in a capitalist system, the regulations are market-based instead of based on politically motivated bureaucrats telling people what they can and can’t do. … Bailouts, government guarantees, subsidies, and all other methods of socializing private risk undermine the regulation imposed by free-market forces. … The FDIC is even a huge example of moral hazard. For example, people pay practically no attention to the financial condition or solvency of their banks. After all, why would they? They’re FDIC insured! In other words, no one cares if their deposits are in a bank that is over-leveraged because if it fails, the FDIC will bail out the depositors. Without the FDIC, people might pay a little more attention to the financial condition of their banks. Banks would probably compete based on financial security, as opposed to free toasters, interest rates, and how quickly they can rubber stamp a home equity loan to finance a boat.” … More at Why more regulation is not the answer.

Myths of the Great Depression. “Historian Stephen Davies names three persistent myths about the Great Depression. Myth #1: Herbert Hoover was a laissez-faire president, and it was his lack of action that lead to an economic collapse. Davies argues that in fact, Hoover was a very interventionist president, and it was his intervening in the economy that made matters worse. Myth #2: The New Deal ended the Great Depression. Davies argues that the New Deal actually made matters worse. In other countries, the Great Depression ended much sooner and more quickly than it did in the United States. Myth #3: World War II ended the Great Depression. Davies explains that military production is not real wealth; wars destroy wealth, they do not create wealth. In fact, examination of the historical data reveals that the U.S. economy did not really start to recover until after WWII was over.” This video is from LearnLiberty.org, a project of Institute for Humane Studies, and many other informative videos are available.

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