Problem of low wages not easily solved

Writing from New Orleans, Louisiana A group in Kansas has been pressing for raising our state's minimum wage. Other groups in Kansas seek to impose a "living wage" that is higher than the federal minimum wage, which itself has been raised recently. The great appeal of a higher minimum wage mandated by an act of the legislature is that it seems like a wonderfully magical way to increase the wellbeing of low-wage workers. Those who were earning less than the new lawful wage and keep their jobs after the increase are happy. They are grateful to the lawmakers, labor leaders,…
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Voucher opponents: uninformed or untruthful?

Writing from New Orleans, Louisiana "The AFT supports parents' right to send their children to private or religious schools but opposes the use of public funds to do so. The main reason for this opposition is because public funding of private or religious education transfers precious tax dollars from public schools …" This is a typical criticism of school vouchers, here expressed by one of the nation's teachers unions. But what about the reasoning behind this claim? A common plan for vouchers calls for the school that loses a student to a voucher school to also lose the funding that…
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A Monopoly by Any Other Name

Writing from New Orleans, Louisiana This excellent article uses an amusing (but painful) anectode about service at the U.S. Post Office to drive home the point that government monopolies -- the Pittsburgh Public Schools in this case -- themselves may be starting to realize the public's poor perception of their service. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Jamie Story, the author of this article. She is a young woman who works for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and she has written many fine articles on the subject of education. An excerpt from the article: What’s in a name? Apparently,…
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Taxes in Kansas at an All-Time High

Taxes in Kansas at an All-Time High By Dr. Barry Poulson At no other time in the state’s history have state and local governments imposed such a heavy tax burden on Kansas residents. This year, state and local taxes will capture 11.2 percent of the state’s income. The graduated income tax contributes to this all time high by creating a boom of revenue and spending during prosperous economic times. In periods of rapid growth, income tax revenue increases faster than income. Excited by these new funds, legislators increase state spending with new or expanded programs to match. With this boom…
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Wichita School System Extends Its Monopoly

On Saturday February 12, 2005 I attended a meeting of the South Central Kansas Legislative Delegation. Lynn Rogers, then the USD 259 (the Wichita public school district) school board president, and Connie Dietz, then vice-president of the same body, attended. There had been a proposal to spend an additional $415 million over the next three years on schools. Asked if this would be enough to meet their needs, the Wichita school board members replied, "No." At least Mr. Rogers was not lying. More spending than that was approved, and true to his word, the Wichita Board of Education found it…
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Analysis of Wichita Eagle News Coverage

I received this analysis and commentary from a friend of mine. It concerns an article that appeared on the front page of The Wichita Eagle a few months ago. I have removed mention of specific names. I was appalled to read the front page editorial that appeared above the fold on the front page of the April 22, 2007 Wichita Eagle. Let me count some of the egregious flaws in this article: 1) The article mentions the "...a drop off of $185 million..." in state revenues but does not mention the primary reason. Let me provide it: "The new legislation…
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Liberty Search

Liberty Search is a Google custom search engine that I developed. It searches sites friendly to liberty, capitalism, and free markets, such as mises.org, cato.org, and many others. Or, visit the page at Google for Liberty Search. This page has more information about this Google custom search engine.
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A Few Random Quotes

Barbra Streisand told Diane Sawyer that we're in a global warming crisis, and we can expect more and more intense storms, droughts and dust bowls. But before they act, weather experts say they're still waiting to hear from Celine Dion. -- Jay Leno The great virtue of free enterprise is that it forces existing businesses to meet the test of the market continuously, to produce products that meet consumer demands at lowest cost, or else be driven from the market. It is a profit-and-loss system. Naturally, existing businesses generally prefer to keep out competitors in other ways. That is why…
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More taxes for Wichitans

More Taxes For Wichitans By Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network Expanding gambling in Sedgwick County will lower taxes and provide “…tax relief…,” according to casino advocates’ campaign flyer. This claim is preposterous in light of the soaring property tax hikes and spending expansion plans being generated by local government in our community. Historically it is also ridiculous when taxes in general and property taxes in particular rose following the passage of the state lottery in the 1980s. Gambling proponents campaign does raise some key questions for this community’s tax status and overall fiscal climate. In 2006 Sedgwick County commissioners unanimously…
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For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto by Murray N. Rothbard An absolutely awesome book. If you are interested in liberty, this is, in my opinion, the most important book to read. I think Lew Rockwell, who I recently had the pleasure to meet at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, says it best about this book: Once you are exposed to the complete picture -- and For a New Liberty has been the leading means of exposure for more than a quarter of a century -- you cannot forget it. It becomes the indispensable lens through which we can see…
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The Perverse Kansas Gambling Law

As humans, we have the right to gamble, as it is an activity that people may voluntarily take part in, and it causes no harm or violence to others. As such, we have to wonder why most forms of gambling have been illegal in Kansas for so long. More importantly, what has changed this year that would cause the state to allow us to gamble in casinos? What has happened that would cause this activity, formerly considered a vice by the state, to be allowed and even desired? The answer is simple: the anticipation of millions of dollars in new…
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The Kansas Gambling Law I’d Vote For

Here's the one law concerning gambling in Wichita and Kansas that I would vote for: "All laws prohibiting and regulating gambling in Kansas are hereby repealed." That's the only law consistent with personal freedom and liberty. The law that has been passed, however, provides more power for the state and more opportunities to regulate our lives. Even casino supporters concede large social costs will accompany a casino. As we have government that stands willing to pay these costs, the taxpayer will suffer these costs. In the balance, the expansion of state bureaucracy, tax collection, and regulation, plus the social costs…
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Toward a Free America

The ending of For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, by Murray N. Rothbard: Toward a Free America The libertarian creed, finally, offers the fulfillment of the best of the American past along with the promise of a far better future. Even more than conservatives, who are often attached to the monarchical traditions of a happily obsolete European past, libertarians are squarely in the great classical liberal tradition that built the United States and bestowed on us the American heritage of individual liberty, a peaceful foreign policy, minimal government, and a free-market economy. Libertarians are the only genuine current heirs…
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A Free Society: It’s Not All About Country

The opening words of Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman, written around 1962: In a much quoted passage in his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.” It is a striking sign of the temper of our times that the controversy about this passage centered on its origin and not on its content. Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic “what your…
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Disenfranchising and Dissing Kansans

Disenfranchising and Dissing Kansans By Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network “All political power is inherent in the people…,” begins one part of the Kansas Bill of Rights that is part of the Kansas Constitution. This is one important provision that has been eviscerated and destroyed by the Kansas Supreme Court with the quiet support of a large number of elected officials as well as much of the Kansas news media. When was the last time you got to vote on raising your property taxes for city, county, or other local services? How about a local bond issue that didn’t involve…
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Government makes things worse, not better

From Dan Mitchell, Center for Freedom & Prosperity http://www.freedomandprosperity.org John Stossel eviscerates David Brooks, the ostensibly conservative columnist for the New York Times. Brooks has argued for big new government initiatives to boost human capital. Stossel correctly notes, though, that Brooks wants to expand failed government programs when the right approach is to move in the other direction: David Brooks is a bright guy, so I wonder how he can blame the free market for failing in this way. He continues, "Despite all the incentives, 30 percent of kids drop out of high school and the college graduation rate has…
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Unlearning Roosevelt

Writing in the July 8, 2007 Washington Post, George Will has a column titled "Declaration of Dependence." The link to it is here, although you may have to register (for free) to read it. All through my public school education, we were taught that Franklin Roosevelt was godlike for saving the country from the Great Depression. While I don't directly know what schoolchildren are taught today, I imagine that the stature of Roosevelt has only increased, as his vision of large, overpowering government is in perfect alignment with the goals of public schools. This is more that I need to…
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Political Decision Making Leads To Conflict

Writing from Davenport, Iowa A column by economist Walter E. Williams (Why we're a divided nation) strongly makes the case for more decision making by free markets rather than by the government through the political process. When decisions are made through free markets, Dr. Williams says, both parties win, because in a free market, parties voluntarily enter into only those transactions that benefit them. When decisions are made for us by the government, however, it is almost always the case that one party's gain is someone else's loss. Therefore, there is conflict. The more decisions made through politics, the more…
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A Message From Ron Paul

I received this in an email from Ron Paul's campaign: As my great mentor Ludwig von Mises showed, government meddling in the economy creates conflict, as special-interest groups seek to rip us off through big government. The voluntarism of the free market, on the other hand, brings social cooperation and peace. I have never heard Ron Paul describe Ludwig von Mises as his mentor. Now I know I really like Ron Paul!
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The Candlemaker’s Petition

By Frederic Bastiat A PETITION From the Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, sticks, Street Lamps, Snuffers, and Extinguishers, and from Producers of Tallow, Oil, Resin, Alcohol, and Generally of Everything Connected with Lighting. To the Honourable Members of the Chamber of Deputies. Gentlemen: You are on the right track. You reject abstract theories and little regard for abundance and low prices. You concern yourselves mainly with the fate of the producer. You wish to free him from foreign competition, that is, to reserve the domestic market for domestic industry. We come to offer you a wonderful opportunity for your --…
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