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Voice For Liberty

Are you a second class Kansan?

The Kansas legislature is in the process of deciding how wide the separation will be between various classes of Kansans. State Senator Peggy Palmer, R-Augusta, and State Representative Judy Morrison, R-Shawnee, introduced bills in their separate legislative houses that would have exempted social security payments from the Kansas personal income tax this year.

Public-sector lobbyists are exempt

But local governments, public universities and Indian tribes are exempt from the limit, so they are able to shower members and their staffs with such goodies as luxury skybox tickets to basketball games and front-row concert tickets.

Bill Davitt on blight

Bill Davitt makes some excellent points about the dangers of giving politicians power to control blight through eminent domain. He also explains why it is best to vote for Carlos Mayans for mayor of Wichita.

The Williams rules

The kind of rules we should have are the kind that we'd make if our worst enemy were in charge. My mother created a mini-version of such a rule. Sometimes she would ask either me or my sister to evenly divide the last piece of cake or pie to share between us. More times than not, an argument ensued about the fairness of the division. Those arguments ended with Mom's rule: Whoever cuts the cake lets the other take the first piece.

Wichita school board accounting

Mr. Gramke's assertion that USD 259 spending is not increasing, and that the district has been cutting its budget for the four years before 2005 doesn't square with the facts as I see them.

Higher Education Wants A Spending Spree

Soaring spending has not been spent evenly. The six Regents universities in Kansas initially asked for $727 million to fix deeply neglected buildings at these campuses. Governor Sebelius has performed a valuable service by responding that the Kansas Turnpike have higher tolls to fund this spending.

A roadblock to private investment in Wichita

So for the moment, a developer's plan for a downtown hotel and conference center is blocked by a law, the Kansas preservation statute. What is the problem with the proposed building? "[the problem] is that it incorporates too many materials and features inconsistent with the surrounding buildings. That includes glass, marble, stainless steel, redwood and balconies."

Kansas lags fiscally again

Kansas is once again falling behind. The growth in state tax receipts has allowed the legislature to increase state spending. This revenue growth could also provide some much needed tax relief to try and make this state’s fiscal climate more competitive.

The law vs. markets

One of the criticisms of raising the minimum wage is that it is Congress substituting its judgment for the market's in determining pay. While Congress can force an employer to pay an employee a minimum amount, it can't force the employer to keep the employee.

No end to increasing regulation

Contrary to the popular perception, Bush has been one of the most pro-regulation presidents -- far more so than Democrat Bill Clinton, who, in many ways, was a better friend to the free market than Bush has been.

Political power is the opposite of freedom

The problem is that politicians are not supposed to have power over us – we're supposed to be free. We seem to have forgotten that freedom means the absence of government coercion. So when politicians and the media celebrate political power, they really are celebrating the power of certain individuals to use coercive state force.

The Plunder of the Legislative Process

It is amazing to read the words of Bastiat, written over 150 years ago, but applicable today:

Your principle has placed these words above the entrance of the legislative chamber: “whosoever acquires any influence here can obtain his share of legal plunder.” And what has been the result? All classes have flung themselves upon the doors of the chamber crying: “A share of the plunder for me, for me!”

-- Frédéric Bastiat, Selected Essays on Political Economy [1848]

The decline of local chambers of commerce

"I used to think that public employee unions like the NEA were the main enemy in the struggle for limited government, competition and private sector solutions," says Mr. Caldera of the Independence Institute. "I was wrong. Our biggest adversary is the special interest business cartel that labels itself 'the business community' and its political machine run by chambers and other industry associations."

The taking of private property

Eminent domain is not the only way that private property can be acquired by government. Placing restrictions on the land by law or regulation can also be a taking that warrants just compensation.

How To Judge the Worth of Ethanol

From The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2007: "Ethanol gets a 51-cent a gallon domestic subsidy, and there's another 54-cent a gallon tariff applied at the border against imported ethanol. Without those subsidies, hardly anyone would make the stuff, much less buy it -- despite recent high oil prices."

Remove this subsidy and the tariff. Remove the subsidy paid to farmers who grow the corn that is used to make ethanol. Then, the free market will rapidly tell us the true value of ethanol.

Bureaucracy vs. something that works

Here's how the education bureaucracy and teachers unions won out over students in the creation of the No Child Left Behind Act:

Market forces and teacher (mis)-education

In a system governed by market forces, teacher pay would be based on how well students learn, not how many superfluous degrees teachers accumulate

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