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Voice For Liberty

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Google Analytics

If you have a website, you may be interested in knowing how many people visit your site. There are many web counters and other services to give counts of visitors and other statistics, but nothing I have seen comes close to Google Analytics. This free service, available at http://www.google.com/analytics, provides detailed analysis of the traffic that visits your website. I recommend it for anyone with a website who wants to know more about the site's visitors.

Tax increment financing in Iowa

Readers of The Voice For Liberty in Wichita are well aware that I believe that when the government provides subsidies to businesses -- either in the form of cash payments or preferential tax treatment -- we create a corrosive business environment. Government picks winners and losers for political reasons, rather than letting the market decide which companies are doing a good job. Government also spends money inefficiently. Instead of letting the market decide where to best allocate capital, government chooses who receives capital taken from the people through taxation according to the whims of politicians spending other peoples' money.

Political Decision Making Increases Conflict

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 potential for conflict. Coalitions arise in order to try to get more from the government, and the most effective coalitions "are those with a proven record of being the most divisive -- those based on race, ethnicity, religion and region."

The final paragraph of the column is this: "The best thing the president and Congress can do to heal our country is to reduce the impact of government on our lives. Doing so will not only produce a less divided country and greater economic efficiency but bear greater faith and allegiance to the vision of America held by our founders -- a country of limited government."

In an earlier post, I mentioned some columns by Dr. Williams that I thought were important. This column is certainly one of his best, as it very simply, in one short page, shows us a major fault in our current political landscape.

John Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years

"The one great secret of investing is that there is no secret."

"Investment success, it turns out, lies in simplicity as basic as the virtues of thrift, independence of thought, financial discipline, realistic expectations, and common sense."

John Todd on Eminent Domain in Kansas

I support the proposition to amend article 15 of the constitution of the state of Kansas by adding a new section thereto, concerning eminent domain as follows:

"Private property shall not be taken except for public use, and private property shall not be taken without just compensation. The taking of private property with the intent to or in anticipation of selling, leasing or otherwise transferring any interest in the property to any private entity is not a valid public use and is prohibited."

The Kansas Productivity Puzzle

The Kansas Productivity Puzzle

Lance Kinzer
Kansas State Representative, Dist. 14
http://www.lancekinzer.com

Among the many interesting things that occurred during the first week of the legislative session perhaps the most compelling involved a presentation to the House Tax Committee by Professor Arthur Hall of the Center for Applied Economics at The University of Kansas. Dr. Hall's presentation was focused on something he calls The Kansas Productivity Puzzle. Simply put, Kansas lags behind both the national average and other states in our region in the crucial economic category of productivity growth.

In economic terms productivity is the value of goods and services per worker. Kansas falls short with respect to productivity growth in every sector of our economy except durable goods manufacture. This is true not merely when the comparison is made against the nation as a whole, but also when the comparison is made against other agricultural states in our region. To understand why this matters it is important to recognize that productivity growth is a key factor in determining wages. It is also a crucial determinant in overall economic growth. If Kansas had enjoyed merely average productivity growth over the past 25 years our state economy would be some $18 billion dollars larger than it is at the current time. Furthermore, wages in Kansas lag some $5,000.00 per worker behind the national average for similarly educated workers.

Public Access, or lack there of

Dear Bob's Blog, I recently moved to wichita from chicago... a while b4 i decided to move I had completed my Comcast public access certification. Comcast is basicaly the equivalence to Cox here. Un / Fortunately I was unable to put it to any good use while in Chicago due to some circumstances.... however I was searchin around the web and came across your blog entry on the lack of public acess for the public here in wichita. I wondered if you had any luck with your letter and/or knew any sources of information on the subject. I would be willing to put forth some effort in helping our voice be heard...

The decline In Kansas continues

The relative decline of Kansas continues. This decline is vividly demonstrated when state and federal revenue growth is examined.

Attacking lobbyists wrong battle

Professor Williams explains to us that given the "awesome growth of government control over business, property, employment and other areas of our lives" Washington politicians (and I would add state and local politicians too) are in the position to grant valuable favors. "The greater their power to grant favors, the greater the value of being able to influence Congress, and there's no better influence than money."

Who is more compassionate?

Arthur C. Brooks, writing in the January 16, 2006 Wall Street Journal, debunks a stereotype about conservatives (those in favor of smaller government) being less compassionate and caring than those who are in favor of more government spending on social programs.

Book Review: Separating School & State: How to Liberate America’s Families

Public schools are a great intrusion on liberty. Attendance is compulsory, as is paying for the public schools. Could the government devise a better way to expand its influence? "Despite the claim of moral neutrality, public education is linked to a particular set of values, namely, the values of the modern welfare, or social-service state. Those values include moral agnosticism (erroneously called tolerance), government activism, egalitarianism, 'welfare rights' to taxpayer largess, collectivism, and a watered-down version of socialism that looks much like the economic theory of the 1930s known as fascism.

Book Review: Education Myths: What Special-Interest Groups Want You to Believe About Our Schools and Why it Isn’t So

Education policy, says Jay P. Greene, is dominated by myths. Myths aren't lies. They're intuitive, they seem to be true, and we want them to be true. There is probably some evidence supporting the myth. But if the myth isn't true, if it isn't accurate, and we make policy decisions based on the myth, we create disastrous results. As important and expensive as public education is, this means we need to examine myths and discard those that don't truthfully describe the world.

On Paul Mirecki

There are two aspects to the Paul Mirecki matter that I haven't seen discussed, or discussed only in passing.

Kansas Media Spin on Moderates and Conservatives

Here's a very good piece on Kansas politics written by Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network. Karl has amazing knowledge of Kansas politics and politicians of the past two decades. I wish he would write a book about it.

Kansas Media Spin on Moderates and Conservatives
Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network

The liberal Republican Steve Rose has taken a break from advocating tax hikes to editorialize in the Johnson County Sun newspapers contrasting the difference between GOP "moderates" and "conservatives." He does this without mentioning fiscal, property rights and other issues. I'm copying Rose's commentary at the end of this response for your inspection.

In this commentary Rose cites the pathetic left-wing Iola Register owned and operated by the Lynn family. Emerson Lynn's daughter Susan now runs this daily southeastern KS newspaper with a gradually shrinking paid circulation of 3,803 subscribers. Emerson never found a statewide tax hike proposal that he didn't like. He never found a fiscal conservative that he did. Emerson is a liberal in a conservative county in a conservative state and so he tried to influence public policy the way that liberals who dominate the Kansas news media do: they back the liberal faction in the Republican Party at whenever time they think it matters. If the Democrats have a chance, they back them. If the Bolsheviks had an electable candidate on the ballot and occasionally a couple win GOP nominations in certain areas of Johnson County, they would back them.

How government makes us unhappy

Arthur C. Brooks, associate professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Public Affairs, has a commentary in the December 8, 2005 Wall Street Journal titled "Money Buys Happiness." Rich people, the author tells us, are much more likely to say they are happy. Although we are becoming richer as a whole, the percent of people saying they are "very happy" is the same today as it was 30 years ago. Some people say it's the rich having relatively more than others that makes them happy. This excess happiness of the rich being bad, they say, we should use progressive taxation to improve our "moral fiber" by making after-tax incomes less divergent.

More Under Reported Kansas News

More Under Reported Kansas News
By Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network

There are at least two stories that have not received the mainstream news media attention that they deserve in Kansas. Kansans need more information than they have received and the readers should decide whether the following is unreported or just under reported in their daily, mainstream newspaper coverage.

It was headlines across Kansas when Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison announced his candidacy for Attorney General. Morrison, a liberal Johnson County Republican prior to his announcement, bailed out of the GOP said he was going to run as a Democrat. This announcement and the headline news stories that followed led to analysis pieces discussing the split in the Kansas Republican Party and the “problems” facing Attorney General Phill Kline’s 2006 campaign for reelection.

What is fascinating in seeing the mainstream Kansas press’ bias was a couple of weeks later when Attorney General Kline announced that 89 of 105 county sheriffs were endorsing him for reelection. Even more remarkable was the fact that 8 of 13 Democrat sheriffs were among the 89.

Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know About Wealth and Prosperity

This is a wonderful book that can teach anyone what is important to know about economics. It teaches the insights that people can use to understand and evaluate the mechanism of our economy and government themselves. It is not a textbook with charts, graphs, and formulas. It requires no special prerequisite from the reader.

Wal-Mart. More hypocrisy.

Currently it is quite fashionable to criticize Wal-Mart as the starting point for everything evil about American business. Critics allege that Wal-Mart earns too much profit, pays its employees too little, doesn't provide its employees health insurance so they have to rely on the government, it exploits low-paid workers in China, and might even be responsible for avian flu, for all I know.

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