Bailouts

Kansas must reform KPERS

New research from Kansas Policy Institute reinforces what some have known but many have discounted: The Kansas Public Employee Retirement System is in poor financial shape, and it's going to cost Kansans a lot to fix it. It is urgent that we enact substantive and meaningful reforms now, rather than later. KPI writes the following in introducing its new study Preventing Bankruptcy in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. It turns out that the $9.2 billion hole found in Kansas' public pension program will balloon under new accounting standards used by governments across the country. Under the current standards, Kansas'…
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In Wichita, a gentle clawback

Tomorrow's Wichita City Council meeting will consider a clawback provision for a forgivable loan made by the city. It's on the consent agenda, so it is unlikely there will be any discussion. Clawbacks are mechanisms whereby government can be paid back for the cost of economic development subsidies when companies don't achieve the promised goals, usually employment levels or capital investment. Officials like to look tough on this issue, so they can say they're fighting for the interests of the taxpayer. An example is Wichita City Council Member Jeff Longwell, who during his recent campaign was quoted by the Wichita…
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Wichita’s bailout culture

On Tuesday the Wichita City Council will consider a bailout of a real estate development. If the council takes this action, it is one more step in a series of bailouts granted by the city, and it sets up expectations that the city will continue bailouts, creating a severe climate of moral hazard. The property in question, owned by South Beech Development, LLC, received a loan from the city in 1995 under the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, a project of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. According to city documents, the project has not generated sufficient…
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Ken-Mar TIF district, the bailouts

Tomorrow the Wichita City Council handles two items regarding the Ken-Mar shopping center being redeveloped in northeast Wichita. These items illustrate how inappropriate it is for the city to serve as either entrepreneur or partner with entrepreneurs, and is another lesson in how Wichita needs pay-to-play laws. In August 2008 the city formed a tax increment financing (TIF) district to benefit the center. This allows $2.5 million of the center's future property taxes to be earmarked for the district's exclusive benefit. In January 2009 the city approved a development plan that specified how the public money would be spent, and…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday August 29, 2011

Wichita City Council. The Wichita City Council will not meet this week, as Tuesday is the fifth Tuesday of the month. The council will not meet on September 6th, as that is a Tuesday after a Monday holiday. Government and business. Today's Wichita Eagle carries a letter to the editor that makes a comparison that would be humorous, if so many people didn't believe it: that government can be, and should be, run like a business. Here's part of the letter: "But government isn't like a family. It's a business -- a business that provides the services we need and…
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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…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday October 20, 2010

Poll: Republicans to win big. Wall Street Journal: "A vigorous post-Labor Day Democratic offensive has failed to diminish the resurgent Republicans' lead among likely voters, leaving the GOP poised for major gains in congressional elections two weeks away, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Among likely voters, Republicans hold a 50% to 43% edge, up from a three-percentage-point lead a month ago. ... 'It's hard to say Democrats are facing anything less than a category four hurricane,' said Peter Hart, the Democratic pollster who conducts the Journal poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. 'And it's unlikely the…
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Financial reform passes Congress

This afternoon the United States Senate passed sweeping financial services regulation, sending the bill to President Obama. As the President has championed this legislation, it is certain he will sign the bill. The Wall Street Journal reports "The measure, once implemented, will touch all areas of the financial markets, affecting how consumers obtain credit cards and mortgages, dictating how the government dismantles failing financial firms and directing federal regulators' focus on potential flashpoints in the economy." The Journal also issues a warning: "The work of remaking the financial-regulatory regime, however, remains far from finished. Thursday's vote effectively opens a second…
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Stop spending our future

It's hard to comprehend the spending by the federal government over the last year. The numbers are so large, the spending programs announced so quickly, one after another, that sometimes we need to step back and take a look at the big picture. When we do, it's quite terrifying, especially when we realize that the Obama administration and Congress have several more large programs to pass. A video that places these programs and spending in context is available from StopSpendingOurFuture.org. It's short and to the point. The companion website, a joint effort of The Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity…
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Stimulus is theft

In Theft In Name Of Stimulus Is Still Theft, economist Walter E. Williams makes a powerful argument for something that those who love liberty know: self-ownership is the foundation. "If we accept the idea of self-ownership, then certain acts are readily revealed as moral or immoral. Acts such as rape and murder are immoral because they violate one's private property rights. Theft of the physical things that we own, such as cars, jewelry and money, also violates our ownership rights." Why aren't some people able to accept this? The reason why your college professor, politician or minister cannot give a…
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Articles of Interest

Bailout costs rise, local election turnout, health care, light bulbs, newspapers, Kansas coal prospects Estimate of TARP's Cost to Taxpayers Increases (Wall Street Journal) "The Congressional Budget Office has quietly altered its estimate of the ultimate cost to taxpayers of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, now figuring the initiative will be much more expensive in the long run than it previously figured. In January, the CBO pegged the ultimate cost to taxpayers of the $700 billion TARP at $189 billion. When the agency issued revised numbers in late March, it revised that to $356 billion, a change that…
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Articles of Interest

Capitalism, CFL bulbs, green indoctrination, bailout constitutionality, Facebook, Twitter 'The Road to Serfdom' revisited: Markets display uncertainty over future of capitalism itself (Scott S. Powell in the Washington Times) Discussion of how government interventionism in the economy is not helping. "President Eisenhower called it 'creeping socialism.' Nobel Prize winner Friedrich von Hayek called it 'The Road to Serfdom.'" Do New Bulbs Save Energy if They Don’t Work? (New York Times) Many customers are not happy with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Short life for the expensive bulbs is a common irritation. 'Green Hell' Coming Soon to a Life Like Yours (Human…
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AIG hysteria tramples liberty

From Dave Trabert, president of the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy. The Founding Fathers, who took such deliberate care to preserve personal liberty in our Constitution, would be ashamed by the hysteria and pandering that have consumed Washington, D.C., over bonuses paid to employees of American International Group. There is no justification for rewarding people for failure, but the conduct of elected officials calling for legislative retribution is far more egregious. Members of both parties are tripping over one another in a rush to endorse legislation that would tax bonuses paid to employees of companies receiving bailout money at…
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Wichita Tea Party on Tax Day Flyer

Susan Estes has created a printable flyer to promote the Wichita tea party protest on tax day, April 15. Click on Wichita Tea Party Planned for Tax Day, April 15 to learn more about the event. Thanks to Susan Estes for creating the flyer, and for the great imagery. It hints of one of the themes of the protest, which is "Flush twice, it's a long way to Washington!" Click on Wichita Tea Party Tax Day Flyer to download the printable flyer. It's a pdf file.
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Articles of Interest

Charity, Kansas legal intrigue, Kansas infant mortality rate rises under Sebelius, taxing it all, bailouts not wanted, cap-and-trade costs, school choice saves. The Charity Revolt: Liberals oppose a tax hike on rich donors (Wall Street Journal) true-blue liberals who run most of America's nonprofits, universities and charities" are worried that Obama's plan to limit deductions for charitable contributions will cost them. This article introduces a term I saw for the first time: "New Charity State," and it is a real danger. "Mr. Orszag [White House budget chief Peter] revealed the real agenda at work when he pointed out that the…
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Kansas City Star covers tea party — sort of

The Kansas City Star covers yesterday's tea party protest in the story Protesters gather at Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office in Westport. But, the phrase "tea party" isn't mentioned. I don't know why. See more coverage of the event by clicking on Kansas City Tea Party Protest Photos.
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Kansas City Tea Party Protest Photos

Coverage of a snowy Kansas City tea party protest provided by Chuck Armstrong. Click on Kansas City Tea Party: February 28, 2009. Coverage from the Kansas Meadowlark is at "Tea Party" Rally and March to Senator McCaskill’s Office in Kansas City. Also photos at Kansas City "Tea Party" (Stimulus and Bailout Protest).
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Wichita Tea Party News Coverage on KSN Television

The Wichita Tea Party protest as covered by KSN Television, February 27, 2009. A very good job by reporter Josh Witsman. "Someone needs to go and cut up Congress and President Obama's credit card, because it’s not their credit card -- it's our credit card."
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