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Posts tagged as “Economics”

Wichita Business Journal: Please Explain the Wichita School Bond Impact

Mr. Heck must be relying on reporting from his own newspaper, for a few months ago it printed the article "Brooks: Bond issue possible in spring" (December 28, 2007 Wichita Business Journal) in which Brooks and Joe Johnson, head of the school district's architectural firm Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture say that the bond issue in 2000 did, indeed, save Wichita.

This is nonsense of the highest order. Government spending cannot create prosperity. Borrowing against future tax revenue only compounds the problem.

Price Controls Will Harm Iowa

In the article Price Controls Create Man-Made Disasters we learn that although the Iowa attorney general has imposed Iowa’s anti-price-gouging rule (Price-gougers beware, Attorney General…

Wichita School Bond Issue: Is Economic Impact Real?

I wrote to Janet Harrah, the lead author of this report, with some questions. One of her responses, not to any particular question I asked but just by way of general explanation, was this: "These studies are designed to estimate the impact of expenditures for a particular activity. These studies are not designed to determine the 'best and highest' use of money."

This revelation makes this study useless as a guide as to whether spending by the Wichita school district is wise.

A Believer in Good Government Programs

A Mr. Greg Abbott of Clearwater, Kansas makes the case in the June 13, 2008 Wichita Eagle that there are many good government programs: the interstate highway system, the post office, the air traffic control system, police and fire departments, etc.

I believe the writer makes a huge error in logic by assuming that because these programs exist and have been provided by government, then they are good things to have, and that these things can only be provided through government. To make this conclusion requires a huge leap and a good measure of misplaced faith in the institution of government.

Tax Abatements in Wichita

A few months ago I spoke before this council asking that you not grant a tax abatement. At that time I was told that granting a property tax abatement doesn't have any impact on City of Wichita spending.

I found this quite remarkable, that new homes and buildings can be built but not consume any additional resources that the city and other local governments supply. If this is truly the case, why should a new development of any type at any location have to pay any property tax at all?

Investment in Wichita Public Schools

A letter writer in the April 27, 2008 Wichita Eagle makes the case that investment in USD 259 (the Wichita, Kansas public school district) has a good return.

By way of comparison, the writer argues that the Wichita airport, having been built with public funds, represents "an investment return." Whether it represents a good return on investment the writer doesn't say, but I believe he means that the airport was a good investment of public funds.

Wichita school bond issue economic fallacy

I have no doubt that the school bond issue in 2000 was a tremendous benefit to Mr. Johnson's firm. I'm sure Superintendent Brooks, in some way that I don't understand, benefited from the bond issue, too.

As to the rest of the community, however, the benefit claimed by these two men doesn't exist. It never existed. It is only a fantasy flowing from an economic fallacy.

Problem of low wages not easily solved

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, newspaper editorialists, and others who pleaded for the higher minimum wage. News stories will report their good fortune.

That's the visible effect of raising the minimum wage. But to understand the entire issue, we must look for the unseen effects.

The Candlemaker’s Petition

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.

Henry Hazlitt explains Frederic Bastiat, or, a broken window really hurts no matter what the New York Times says

This simple lesson from Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson explains so much, yet so little people realize and apply the truths explained here. Even trained economists like Paul Krugman, writing in The New York Times, fail to recognize the truth of Bastiat's lesson as explained by Hazlitt when he remarked that "the terror attack [of 9/11/2001 that destroyed the World Trade Center] could even do some economic good."

The Shine Is Off Corn Ethanol

Our economy is so intertwined and interdependent that it is impossible for the government to guide it in any direction without setting off a long chain of consequences. This is another example of the folly of centralized economic planning.

Economic fallacy supports arts in Wichita

Recently two editorials appeared in The Wichita Eagle promoting government spending on the arts because it does wonderful things for the local economy. The writers are Rhonda Holman and Joan Cole, who is chairwoman of the Arts Council.

I read the study that these local writers relied on. The single greatest defect in this study is that it selectively ignores the secondary effects of government spending on the arts.

I, Pencil: A Most Important Story

I, Pencil is one of the most important and influential writings that explain the necessity for limited government. A simple object that we may not give much throught to, the story of the pencil illustrates the importance of markets, and the impossibility of centralized economic planning.

Hillary Clinton and Milton Friedman: The Contrast

"The unfettered free market has been the most radically destructive force in American life in the last generation."
-- First Lady Hillary Clinton on C-Span in 1996 stating her troubles with the free market

"What most people really object to when they object to a free market is that it is so hard for them to shape it to their own will. The market gives people what the people want instead of what other people think they ought to want. At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really lack of belief in freedom itself."
-- Milton Friedman, Wall Street Journal, May 18, 1961

Williams’ law: the vital role of profits

Here’s Williams’ law: Whenever the profit incentive is missing, the probability that people’s wants can be safely ignored is the greatest. If a poll were taken asking people which services they are most satisfied with and which they are most dissatisfied with, for-profit organizations (supermarkets, computer companies and video stores) would dominate the first list while non-profit organizations (schools, offices of motor vehicle registration) would dominate the latter. In a free economy, the pursuit of profits and serving people are one and the same. No one argues that the free enterprise system is perfect, but it’s the closest we’ll come here on Earth.

Gambling study flawed. Ask casino workers.

Did you know that a study used to promote the economic development benefits of gambling in Wichita has casino workers paying for a large part of the social costs of gambling?

Economic fallacy alive in Kansas at Docking Institute

There really is no free lunch. What Kansans spend on university repairs can't be spent on something else.

Should Kansas spend the money that the Regents are asking for to repair the universities? Because it fails to recognize the secondary effects of the proposed spending, the analysis put forth by the Docking Institute doesn't answer that question.

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.

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.

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