Role of government

Stephen Ware: Debate on masks, freedom

Stephen Ware: Debate on masks, freedom

Can libertarians accept a mask mandate? This op-ed by Kansas University Law Professor and noted libertarian Stephen Ware shows how libertarians can tolerate, if not embrace, a government mandate to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. It is free to read in the Topeka Capital-Journal here. Here is an excerpt that I believe presents the heart of the reasoning: In that sense, a mask requirement is less like a seatbelt law designed to protect the wearer and more like a law against driving under the influence of alcohol. Many deaths have been caused by drunken drivers who…
Read More
WichitaLiberty.TV: Sound money and private governance

WichitaLiberty.TV: Sound money and private governance

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Professor Edward Stringham joins Karl Peterjohn and Bob Weeks to discuss Bitcoin, sound money, and the role of markets in private governance. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 182, broadcast February 10, 2018. Edward Peter Stringham is the Davis Professor of Economic Organizations and Innovation at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Stringham is editor of the Journal of Private Enterprise, president of the American Institute for Economic Research, past president of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, and past president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education. He a…
Read More
Deconstructing Don Hineman

Deconstructing Don Hineman

Another Kansas legislator explains why raising taxes was necessary. So he says. Many members of the Kansas Legislature are writing pieces defending their decision to vote for higher taxes. Don Hineman is one. His explanation merits more than average attention, as he is the Majority Leader of the Kansas House of Representatives. This week the Topeka Capital-Journal published his op-ed Rep. Don Hineman: Why tax reform was necessary. It deserves comment. Hineman wrote: "This return to common sense tax policy resulted from legislators listening to their constituents and fulfilling the promises they made during 2016 campaigns." There may have been…
Read More
WichitaLiberty.TV: Sales tax exemptions, criminal justice reform, and charity

WichitaLiberty.TV: Sales tax exemptions, criminal justice reform, and charity

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Does the elimination of sales tax exemptions hold the solution to Kansas budget problems? We have a problem with overcriminalization and the criminal justice system. Then, is there a difference between government and charity? View below, or click here to watch in high definition at YouTube. Episode 96, broadcast September 27, 2015.
Read More
The real free lunch: Markets and private property

The real free lunch: Markets and private property

As we approach another birthday of Milton Friedman, here's his article where he clears up the authorship of a famous aphorism, and explains how to really get a free lunch. Based on remarks at the banquet celebrating the opening of the Cato Institute’s new building, Washington, May 1993. I am delighted to be here on the occasion of the opening of the Cato headquarters. It is a beautiful building and a real tribute to the intellectual influence of Ed Crane and his associates. I have sometimes been associated with the aphorism “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” which…
Read More
‘Love Gov’ humorous and revealing of government’s nature

‘Love Gov’ humorous and revealing of government’s nature

A series of short videos from the Independent Institute entertains and teaches lessons at the same time. The Independent Institute has produced a series of humorous and satirical videos to present lessons about the nature of government. The Institute describes the series here: Love Gov depicts an overbearing boyfriend -- Scott “Gov” Govinsky -- who foists his good intentions on a hapless, idealistic college student, Alexis. Each episode follows Alexis's relationship with Gov as his intrusions wreak (comic) havoc on her life, professionally, financially, and socially. Alexis's loyal friend Libby tries to help her see Gov for what he really…
Read More

Who decides? When it comes to planning, is it the people, the politicians, or the bureaucrats?

By Karl Peterjohn, Sedgwick County Commission The Wichita Eagle editorial page is unhappy with the county commission’s decision to terminate the county’s participation in the federal government’s “sustainability planning grant.” When this controversial grant was first voted upon by the county in 2010, it was rejected by a vote of three to two. This also led the county to withdraw from the Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP). In 2011, a new county commission reversed this decision and decided to participate in this joint federal grant from three often controversial national agencies: Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department…
Read More
Third annual Kansas Freedom Index released

Third annual Kansas Freedom Index released

From Kansas Policy Institute. 3rd Annual Kansas Freedom Index Released Support of Freedom About More Than Politics, IDs Role of Government and Freedom of Citizens July 1, 2014 -- Wichita -- Kansas Policy Institute released a new scorecard tracking votes from the 2014 legislative session. The third annual Kansas Freedom Index takes a broad look at voting records and establishes how supportive state legislators are regarding economic freedom, student-focused education, limited government, and individual liberty. The Index is intended to provide educational information to the public about broad economic and education freedom issues that are important to the citizens of our State. It…
Read More
What is the record of economic development incentives?

What is the record of economic development incentives?

On the three major questions -- Do economic development incentives create new jobs? Are those jobs taken by targeted populations in targeted places? Are incentives, at worst, only moderately revenue negative? -- traditional economic development incentives do not fare well. Judging the effectiveness of economic development incentives requires looking for the unseen effects as well as what is easily seen. It's easy to see the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies that commemorate government intervention -- politicians and bureaucrats are drawn to them, and will spend taxpayer funds to make sure you're aware. It's more difficult to see that the harm…
Read More

Franklin Roosevelt, contributor to modern nanny state

If you've wondered what was the genesis of the modern nanny state, listen to this speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It's part of his State of the Union Address from 1944. The purpose of the original Bill of Rights is to protect our freedoms from government. But to provide the things Roosevelt calls for -- food, clothing, a decent home, adequate medical care, and a good education -- requires an expansive government. These rights are called positive rights because they require action by the government, in contrast to the negative rights found in the Bill of Rights. Richard A. Epstein…
Read More

Do economic development incentives work?

Judging the effectiveness of economic development incentives requires looking for the unseen effects as well as what is easily seen. It's easy to see the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies that commemorate government intervention -- politicians and bureaucrats are drawn to them, and will spend taxpayer funds to make sure you're aware. It's more difficult to see that the harm that government intervention causes. That's assuming that the incentives even work as advertised in the first place. Alan Peters and Peter Fisher, in their paper titled The Failures of Economic Development Incentives published in Journal of the American Planning Association,…
Read More

The real free lunch: Markets and private property

As we approach another birthday of Milton Friedman, here's his article where he clears up the authorship of a famous aphorism, and explains how to really get a free lunch. Based on remarks at the banquet celebrating the opening of the Cato Institute’s new building, Washington, May 1993. I am delighted to be here on the occasion of the opening of the Cato headquarters. It is a beautiful building and a real tribute to the intellectual influence of Ed Crane and his associates. I have sometimes been associated with the aphorism “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” which…
Read More

Round table: Role of government in society

In this episode of Kansas Living, Rick Laurino hosts a round table discussion with Kansas representatives Ed Trimmer, Marc Rhoades, and Bob Weeks of WichitaLiberty.org about the role of government in society. View the second part next weekend.
Read More

Pompeo: Systems are needed, and risk of abuse is low

Recently U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo of Wichita appeared on Stossel to defend the programs the National Security Agency uses to gather data on Americans and others. I wondered about these questions: If it's true that the information leaked by Edward Snowden has harmed the security of the United States, how is it that this was able to happen? Aren't there many thousands of people with knowledge and information similar to, or greater than, what Snowden had access to? Is the security of our country dependent on all of them keeping their secrets? In a telephone conversation, Pompeo told me there…
Read More

Do economic development incentives work?

Judging the effectiveness of economic development incentives requires looking for the unseen effects as well as what is easily seen. It's easy to see the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies that commemorate government intervention -- politicians and bureaucrats are drawn to them, and will spend taxpayer funds to make sure you're aware. It's more difficult to see that the harm that government intervention causes. That's assuming that the incentives even work as advertised in the first place. Alan Peters and Peter Fisher, in their paper titled The Failures of Economic Development Incentives published in Journal of the American Planning Association,…
Read More

Without government, there would be no change: Wichita Mayor

It's worse than President Obama saying "You didn't build that." Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer tells us you can't build that -- not without government guidance and intervention, anyway. When President Barack Obama told business owners "You didn't build that," it set off a bit of a revolt. Those who worked hard to build businesses didn't like to hear the president dismiss their efforts. Underlying this episode is a serious question: What should be the role of government in the economy? Should government's role be strictly limited, according to the Constitution? Or should government take an activist role in managing, regulating,…
Read More

Kansans’ views on role of government

Kansas Policy Institute has released the results of a public opinion poll asking Kansans for their views on some issues that are currently in the news. Following is KPI's press release: Kansans' Views on the Role of Government K-12 funding should be based on efficient use of taxpayer funds; narrow opposition to judicial reform; overwhelming support for "paycheck protection" Wichita -- A new statewide public opinion survey shows strong support for having K-12 funding decisions based on efficient and effective use of taxpayer funds. This is especially noteworthy in light of the fact that no study has ever been conducted…
Read More

A second Bill of Rights, by Franklin Roosevelt

If we wonder what was the genesis of the modern nanny state, listen to this speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It's part of his State of the Union Address from 1944. The purpose of the original Bill of Rights is to protect our freedoms from government. But to provide the things Roosevelt calls for -- food, clothing, a decent home, adequate medical care, and a good education -- requires an expansive government. These rights are called positive rights because they require action by the government, in contrast to the negative rights found in the Bill of Rights. Richard A. Epstein…
Read More