Wichita Eagle opinion watch

On the Wichita Eagle editorial board, partisanship reigns

The Wichita Eagle's Rhonda Holman, writing for the editorial board in today's lead editorial (Where do city, county stand on bond?) makes a few points that illustrate the highly partisan nature of this board. Here's the first example. She complains about lack of transparency in knowing who is contributing to the campaigns for the Wichita school bond issue, writing "It's frustrating that USD 259 voters must make a decision on the bond issue without knowing who funded the pro- and anti-campaigns. The three groups behind the campaigns could release their donor lists and amounts on their own prior to Election…
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The Threat of Social Progressives

In the July 5, 2008 Wichita Eagle, a Mr. Chet Syres of Hutchinson contributes a letter promoting the virtues of liberalism, proponents of which he now wants us to call social progressives. I remind Mr. Syres that leftists stole the terms "liberal" and "progressive" from the classical liberals. From For A New Liberty by Murray N. Rothbard: One of the ways that the new statist intellectuals did their work was to change the meaning of old labels, and therefore to manipulate in the minds of the public the emotional connotations attached to such labels. For example, the laissez-faire libertarians had…
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A Believer in Good Government Programs

An audio version of this post is available here. 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…
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No Government Trains, Please

Part of the Wichita Eagle opinion watch series. A writer in the April 2, 2008 Wichita Eagle presses the case for passenger train service in Wichita. But there are several problems with the writer's argument. The writer makes this claim: "With Kansas' vast wind resource, we could power our trains with no fossil fuels." Yes, there is a lot of wind in Kansas. But it doesn't blow continuously. What does the writer suggest we power the trains with at those times? Until there is an economically feasible method of storing the electricity generated by wind, we will be reliant on…
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Investment in Wichita Public Schools

Part of the Wichita Eagle opinion watch series. An audio broadcast of this article may be heard by clicking here. 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. The mere fact that…
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Are Teachers Paid Fairly?

Part of the Wichita Eagle Opinion Watch series. Audio is available here. The school bond issue in Wichita and those occurring in surrounding districts overlook one crucial necessity: a fair wage for teachers. They are critically underpaid for all levels of education, service and abilities. (From The Wichita Eagle Opinion Line, April 27, 2008) This writer is misinformed on several levels. First, bond issues such as the one proposed by USD 259, the Wichita, Kansas public school district, are usually reserved for capital expenditures, such as constructing buildings. Ongoing expenses such as salaries are not considered as part of a…
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Preserve farmland at what cost?

A writer in the January 2, 2007 Wichita Eagle laments the loss of farmland to development, particularly residential homebuilding. The writer states that if farmland were preserved, Kansas could become more prosperous. There are two areas in which I believe this writer is mistaken. First, if the transaction between developer and farmer was voluntary, each is better off than they were before. The developer (and by extension the people he hopes to sell houses to) valued the land more than the farmer did. Otherwise, why would the transaction take place? These voluntary transactions that make both parties better off than…
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