Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday August 17, 2011

George Soros: Media Mogul. Dan Gainor and Iris Somberg of the Business and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center, have produced a report on the media-related activities of liberal financier George Soros. In the executive summary, Gainor and Somberg report: “George Soros is arguably the most influential liberal financier in the United States, donating more than $8 billion just to his Open Society Foundations. In 2004, he spent more than $27 million to defeat President George W. Bush and has given away millions more since to promote the left-wing agenda. But what goes almost without notice is Soros’ extensive influence on and involvement with the media. … His media funding has helped create a liberal ‘echo chamber,’ in the words of one group he backs, ‘in which a message pushes the larger public or the mainstream media to acknowledge, respond, and give airtime to progressive ideas because it is repeated many times.'” … As a person with an interest in news media, I can attest that the liberal echo chamber is quite effective, with stories spreading rapidly across a network of media outlets. Liberal politicians — even President Obama — pick up on and repeat the echoes. The executive summary of the report is at George Soros: Media Mogul — Lefty Businessman Spends Millions Funding Journalism. That page contains a link to the full report and additional material.

‘Nullify Now’ tour in Kansas City. The idea that states can nullify unconstitutional laws passed by Congress is gaining traction as a way to reign in the federal government. This week an event in Kansas City will help citizens learn more about this possibility. Write the event’s organizers: “Crushing debt, health care mandates, ‘super’ congress, and more. The list of constitutional violations from DC never seems to end. The good news is that we don’t have to wait for DC to fix itself. As Thomas Jefferson told us, state nullification is “THE RIGHTFUL REMEDY” to unconstitutional actions by the federal government. … At Nullify Now! Kansas City, you’ll hear nationally-renowned speaker Thomas Woods (and nine others) present the constitutional case for nullification. You’ll learn: the constitutional basis for nullification, how nullification has been used in history, how nullification is being called upon right now vs Obamacare, to protect gun rights, against the TSA, and more, and what YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW to get your state to put a stop to the Feds.” The event is Saturday August 20, and tickets, ranging in cost from free to $75, are required. For more information click on Nullify Now! Kansas City.

Krugman: government spending and inflation will save us. On a Sunday television show economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman revealed a plan to restore our economy: Pretend that an enemy is about to attack us — an imaginary enemy is best — and put concerns of inflation and budget deficits aside in favor of a massive defense buildup. Yes, he actually said that. He also repeated the myth that World War II ended the Great Depression. In the past, Krugman wrote that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 “could even do some economic good” as rebuilding will increase spending. Video is at Paul Krugman: Massive Defense Buildup to Stimulate Economy. A very good analysis of Krugman’s ideas by Michael Pento is at Krugman’s War Won’t Avert Depression: “After all, the Keynesian economist’s favorite pastime is seeing people waste their lives digging holes in the ground or sacrifice their lives in war. Both acts create economic growth according to the topsy-turvy logic of men like Krugman. The truth is that wars are a miserable misallocation of capital and usually leave financial ruin in their wake. … The logical implication of Krugman’s arguments remains that working in productive employment is not at all necessary. If this is true, why not have people just save gas and stay home? The government could simply borrow and/or print money and send it to foreign countries that are dumb enough to produce goods and services for US consumption.”

Stossel on history. In a recent episode of the John Stossel television program, now available on the free hulu service by clicking on Stossel: Politically Incorrect History, we learn of the falsehoods of labor union mythology, how unions limited the ability of minority workers to get jobs, how workplace safety was increasing before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, how the New Deal didn’t fix the Great Depression despite what is taught in public school, and how President Hoover doubled government spending in spite of his reputation. This is all in just the first segment.

Midwest economic model in decline. Michael Barone in the Wall Street Journal The Fall of the Midwest Economic Model: “Michigan is an extreme example of what has afflicted the industrial Midwest. Big corporations were replaced by big government as the leading employer, and public-employee unions replaced industrial unions as the chief financiers of the Democratic Party. In effect, public-employee unions have been a mechanism by which taxpayer money, in the form of union dues, permanently finances a lobby with a vested interest in higher spending and less accountability. It’s a lobby that’s benefited from the Democratic Party loyalties of black voters, of Latinos in Chicago (the only large Hispanic presence in the Midwest) and of culturally liberal suburbanites. This Midwestern model is unraveling before our eyes. The Midwest has not been hit as hard by foreclosures or unemployment as some other places, with Michigan an exception on both counts, but you have to look hard for green shoots of growth. They may be most evident in North Dakota, where low costs and light regulation have produced booms in energy and high tech. … So what does the president have to offer the Midwest? The idea that the wave of the future is an ever-larger public sector financed by a more or less stagnant private sector looks increasingly absurd. The Midwest’s public sector has, as Margaret Thatcher put it, run on ‘other people’s money.'”

Optimal level of government spending. In a video by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Dan Mitchell explains that while some government is necessary, too much is harmful, and it’s certain that we have too much. In the video, Mitchell explains that government is useful when it provides core goods like rule of law and property rights, which gives people confidence to own property and produce goods and services. But once government gets too large, economic performance suffers, and prosperity is reduced. Mitchell cites a variety of studies that estimate that the economy works best when government spending is from 15 to 25 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Today, Mitchell says government spending in the U.S. consumes 40 percent of GDP, which is far above the growth-maximizing level — perhaps twice as much. The trend is upwards, too. At least we’re not France, where the figure is over 50 percent. Concluding, Mitchell said “Government today is far too big and this is hurting growth, undermining prosperity, and reducing competitiveness. It doesn’t matter whether Republicans are spending too much money, or Democrats are spending too much money. … If we want a strong economy, the Rahn curve tells use we need to dramatically reduce the burden of government spending.”

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