Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday June 22, 2011

RightOnline, Netroots Nation. The past weekend featured two conferences for online activists: Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s RightOnline and Netroots Nation, sponsored by labor unions. I attended and made two presentations at RightOnline, the conference for those in favor of liberty and economic freedom. 1,655 people attended, according to AFP. I saw some events of the Netroots conference on C-SPAN, including a session with President Barack Obama’s White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. In the session, Obama was criticized many times, and at one point the audience booed. More coverage is at A tale of two political conferences, PICKET: Right Online and Netroots conferences wrap up with few run-ins, Digital Conferences, Blue and Red, in Minneapolis

The Atlantic Magazine’s Lies: Of Breitbarts, Kochs, and RightOnLine. Warner Todd Huston of Publius’ Forum examines a piece in The Atlantic that covered the recent RightOnline conference in Minneapolis and found it to be lacking. He found: “Unfortunately, the whole thing was filled with opinions stated as fact, misconstructions of facts, and outright lies. Sadly, along with the rest of the Old Media, it seems as if the veracity of The Atlantic has taken a hit in this bad Obama economy. … Now, what would have made Dupuy’s piece actually informative would have been a discussion of the real differences between the Nutrooters and RightOnLine. And there are quite a few. Netroots Nation is chock full of some very wonky programs. The lefties drill down to the deepest Internet facts, figures, and capabilities. On the other hand, RightOnLine has since day one sufficed with Twitter 101, blogging 101, and other beginner’s programs meant to help their local activists learn how to use the Internet to further conservative ideas. RightOnLine has not made arcane wonkiness a part of its programs like Netroots Nation has. The fact is the two conferences are very different in character in this respect.” More at The Atlantic Magazine’s Lies: Of Breitbarts, Kochs, and RightOnLine.

Fed downgrades economic outlook. Wall Street Journal: “Federal Reserve officials downgraded their assessment of the U.S. economy’s performance Wednesday, but gave no indication they intend to take new steps to boost growth and jobs. … The recovery is continuing at a moderate pace, though ‘somewhat more slowly’ than previously expected, officials said in a statement following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting, echoing remarks made by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in a speech earlier this month.” Further: “Though the Fed is less comfortable with the economic outlook, it has less leeway to take new steps to fix it. That’s because underlying inflation also has crept up, making the central bank leery of injecting more money into the financial system.”

Tax the rich. Burton Folsom: “Economist Alan Reynolds has recently called attention to the latest pronouncement from Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor. ‘A 70 percent marginal tax rate on the rich’ is Reich’s solution for the cash crunch in the federal government today. Let the rich pick up the tab. That assumes, of course, that the rich will continue to work hard if they have to send almost three-fourths of their earnings to Uncle Sam. They won’t. They never have. And you wouldn’t either.” … Reynolds’ article in the Wall Street Journal is Why 70% Tax Rates Won’t Work. In it, Reynolds writes: “All this nostalgia about the good old days of 70% tax rates makes it sound as though only the highest incomes would face higher tax rates. In reality, there were a dozen tax rates between 48% and 70% during the 1970s. Moreover — and this is what Mr. Reich and his friends always fail to mention — the individual income tax actually brought in less revenue when the highest tax rate was 70% to 91% than it did when the highest tax rate was 28%.”

Wichita speaker list announced. The Wichita Pachyderm Club has announced its lineup of speakers for July. The club, which is a Republican club, seeks to provide programs that are informative and that provide members with a variety of viewpoints on important contemporary issues, and historical issues, too. Sometimes this leads to controversy, as there are those who believe that only Republicans and those who parrot the “official” party line should speak at Pachyderm. Although I am not a Pachyderm officer or board member, this month features a speaker, Dr. Jon Hauxwell, who is speaking based on my recommendation and invitation, and whose topic is likely to generate controversy again. The speakers for July: On July 8, Dave Trabert, President, Kansas Policy Institute, on “Stabilizing the Kansas Budget.” On July 15, Jon Hauxwell, MD, speaking on “Medicinal Cannabis.” On July 22, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo of Wichita on “An update from Washington.” On July 29, Dennis Taylor, Secretary, Kansas Department of Administration and “The Repealer” on “An Overview of the Office of the Repealer.” The public is welcome and encouraged to attend Wichita Pachyderm meetings. For more information click on Wichita Pachyderm Club.

FairTax meeting in Wichita. This Thursday (June 23) supporters of FairTax will meet in Wichita. According to event organizers, attendees will hear “new information about the status of the FairTax movement at the national level and how it might affect the Presidential race in 2012.” More from organizers: “The FairTax is a unique solution to the urgent need to create jobs and grow the economy. America now has 35 million Americans under employed or unemployed. The economic disaster was unnecessary and can be reversed by completely repealing our horrible and destructive tax system and replace it with the FairTax.” … While I am sympathetic with their cause, I am not enthusiastic about the FairTax — a national sales tax — for one important reason: it doesn’t address the real problem of a government that is too large and collects too much tax revenue. One of the main platforms of Fairtax is that it would collect the same revenue as the existing tax regime: “dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality.” I quote Murray N. Rothbard on this: “But the libertarian must never support any new tax or tax increase. For example, he must not, while advocating a large cut in income taxes, also call for its replacement by a sales or other form of tax. The reduction or, better, the abolition of a tax is always a noncontradictory reduction of State power and a significant step toward liberty; but its replacement by a new or increased tax elsewhere does just the opposite, for it signifies a new and additional imposition of the State on some other front. The imposition of a new or higher tax flatly contradicts and undercuts the libertarian goal itself.” … The meeting is at 7:00 pm Thursday at the Lionel D. Alford Library located at 3447 S. Meridian in Wichita. The library is just north of the I-235 exit on Meridian. The event’s sponsor is FairTaxKC.org.

Obama: Technology seen as job killer. “The story goes that Milton Friedman was once taken to see a massive government project somewhere in Asia. Thousands of workers using shovels were building a canal. Friedman was puzzled. Why weren’t there any excavators or any mechanized earth-moving equipment? A government official explained that using shovels created more jobs. Friedman’s response: ‘Then why not use spoons instead of shovels?’ That story came to mind last week when President Obama linked technology to job losses. ‘There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers,’ he said. ‘You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.’ The president calls this a structural issue — we usually call it progress.” … Russell Roberts goes on to explain that productivity — doing more with less, including less labor — leads to lower costs to business. The Left, of course, says this simply means more profits for business. But in competitive markets, businesses will find they must lower their costs, and that means a higher standard of living for consumers. New jobs get created as people now have more money to spend on new products and services that didn’t exist before, or were so expensive that only the rich could afford them. More at Obama vs. ATMs: Why Technology Doesn’t Destroy Jobs.

Even quicker. Rasmussen: Just 8% Approve of Job Congress Is Doing: “Voter approval of Congress’ job performance has now fallen to a near five-year low.” … How to Run Public Schools in the 21st Century: Our current models are bad for taxpayers — and calamitous for kids. … The dignity of personal choice: Choosing lifesaving care — or not — shouldn’t be left to bureaucrats. … The Fiscal Pledge We Need: Cut, Cap, Balance: Congress has never failed to increase the debt limit. This makes having a debt limit functionally useless. … Initiative and Referendum under attack, says John Fund: “Politicians always claim to support democracy, but they often come up with creative ways to limit the influence of pesky voters. Now members of the political class in several states are going after voters’ most powerful tool.” See Fund: Power to the People? How Déclassé. … A Shovel-Ready Punch Line: “This is a staggering indictment of the president, the team he assembled, and the journalists who accepted this administration’s arrogant assertions that they knew exactly what to do, how to do it, and what would happen as a result.”

3 Comments

  • The conference was attended by those “in favor of liberty,” eh? What a ridiculous statement. Because only the wackadoodle right-winger version of “liberty” is truly liberty. People who believe in promoting and protecting our *civil liberties* and economic fairness just hate freedom, right?

    What a risible, divisive sentiment.

  • It’s tremendously sad to see comments like the one above, in which we see that an entire generation or more has no understanding as to the true meaning of freedom and liberty. Please apologize to your country, and then seek education to correct your misunderstandings.

  • Anonymous,

    I understand liberty, especially the liberty endowed by my citizenship in this incredible country to speak my mind on any issue I please. What’s tremendously sad, Anonymous, is the perversion of the word “liberty” that’s been so masterfully done by the far right. “Liberty,” in the eyes of far-rightists like Grover Norquist and Koch’s mouthpiece Bob Weeks, has been reconditioned to fit in this tiny radical box meaning–for better, and many times, for much worse–cutting taxes on very wealthy people and cutting regulations on big businesses.

    You should know that I will never–not *ever*–apologize to you, much less to my country, for the conservative “sin” of having an opinion with which you disagree. On the contrary, Anonymous, I apologize to your family and friends for having to bury their face in their palms whenever you speak about your radical, divisive and misinformed beliefs. You, Anonymous, should apologize to the Bill of Rights and our Founding Fathers for ignoring their intent. True freedom means having the courage to fight for the right of your ideological opposite to have as much of an opportunity to speak their ideas as you do. And yes, this means I do and will continue to fight to protect your right to have and promote such outlandish beliefs.

    Further, I have the right to say this: Anonymous, shame on you. I hope your kind of ignorance leaves us quickly.

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