Property rights

In Wichita, ‘free markets’ cited in case for economic development incentives

In Wichita, ‘free markets’ cited in case for economic development incentives

A prominent Wichita business uses free markets to justify its request for economic development incentives. A gullible city council buys the argument. At the December 10, 2013 meeting of the Wichita City Council, Bombardier LearJet received an economic development incentive that will let it avoid paying some property taxes on newly-purchased property. The amount involved in that particular incident is relatively small. According to city documents, "the value of the abated taxes on that investment could be as much as $1,980." This week Bombardier was before the council again asking for property tax abatements. City documents estimate the amount of…
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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…
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Wichita develops plans to make up for past planning mistakes

Wichita develops plans to make up for past planning mistakes

On several issues, including street maintenance, water supply, and economic development, Wichita government and civic leaders have let our city fall behind. Now they ask for your support for future plans to correct these mistakes in past plans. In February the City of Wichita held a workshop where the Community Investments Plan Steering Committee delivered a progress report to the city council. The amounts of money involved are large, and portions represent deferred maintenance. That is, the city has not been taking care of the assets that taxpayers have paid for. When Wichita city leaders ask for more taxes to…
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Competition in markets

Competition in markets

Competition must surely be one of the most misunderstood concepts. As applied to economics, government, and markets, the benefits of competition are not understood and valued. Usually when people think of competition they think of words like hostile, cut-throat, or dog-eat-dog. They may reference the phrase "survival of the fittest," making analogies to the law of the jungle. There, competition is brutal. The winners kill and eat the losers. Or, they may refer to games or sporting events, where a competition is created specifically to produce a winner and a loser. But as David Boaz of the Cato Institute explains…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Schools and the nature of competition and cooperation, Wind power and taxes

WichitaLiberty.TV: Schools and the nature of competition and cooperation, Wind power and taxes

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: A Kansas newspaper editorial is terribly confused about schools and the nature of competition in markets. Then, we already knew that the wind power industry in Kansas enjoys tax credits and mandates. Now we learn that the industry largely escapes paying property taxes. Episode 38, broadcast April 6, 2014. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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Wichita planning documents hold sobering numbers

Wichita planning documents hold sobering numbers

This week the City of Wichita held a workshop where the Community Investments Plan Steering Committee delivered a progress report to the city council. The documents hold information that ought to make Wichitans think, and think hard. The amounts of money involved are large, and portions represent deferred maintenance. That is, the city has not been taking care of the assets that taxpayers have paid for. The time frame of this planning process is the period 2013 to 2035. Under the heading "Trends & Challenges" we find some troubling information. Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer hinted at the problem last year…
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Economic freedom, the key to improving lives

Economic freedom, the key to improving lives

Economic freedom, in countries where it is allowed to thrive, leads to better lives for people as measured in a variety of ways. This is true for everyone, especially for poor people. This is the message presented in a short video based on the work of the Economic Freedom of the World report, which is a project of Canada's Fraser Institute. Four years ago Robert Lawson, one of the authors of the Economic Freedom of the World report, lectured in Wichita on this topic. The current video is made possible by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. One of the…
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WichitaLiberty.TV December 29, 2013

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Are Kansas school leaders being honest with schoolchildren and parents regarding Kansas school test scores? Then: Walter Williams on greed. Finally: Do we have too many laws? A look at the problem of overcriminalization. Episode 24, broadcast December 29, 2013. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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In Wichita, ‘free markets’ used to justify business welfare

Incredibly, a prominent Wichita business uses the free market to justify its request for economic development incentives. A gullible city council buys the argument. At the December 10, 2013 meeting of the Wichita City Council, Bombardier LearJet received an economic development incentive that will let it avoid paying some property taxes on newly-purchased property. The amount involved in this particular incident is relatively small. According to city documents, "the value of the abated taxes on that investment could be as much as $1,980." (Bombardier receives millions each year in other government subsidies; see Kansas PEAK program: corporate welfare wrapped in…
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Walter Williams: How to do good

From September 2011. Thursday's lecture in Wichita by economist Walter Williams featured a section covering how greed, or what some call enlightened self-interest, is the best way to produce good acts. This lecture was presented by the Bill of Rights Institute and underwritten by the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation. When government is used in an attempt to do good, it requires either elimination or attenuation of private property and market forces, Williams told the audience. But it is private property and the desire by people for more that motivates people to do the difficult and laborious things that benefit…
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