Welfare for Vikings
The Houston Chronicle's Ultimate Texans blog is carrying an article about the new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis. It mentions that taxpayers are on the hook for $150 million. That's something that has cropped up in Texas too.
One of the players commented, "We're using public money, but at the same time it's going to benefit the public. In my mind, as a taxpaying resident of the state of Minnesota, that seems like a good way to spend our tax dollars." Thanks for the unbiased opinion.
So once again, taxpayers cough up so really rich people can lower their risk and make even more money. The "economic activity" theory of redistribution is alive and well. It's a good time to be a corporate welfare queen.
If only there were some Libertarians on the city council who could expose this nonsense for what it really is: robbing some people to benefit others.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that for the first time in almost 25 years, two public school bond proposals failed in the Austin Indepdendent School District's May 11 election.
The bonds were opposed by several groups, including the Travis County Libertarian Party. According to earlier reports, anti-bond groups were outspent 30 to 1 by pro-bond groups.
Although two other proposals passed, the results will provide a little relief to heavily burdened Austin taxpayers.
The election was close on all four items. Proposition 2 failed by only about 200 votes, showing the importance of the efforts of everyone who opposed it.
The Libertarian Party doesn't just nominate candidates -- it also helps by getting involved in public policy debates.
The Texas Tribune reports on President Barack Obama's visit to Austin yesterday.
The article says, "Obama also laid out the details of an initiative he mentioned in the State of the Union: a competition to create three 'manufacturing innovation institutes.' The institutes will launch with a $200 million commitment from the federal government..."
That should be music to the ears of Texas Republicans, who have supported things like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the taxpayer-funded Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
Democrats and Republicans seem to believe that without government, there wouldn't be any innovation, enterprise, or cancer research. They just love to holds hands and spend our money interfering in the marketplace. We really need some Libertarians in office.
The Austin American-Statesman reports on yesterday's incident in which an Austin police officer shot at an unarmed man during a traffic stop. Luckily, the man was not hurt.
According to the story, the policeman told the man to return to his car, but the man walked toward the policeman instead. Walking towards someone is grounds for opening fire?
Austin police chief Art Acevedo appeared to blame the driver, saying, "When you get stopped by a police officer, do not get out of the car and start walking toward the officer." Or else!
It's important for police to remember that their duty is to help protect citizens, not shoot them. Maybe we need some gun control laws that only apply to police officers.
Obama, get out of Afghanistan
The San Antonio Express-News offers a blog it says is "dedicated to remembering every Texan or Texas-based soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan."
The latest entry includes a Texas-based soldier killed in Afghanistan a few days ago.
The invasion of Iraq should never have happened. The invasion of Afghanistan was also a huge mistake. It's a shame that President Obama has doubled down there and decided to waste more lives and money.
The time to end the invasion of Afghanistan is now. No ifs, ands, or buts. The president has the power to end the invasion, and he should do so immediately.
According to the El Paso Times, there's a bill in the Texas Legislature that would require school board members to file personal finance disclosures with the state.
However, "The measure would apply only to El Paso County, where test-cheating and contract scandals have plagued the schools."
It's not hard to believe that school board members are corruptible, just like all government officials. But more paperwork won't solve the problem (though it will cost taxpayers a little more to administer). Corruption is guaranteed when some people have the power to hand out large amounts of other people's money.
And only in El Paso County? Like no other school boards have problems? Remember Mark Twain: "In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards."
As long as government runs the schools, they will be ineffective, extremely expensive, and corrupt.
Tax cuts for live music booze?
According to the Texas Tribune, a state representative from Austin has authored a bill that "would cut in half the tax on mixed beverages for businesses that stage live music at least four nights a week for 45 weeks per year, provided they prove that they will spend the savings putting on concerts."
In other words, the government would favor live-music bars over other bars. A lot of Austin club owners like that.
City and county governments don't like it, since it would cut their revenue.
On the one hand, it's good to see anyone's taxes getting cut. On the other hand, government should not be using the tax code to manipulate people and create winners and losers. It's just further interference in the market.
It would be much better to put some Libertarians in office, who would cut spending across the board, and cut everyone's taxes.
Shiny new presidential shrine
Last week the George W. Bush Presidential Center (it's more than just a library!) opened in Dallas. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on some students who visited it.
"'This is a glorious day to open this wonderful building,' said Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Foundation."
Apparently Mr. Bush himself was present, and one of the students commented, "He seemed like a normal person." Good point. Why exactly does he deserve a $250 million shrine?
We're usually told that these presidential centers are privately funded, but that's not quite true. Gene Healy of the Cato Institute notes that the management of the facilities is taxpayer funded.
It would be nice if those students had each been given a copy of Healy's article. It might have given them a little perspective on the whole thing.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports that the Lubbock City Council may raise power rates by 10% this summer. Apparently Lubbock Power & Light has been losing a lot of money.
Government electricity is kind of funny. With a government-owned power monopoly, people will vote to keep their rates low, and if the power agency runs out of money, they'll get mad.
And when the power agency decides to raise rates, they'll get mad.
Monopolies just don't work well. Lubbock and other cities should open power generation up to free-market competition, and customers should be able to choose who they want to buy their power from.