Monthly Archives: April 2010

Obama on the definition of free markets

Today’s quote of the day:

“A free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it.” – President Obama.

What is tax increment financing?

New Wichita vice mayor Jeff Longwell lamented to the Eagle last week the lack of public understanding of economic development funding, specifically the tax increment financing district. Reading the comments on a variety of Eagle eco-devo stories over the past four years, it’s impossible to disagree with Longwell.

Boy, it’s not easy to come up with a non-politicized definition of the eco-devo tool on the Internet, but here’s as close as I can come.

Armed with this objective definition, what are your thoughts about the city council’s decision Tuesday to throw in again with Real Development?

Maybe Gordon Gecko got it wrong

I wonder if anyone, besides the staunch champions of “anything goes” on Wall Street, was truly surprised by Friday’s news that the Securities and Exchange Commission is moving on Goldman Sachs.

I doubt it. Your thoughts?

WSJ’s Frank: Regulate now

Thought-provoking piece from the Wall Street Journal’s Thomas Frank on gas prices and their cause.

Your thoughts?

Are shareholders the best people to judge CEO pay?

WICHITA — The Senate Banking Committee wants to give shareholders a nonbinding vote on executive pay in the hopes that it will embarrass boards into keeping a lid on astronomical CEO pay. The thinking is that CEOs took excessive short-term risks to give themselves a big payday and helped drive us into this financial mess.

It’s probably a good thing all in all if it puts a little fear into out-of-touch boards — who supposedly represent the shareholders, already. But I’m guessing the effect will be to make things worse in a crisis because the only people with a shorter -term mentality than CEOs are their shareholders. I’m sure many shareholders thought big bank CEOs were geniuses in 2006 and morons in 2009. This will mainly be a measure of late-in-the-game popular anger at a company’s poor financial performance, which isn’t necessarily the same things as a CEO’s performance.

What are industrial revenue bonds?

In the growing furor surrounding public-private partnerships in Wichita, one of the things you notice quickly in the Internet comments on these stories is a huge misconception: Industrial revenue bonds are a giveaway of taxpayer money.

In fact, they are not. Here’s some required reading if you’re interested in what an IRB issue actually is.

Generally speaking, the only direct taxpayer involvement comes through tax abatements associated with the issue. While that’s an economic development policy worthy of debate, it’s in use in virtually every municipality in the nation.

Corker: GOP erred on financial reform

Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker said Thursday that he still thinks a bipartisan financial reform bill can be put into law,  The Tennessean reports.

Corker, who was mayor of Chattanooga during much of that city’s downtown redevelopment, isn’t your average 2010 conservative. He is a proponent of those public-private partnerships that are becoming more controversial by the day in Wichita, partnerships that clearly turned his city around over 40 years.

Not to mention the mention The Tennessean article in which he criticizes the lack of financial regulation of financial markets “in good times.”