Kansas voters have few gubernatorial options

Robert Burkett / Washburn Review

Last week a column appeared in the Washburn Review casting certain viewpoints about the presumably soon-to-be governor, Sam Brownback.

In the column the author spoke about, “what Kansas needs.” The author also went on to claim that the answer to such a question was, “stability” and the “right person for the job.”

Keeping in mind that the last two occupants of the governor’s mansion have been members of the Democratic Party, I found it somewhat puzzling that Republican Sen. Brownback is being cast as an unknown variable. I don’t understand how his goals of increasing job diversity through growth in the private sector as well as raising minimum educational levels for Kansas students are raising eyebrows.

While I disagree with Brownback on a variety of issues, growth in the private sector as one of the pillars of a strong and growing economy is one area where he and I see eye to eye. So the assertion that growth in government jobs would provide stability to a sagging economy to me just smacks of fantasy and fallacy. When in this state, that has almost always relied upon small business owners and family farmers to sustain economic growth, has there ever been an attitude that we should surrender our independence to the politicians in the Statehouse?

The only flaw in the idea that growth of government jobs is the answer to an economy that is slowly coming out of a recession is that unless the newly-hired state employees are going to be paid in lollipops and unicorns, then you are now faced with one of two choices. You can either cut spending on other programs, many of which have already been cut back drastically in the last two years, in order to pay for the increase in state payroll or you can increase taxes.

If you choose to increase taxes, then many in the remaining private industry that has stuck by Kansas through the tough economic times would have to take a serious look at how beneficial it would be to keep their interests located in the sunflower state.

The idea that government spending can lift you out of a recession has been attempted (see Washington, D.C.). All of the stimulus money was supposed to help keep the unemployment rate under 9.5 percent, well maybe not. It was also supposed to stabilize the housing market, strike number two. Lastly the stimulus was supposed to help the give confidence to Americans that it was okay to spend again, which hasn’t happened.

If these are the kind of principles that the author of last week’s column thinks will help to stabilize Kansas in the years to come one has to wonder if putting all your money into more government spending is what this state really needs.

I agree with the author that Brownback is like every other politician and thus has issues in defending a record that speaks to loyalty of party and loyalty to principle. What I fundamentally disagree with is the assertion that Tom Holland, the Democratic nominee for governor would have a better leg to stand on with Kansans who don’t want to see state budgets balloon in places that provide little positive impact on their personal lives in a positive manner. I would hate to see anyone continue the policies of the last two administrations that have contributed to running private industry out of the state.

What I tire of are people that feel we must surrender our life, liberty and capital in exchange for temporary security. Last week’s author is right, we need new blood. Unfortunately we have two professional politicians running, so common sense should be the final factor as voters head to the polls this fall.  Vote for the candidate that speaks to you and supports the principles you believe in, not the temporary fixes that only prolong the inevitable.