Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

Political commentator Ken Ciboski stands just right of center and offers a common-sense view of politics today.

Ken Ciboski's editorial commentary is also available on iTunes. Listen or subscribe here.

What is becoming of the middle class in America, and why should we care?

The Pew Research Center’s latest study of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors confirms that the American middle class is no longer the economic majority, a position it held for more than four decades. 

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett ruled last week that petitioners do not have sufficient legal grounds for a vote to recall County Commission Chairman Richard Ranzau. The petitioners complained about Commissioner Ranzau’s leadership proposing changes to a federal nutritional program, cuts to the county’s health department budget for 2016, and the County Commission’s refusal to accept any federal grant money for funding some public health programs.   

Orlin Wagner/AP

Governor Sam Brownback has worked to have greater control over the process of making public policy since his first election as governor in 2010. He’s proposed that Kansas Supreme Court judges be nominated by the Governor and then approved or disapproved by the state legislature. Critics contend that the Governor desires this change because he is unhappy with judicial rulings that K-12 school funding is not funded adequately by the state legislature.

Carla Eckels / KMUW, File Photo

Senator Bernie Sanders says that the campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is too personal and that critical economic and foreign policy issues are not being debated.

Getty Images

The latest survey asking people about their political party identification finds that 42 percent of individuals who are of voting age say that they are Independents. We also know that “pure” independents do not exist in large numbers. “Pure” independents are those who study in detail the issues and the backgrounds of candidates and their positions on issues. Many people will not do so because the payoff would not be great when voters think that their vote will not affect the election outcome.

State revenue shortfalls for Kansas this fiscal year dominated the news this past week. A couple of headlines read: “Should be worried about state revenue;” and “Sam Brownback, a politician of faith and risk, faces his biggest crisis.” Some earlier headlines: “The Dysfunction of Oz,” “Kansas’ Ruinous Tax Cuts” and “America’s worst governor.” Excuses are offered for each shortfall, and the Governor and other state officials seem unwilling to concede that the Governor’s tax plan is not bringing in needed revenues.

nordique / Flickr / Creative Commons

Last Wednesday evening a record number of 11 Republican candidates for president were on stage for a televised debate. I came away with the feeling that a real debate had not occurred.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

I hear it expressed repeatedly that, “If you do not vote in an election, then you have no right to complain or to criticize.” We should remember that individuals who do not cast a vote in an election can still exercise their right to free speech in our democracy.

Gage Skidmore / flickr Creative Commons


Real estate mogul Donald Trump is currently the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination for president. He has defied all predictions that his campaign for the nomination would collapse not long after he announced his candidacy.

Sedgwick County

There are rumblings pushing toward the idea of consolidating Sedgwick County and City of Wichita governments. Some people are unhappy with a divided Sedgwick County Commission on some budgetary matters for the coming fiscal year. Also, there is concern about how well the city-county partnership is working in funding some entities.