Sam Brownback’s Radical Economics Experiment Keeps “Libertarian” Theory On A Losing Streak
Todo doesn’t want to go back to Kansas because the state’s finances have been seriously messed up by economic fanaticism in the person of Governor Sam Brownback and his ultracon pals in the legislature. Are we exaggerating? Beginning with his massive tax cut in 2012, Brownback’s radical policies put the state in a trick back so onerous that the Republican governor almost lost to a Democrat in his 2014 election bid. A Democrat! In Kansas! His approval rating is now 26%.
You can call it Reaganomics, trickle-down theory, supply-side economics or just an oligarch’s wet dream, but one thing you can’t do is provide an example of anywhere it has ever worked in the real world.*
The trouble began in 2012 with a massive round of “tax cuts on the wealthy”, the first step in the implementation of a pure Reaganomics fiscal regime. Cutting taxes for the rich is an expected feature when you consider who formulated the theory.
With both houses of the legislator controlled by GOP super-majorities, the boys kept on cutting. They repealed all incomes taxes on upwards of 100,000 businesses. They started clearing out the welfare rolls, privatized Medicaid (called KanCare – isn’t that cute?***) and cut $200 million from the education budget. That was a warmup.
But rather than creating the promised $323 new revenue miracle promised by the Kansas Policy Institute (Koch Brothers), the plan instead caused an immediate $688 million loss in revenue. From there, the situation has deteriorated.
The people paying the price are not the people who caused the problem (although there has to be some group responsibility allocated for their voting habits). When the most recent $53 million budget shortfall was announced in February 2016, Governor Brownback began patching it by gouging another $17 million out of the University system. While this may seem like a bad situation for sane people, it works out fine for the ultra-conservatives who control state government, as it fits nicely into their plan to privatize public schools. Social services and other areas of the public sector have also been slashed.
Brownback and his Republicans are now trying to blame the national economy for their cluster farce, but the nation’s economy and neighboring states are all outperforming Kansas economically.
Sam wants Auntie Em to get off the dole.
It is not the nature of the radical right to ever admit they screwed up. They will keep banging the drum louder and double down, call in Jesus for backup and pray no one every wises up. The only way to get them out of office is to vote them out…providing they haven’t gamed the system to the point that even democracy is no longer possible.
*During the Reagan administration, Federal debt almost tripled, from $997 billion in 1981 to $2.857 trillion in 1989. This same cluster farce is being repeated in Louisiana as the state tries to clean up the mess Bobby Jindal left behind. The lieutenant governor called it Ponzi scheme.
***The Brownback administration contracted with for-profit health insurance companies which have steadily reduced services to 360,000 low-income residents. The three companies are heavy “campaign contributors” to GOP lawmakers. Severn members of the KanCare Oversight Committee got $. The Justice Department is investigating.