Under the “leadership” of conservative governor Sam “trickle down economics” Brownback – who instituted massive tax and spending cuts and promised “enormous prosperity” – Kansas has instead gone to hell in a handbasket.
Now, things are getting even worse there. The state is completely controlled by Republicans, but they don’t seem to be able to govern themselves out of a paper bag (even one filled with money supplied by the billionaire Koch brothers, whose headquarters is in Topeka).
Facing a huge $400 million budget deficit that they have to fix (states cannot run a deficit as they don’t print money), the legislature is in their ninth day of overtime trying to fix the problem without raising taxes. For his part, Brownback announced he would unveil a tax plan that does the unthinkable and raises taxes, but a half hour later canceled those plans amid chaos and infighting in the legislature. After that, the best the legislature could do was a band-aid; a bill that raises a paltry $30 million in revenue by granting amnesty to people who owe back taxes (was their slogan “amnesty for tax scofflaws, but none for illegal immigrants”?).
After that, the Republican chairman of the Senate taxation committee offered to resign, saying “Nobody has an idea of what the heck they want to do this year.”
This is what happens when ideologues come up against the real world. Trickle-down economics (now called “austerity”) doesn’t work and never will. At the other end of the spectrum, pure socialism didn’t work either and has largely collapsed. When will we figure out how to travel in the middle of the road, without wild swings to the right or left?