Skip to content

Hit Bottom Yet?

I’ve repeatedly reported on the great Conservative Utopia experiment going on in Kansas (headquarters of the conservative Koch browsers). Naturally, every time they get bad news, the conservatives just double down on cutting even more taxes and destroying even more of the social safety net, claiming that they just have to keep doing the same thing until it works.

Well, except that it keeps making things worse. Much worse.

How bad is it? Well, it is pretty bad when even Fox Business News throws conservatives under the bus. Fox reports that state revenue, which conservatives promised would go up when they cut taxes and regulations, keeps going down. In fact, their deficit is another $47 million more than their last revised projections. Kansas is facing at least a $279 million budget shortfall and the state is in danger of defaulting.

So what are the Republicans, who completely control the state, doing? They are proposing even more drastic spending cuts.

And next year looks even worse, with a projected $436 million budget shortfall. As one of the remaining Democrats in the legislature put it, “How much worse does it have to get before Gov. Brownback admits his failed economic experiment is leading to a meltdown of every public service upon which Kansans depend?”



  1. Michael wrote:

    That quote by Burroughs at the end illustrates why Democrats are losing this war. What he doesn’t get is that the meltdown of public services is the goal. Brownback and others want to eliminate all public social services. But they can’t do it outright, because there would be overwhelming backlash (recall when Bush the second voiced support for privatizing Social Security). While voters like anti-tax rhetoric, they really don’t like what it would mean in practice.

    So the GOP has to play a game. They use lofty Reaganomics rhetoric about all the good tax cuts will do, but they don’t believe it. Not for a minute. They know that these cuts will kill popular programs that they happen to not like. As long as they don’t openly admit that’s the goal and they position themselves as trying to save the programs, they win.

    Monday, February 2, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink
  2. Ralph wrote:

    Michael – exactly right!

    This is precisely what the Republican and Tea Party playbook calls for, what the gadfly Grover Norquist cynically calls “shrinking the government until it’s small enough to drown in the bathtub.”

    State policies are often seen as bellweather experiments that the Federal gov’t might apply nationwide at some point if successful. For better or worse, Calif. is often seen as being in the forefront, having the largest statewide economy. In the case of Kansas, we clearly have a failed experiment. But Republicans can never admit this, of course, and trumpet instead the wonderful windfall of bigger tax returns this year. Meanwhile, much of those returns will inevitably go towards replacing shocks and tires on cars trying to navigate their degrading roads and bridges, or trying to cope with other diminished public works and services (e.g. schools, fire and police departments, public health agencies).

    The GOP never saw a tax cut they didn’t like and claims to disdain the redistribution of income, but it’s all a perverted ruse. They’re just fine with it so long as it’s bottom to top, never the reverse.

    Monday, February 2, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. Political Irony › We’re Not in Kansas, Toto! on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 12:11 am

    […] posted a number of stories (here, here, or here) about the conservative experiment going on in Kansas sponsored by the Koch brothers. It involves […]