What’s happened in Kansas should be the final nail in the coffin of the Neo-Liberal Religion. At this point, only an idiot or an ideologically blinkered political tool would think that doing what Kansas did was a good idea. Good thing that men like Paul LePage of Maine aren’t known for their intelligence, then, isn’t it?
Recall that the great state of Kansas was the brewery for
ALEC’s Governor Sam Brownback’s “Great Experiment” in conservative economics. this included “radically slashing the income taxes, especially for top earners.” According to Austrian Theology, this should appease the fickle Gods of the Market, who will then reach out and bestow Kansas with a supercharged economy using the Invisible Hand (“Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand” needs to be a D&D spell). Businesses would come running in, the private sector would boom, and the budget hole caused by the tax cut would be filled by the private sector.
Spoilers: It didn’t work.
As a result, the state that produced Dorthy and Toto is worse than the national average in both job growth and personal income growth, and faces a huge deficit of about 5% of the total budget — roughly $344 million.
Clearly, if at first you don’t succeed, you didn’t pray hard enough. Now, as Mother Jones notes, we’re moving on to “Phase II:” shunting the burden on the burgeoning underclass that Phase I created, with new consumption taxes and cuts to public education, transportation, and everything else that Americans pay taxes for.
Naturally, this appeals to ALEC. After all, an eternal underclass living in global favela is their stated goal. And since it is attractive to ALEC, our shadow government and the cabal of corporate money, other Republican states are jumping aboard:
Conservatives are known for hating taxes but particularly hate income taxes, which they say have a greater dampening effect on growth. Of the 10 or so Republican governors who have proposed tax increases, nearly all have called for increases in consumption taxes, which hit the poor and middle class harder than the rich.
Favorite targets for the new taxes include gas, e-cigarettes, and goods and services in general. Gov. Paul R. LePage of Maine, who wants to start taxing movie tickets and haircuts, is also proposing a tax break for the lowest-income families to relieve some of the pressure.
At the same time, some of those governors — most notably Mr. LePage, Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina and John R. Kasich of Ohio — have proposed significant cuts to their state income tax. They say that tax policies that encourage business growth provide more jobs and economic benefits for everyone.
You read that right; LePage is proposing a tax on haircuts. Not a Paris Hilton/Perez Hilton tax on inheritance. A tax on haircuts. Because I can really see that making up for the budget shortfall.
If it’s not obvious by now that conservative leaders don’t give two shakes of a frog’s tail about prosperity for the citizens, then maybe you should check your pulse or remove your ideological blinkers. They want the poor to stay poor, so they have a perpetual source of cheap labor. What better to feed into the corporate machine than DNA chaff that’s so poor Mitt Romney doesn’t even consider you a human being anymore, but a 47% statistic?
Mother Jones spells this out rather clearly:
[. . .] [I]t’s no accident that one can draw a straight line from virtually every GOP labor policy preference to lower wages for average workers. Unions and minimum wage laws raise worker pay; Republicans fight both. Social insurance like welfare, unemployment, and Medicaid make workers less willing to accept low wages; Republicans rail against all of these programs — again, not in spite of the fact that they help poor people, but because they help poor people. So it makes sense that companies and executives of companies that rely on cheap labor to generate profits give overwhelmingly to Republicans, and it makes double the sense when those companies are where the poor shop and eat. For them, more poor people means more cheap labor and more customers.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine an Invisible Fist stamping down on a human face — forever.