Monday, August 8, 2016

Failure of trickle down economics in Kansas leads to voters' revolt at the polls.

Ready for some news that isn't about Donald Trump?   Here we go. 
A recent opinion from the Editorial Board of the New York Times was titled:  "Moderation Rears Its Head in Kansas."    This is another indicator that conservative economic policies have failed in Gov. Sam Brownbeck "experiment" in Kansas:  tax cuts for the well to do and budgets slashed for education, infrastructure jobs, and basic services for citizens.  Schools were the worst victims, such that one school system had to end the school year early for lack of money.

Voters finally spoke out in their primary election last week.   The extreme conservatives lost out -- big time -- to more moderate Republicans.   It's also a setback for the Koch Brothers money machine that backed the losing candidates.   This editorial deserves to be read in full because it succinctly shows the failure of austerity government measures, especially in a time of recession.

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"Moderate Republicans who have been fighting off extinction ventured onto the primary ballot this week in the deeply red state of Kansas and scored a dozen impressive victories. The insurgents knocked off conservative loyalists of Gov. Sam Brownback, whose disastrous experiment in trickle-down economics has busted the state budget and angered voters suffering from slashed services.

"While they were at it, Republican voters chose to send Representative Tim Huelskamp into retirement after a six-year career as one of the leading Tea Party obstructionists in Washington. His defeat was a setback as well for two of the naysaying lawmaker’s right-wing backers — the Koch brothers’ political money machine and the Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy group.

"No one is yet proclaiming the start of a national revival of moderation in the G.O.P. But the primary results are an encouraging sign that voters in this election year will, if provoked, look beyond the statements of ideological crusaders to demand positive results in their lives. In the Kansas Statehouse, at least 11 Brownback loyalists, including the Senate majority leader, were defeated by candidates who drew support from voters appalled at deepening budget cuts in education, infrastructure and other basic services. 

"After his election in the antigovernment Tea Party surge of 2010, Mr. Brownback fully indulged the Republican fiction that huge upper-bracket tax cuts for individuals and businesses — and his were the largest in the state’s history — would somehow trigger healthy revenue flows and create jobs. None of that happened. Instead, the budget shortfalls from cutting taxes led Mr. Brownback and the Republican Legislature to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from education, sending the public school system into a crisis that continues;  state agencies were shut and jobs eliminated; and sweeping cutbacks ranged from basic welfare to the state university system.

My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way, and it works,’ ” Mr. Brownback bragged as he and other conservative hard-liners pursued the party’s supply-side fantasies. It certainly has been a different way, and it plainly doesn’t work.

"If nothing else, the nation can now see the folly that results from the trickle-down foolishness that mainline Republicans like the House speaker, Paul Ryan, still try to peddle. Voters can also see that that some Republicans, as in Kansas, may now be willing to take a second look at trickle-down politicians and decide that someone more moderate is a better bet."
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We can't over-emphasize the importance of this.   Brownback set this up, calling it an experiment to prove the conservative economic plan works -- cut taxes and reduce spending.   Well, he asked for it -- and the "NO" answer has been clear for some time, as Kansas reeled from one economic crisis to another.   Last week, the voters gave him their answer.

It's an important piece of data that, even more clearly than Europe, shows how austerity measures are exactly the wrong way to deal with a recession.   Countries that went the austerity route were slower in recovering than the U.S. which, thanks to the Obama policy of government stimulus to create jobs, save banks and the auto industry, made our recovery faster and better than Europe's.    It would have been even better if a larger stimulus had been used and continued longer, but Obama got as much as congress would allow.   Maybe now, with this Kansas data, we'll do even better next time.

And watch for the other side of this story -- Minnesota's success by following Democratic principles -- in tomorrow's post.



  1. Such welcome news!


  2. Yeah !! The comment section is working again.