As ever, Republicans are acting as though passionate belief can somehow turn a turd into a diamond. And as ever, they crow to the public, saying “look at these fabulous jewels I am holding”; but their hands contain naught save for steaming, malodorous shit. So it is in Kansas:
In 2012, Kansas governor Sam Brownback signed a massive tax cut into law, arguing that it would boost the state’s economy. Eventually, he hoped to eliminate individual income taxes entirely. “Our place, Kansas, will show the path, the difficult path, for America to go in these troubled times,” he said.
National conservative activists raved. Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform said Kansas was “the story of the next decade.” The Cato Institute praised Brownback’s “impressive” tax cuts and gave him an “A” on fiscal policy. And the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol said that, if reelected, Brownback would be “a formidable presidential possibility.”
Kansas is now hundreds of millions of dollars short in revenue collection, its job growth has lagged the rest of the nation, and Moody’s has cut the state’s bond rating. “Governor Brownback came in here with an agenda to reduce the size of government, reduce taxes, and create a great economic boom,” says University of Kansas professor Burdett Loomis. “Now there’s been a dramatic decline in revenues, no great increase in economic activity, and we’ve got red ink until the cows come home.”
As it was before, so it is now. Supply-Side Economics has never worked. Not once. Not ever.
But Repubs continue to believe in it, as though faith can turn fertilizer into gems. Marx believed in Conmunism, and it failed: Fundagelicals believe that the world is 6,000 years old, and they are full of it; Chamberlin believed Hitler, and look how that turned out.
Belief by itself is no basis for governmental action. Those who rely on magical thinking should remember: the things magicians do are called “magic tricks“. And tricks are all we ever get from the supply-siders.