Sunday, March 06, 2016

Marco Rubio In Kansas: "Conservatism Is About Ideas"


In Kansas tonight Little Marco came in a distant third (16.7%) behind Cruz (48.2%) and Herr Trumpf (23.3%). He won 6 delegates to Cruz's 24 and Herr Trumpf's 9. Trumpf called on him to drop out of the race. Early in the day, Rubio was in Overland, Kansas with spectacularly failed Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback Friday, campaigning against Herr. Watch the video above and listen to him explain how, exactly, Republican governance works. But people in Kansas-- just like people in Louisiana and Michigan-- know first hand how Republican governance works. The kind of Republican Party economic orthodoxy espoused by Rubio and Cruz-- and implemented by Gov. Brownback-- has destroyed Kansas' economy, just as Bobby Jindal's crackpot approach to Louisiana governance has wrecked his state's economy. What Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has done to implement the "principles" of Republican governance has done even worse to his state, actually destroying the very lives of its citizens! Friday, Rachel Maddow addressed Rick Snyder's implementation of doctrinaire Republican governance and how that has impacted his state. The segment is somewhat long but worth watching all the way through because it isn't just about Michigan and not even just about Little Marco... it's about Republican governance in general:

Last night Little Marco also came in third in Louisiana, but didn't win any delegates. He was at 11.2% to Trumpf's 41.5% and Cruz's 37.8%. Friday, writing for the Washington Post, Chico Harlan reported that Bobby Jindal's application of Republican precepts to government in Louisiana forced the state to gut spending for it's university and deplete its rainy-day funds. "It had cut 30,000 employees and furloughed others. It had slashed the number of child services staffers, including those devoted to foster family recruitment, and young abuse victims for the first time were spending nights at government offices. And then, the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards (D), came on TV and said the worst was yet to come."

Edwards talked about "the extent of the state’s budget shortfall and said that Louisiana was plunging into a 'historic fiscal crisis.' Despite all the cuts of the previous years, the nation’s second-poorest state still needed nearly $3 billion-- almost $650 per person-- just to maintain its regular services over the next 16 months. Edwards  gave the state’s lawmakers three weeks to figure out a solution, a period that expires March 9 with no clear answer in reach."
Louisiana stands at the brink of economic disaster. Without sharp and painful tax increases in the coming weeks, the government will cease to offer many of its vital services, including education opportunities and certain programs for the needy. A few universities will shut down and declare bankruptcy. Graduations will be canceled. Students will lose scholarships. Select hospitals will close. Patients will lose funding for treatment of disabilities. Some reports of child abuse will go uninvestigated.

...Many of the state’s economic analysts say a structural budget deficit emerged and then grew under former governor Bobby Jindal, who, during his eight years in office, reduced the state’s revenue by offering tax breaks to the middle class and wealthy. He also created new subsidies aimed at luring and keeping businesses. Those policies, state data show, didn’t deliver the desired economic growth. This year, Louisiana has doled out $210 million more to corporations in the form of credits and subsidies than it has collected from them in taxes.

...“This was years of mismanagement by a governor who was more concerned about satisfying a national audience in a presidential race,” said Jay Dardenne (R), the lieutenant governor under Jindal and now the state’s commissioner of administration. Dardenne said Jindal had helped the state put off its day of reckoning in a way that mirrored a “Ponzi scheme.”
Kansas is not just what Republican governance creates but what Koch brothers-controlled Republican governance creates. It's a one-party state, with no Democrats in federal office or in statewide office. The state Senate has 31 Republicans and 9 Democrats and the state House has 97 Republicans and 28 Democrats. Sam Brownback's Kansas, which was supposed to be the GOP's tax-cut paradise can no longer pay its bills-- which is, after all, what happens when you cut taxes for the rich the way Ayn Rand told the GOP to. In 2012 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."
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."

…Brownback's tax cut proposal came as Kansas's revenues were on an upswing. Spending cuts and a one-cent sales tax passed by Brownback's Democratic predecessor had combined with economic growth to give Kansas a surplus. Now, Brownback argued, his tax cuts would lead to even more success. "I firmly believe these reforms will set the stage for strong economic growth in Kansas," he said.

The governor proposed to cut income taxes on the state's highest earners from 6.45 percent to 4.9 percent, to simplify tax brackets, and to eliminate state income taxes on most small business income entirely. In a nod to fiscal responsibility, though, he proposed to end several tax deductions and exemptions, including the well-liked home mortgage interest deduction. This would help pay for the cuts.

Yet as the bill went through the state Senate, these deductions proved too popular, and legislators voted to keep them all. The bill's estimated price tag rose from about $105 million to $800 million, but Brownback kept supporting it anyway. "I'm gonna sign this bill, I'm excited about the prospects for it, and I'm very thankful for how God has blessed our state," he said.

Democrats, and some Republicans, weren't buying it. "It bankrupts the state within two years," said Rochelle Chronister, a former state GOP chair who helped organize moderate Republicans against Brownback's agenda. And the House Democratic leader, Paul Davis, laid down a marker. "There is no feasible way that private-sector growth can accommodate the price tag of this tax cut," he said. "Our $600 million surplus will become a $2.5 billion deficit within just five years." In return, Brownback's administration claimed the bill would create 23,000 jobs by 2020, and would lead 35,000 more people to move to Kansas.

After the cuts became law, it was undisputed that Kansas's revenue collections would fall. But some supply-side analysts, like economist Arthur Laffer, argued that increased economic growth would deliver more revenue that would help cushion this impact.

Yet it's now clear that the revenue shortfalls are much worse than expected. "State general fund revenue is down over $700 million from last year," Duane Goossen, a former state budget director, told me. "That's a bigger drop than the state had in the whole three years of the recession," he said-- and it's a huge chunk of the state's $6 billion budget. Goossen added that the Kansas's surplus, which had been replenished since the recession, "is now being spent at an alarming, amazing rate."

Kansas has to balance its budget every year, so when that surplus runs out, further spending cuts will be necessary. The declining revenues have necessitated extensive cuts in state education funding, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Moody's cut of the state's bond rating this May was another embarrassment. And the economic benefits Brownback promised haven't materialized either. Chris Ingraham wrote at Wonkblog that Kansas's job growth has lagged behind the rest of the country, "especially in the years following the first round of Brownback tax cuts."

…Brownback's approval rating has plummeted-- in a recent poll by PPP, his 33 percent was actually lower than Barack Obama's 34 percent approval.

This is what Little Marco was proposing to bring to the whole country-- which is also what Ted Cruz is proposing to bring to the whole country and what Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are pushing on the whole country from their perches as the leaders if the House and Senate. Want to help save the country? Tap the thermometer below:
Goal Thermometer

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