Britain was one of the last countries to recover from the 2008 meltdown because of austerity. That misplaced rage caused the anger over Brexit and finally, finally a liberal backlash that hurt May.
Last week the Kansas tax cut, spending cut experiment ended. In 2011, Conservative flim flam Gov. Sam Brownback, an old fashioned austerity snake oil salesman, with the help of his Kool-Aid drinking legislature, excitedly enacted the old Reagan game plan (which Reagan never actually did) based on the Laffer Curve of tax cuts and spending cuts causing money to rain down on everyone. It was the governmental equivalent of Bernie Madoff.
The rain never came, just the pain. The policies turned surpluses into massive shortfalls as tax revenues cratered as tax cuts were exacerbated by businesses using tax loopholes to avoid taxes at record numbers. Some politicians were surprised when a policy based on stinginess and greed resulted in stinginess and greed.
Gov. Sam Brownback has touted the policy as a way to spur economic growth, but critics question the fairness of exempting one group of taxpayers while their employees continue to pay income taxes.
And some lawmakers say the policy needs to be tweaked or abandoned in the face of a projected $700 million deficit for the next budget year.
All through this Brownback and his acolytes are in denial. After 6 years of watching the state sink, waiting for that money rain, the legislature threw out the Kool-Aid and reversed course, over Brownback’s veto!
In Iola, community workers talk of tragedies that could have easily been prevented.
Holly Jerome, a director at the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center, spoke about a patient who lost a leg to diabetes and a disabled drug addict who couldn’t go back to work because his insurance wouldn’t cover a nonaddictive pain medication. Angela Henry, project director of the community organization Safe Base, told of a 13-year-old girl who lost part of her jaw when her parents couldn’t pay to finish a dental operation, and the packing pellets a dentist put in her tooth rotted.
“The experiment has been conducted, and I don’t know how anyone who looks at data or who hears the stories that we live every day could say the experiment has been successful,” Toland said.
People suffer from these policies. The politicians that promulgate them always tout personal and economic responsibility with a messianic fervor but they commit governmental malpractice because it’s the equivalent of praying over a (self-inflicted) bullet wound. Isn’t the mission of government to provide for the citizenry? To reckon with the greater good of doing the best you can for the most people by providing the infrastructure for safety and opportunity for as many people as you can?
Austerity by definition says we’re going to do less and hope things work out. That’s hardly a conservative approach. For the person who lost their leg, or the kids losing educational opportunities, or the person who breaks an axle on a potholed road government failed them and it’s downright evil to tell them that somehow, somewhere down the (pot holed) road it’ll be worth it.
It’s crazy that anybody would ever believe in this nonsense. But more amazing is that despite the Kansas disaster, numerous GOP politicians in D.C. and around the country keep selling this nonsense as if it were an actual economic plan that would or could benefit people. They keep faith in a theory that government shouldn’t be providing benefits or infrastructure, that everyone’s on their own and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Of course that’s not for public consumption, that’s just what they say to each other. In public they discuss it as a plan to create wealth and prosperity… by withholding spending. Keep clapping for Tinkerbell!!
The currently debated Trumpcare tax cut plan disguised as a healthcare plan is typical. Trump and GOPers will tout more coverage, better coverage when what they’re doing can not possibly achieve any such thing. They know in fact it does the opposite. But they sell it shamelessly to the rubes who have been told that government is the problem.
Paul Ryan needs to be asked about Kansas every waking moment of the day. Mitch McConnell needs to be asked about what he would say to the person who loses their leg because they no longer have health coverage.
“I’ve said all along, I’m not looking for a handout. Nobody should ever get anything for free,” she said. “You should work for what you get. But they make it harder and harder every day.”
The goal of government is to make it easier. Anything less is malpractice.