Saturday, March 19, 2016

Here's What's Wrong with Kansas (and Louisiana)

Those of us on the left are pretty sure the Republican philosophy of dramatically cutting taxes for  rich and services to the middle and lower income Americans is anathema to good government and we now have case studies to show just how right we are. And how wrong Republicans are.

A story (here) in today's New York Times gives the specifics of the implosion of Kansas and Louisiana, both of which are threatened with losing their higher education systems, among other things, because of radical right governments in general--and governors, in particular.

Sam Brownback of Kansas has become the anti-Christ of the right-wing movement, a man whose every move reflects his philosophy of slash and burn government programs, while all but eliminating taxes on the most privileged of us all. Those tallying up the cost of Brownback's philosophy are now quite literally counting caskets. This "pro-life" governor's cuts are resulting in deaths of Kansas citizens.

"Cuts to health and human services are expected to cause 65 preventable deaths this year in Sedgwick County alone," says The Times' story. In addition, 1,414 Kansans have been tossed off Medicaid, the only thing standing between them and death in some instances. 

According to the story: Kansas "passed massive tax breaks for the wealthy and repealed all income taxes on more than 100,000 businesses. It tightened welfare requirements, privatized the delivery of Medicaid, cut $200 million from the education budget, eliminated four state agencies and 2,000 government employees. 

"In 2012, Brownback helped replace the few remaining moderate Republicans in the legislature with conservative true believers. The following January, after signing the largest tax cut in Kansas history, Brownback told the Wall Street Journal, '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." ' "

Well, boys and girls, it's working, but not the way Brownback and his partners in this criminal enterprise, the Koch brothers, envisioned. 

Bobby Jindal
In Louisiana right now the biggest discussion is whether LSU will have a football team next year, since the university is out of money. Those Louisianans love their football. But Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration was not joking when it said cuts were coming in damn near everything, especially the taxes paid by the disgustingly rich. 

The Times reports thusly:

"When Bobby Jindal moved into the governor’s mansion in 2008, he inherited a $1 billion surplus. When he moved out last year, Louisiana faced a $1.6 billion projected deficit. Part of that budgetary collapse can be put on the past year's plummeting oil prices.  

"The rest should be placed on Jindal passing the largest tax cut in the state's history and then refusing to reverse course when the state's biggest industry started tanking. Jindal's giveaway to the wealthiest citizens in the country's second-poorest state cost Louisiana roughly $800 million a year. To make up that gap, Jindal slashed social services, raided the state’s rainy-day funds, and papered over the rest with reckless borrowing.

"Today, the state is scrambling to resolve a $940 million budget gap for this fiscal year, with a $2 billion shortfall projected for 2017. ... Louisiana can no longer afford to provide public defenders for all its criminal defendants. Its Department of Children and Family Services may soon be unable to investigate every reported instance of child abuse. Education funding is down 44 percent since Jindal took office. The state’s hospitals are likely to see at least $64 million in funding cuts this year."

Jindal, at one time, was considered prime presidential timber. Today, the three GOP presidential contenders remaining pretty closely parallel Brownback and Jindal in fiscal philosophy: slash and burn the budget, give huge tax breaks to the wealthy. Screw the public.

You vote for these bastards at your own risk and in our neck of Virginia we have two in the House of Representatives: Morgan Griffith and Bob Goodlatte. They are slavish hardliners who tow the Koch line.

(Jindal drawing hinterlandgazette.com)
 

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