A Tale Of Two Parties And Two Cities

Republicans are the ones constantly promoting fiscal responsibility. Yet their record from President Herbert Hoover through President George W. Bush to certain current Republican governors is abysmal. This is a reality that economic trickle down true believer, Paul Ryan, is hopelessly blind to see.

The Republican one two punch to the nation’s economic gut, after corporate excesses have run the nation into a ditch, is always austerity programs for the nation and obscene tax cuts for the super rich, “because the rich are the job creators.”

No they are not. I have been around corporate heads long enough to know that they don’t stay awake at night thinking up ways to create jobs. Just the opposite is true. They see it as a primary part of their mandate to find ways to squeeze out labor costs. That is of course the reason for all the job outsourcing over the last thirty years and the fact that our modern factories are packed full of high tech robots that can do the work that ten plus men did back in the day. It is not that American manufacturing has gone completely away. It is just that it only requires a faction of the manpower of yonder good old days.

When you think about, by Trump’s determination to scuttle the Republican Party he may be doing the country a huge favor. Otherwise if left to its own upside-down economic ideology, the dippy GOP would not hesitate to try and turn the entire nation into the Kansas experimental fiasco. And this brings us to the tale of two states — California and Kansas.

Once upon a time when California had Republican governors and a Republican legislator the state was hopelessly mired in debt. The well off weren’t paying their fair share of taxes because of near corrupt Republican generosity to their patrons. And so, not only was the state deeply in debt, but vital programs benefitting average citizens had to be sharply cutailed as well. The state was a basket case.

Then the state’s political fortunes radically changed. The Democrats gained complete control of the governor’s office and the legislature. Taxes were raised and money spent, putting the economy into overdrive. Today, the state of dreams is humming along with its debt replaced with a big, fat surplus. Sure were once some of the super rich might have been raking in 2 billion a year they are now only able to scrounge up a messily 1.8 billion. But it seems they are in no great hurry to leave the state. So lets contrast the California experience with poor — literally poor — Kansas.

When Republican fiscal conservative Sam Brownback became governor of Kansas, he was excited to try to institute a pure form of Republican economic philosophy. He was going to make Kansas a wonderful model for the entire world to see just how thing could turn out when good old common sense Republican principles were fully applied.

So naturally he began by driving down taxes on the long discredited theory that as Brownback claimed his march to zero taxes would spur entrepreneurship and economic growth. The result as any good economists could foretell was repeated budget short falls leading to austerity measures being placed upon education and other state functions. The bottom line is that tax cuts never pay for themselves. They just make the rich richer and the rest poorer.

So why then if Brownback’s measures were such a failure, why was he reelected? Are Kansans stupid? No! First off Kansas is a traditionally Republican state. More importantly, however, macroeconomics is counter intuitive. Commonsense austerity measures that work well for individual families when faced with economic hard times are a disaster at the state and federal levels.

It is therefore easy for Republicans to sell the public on economic principles that seem perfectly rational but only do wonders for wealthy donors while screwing the average Joe. And so while California surges Kansas stagnates, a tale of two parties and two states.

See Bill Maher


Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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