Monday, December 22, 2014

Behold, The Kansas Economic Miracle

When Kansas governor, Sam Brownback enacted his tax cut scheme, he and his conservative allies argued there would be two significant and beneficial results. The first was that these tax cuts would generate more revenues. 
Brownback said he thought the tax breaks would generate enough economic growth to ward off major cuts to "core" government services, including schools and public safety programs.
"I think the growth will come before the cuts come."

Sadly, that didn't exactly pan out. Who would have thought that when you allow people to pay lower taxes, it would result in...lower taxes?

Ah, but that's okay, say Brownback advocates. For you see, the other positive side effect - which they currently argue is now the only thing that actually matters -  from the tax cuts would be massive job growth. Here's the father of supply side doctrine, Art Laffer making the case:
The states that cut their taxes really outperform the states that raise them," Laffer said. "People will see that. It's really hard to balance a budget on the backs of unemployed, and people really do leave states when that's tried. Look, the problem with cutting taxes is that you are going to suffer short-term losses in revenues. When you raise taxes you think you've got a windfall. Then in a few years, you’re Detroit. Kansas, by contrast, is going to do very well. Kansas City is going to be located in Kansas, not Missouri, if you give it a couple years."
It's interesting Laffer admits that tax cuts will cause short-term revenue losses, considering he's argued the exact opposite for his entire career as an economist. It probably would have been nice if he had mentioned that to Brownback before he signed those into law.

But what about his claim on job growth? Unfortunately that didn't go according to plan either:

The new Kansas jobs numbers were released Friday morning, bringing horrible news to state taxpayers and Gov. Sam Brownback.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the total number of nonfarm jobs in Kansas fell by 4,100 in November.

Kansas’ disturbing experience was at odds with how much of the rest of the country did. A total of 37 other states gained in employment in November, while only 13 others, including Kansas, dropped.
Missouri boosted employment by 4,500 in November, for instance, while Oklahoma gained 3,400 jobs. Two other neighbors, Nebraska and Colorado, were among the job losers, though not close to the number shredded in Kansas.

Laffer is correct that you can't balance a budget on the backs of the unemployed (of which there are 4,100 more in Kansas now). And while it's possible that Missouri might not look too hot in the future, it's currently doing better than Kansas is:

 However, Friday’s federal figures now show the state has added only a meager 12,200 total jobs for the first 11 months of the year. That’s barely more than 1,000 a month, and a growth rate of under 1 percent for the year. Missouri, by contrast, has a more robust 1.6 percent growth rate for 2014.

Read more here:
Missouri had both a better November and a better year overall than Kansas, despite the latter being a right-wing utopia at this point.

As if those numbers weren't embarrassing enough, there was one other interesting bit of data from the BLS report:

The biggest job gains occurred in California, which added 90,100 jobs in November, followed by Florida, which gained 41,900. Texas added the third-most jobs, with 34,800.

Yes, the high tax dystopia that is California added 90,100 jobs, not only annihilating Kansas' pitiful performance, but also creating almost three times more jobs than even the mighty Republican economic oasis that is the great state of Texas. Texas! Mind you, those numbers for California aren't just good, they're also the second largest gain the Golden State's had since 1990.

How in the world is such a thing possible? If we were to believe Brownback, Laffer and the entire conservative intelligentsia, freedom loving, pro-business states like Kansas should be economic powerhouses, while socialist, blasphemous states like California should resemble post apocalyptic wastelands.

There is only one logical explanation: Obviously, Jesus has forsaken conservatives in Kansas for not cutting taxes enough.

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