On October 31, 2014 I blogged about how Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a massive state tax cut. In that post I spoke about how Governor Brownback (and many others) hitched their wagon to “supply side economics.” Simply put, he claimed that if he made massive tax cuts (for both individuals and business) they would put massive amounts of money “back in the pockets” of individuals and businesses. They would then spend that money and so stimulate the economy that even reduced tax rates would bring in more money and put the state on Easy Street.
Unfortunately, supply side economics behaves much like the Atkins Diet: it appeals not because it works, but because it sounds good. Telling overweight people that they can eat bacon omelettes and still lose weight feels just too good to pass up. And telling Americans that they can pay less in taxes and live on Easy Street does the same thing.
OK, did it work? The Kansas Legislature didn’t think so. This week they passed a bill to repeal the tax cuts, and overrode the Governor’s veto. Interestingly enough the legislature is controlled by Republicans.
The tax cuts did nothing except bleed the state dry. Hardest his were Kansas’ 286 school districts. The Kansas State Court of Appeals demanded that the state provide adequate funds for public schools last March.
Even conservative Republicans recognized they needed to bring in more money to educate their children and grandchildren. Even they knew that Kansas’ future depends on an educated citizenry.
I guess he thinks he can do the same thing and get a different result. The rest of us call this dysfunctional thinking.
I pray Congress don’t make the same mistake Kansas made.