Lower taxes and less regulation lead to a host of good ends—more employment, more tax revenue, fewer mosquitoes and less unattractive belly fat. That’s why it’s important to carefully parse the news coming out of Kansas recently. Sam “The Repealer” Brownback was elected governor there in 2011. Since both state houses are strongly Republican, the stage was set for a mighty Republican renaissance.
Brownback began with a 25% tax cut for the richest Kansans, erasing income taxes for small businesses and creating a new “Office of the Repealer” tasked with eliminating regulations and agencies that choke business with their insistence on preserving an ecosystem for the next generation. Even guaranteed teacher tenure fell beneath the fury of Sultan Sam’s mighty pen.
All that’s left, at this point, is to wait for blooming prosperity in Kansas to inspire legions of imitators and usher in the new era of national, Reaganesque utopia!
But, like other brave pioneers before him, including his mentor and advisor, Art Laffer, Brownback is still facing skepticism… a mere three years in. Some of this is related to the squandering of the budget surplus Brownback inherited. Tax revenue in Kansas fell by $685 million in the first year in spite of an upward adjustment in the state sales tax, leaving the state with an annual $300 million shortfall. This led to a downgrade of the state’s credit rating by the faithless, liberal pantywaists at Moody’s.
The more squeamish Kansans have grown tired of waiting for Brownback’s new economy to bear fruit, complaining that the Kansas economy is expanding at just half the rate of its four neighbors, that Kansas still has fewer jobs than in 2008, and that poverty has increased including among children. Others traitorous covert socialists counsel Brownback and his legislature to take the mark of the beast by accepting hundreds of millions of dollars to expand Medicaid as part of Obamacare instead of treating the uninsured in emergency rooms as God intended.
Patriots should arm themselves with some important facts:
FACT 1. The economy in Kansas is growing, unlike under the previous governor. What’s even more telling, the previous governor enjoyed, at least for a few years, the dynamic, freedom-infused George W. Bush economy, while Brownback has been saddled with the unquestionably sluggish and impotent Obama economy for his entire term.
FACT 2. Fiscal reforms can take a long time to come to fruition. For example, the pro-job policies of George W. Bush, such as deficit-funded tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and a tax holiday for companies with untaxed profits in offshore tax havens, led to 53 months of uninterrupted job growth… but, you know, not until Bush had been out of office for 18 months.
FACT 3. It takes time for job-creators from around the nation to relocate to Kansas. Unlike relocating wealth to the Cayman Islands or Switzerland, it can take time to get your kids into the right schools, hire a moving van, etc. We can expect job-creators to come in just 3 years. It’s not at all like when raising federal taxes encourages all the captains of industry to flee to Galt’s Gulch.
So, patience is the new watchword in Brownbackistan. To teachers vacuuming their own classrooms due to reduced funding for janitors, we say patience. To the 100,000 Kansans eligible for federally-paid health care coverage under the Medicaid expansion but disappointed by the decision to postpone debate to 2015, patience. It’s always darkest before the sweet, conservative dawn.