Sam Brownback became the Governor of Kansas with a mission. The GOP politician had long been a champion of all things supply side, or “trickle down,” in economic matters. He took over the Kansas State Executive and immediately started implementing the trickle down tax policies of his ideology. And now, just a few years later, we can see the devastating results of his schemes.
Among the more glaring examples of Brownback’s failures is the education system. Just yesterday it was announced that some Kansas schools would be unable to finish the required academic year. Why? It has been directly attributed to the radical right wing tax cuts that Sam was so proud of when he signed them into law just several days ago.
Of course, the cuts were sold as a “revenue generator,” claiming it would pump much needed funds into the school systems. This coming after previous Brownback “red state model” cuts that left schools so drained the Kansas State Supreme Court ordered changes in education funding just last year. The SCOK determined the levels were so low they were unconstitutional.
Flash forward to this year, and Brownback is still trying to do an end run around of the courts by using overly optimistic (to put it mildly) revenue projections to once again give away more to the rich and take from the poor. Now, instead of students just being underfunded, the schools are just closed. The people of Kansas have gone from what was a fairly middle of the road system before Brownback’s “conservative revolution” to where they are now just happy that “Mississippi is worse.”
But at least Mississippi can keep it’s schools open. As can Detroit and every other place in America that isn’t Kansas. A place where the conservative dream has become a total nightmare and continues to spiral downward each time Brownback doubles down on his radical right wing policies.
And what other policies is Kansas implementing to counter these devastating education cuts? Does Brownback go where the money actually is, like to the rich or to the corporations? Of course not.
Among Brownback’s other solutions is to effectively increase fees to the poor by about 12 times by limiting all welfare recipients to only be able to withdraw 25 dollars per day instead of being able to draw their full monthly amount in one move. This forces all welfare recipients to pay an 85 cent fee not once, but up to 12 times in a month in order to receive their full benefit. A benefit amount that would be less now due to the de facto tax imposed on Kansas’s poor citizens. And getting the benefits via the state issued debit card is their only option. There is no way around the
And in a bizarre add on to that bill, Brownback ordered that no welfare recipient may use funds to take a cruise on a ship. I’m not sure how much of a problem that is in Kansas, a land locked state, but I am fairly confident that a lack of cruise ship business from Kansas’s poor isn’t going to do anything to educate Kansas’s children.
But beyond these examples and anecdotes of Kansas’s failures are the facts, and the facts are that Kansas’s education system is now 100 percent broken. It was underfunded to an unconstitutionally low level before and now Brownback’s new end run attempt has forced school districts in Kansas to simply shut their doors denying education to children who need it.
Brownback’s political malpractice needs to be stopped by recall or any means necessary. The only result in not stopping him will be doubling or tripling down on these nonsensical policies.
So far, Brownback’s trail of destruction includes a totally de-funded arts program, closed schools, diminished credit ratings and other major budget shortfalls. The poor of Kansas cannot rely on the ACA because of Brownback’s refusal of free money to expand Kansas’s medicaid system. And for all this, Kansas’s promise of big growth and jobs has fallen totally flat.
Hopefully, the people of Kansas will realize that this radical Tea Party style takeover of their government has left them in shambles, and it’s time to face the stark reality that these “trickle down” policies simply do not work. Unless, of course, you are one of those lucky 1 percenters.
For the rest of us, this experiment has soundly proved that this is no way to run a state.