Libertarians make Republicans look like our best friends
Liberals know that the Koch brothers basically own the right-wing of America right now, and are even more powerful, financially speaking, than the Republican National Committee. Right wing voters seem either unaware, or happy with this fact so long as their paid-for politicians keep singing the “small-government, we hate gays, control the women, and screw the poor” song that the right is so fond of.
But anyone who has been paying attention knows that the Kochs’ libertarian ideals are failing big time in states like Louisiana, Kansas, and Wisconsin. Despite their failings, their governors stay the course and show no signs of letting up. They call their massive failures ‘successes’ and keep trying to convince the public that their course is the best course.
Now the Kochs have promised nearly a billion dollars to the war chest of the right-wing candidate for the 2016 election, and will financially steer the GOP primaries to make sure the presidential candidate is as far right as possible. It’s more important than ever to know exactly what kind of America the Koch’s want to buy.
If these three states are any indication we’re in a lot of trouble as a nation.
Kansas: Otherwise known as “Brownbackistan”
Kansas is experiencing a Koch-led experiment gone horribly wrong. In 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback slashed income taxes big time for wealthier Kansans, as well as business owners who file as individuals.
This tax cut lead to a multi-million dollar state budget deficit, last projections put that deficit at $600 million, which is projected to be in the billions come next year if Brownback doesn’t drastically increase income tax rates. Instead, to save face, he only minimally increased tax rates, which isn’t saving his state.
The deficit lead to some major cuts in education which caused the closure of several schools, some schools even closing earlier than usual to save money, and massive lay offs for school staff.
Sorry, kiddos! No teachers or books for you.
Along with cuts to education, came the refusal to participate in the federal Medicaid expansion program despite the fact that 72 percent of residents favored the expansion, and their private insurance enrollment numbers are below the national average. The state currently has refused to participate in Obamacare and accept federal funds to start enrolling people in subsidized healthcare.
And job growth has been sluggish, although the unemployment rate dropped a tick over the last few months, it’s not what Brownback expected when he slashed the tax rate. Reaganomics, which has been roundly debunked, means when you cut taxes on “job creators” the savings allow them to expand business. But, as has been proven over and over again, the savings went right into the pockets of business owners.
Kansas also just imposed the strictest abortion law in the U.S. only allowing women to have an abortion before 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Wisconsin: Otherwise known as “Fitzwalkerstan”
The cross-eyed college dropout Governor Scott Walker, along with the Fitzgerald brothers (Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald and State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald) have turned Wisconsin into an autocracy who have stomped on workers rights, lowered taxes for the rich and have made deep cuts to education.
One of the first things Walker did as governor was to appoint the Fitzgerald brothers’ father to leader of the State Patrol and when protests and conflict arose in the capital the State Patrol guarded the monsters in the castle from the peasants with pitchforks and torches.
Walker recently turned Wisconsin from a Union state to a Right-to-Work state. Anyone from a Right-to-Work state knows that the term really means the right to be fired without reason, the right to be overworked and underpaid without repercussion for the employer, and the right to work for bosses who only care about profits and not employees.
Teachers and firefighters protested Gov. Walker and begged him not to sign this law, but he did it anyway because in Koch states, there is no such thing as democracy. And after busting their unions, Walker had the audacity to compare the protesters to ISIS.
Despite this “Right to Work” the unemployment rate still sits at 5.5 percent, also above the national average.
Aside from taking away workers rights, due to a $280 million budget deficit (which is projected to be in the billions in the next two years) Gov.Walker has also made deep cuts to education, angering educators and causing the closure of schools and laying off of staff during his time as governor. Walker has cut more funding from education than any other governor in the history of the U.S. when he slashed education by about $2 billion.
Louisiana: Otherwise known as “Bobbylon”
(Okay, so no one else calls it Bobbylon, but I thought it was fitting (Babylon lies in ruins and has biblical undertones) and I couldn’t find a funny nickname for Louisiana like Kansas and Wisconsin have.)
Gov. Bobby Jindal is also a Koch sucker and is effectively running the Mardi Gras state into the ground with his tax cuts that have dried up the states coffers and put the state budget into the “red.”
Despite Jindal inheriting a state in surplus and effectively bankrupting it, Jindal calls this a “success” and was the ultimate goal anyway, because now he gets to cut state spending on social programs like food stamps and Medicaid. Woo hoo! High fives all around.
Jindal is also preparing to sign a Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law for Louisiana, despite blow back Indiana received over signing the same law. The RFRA would allow Christian business owners, landlords, doctors and other medical staff from denying LGBTQ people services on the basis of religion.
Businesses in Louisiana have called the governor’s office, complaining that such a law would hurt business in the state. After Indiana signed their original law entertainers, sports organizations, large corporations, investors and a whole slew of other people renounced Indiana’s decision and boycotted the state. Eventually, Gov. Mike Pence added LGBTQ people to Indiana’s protected class to keep gay people from being discriminated against to save his state from becoming the country’s “stinky kid” and the boycotts were lifted before they did much damage. Not surprisingly, business owners from the Mardi Gras state do not want to draw negative attention to themselves and lose private investment, but the Governor posted on Facebook last week that he didn’t care what they wanted.
Here was Bobby Jindal’s message to business owners:
I’m fighting for a new law in Louisiana to protect religious liberty. Companies have contacted me & asked me to oppose new religious liberty legislation. They’re free to voice their opinions, but they won’t deter me. The same people who think that profit making is vulgar believe that religiosity is folly. A pluralistic & diverse society can exist only if we all tolerate people who disagree with us. That’s why religious freedom laws matter.
Ironically, Jindal says that the only way to have a “diverse society” is to tolerate people who disagree with you. Kind of like, you know, tolerating a minority of gay people instead of making laws that give Christians special privileges to treat them unequally? NO. No, homosexuals must tolerate Christians treating them badly, of course.
Now despite Jindal’s obvious pandering to the religious right, can his state afford to lose more business? The Louisiana unemployment rate is already 6.6 percent — well above the national average, which is so strange because Jindal cut income taxes for the rich so they could create more jobs.
When Jindal inherited Louisiana, the state had a $1 billion budget surplus in the state coffers, now Jindal is facing a $1.6 billion deficit and it’s expected to keep ballooning. He refuses to roll back tax cuts because he believes so strongly in supply side economics,even though the numbers tell a completely different story. And while the wealthy have enjoyed Jindal’s governance, the median household income is well below the national average at $44,874 (U.S. $53,046) and have one of the highest people living in poverty rates at 19.9 percent.
What does all this tell us?
The Koch’s like politicians who bankrupt states, despite the GOP being the self-proclaimed party of “fiscal responsibility.”
The Koch’s want a politician to balloon our national deficit so the federal government can cut further from our nation’s neediest citizens rather than have the wealthy pay their fair share. In fact they want the wealthy to pay less than their fair share.
These paid-for governors actually believe the wealth trickles down eventually, but at this point, after a grueling recovery from the recession created by a GOP administration, Americans need it to rain, not trickle, to stimulate the economy, but it will be a cold day in hell before the Koch’s ever let the lower- and middle-class see any sort of fruits of their labor.
No, in a Koch-bought America only kids who shell out a ton of money for private education deserve a quality education, the rest will be dumbed-down so they will be future Republican voters. Only those who can afford the best private insurance deserve quality healthcare. Only those who have an abundance of wealth deserve to keep it.
These states have let their infrastructure fall to the wayside, a lesson at least Louisiana should have learned after Hurricane Katrina. Their education systems are failing and poverty is soaring. And as their median income falls, unemployment remains stagnant and people living in poverty increases, these governors are pulling the social safety net our from as many of their residents as possible — adding further insult to injury. As poverty increases so does crime, and high crime becomes an excuse to deregulate guns, an issue our nation so desperately needs to get a handle on. The Koch’s like the Second Amendment and so these governors under their thumb loosen gun restriction until every schmoe has a weapon, and it’s coming to an America near you.
It’s a greedy system they want, a privatized nightmare. An autocracy where the wealthiest benefactors call all the shots, and politicians are nothing more than their puppets on a tight string. And still, these stooges get re-elected because the Republican party, at least the poor end, never wants to learn their lesson. Poor Republicans continue to act like temporarily embarrassed millionaires who kiss the asses of the rich, and the Koch’s lead the charge, igniting racism and sexism and further dividing the classes.
And if they get a candidate voted into the White House in 2016, this is what America will look like.