Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Sam Brownback is a solid Conservative on both the economic and social side of things. He is governor of Kansas who is up for re-election this November. He is also under siege from the very party he represents and the Leftist fringe who believe that the economy is the government. During his term over these near four years, he implemented one of the most ambitious economic programs since the Reagan Revolution. He orchestrated a plan that was put into action in January 2013 and the difference between the numbers of 2012 and 2013 could not be clearer. His plan included tax cuts, dissolving government bureaucracies and slashing regulations on businesses. It is because of this that the Left has taken to point to Kansas as a “Conservative Hell.”
Those were the words of John Judis. He is a very left-wing writer who has hopped around between The New Republic and The Atlantic. His latest hit piece on Gov. Brownback can be found in The New Republic and it is chock-full of hand-wringing over things that simply are not true. Judis laments “Brownback established an Office of the Repealer to take a scythe to regulations on business, he slashed spending on the poor by tightening welfare requirements, he rejected federal Medicaid subsidies and privatized the delivery of Medicaid, and he dissolved four state agencies and eliminated 2,000 state jobs. The heart of his program consisted of drastic tax cuts for the wealthy and eliminating taxes on income from profits for more than 100,000 Kansas businesses. No other state had gone this far.”
All of this he — and others in the media — claims has resulted in the completely disastrous “loss in revenue” that has left state programs insolvent. Judis even claims that Brownback demonstrated “radical” traits “by eliminating an important legacy of the state’s moderate Republicanism: a nonpartisan commission that recommends judicial nominees.” (To this I add what’s the point of winning election if you can’t make these appointments? Why not just have them voted on in elections like they do it in Texas?)
Well, despite what you may have heard from our friends in the propaganda media, Kansas is actually doing quiet well, that is if you believe that the private sector is where the ills of the poor will be best remedied. On a website called U.S. Government Revenue you can see the difference between the state of Kansas in 2012 and 2013, the year that Governor Brownback implemented his plan. In 2012 Kansas collected, in state and local revenue, $22.1 billion dollars from taxes and the Gross State Product was $139 billion. In 2013 these numbers were $24.1 billion and $144.1 billion respectively. Unemployment for 2012 and 2013 was 5.5 percent and 4.9 percent respectively.
Prior to this drastic economic program, Louis Woodhill, writing at Forbes, mentioned that if Kansas increased their GDP to 2.21 percent the state would see an increase in the amount of revenue that the state collected in taxes. “At a long-term real annual economic growth rate of 1.97%, the PVIH of Kansas’ GDP is about $15.7 trillion, of which the state government would capture about $2.9 trillion in taxes. Increasing the GDP growth to 2.21% would raise both of these numbers by 35%, to $21.2 trillion and $4.0 trillion, respectively.” This is accomplished by increasing private sector growth and this can only happen by decreasing public sector intrusion in the private sector. This is what Gov. Brownback has accomplished. Kansas GSP (Gross State Product) increased in 2013 to 2 percent, just a quarter of a percent off of Woodhill’s 2.21 percent mark, and this was in the first year of the plan working.
Republicans in Kansas seem to be worried about what the Left is saying about these economic policies, mainly that they hurt the poor and degrade education due to a lack of revenue to spend. What the GOP in Kansas ought to be doing is getting behind Brownback and explaining to the citizens of Kansas that the Left believes that the economy if first and foremost measured by the size of the state government. They should be touting the great success that the Kansas economy is poised to become and encouraging Kansans to take advantage of the opportunity to be the masters of their own destiny.
The Left, whether in Kansas or in the country as a whole, wants people yoked to dependency on the government. They view the people as helpless without them, yet they implement policies that do nothing to help those at the bottom. The surest way to escape poverty is through individual industriousness through hard work. This is impossible to realize when you are dependent on a fixed income provided by a statist do-gooder. Gov. Brownback realizes this. It is time that the GOP in Kansas and nationally realize it too.