Nothing is the Matter with Kansas

 

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.

There are 31 comments.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    No matter how many times their economic theories are shot down, they go right back to them undaunted. Mr. Judis seems to be an exceptionally slow learner.

    • #1
  2. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    I was thinking about writing about this. I actually liked the piece because everything I read made me respond, “THIS IS AWESOME!!” I had no idea this was going on somewhere. We need an office of repeal at the Federal level.

    The thing is, Brownback is in trouble, which just goes to show how socialist the American people are. If this can’t be a slam dunk in Kansas, we have no hope at the national level.

    • #2
  3. Palaeologus Member
    Palaeologus
    @Palaeologus

    Robert McReynolds: 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.

    It’s interesting that tax revenue went up by nearly 10% while GSP increased by a bit more than 1/3 that percent. IOW, GSP increased by five billion and two billion of that was captured by state and local taxes.

    40% capture by state and local government? That smacks of over-payed tax deposits (to avoid penalties) which will be adjusted down this year via refunds and credits.

    Look, I like Gov. Brownback, I hope he’s re-elected, and I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong with Kansas… but those revenue figures are implausible.

    • #3
  4. user_9474 Member
    user_9474
    @

    Relax, I would be surprised if a dozen people in Kansas have heard of Judis and the Atlantic and New Republic have more than a thousand subscribers between them. It seems from what I’ve read that Brownback’s problems are with RINOs.

    • #4
  5. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    My impression of Kansas is that it is overwhelmingly Republican, which means that a lot of people who would be democrats elsewhere run in the GOP because otherwise they have no chance of getting elected.

    So yes Brownback’s problems are with RINOs, literally.

    And about that “nonpartisan” commission to recommend judicial nominees- those judges just discovered a novel reading of the English language to allow a democrat to drop out of the Senate race, because he was sure to lose.

    This strikes me as a fine of just how well the GOP has succeeded in the United States. Even in a state thoroughly dominated by politicians wearing the “R” label, the end result is that the left still gets to pick the judges. Neat trick, that.

    Forgive me if I’m just stating the obvious, but Brownback’s real problem is that he upset the cozy Kansas status quo that gave the left much of what it wanted without any real effort on their part.

    It seems with Brownback they’ve at least had to fight for it.

    Good luck to him, as he plainly needs it.

    • #5
  6. robertm7575@gmail.com Member
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    I am hoping that Brownback wins for two reasons.  First, I am hoping that his economic plans get another four years to operate so that the country can see what happens when government gets out of the way.  Second, I am hoping that the RINO faction of the GOP–and yes Rob Long it does exist–is defeated and shown to be the quasi Leftists that they are.  Kansas is the very thing that should be pointed to by the national GOP as to how to get this country back to full strength and they won’t do it.  I would also include Wisconsin in there too.

    • #6
  7. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    This was a great piece. I’ve been wondering what’s going on in Kansas, as my Progressive friends and family have been crowing about how it demonstrates a failure of Republican economic policy. I’ve yet to see the net effect explained.

    • #7
  8. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Mostly, the arguments are: Brownback’s policies took Kansas from having a budget surplus to having a budget deficit.

    • #8
  9. skipsul Member
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Kansas is not reliably Republican – it gave us Katherine Sebelius after all.  For liberals, Kansas is a bellwether state, it is considered a gauge by which to measure their progress and appeal in the heartland.  So they fret over it, and crow over every little perceived victory there, and lament how stupid Kansas residents are when they turn away.  It is a strange obsession because they think that they should own Kansas exclusively, and they fight dirty to hold it.  Remember the book What’s the Matter with Kansas?

    Kansas will be a dirty fight this year.

    • #9
  10. Petty Boozswha Member
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Let me give the David Frum/Rob Long/RINO perspective on this. Kansas’ economy is performing at a palpably lower rate than all surrounding states, and these ideological cuts are the main reason. If Republicans come up short this year, it will be because of Kansas and North Carolina, where Thom Tillis has created the same atmosphere. I live here in NC, and have watched the Niagara of TV commercials pointing out how Tillis whacked $500,000,000 from the schools budget but enhanced tax breaks for yachts and private jets.   The left took 60 years to get us in this mess, maybe the squish Repubs that are opposing Brownback have a valid complaint that he’s taking things too far too fast.

    • #10
  11. robertm7575@gmail.com Member
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Petty Boozswha:Let me give the David Frum/Rob Long/RINO perspective on this. Kansas’ economy is performing at a palpably lower rate than all surrounding states, and these ideological cuts are the main reason. If Republicans come up short this year, it will be because of Kansas and North Carolina, where Thom Tillis has created the same atmosphere. I live here in NC, and have watched the Niagara of TV commercials pointing out how Tillis whacked $500,000,000 from the schools budget but enhanced tax breaks for yachts and private jets. The left took 60 years to get us in this mess, maybe the squish Repubs that are opposing Brownback have a valid complaint that he’s taking things too far too fast.

    Or could it be that the economies in the surrounding states of Kansas are different?  In NC they also shortened the amount of time people could sit on unemployment the unemployment rate went down drastically.  This is the problem with the RINO argument of “take it slow.”  It is simply based on fear.  You are point out how what the Left is saying is having more impact on your thoughts about policy than what the actual policies are doing.  Stop being afraid of these people.

    • #11
  12. robertm7575@gmail.com Member
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Also the link I provided from US Government Revenue shows that Kansas is only being out performed by Colorado and Oklahoma while the rest are only slightly better or lower.  And this is going off of the Gross State Product figure given when you hover your mouse over the states in the map on the top of the page.

    • #12
  13. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    I guess my implied question remains. If revenue is up, why does Kansas have a projected budget deficit higher than previous years. My progressive friends and family point to graphs showing how Kansas not too long ago sported surpluses and now suffers under deficit. Has spending in Kansas increased that dramatically? Is it like California where the “surpluses” are really just accounting sleight-of-hand? Or are they real, actual deficits compared with actual surpluses in the past.

    • #13
  14. Petty Boozswha Member
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Robert McReynolds:

    Or could it be that the economies in the surrounding states of Kansas are different? In NC they also shortened the amount of time people could sit on unemployment the unemployment rate went down drastically. This is the problem with the RINO argument of “take it slow.” It is simply based on fear. You are point out how what the Left is saying is having more impact on your thoughts about policy than what the actual policies are doing. Stop being afraid of these people.

    I’m afraid of losing the Senate due to Dems winning seats in  NC and Kansas that should be ours, and therefore having to deal with three more Ruth Ginsburg’s on the Supreme Court for the next 35 years. I am a hard-core libertarian philosophically, but I try to live in the reality based community as well.

    • #14
  15. robertm7575@gmail.com Member
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Douglas,

    To your question about real vs projection I am not sure.  The chart that I linked to shows that the deficit goes up $1 billion each year between 2011 and 2014 (which is a projection for the year).  It also shows that revenues collected between 2012 and 2014 are basically the same, unless you want to quibble over the difference between $22 billion and $24 billion, which would be reasonable.  The number that jumps out at me though is the GSP.  In 2012 you are looking at a GSP of $139 billion, then in 2013 $144 billion and the projection for 2014 is $148.9 billion, so despite the supposed turmoil being pointed to by the Left, Kansas is still humming along it seems.  Again this only if you think the government is the economy or if you think the private sector is the economy.  That might be a bad way to phrase it.  Does overall economic activity come from the government first or does it happen chaotically by individuals making choices?  That might be the best way to look at it.  Brownback is demonstrating that economic activity is the product of individual industriousness.

    • #15
  16. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Appreciate the help. Mostly my goal is to be able to understand this and explain why things aren’t as bad as being trumpeted.

    • #16
  17. robertm7575@gmail.com Member
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Petty Boozswha:

    I’m afraid of losing the Senate due to Dems winning seats in NC and Kansas that should be ours, and therefore having to deal with three more Ruth Ginsburg’s on the Supreme Court for the next 35 years. I am a hard-core libertarian philosophically, but I try to live in the reality based community as well.

    The Kansas race is in jeopardy because the RINO led DC establishment (yes it exists) decided to allow Roberts to run for the millionth time and the citizens of Kansas who want to see change in DC are not feeling inclined to vote for him.  This in turn has turned the establishment against Brownback as some sort of retribution against Conservatives there.  In NC it looks like another “Libertarian” is riding to the rescue of the Democrat.  Yes that’s right, the people who chide us about government being small everywhere are once again coming to the rescue of person from the party who believes that government should run everybody’s life from cradle to grave.  Thanks Libertarians.

    • #17
  18. robertm7575@gmail.com Member
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    One last thing.  You can’t beat these people by being timid and sitting back and hoping that there is enough anger our there about what Obama is doing to generate support for your candidate.  The GOP has been doing nothing since the primary season ended to generate a groundswell of support.  There is not a unified message coming from the GOP about anything.  They have all trekked back into their states/districts and just sat back waiting for November and those in close races are attacking their opponents for some offense they did back in college.  What is Roberts’ stance on spending?  More importantly what is his RECORD?  Same with Tillis.  What are his goals if he gets to the Senate?  Does he want to change things or does he want to do whatever McConnell tell him to do so he can get NRSC cash in six years?  If they don’t want to attack the damage being done by the Left then I hope they lose.

    • #18
  19. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Articles like this are what I’m up against. I apologize if I’m being repetitive.

    • #19
  20. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Petty Boozswha:Let me give the David Frum/Rob Long/RINO perspective on this. Kansas’ economy is performing at a palpably lower rate than all surrounding states, and these ideological cuts are the main reason. If Republicans come up short this year, it will be because of Kansas and North Carolina, where Thom Tillis has created the same atmosphere. I live here in NC, and have watched the Niagara of TV commercials pointing out how Tillis whacked $500,000,000 from the schools budget but enhanced tax breaks for yachts and private jets. The left took 60 years to get us in this mess, maybe the squish Repubs that are opposing Brownback have a valid complaint that he’s taking things too far too fast.

    Let me defend you, as I don’t think you’re giving a RINO-squishy perspective. If the economy of Kansas is doing worse than that of the neighboring states then hey there’s problem, politically if not otherwise. I believe that policies such as those implemented by Brownback are both necessary and just, and I expect that if retained will lead to success- but if the results aren’t there I also think the public deserves an answer as to just why.

    Politicians like Brownback (and Tillis, too) should have been able to make the political case beforehand as to why they enacted their policies, what the results were expected to be, the timescale involved, etc.

    Chris Christie did this in New Jersey, and for a while he was successful enough to be a GOP golden boy.

    Unfortunately other Republicans just don’t seem interested in making that same sort of effort, instead merely complaining about the greedy voters of the 47%.

    • #20
  21. Petty Boozswha Member
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Re: the Libertarian Party – I have written on other threads about my frustration with the 48 year old pizza delivery boy that is pulling 7% in the polls in NC, I can only hope that those voters come home in the end and help Tillis limp over the finish line. And I agree the seniority/senility system in DC is an abomination. But the facts remain we live in a country where the people that follow Kim Kardashian have the same vote as you or I, and when you tell them that we care about appeasing millionaires and not giving their kids school books they will vote against us.

    • #21
  22. Petty Boozswha Member
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    I agree Republicans “deserve” to lose due to their lack of a coherent message – I have called Tillis NC’s John Boehner, just without as much backbone. But sometimes you have to hold your nose if you do not want to face the long-term consequences.

    • #22
  23. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    C. U. Douglas:Articles like this are what I’m up against. I apologize if I’m being repetitive.

    I agree C.U. it seems like the 700 million shortfall stated in Vox article and the revenue numbers that Robert states above are in direct contradiction.  Is there something about Fiscal Year vs. Calendar year (i.e. Robert talks about 2012 and 2013 numbers, but is the real comparison 2013 to 2014?  Here in MT we are already in FY 15).

    • #23
  24. Palaeologus Member
    Palaeologus
    @Palaeologus

    Z in MT:

    C. U. Douglas:Articles like this are what I’m up against. I apologize if I’m being repetitive.

    I agree C.U. it seems like the 700 million shortfall stated in Vox article and the revenue numbers that Robert states above are in direct contradiction. Is there something about Fiscal Year vs. Calendar year (i.e. Robert talks about 2012 and 2013 numbers, but is the real comparison 2013 to 2014? Here in MT we are already in FY 15).

    They aren’t direct contradictions. For one thing, the figures Robert is citing are for state and local revenues combined. State revenues alone are more like $9 billion.

    Then there’s the bit in the Vox piece about how it’s $700 million short in the “general fund.” The general fund collects the majority of KS state revenues but not all of them.

    So it’s a bit like comparing granny smith apples to golden delicious apples… or something.

    EDIT: Scrolling down to pages 17-20 in the link might be helpful.

    • #24
  25. robertm7575@gmail.com Member
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Z in MT:

    C. U. Douglas:Articles like this are what I’m up against. I apologize if I’m being repetitive.

    I agree C.U. it seems like the 700 million shortfall stated in Vox article and the revenue numbers that Robert states above are in direct contradiction. Is there something about Fiscal Year vs. Calendar year (i.e. Robert talks about 2012 and 2013 numbers, but is the real comparison 2013 to 2014? Here in MT we are already in FY 15).

    That is another good point.  The link that holds the chart in my piece looks to be using FY numbers.  I should have been more careful to write my piece in such a way that this was reflected.

    • #25
  26. robertm7575@gmail.com Member
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    As to those of you who are still holding to the idea that Kansas’ economy is falling apart, it is important to keep things in the proper perspective.  Kansas does NOT have negative growth in GSP, nor has it seemed stagnant.  For 2014 is it “guestimated” to be 2 percent.  There are only two neighboring states, Colorado and Oklahoma, that are growing by more than 3 percent and I can assure you that at least one of those is because of oil (I would be shocked if it was something else).  The other surrounding states are either below Kansas (Missouri 1.4%) or slightly above Kansas (Ark 2.3%, Iowa 2.6%, Nebraska 2.7%) in GSP.  If Kansas showed a shrinking GSP, then I would be willing to entertain that there might have been to much reform too soon, but it isn’t.  It’s growing.  The limited government experiment is succeeding, and frankly I am not surprised.

    One more thing to think about.  The Brownback policies were implemented on 1 January 2013 while the numbers I linked to appear to be measured based on Fiscal Year (1 October).  So in terms of life of the reforms we haven’t had two full years yet.  It seems that criticism of the reforms and their promised success began as soon as they were implemented, which comes off to me as rather childish.  My main reason for wanting to see Brownback win a second term is because I would like to see how his reforms are doing in three or four years from now.  There has been some early success and I would like to see what these numbers will be in 2017 or 2018.

    • #26
  27. user_340536 Member
    user_340536
    @ShaneMcGuire

    As Milton Friedman might say, if you cut taxes and revenue to the gov’t went up, then you didn’t cut taxes enough. ;)

    • #27
  28. Bugeater Member
    Bugeater
    @Bugeater

    Part of the way democrats projected a surplus was by not funding KPERS (Kansas Public Employees Retirement System)

    It was$ 10.3 billion underfunded.  Brownback put $500 million into the fund in 2013 http://cjonline.com/news/2014-07-18/kpers-hits-60-percent-funded-benchmark

    • #28
  29. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Thanks! I appreciate everyone taking time to explain things and compare.

    • #29
  30. robertm7575@gmail.com Member
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    I want to thank everyone for the great conversation.  I wish to propel the idea of limited government and the empowered individual to every voter possible and these types of forums do that.  You guys helped get this to the front page and in the view of more people and I want to sincerely thank you all.

    • #30

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