Faith and facts: Tax-cutting and Obamacare | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 14, 2014

Faith and facts: Tax-cutting and Obamacare

Posted By on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 6:51 AM

MIXED-UP MESSAGE: Tom Cotton says Obamacare is a failure. The numbers don't.
  • MIXED-UP MESSAGE: Tom Cotton says Obamacare is a failure. The numbers don't.


Some good analysis this morning for the reality-based community. Republican Tea Partyer may sneer now and move along:

* THE KANSAS TAX-CUT MIRACLE: Here's a good summary of what's befallen Kansas since Gov. Sam Brownback pushed through a massive tax cut that was going to set Kansas on fire economically. It's burning down the seed corn bin.

Kansas reserves have been depleted. The state's credit rating was been downgraded. Schools and government services have been dealt a body blow. The economic miracle that Brownback promised?

. Kansas, in fact, was one of only five states to lose employment over the last six months, while the rest of the country was improving. It has been below the national average in job gains for the three and half years Mr. Brownback has been in office. Average earnings in the state are down since 2012, and so is net growth in the number of registered businesses.

With less money to spend, Kansas is forced to chop away at its only hope for real economic expansion: investment in public schools and colleges. While most states began restoring education funding after the recession, Kansas has cut K-12 spending by 2 percent over the last two school years, and higher education by 3 percent since 2012.

You can't tax cut your way to prosperity. Good businesses want good government infrastructure and well-educated work forces. These things don't come without cost. Or so the facts indicate.

* OBAMCARE'S 'FAILURE': Paul Krugman writes again about the failure of Obamacare to fail and the scarce coverage of its success.  Predicted rate shock hasn't occurred. Yet naysayers continue to dominate the media discussions and even places palpably lifted by health insurance coverage — think Arkansas — still believe something terrible has been done.

Millions more people have health insurance. Enrollment exceeded projections. People have paid for coverage, despite predictions of doom. Now the critics are trying to credit the economy (that would be the economy that they otherwise say is failing thanks to Obama) for the huge increase in insured, not the Affordable Care Act.

But that’s pretty lame, and also demonstrably wrong.

For one thing, the decline is too sharp to be explained by what is at best a modest improvement in the employment picture. For another, that Urban Institute survey shows a striking difference between the experience in states that expanded Medicaid — which are also, in general, states that have done their best to make health care reform work — and those that refused to let the federal government cover their poor. Sure enough, the decline in uninsured residents has been three times as large in Medicaid-expansion states as in Medicaid-expansion rejecters. It’s not the economy; it’s the policy, stupid.

But oh ye fact based, faith still runs strong. Look no farther than Arkansas, where one of the architects of Arkansas's wildly successful Medicaid expansion through private insurance — Rep. John Burris — is pumping a steady diet of social media diatribes against President Obama in behalf of electing his employer, extremist Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, to the U.S. Senate. Major selling point: Cotton will undo that disastrous Obamacare health legislation.

Keep the faith.

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