Voodoo economics in Kansas...and Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Voodoo economics in Kansas...and Arkansas

Posted By on Wed, Oct 8, 2014 at 3:14 PM


You might remember that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback brought the supply side gospel to Kansas, swearing that slashing taxes would bring prosperity like voodoo manna from Heaven. They would be a "shot of adrenaline" and Kansas would be a "red-state model...a real, live experiment" for the rest of the country. 

The experiment was an utter catastrophe, as Brownback's platform sent the state into a devastating fiscal crisis, with jobs and economic growth in the tank and embarrassing credit downgrades from Moody's and Standard & Poor's. About to be voted out of office in deep-red state for his spectacular policy failures, Brownback is now blaming — wait for it — the liberal media: 

I think the left is just so desperate. They want this model to fail so bad that they can't wait for it to and they just want to get me electorally before we get on through this and prove that this is working. ...I think they so desperately want what’s happening in this state to fail that they’re shopping for a factual setting to back that up because it’s working.

Sure, the notion that slashing taxes will magically raise revenues has miserably failed every empirical test, and has failed in particularly spectacular fashion in Kansas, which went from a state with a healthy surplus to a state in financial meltdown...but that voodoo, see, it just needs a little more time.The sun'll come out tomorrow! A little more misery and that red-state model will show its true colors some day!

Some Arkansas lawmakers haven't gotten the memo on what's the matter with Kansas. Rep. Richard Womack, the Tea Party diehard currently in a tight race for re-election as state rep in Arkadelphia, wants to turn Arkansas into a Brownback dystopia. At a recent candidate forum, Womack said (who endorsed a Keynesian multiplier effect, but we'll leave that for another day): 

There's no denying the numbers. And the numbers say that in order to bring new jobs, we have to cut state income taxes, and keep cutting income taxes. I sat through a three-day seminar with Art Laffer, and that's what he hammered home to us. Economics is incredibly simple. When this happens, this happens. When that happens, that happens.

That would be Arthur Laffer, the economist and former adviser to Ronald Reagan. The godfather of voodoo economics, Laffer was the intellectual inspiration for the Brownback experiment in Kansas, a consultant and cheerleader for his plan (he was flown in to make the pitch to the legislature). He predicted that the tax cuts would lead to booming growth in Kansas. He was wrong.

This is the guy that Womack is turning to for advice on how to bring prosperity to the Natural State. Womack says, "economics is incredibly simple." Sure — just look at Kansas.  

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