Here is a cautionary tale for anybody out there who is brain-damaged enough to still be considering voting for Doug Douche-y for Governor. Four years ago, the Tea Party crazies stirred up the Honey Boo-Boo Patriots across the country with the dire warning that "There's a dusky-skinned fella' in the White House and he's tryin' to keep poor people from dying. We have to stop him."
It worked, and industrial-strength nutjobs were swept into federal, state and local offices across America. They kept up the constant chorus of trying to keep the underprivileged from getting health care, but, while doing so, they got into all kinds of mischief under the guise of pursuing the purest of conservative ideals. Somewhere, a top-secret council of weasels decided that taxes are evil and the word went out to the minions.
Taxes were attacked like a Peeping Tom being set upon by an unruly mob. The public safety net was dismantled, schools went massively underfunded, and the public infrastructure was left to crumble. But the Affordable Care Act remained intact, so the onslaught continued.
One of the anti-tax crusaders on the front lines was former U.S. Senator from Kansas, Sam Brownback. Having caused enough damage in Washington, D.C., Brownback returned home to run for Governor. He won by a 30-point margin and then immediately set about destroying his state. He slashed personal income taxes and eliminated income taxes on small businesses altogether. Operating on the delusional belief that supply-side economics wasn't unconditionally discredited 30 years ago, Brownback claimed that doing away with taxes would somehow bring in more tax revenue.
Over the past four years, Brownback has blathered on and on about how Kansas was going to supplant Texas as the top destination for new businesses. (Texas does not have a personal income tax, but it does have one of the highest percentages of crappy, low-paying jobs in America.) He claimed that he was conducting a grand experiment and that all Kansans would benefit.
Well, his experiment blew up like Mentos in a shaken bottle of Diet Coke. Since the implementation of his tax cuts, Kansas has added jobs at a rate slower than that of the rest of the country. The earnings and income of Kansans also lagged behind that of other states and the country as a whole. And, quite embarrassingly, the number of businesses in Kansas grew more slowly in the year after the tax cuts than it had in the year before the tax cuts.
Not surprisingly, tax revenues plummeted. Schools were hit hardest, followed by social services, health care and infrastructure. They raised the state sales tax to help offset some of the revenue loss. (Sales tax is always a regressive tax because it inordinately affects the poor more than the rich.) When that didn't do the job, they quadrupled down by raising taxes on low-income families to alleviate the budget strain caused by massive tax cuts for the rich.
One of the more surprising results of this fiscal madness was that a not-insignificant number of Republicans in Kansas came out against Brownback's folly. Some self-described moderate Republicans in the Legislature joined with Democrats to block the initial tax-cut measures. Brownback got all butt-hurt and got his flying monkeys spread out all over Kansas to "purge" the Legislature of those who didn't goosestep along with his far-right-wing agenda.
Brownback had a couple powerful allies in the purge. The infamous Koch Brothers (who are often identified with North Carolina but are actually based in Wichita, Kansas) looked under their seat cushions and came up with several million dollars to finance challenges from the right. One so-called moderate state senator (who actually voted with Brownback more than 90 percent of the time) got swamped by Koch money. Afterwards, he said that he would usually spend in the neighborhood of $35,000 on his race. His primary (Tea Party) opponent, a political newcomer backed by Koch money, somehow came up with 200 large and ran away with the election.
Somewhat refreshingly, Brownback is trailing in his bid for re-election. The race is tight, but his opponent, Paul Davis (who has the backing of hundreds of top Republicans in the state) holds a narrow lead. If you win your first election by 30 points, you have to screw up big time to risk losing on your second go-round.
There are three kinds of people in this world. There are those who never learn from their own mistakes; those are the drug addicts and criminals. There are those who do eventually learn from their own mistakes. (That's most of us.) But then there are the blessed few who can actually learn from somebody else's mistakes and not have to make them.
We, as Arizona voters, with the failed Brownback "experiment" in front of us, have the opportunity to fall into that last category, if only this once. Doug Douche-y has been lionizing Brownback's approach, even though it hasn't even a shred of common sense attached to it. He wants to get rid of income and business taxes, knowing full well that the Arizona Constitution requires a super-majority to raise (offsetting) taxes, meaning that it will never happen.
I guarantee that if Arizonans elect that fraudulent ass-clown as governor, we'll all look back to the embarrassing tenure of Jan Brewer as the good old days.