Republicans are not renowned for being truthful, or following through on their promises. In fact, it is safe to say that they lie and break solemn pledges at about the same rate normal human beings visit a toilet in a typical day; but at least one Republican broke that pattern and has kept his word.
At issue was the devastation Republicans wrought on Kansas’ economy and government during Sam “fetus” Brownback’s trickle down disaster that no sane politician would openly support or ever promise to repeat. But instead of pledging to avoid the “destroy Kansas” government and economy model, one high-ranking Republican promised a repeat at the national level when Republicans controlled Washington.
When then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised then-Kansas Governor Sam Brownback that Republicans would enact Kansas-style tax cuts for the rich and corporations, he fully intended to follow through on his pledge. It is particularly telling that when McConnell made his pledge, Kansas was already dying economically due to trickle down tax cuts, was hemorrhaging revenue, and smack in the midst credit downgrades.
McConnell’s pledge, and congressional Republicans subsequent tax reform, is not a case of what Albert Einstein called insanity; “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result;” there has always only been one result and expectation from the trickle down scam – abject failure and the rich getting richer. It is precisely the result Republicans, and probably dunce Don Trump, fully expect to see reach fruition like the one they saw during the Reagan and W. Bush administrations. They witnessed it again in Kansas over the past five years and still imposed it on America.
There is a handy timeline of the Kansas’ trickle down experiment courtesy of the Center for America Progress here with comparisons to what Republicans just rushed through Congress to enrich corporations and the rich under the guise of giving their hero Trump “victory.” They gave Trump some massive tax relief as well, but they sold it as a win for baldy.
Republicans knew their tax reform was another failure waiting to happen and in fact, that failure is an integral part of their crusade to dismantle the administrative state; or shrink the government to a size that can be drowned in a bathtub. “Cutting government down to size” was part and parcel of Kansas Republicans’ tax cuts for the rich and corporations and they did as significant damage to the state government as they did the state’s economy. That damage does not portend anything good for the economy nationally and the Congressional Budget Office issued a warning that comes from deliberately slashing the government’s only revenue source.
As 2018 began with new “Kansas-style” trickle down tax cuts for the rich and corporations, it is likely that McConnell et al were prepared for the news that the nation was rapidly heading for economic trouble. They all knew precisely what happened in Kansas due to tax cuts, although even Kansas’ woes did not begin within the first month of the ill-advised, and unpopular, tax reform. That current national trouble is the government facing a looming debt limit crisis much earlier than even Republicans imagined, and the near-desperation need to borrow a cool $1 trillion to keep the government operating and to meet the country’s debt obligations. The reason given for the dire warnings is the Republican trickle down tax reform driving the revenue shortfall.
It is noteworthy that the CBO’s warning about raising the debt limit earlier than expected, as well as the need to borrow $1 trillion, is after Republicans changed the way the CBO “scores” the cost of legislation to give the illusion that “trickle down” scams are good for the economy. That trickle down friendly scoring informed the CBO that despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “exhausting extraordinary measures,”the debt limit will have to be increased in early March instead of late April.
The CBO was not hesitant in explaining that the reason for the change was due to the GOP tax cuts that began about a month ago. The CBO stated the obvious that those cuts translated exactly into what they were created to deliver; much less revenue to run the federal government. Early CBO estimates that the federal government would experience a $10 to $15 billion drop in revenue each month going forward was very generous according to “dynamic scoring.” In fact, that estimate was extremely low because the CBO just reported that the federal government ran a deficit of $23 billion last month – the first month “trickle down” went into effect. It also demonstrates how fallacious trickle down “dynamic scoring” really is and why Republicans were desperate to use it.
It is difficult to imagine anyone with half a brain, much less so-called “business experts,” deliberately cutting their income source as a means of reducing debt, but that is precisely what Treasury Secretary Mnuchin promised would happen. However, the CBO and Treasury calls for borrowing $1 trillion after borrowing an additional $441 billion in “privately held debt” to keep a functioning government belies any claim the GOP tax reform was ever about reducing the deficit. Remember, Mnuchin promised the tax cuts will provide $1 trillion in deficit reduction in about 10 years.
All of these warnings from the Treasury and Congressional Budget Office about“needing to borrow” are occurring exactly a month into the GOP’s Kansas-style tax reform disaster. It is telling about how horrible of a mess Republicans have created at the national level when as disastrous as Kansas Republicans’ actions were, it took a couple of years before the economic shit hit the fan. In fact, in a warning message to Republicans in Congress, a Kansas Republican Senator, Dinah Sykes said that in the five years following her party’s ill-advised trickle down experiment:
“Kansas experienced nine rounds of budget cuts, stress on state agencies and the inability to effectively provide the core functions of government for our citizens.”
Ms. Sykes failed to explain to Republicans in Congress that Kansas also suffered multiple credit downgrades from both major credit agencies with each citing the state’s lack of revenue as a result of trickle down tax cuts. That lack of revenue created a world of hurt for Kansas and its residents, and for a rough idea what kind of economic Hell Republicans have unleashed on Americans, a few of the Kansas atrocities are cited here, here, and here.
It is noteworthy that adding massive sums to the deficit serves another Republican purpose; justify massive cuts to Social Security even though the Social Security Trust is a self-sufficient entity and doesn’t technically add to the deficit.
The truth is Republicans could not care less about the deficit or they would not have passed tax reform the Tax Policy Center said would reduce revenue by at least $2.5 trillion and substantially increase the deficit over ten years due to lost revenue. Remember that Trump’s Treasury Secretary promised that if all goes according to trickle down’s fantasy numbers, those tax cuts will reduce the deficit by about $1 trillion in ten years — in spite of adding trillions according to the CBO. It does not take a mathematician to comprehend there is at least a trillion dollar discrepancy in the GOP’s numbers, but they obviously aren’t concerned and why should they be? Brownback easily won re-election and Republicans kept control of the Kansas state legislature even while the state and its people were being raped and pillaged because Brownback brought out “the fetus” and the evangelical vote.
National Republicans have an easy-to-follow model in Kansas and Brownback because no matter what level of economic disaster they impose on Americans, or how much of the government they gift to corporations, or how many social programs they decimate to “reduce the deficit,” all they have to do to maintain power is hoist an image of a fetus or an immigrant and the majority of Americans will reelect them out of abject fear. It worked in Kansas for six torturous years and Republicans knew it would work in 2016, which is why they control all three branches of the government they are crusading to demolish.