It turns out that when you cut taxes on people who have boatloads of money

…and try to get blood from the turnip of people who have no money (just to make sure the poor are punished good and hard like they deserve), your state winds up with no money and can’t take care of the common good like it’s supposed to.  It’s like all those biblical warnings are true or something.

In Kansas, this has resulted in a civil war between sane conservatives and insane ones, with the sane guys supporting the Dems just to try to rein in the lunatics who are wrecking the Kansan economy by blind adherence to crazy dogma over common sense.

A political movement that has been so wrong about so much so many times for so many years and harming so many people is one that people really need to rethink.  It appears that may finally be starting in Kansas.

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  • Andy

    S&P just issued a report explaining that the income inequality is a problem and theta we need to redo the tax code so it is more progressive among many things.

    Let the howls begin.

    • Dan C

      The wealthy critique income inequality. Not just smelly hipsters. It’s ok to talk about it now.

      • thisismattwade

        Now we just need enough people with backbone to implement the necessary policy and lifestyle changes. Are you with me?

        • Andy

          For me and my wife and actually our adult children we
          are trying to – hopefully for the better.

  • Dave G.

    I’m no economist. Neither is my wife. But she said something a year or so ago that made me think. Income is much lower than it used to be for much of the country. Not all. Some jobs have kept up. But many haven’t. My Dad was a good example. The average income for a Railroad Engineer is much less than it was when I was growing up. In real money, not just inflation. So my wife pointed out that taxing him, say, 20% back in 1980 when everything was less expensive wouldn’t yield as much as taxing the same worker 30% today who is making far less in a world where everything is tons more expensive. Even though he ends up with far less in his pocket to spend and live on than my Dad. And the government, too, has far less to live on. I figured that makes sense. I thought of that with the ‘blood out of a turnip’ line. The rest of the story seems to suggest she’s onto something as well.

    • Dan C

      This is so true.

      I have three points.

      1). Is change to evolve like Rusty Reno says when there is a “culture change” that must occur to precede any economic alteration is society? (I tend to think this lends itself to a thinking that this will make “poor people happy with what they have”- but this is my suspicion). Or is change likely to evolve as wealth distribution changes? (Reno refers to those of us who think societal changes begin with this factor are called “materialists” and I can accept this moniker for this argument.)

      2. In the bad old days, we did not have luxuries as we do today despite higher relative salaries on average. My claim is that less money is going into communal pots and we have deferred capital expenses. So, when Robert George talks about the didactic effects of law instructing a populace, can we not see the same borne out in communal tax policy when folks were instructed that giving less in taxes and consuming more was the way to improve communal health.

      3. Finally, labor is considered as parasitic in a way only previously considered in the 19th century gilded age. Salaries are determined by the market, and by employers, who have individual autonomy. What can the individual do to change this?

      • Marthe Lépine

        Answer to 3: Unionize

    • Dan C

      I note that once upon a time, a bagger at a grocery store, due to union support, made modest wages and could spend a decade or two as the local Troop Leader while supporting his family.

      This economic change is not just a family concern. I think that this obsessive focus on the family has the right totally missing the decline of the village supporting families.

      • Dave G.

        I call it the Donna principle. When I was in kindergarten, we took a field trip to our local Independent Grocer (woohoo!). Donna was the daughter of the store’s butcher. We got to go in the freezer and everything. Her Mom was a secretary downtown. Small town BTW. They owned a nice 3 bedroom 2 bath with a 2 car garage on about 3/4 of an acre outside of town. Her parents helped send her and her bother to college. The point being, they had basic jobs, two parents working, and had all they needed and a little extra. Now, could a butcher in a local independent grocery store and a secretary do all that today? The smart money says no. Again, I’m not an economist, but I can see the reality.

        • thisismattwade

          I’m no economist either, but it sure seems to me that if you look at the % of spending that used to go toward food in this country against what it is today, you can see that food has gotten relatively cheaper. While that may be great for you and me and our budgets, it has to mean that the butcher isn’t taking home as large a chunk of the pie as he used to. We’re reveling in the relative cheapness of goods on the spending side, while not realizing that our spending is someone else’s income.

          • jroberts548

            The problem is we’re missing half the equation. Efficiency gains make goods cheaper and free up labor for more productive pursuits. On average, that makes everyone better off. The problem comes in when, for various reasons, we, as a society, are unable to match the newly available labor to more productive uses. This inelasticity, combined with the lack of a strong safety net, has the effect of putting all the costs of efficiency on those workers who are least able to bear them.

        • Dan C

          One conservative principle is all about these little organizations that make up the fabric of the towns. Boy Scout Troops, Knights of Columbus. But this is not done by lawyers and doctors and engineers. This was largely a working class role.

          That business has been hostile to middle wage working class is an understatement.

          As such, these institutions so venerated by conservatives have fallen apart.

          Business has failed with volitionally providing wages to support these folks.

  • Willard

    Original Sin…it’s a real thing.

  • Elmwood

    yep, up here in the Great Land we are dealing with Exxon, BP, ConocoPhillips and others spending over $11 million to fight a voter initiative measure to repeal GOP Gov. Sean Parnell oil tax cuts.

    Opposing Big Oil up here is like Frodo and Samwise entering Mordor. The advertisements and signs are out of control, pervasive and employing fear based arguments to justify tax cuts.

    pathetic how many catholics vote according to their tribe rather than common sense and catholic teaching. I really really dislike our Governor’s leadership which is clearly anti-abortion but not pro-life. He cuts taxes for the rich and punishes the poor, all thanks in no small part to the “social conservative” alliance of the GOP and cathoilcs.

    “I have seen some alarming reports that the Obama administration is giving illegal aliens one-way tickets to Alaska,” Parnell wrote on Facebook. “We are making contact with the Department of Homeland Security to get to the bottom of this.”

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    “Trickle down economics” is just a more technical prhase for “let them eat cake.” Same sentiment.

    • MarylandBill

      I think in fairness, Trickle Down economics is sound in the sense that you need a healthy investor class in order to help generate new wealth to trickle down. The basic problem is that the idea that cutting taxes on the wealthy was all that was needed to fix the economy became an article of fate despite any evidence to the contrary.

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        I have to disagree. That assumes the premise that a small “healthy investor class” is what generates new wealth to trickle down to the hoi polloi. It’s an inverted pyramid where all the wealth and power are on top. It doesn’t take an advanced economics degree to know how easily an inverted pyramid falls.
        A more sound and healthy system has the hoi polloi producing the wealth. And real wealth, not the imaginary “capital” of today’s systems. Broadly distributed wealth amongst the majority of the populace spreads wealth and capital. Here, you’ve got the triangle on the bottom, the majority supporting the minority. If a few bricks fail, part of the wall might be weakened, but the whole pyramid isn’t going to collapse.

        • An actually sound and healthy system has the hoi polloi becoming the bulk of investors and producing the bulk of investment money until the excess gains of investment are arbitraged out and investment is just another way to earn a living, no more or less lucrative than any other.

          What you’re missing is that through globalization we are economically liberating a few billion people and they’re all looking for jobs and depressing wage earning potential on a global basis. The sooner we can create enough jobs to accommodate all those new entrants, the better. Unless you’re pro-slavery, that is, in which case an entirely different set of economic choices is much easier to maintain, though morally repugnant.

      • cmfe

        The majority of job creation is from small businesses whose owners tend not to be the beneficiaries of “trickle down” economic policies. Conservatives have allowed themselves to be useful idiots to the 1%, and it’s been terribly destructive.

  • Elmwood

    too bad really, brownback is otherwise a good catholic governor: he’s pro-life opposed to abortion and the death penalty and supports immigration reform. his negatives are that he is beholden to the myth of “trickle down” wealth. also unfortunately seems to support intelligent design being taught in science class. he just needs to drop off the GOP economic policies and adopt catholic ones.