For decades, the right-wing has held fast to its belief that tax cuts can fix the economy and end government deficits.
Nevermind that the idea — cutting taxes would somehow increase government revenues? — never made much sense.
They’ve kept the faith, despite all evidence to the contrary.
- The 1981 tax cuts were supposed to balance the federal budget. But “Mr. Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts did not work as advertised… Despite the tax cuts, business investment remained weak through most of the economic recovery…In addition, tax revenue did not rise.”
- The 2001 tax cuts were supposed to pay off the federal debt by 2010. Instead, the cuts contributed to record-setting federal deficits.
- The 2010 extension of tax cuts for the wealthy was supposed to encourage “job creators” to, well, create jobs. But the economy is still far from “recovered.” (And the right-wing blames the lack of job-creation on – you guessed it – the federal debt.)
Myself, I think it’s long past time for the right wing to give up on this theory. I mean: at some point, shouldn’t people be able to accept the evidence, even if it goes against their beliefs?
I mean, even Republican leaders eventually gave up on it.
- The Reagan Administration stopped talking about “supply-side economics” and Reagan eventually signed a series of tax increases.
- President George H.W. Bush broke his “no new taxes” pledge, and instead raised taxes to curb the budget deficit.
- Under George W. Bush, Treasury officials issued a report admitting that “making the tax cuts permanent would lead initially to lower levels of investment, and would result over the longer term in lower levels of employment (i.e., in fewer jobs).”
- By 2010, even Alan Greenspan thought the Bush tax cuts should end.
But two years ago, the Tea Partiers down in Kansas decided to try, try again… and Governor Sam Brownback signed “one of the largest tax cut bills in Kansas history.”
Even though many Republicans in the state legislature opposed it. (Republican Senate President Steve Morris told the press: “It is not good public policy.” He also called the tax plan backed by the tea party “very reckless.”)
Since then, there has been no evidence of any economic boom. “Since the tax cuts took effect at the beginning of 2013, Kansas has added jobs at a pace modestly slower than the country as a whole. The earnings and incomes of Kansans have performed slightly worse than the U.S. as a whole as well.” (Read more here.)
And yesterday, the chickens came home to roost. Standard and Poor’s lowered the state’s credit rating, because of the tax cuts.
“The downgrades reflect our view of a structurally unbalanced budget, following state income tax cuts that have not been matched with offsetting ongoing expenditure cuts in the fiscal 2015 budget,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst David Hitchcock in a release.
The rating agency gave the state a “negative” outlook on both ratings and projects that the state will face serious budget woes by the end of fiscal year 2015.
But Brownback still didn’t seem to get the message. “We need jobs and we have proven the way to that is through lower taxes,” he told the press – even after the ratings downgrade.
State Representative Jim Ward: “When presented concrete evidence of a fiscal crisis … he denies it exists. He blames the people who bring the data. You cannot live in a world where you reject all information that doesn’t feed into your ideology.”
Except… it looks like some people can.