Sam Brownback, the Kansas governor whose tax cuts brought him political turmoil, recurring budget holes and sparse evidence of economic success, has a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Do what I did.In 2013, Mr. Brownback set out to create a lean, business-friendly government in his state that other Republicans could replicate. He now faces a $350 million deficit when the Kansas legislature convenes in January and projections of a larger one in 2018. The state's economy is flat and his party is fractured.Still, Mr. Brownback views his signature idea -- eliminating the 4.6% state individual income tax for partnerships, limited liability corporations and similar businesses -- as a national model.
Arthur Laffer, the architect of Kansas' failed far-right economic experiment, is certain that if Donald Trump adopts similar policies at the national level, it will "lead to economic 'nirvana' in the U.S."The last chief executive to listen to Laffer's advice, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), is thinking along the same lines. The Wall Street Journal reported over the holiday weekend:
He's not alone. In 2012, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said of Brownback's radical economic experiment, "This is exactly the sort of thing we want to do here, in Washington."This is an unbelievably crazy idea.As regular readers know, it’s been about six years since Brownback announced his plan to conduct “a real-live experiment” with his state’s economy. The far-right Kansan, working with a GOP-led legislature, cut taxes far beyond what the state could afford, slashed public investments, and waited for prosperity to flourish across every corner of the state.
None of that has happened. Not only have Kansas’ job growth and economic growth rates lagged behind neighboring states, the state's budget is in shambles, and Kansas' debt rating has been downgraded multiple times.Given these results, common sense suggests the governor and his allies might re-think some of their economic assumptions. Instead, Brownback and his cohorts are convinced their failures are actually successes, and Republicans at the national level would be wise to repeat Kansas' missteps.What's that old joke about making the same mistakes, over and over again, and expecting different results?