Monday, July 14, 2014

It's not a laboratory unless people pay attention to the results

I guess I should do my (extremely small) part to publicize the fact that Kansas' experiment enacting the official Republican party tax policy has resulted in an economic disaster. What a mess for Kansans, but at least the rest of the country can learn from their experience, right? That's what the whole "laboratories of democracy" thing is all about!

As I stated in a Facebook discussion, I expect the fact that the Kansas lab is exploding will have zero effect on national politics or the economic policies in any other state. The most remarkable characteristic of the modern Republican party is that it is utterly unmoved by evidence that contradicts any of its central policies. And what is more basic than cutting taxes for rich people? It's their most sacred principle!

Kansas might be the most spectacular example, but it isn't like this is the first time that the "budget cuts plus tax cuts equal economic growth" formula has failed. Others have noted the comparison between Minnesota Wisconsin since late last year. Those articles didn't change anything.

At best, Kansas will become an example that liberals point to in economic debates. But that isn't going to move any conservatives to change their position. Kansas didn't change the terms of the debate the last time it was used by liberals as a cautionary tale. If we're lucky, Brownback's mess might get Kansas to move away from radical supply side madness. But only if we are lucky. I'm not even convinced this will change the overall political climate in Kansas, although it probably sink Brownback's personal political prospects.