Stupidity is a lack of intelligence, understanding, reason, or sense that can either imply a congenital lack of capacity for reasoning, or a temporary state of daze or slow-mindedness. Author James F. Welles defines the term stupidity as “designating a mentality which is considered to be informed, deliberate and maladaptive to act in their own worst interest by choice, specifically to prevent adaption to new data or existing circumstances.” The height of stupidity is carefully observing actions that are proven failures and repeating them knowing full well the results will produce the same outcomes. Republicans in Congress spent two full years observing austerity economics fail miserably in Europe, and then promptly enacted austerity in America upon taking control of the House in 2011 knowing it would thwart economic recovery. Missouri Republicans are stupider than congressional Republicans because they carefully studied Kansas Republicans’ economic policies that created a budget nightmare for the state and its people, and immediately followed suit because they want to “keep up economically with neighbor Kansas and its expansive tax cuts it passed two years ago.”
The Republican-controlled Missouri legislature passed Sam Brownback-style tax cuts for the rich and corporations again that Democratic Governor Jay Nixon promptly vetoed saying the “Report from Moody’s Ratings demonstrates real dangers of fiscal experiments like SB509 that should be a wakeup call for the Missouri legislature.” Nixon was referring to Moody’s recent downgrade of Kansas’ credit citing a huge budgetary shortfall, sluggish recovery, and risky tax cuts that cost the state over half-a-billion dollars thus far in the fiscal year. The “show me state” Republican legislature voted to override Nixon’s veto despite Missouri’s current job growth and site selection for construction projects are much better than originally forecast. It takes a particularly special kind of stupid to tell Kansas Republicans to “show me” how to create a half-a-billion dollar shortfall in less than a year and then replicate it despite their state’s economic growth and job creation success.
Missouri Republicans argued vehemently that tax cuts for the rich and corporations “are desperately needed for Missouri to keep up economically with its neighbor Kansas’ more expansive tax cuts it passed two years ago.” Tax revenue in Kansas has decreased by $508 million compared with this point last fiscal year, and is expected to at least double next year. The lost revenue was welcomed by Brownback and Republicans who claim the budget shortfall is further proof the state must make more drastic cuts to education, transportation, jobs, and social services for the disadvantaged and continue the tax cuts for the rich and corporations to grow the economy. Kansas Republicans passed tax cuts taking from the poor to provide for the rich that Brownback gladly signed in 2012 and 2013 that an economic report released by the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors showed is responsible for Kansas trailing the nation and neighboring states in most economic categories.
Kansas Governor Brownback and Republicans claim the tax revenue shortfall is the result of, whom else, President Obama’s crushing tax hikes and stifling regulations and not huge tax cuts for the rich. Brownback said, “The failed economic policies of the Obama administration are affecting states throughout the nation. It is more important than ever that we continue our focus on growing jobs and creating a business-friendly environment that benefits Kansans.” Nick Jordan, the Republican Secretary of Revenue said the state’s tax revenue drop had nothing to do with two straight years of tax cuts for the rich and corporations and was instead “an undeniable result of President Obama’s failed economic policies of increasing taxes and over-regulation.” The absurdity of Republican assertions that state tax revenue losses have anything remotely to do with non-existent tax hikes or regulations at the federal level was not lost on Kansas Democrats.
Kansas’ House Minority Leader Paul Davis said, “I think this is really further proof that the Brownback tax plan is failing. It is drying up state revenue that is needed to fund the public schools and deliver the critical state services the public counts on.” The executive director for the non-partisan Kansas Center of Economic Growth, Annie McKay, questioned Republican leaders’ claims and noted that that the governor’s office framed April’s $92 million shortfall as a sign the tax cuts were working as advertised. McKay disputed the governor’s analysis that the decrease in revenue could be attributed to anything other than the state’s own tax policies. One of the Democrats on the joint budget committee, Senator Laura Kelly, said the Legislature created the crisis when it passed what she considered to be radical tax cuts two years in a row. Another Democrat, Representative Annie Tietze, said “it’s time for Kansas lawmakers to take responsibility for their own policy decisions rather than blaming Washington. Doesn’t there come a time when they say the great experiment is not working, that things really are bad in Kansas?” Apparently, Missouri Republicans see how bad things really are in Kansas and will override Governor Nixon’s veto to bring Missouri’s economic growth, including a wealth of jobs, to a screeching halt and wait for a credit ratings agency to downgrade the show me state’s borrowing power.
So, what drives Missouri Republicans stupidity is not so much covetousness of Kansas’ credit downgrade, lack of funding for education, roads, and state services or the lack of jobs, but their overly-generous largesse to the rich and corporations; regardless the revenue loss will certainly bring the state’s economic fortunes to a grinding halt. Likely, when the state’s economy tanks because Republicans are desperate to “keep up economically with its neighbor Kansas” they will blame President Obama because when things go wrong for white guys it is always the Black guy’s fault; especially when he is in the White House.
Interestingly, Democratic states that resisted Republican demands to steal from the poor to provide tax cuts for the rich are thriving such as California where a voter-approved a tax increase brought the state back from economic demise resulting from 8 years of Republican tax cuts put on credit. California is projected to end fiscal year 2014-15 with $5.6 billion in reserve despite increasing funding for education, transportation, and social services, as well as boasting one of the nation’s most robust environmental regulatory programs. Sam Brownback’s incredibly stupid assertion that federal tax and regulatory policies are responsible for state tax revenue loss is bovine excrement on the same level his claim the state’s very substantial budget shortfalls “are a sign the tax cuts are working.”
Republicans like Brownback and Missouri’s Republican legislature may be stupid, but they are also heartless and mean-spirited to deliberately cost their respective states tax revenue to enrich the wealthy and corporations. It is truly beyond stupid for Missouri Republicans to look to Kansas as a model for how best to create budget shortfalls when the state is outperforming its neighbor in every possible economic category, but apparently that is why Missouri is the “show me state.” The Republicans say show me a Republican state deliberately losing revenue, jobs, and new businesses we can emulate because that Democrat Governor Jay Nixon reminded us that Missouri ranked 1st in our region for new facilities and expansions, but we want to be like Kansas at the bottom of the rankings.