While most states are restoring school funding after years of significant cuts due to the recession, Kansas continues to cut. Funding for colleges and universities, libraries, local health departments and other services, which also were cut sharply, continues to fall.
The largest tax cuts went to those at the top, and Kansas actually raised taxes on the lowest-income families. Nothing in the Kansas economy’s subpar performance since these tax cuts were enacted suggests the benefits have “trickled down” to ordinary Kansans.
Many “Job Makers” do not hire new employess, they pocket their tax rewards. No new jobs where created.
Finally, both North Carolina and Kansas are among the 24 states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act — even though the federal government will pick up nearly all of the costs (100 percent for the first three years, phasing down to 90 percent in 2020 and all subsequent years). The health care law’s Medicaid expansions were intended to fill historical gaps in Medicaid eligibility for low-income adults. These states’ refusal to take the expansions leaves a coverage gap for 4.8 million uninsured adults. It also is a bad deal for the states’ health insurers.
We live at a time of unusually slow growth in the U.S. economy, which has been averaging about 2.1 percent per year over the last five years. American workers have made virtually no economic progress since the beginning of this century. Median household incomes are now lower than they were 15 years ago. “Since 2000, corrected for inflation, the weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers at the median have declined slightly,” said Galston. “And remarkably, average hourly wages adjusted for inflation are lower than they were 40 years ago.”
If you adjust for inflation, the overall compensation growth for U.S. workers since 2005 was a meager 3 percent. The 2.1 percent rise in wages this year almost completely was chewed up by the 2 percent official inflation rate.
In total, employees lost $93 billion of income. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors report, when income began to grow from 2005 to 2012, the bottom 40 percent of households netted only 6 percent of the income growth during that period, adjusted for inflation, while the top 5 percent took in 27.6 percent.
The report also stated that the U.S. economy lost nearly 9 million jobs from 2008 through the beginning of 2010 – and the majority of the losses were in the high-paying sectors.
The distortion in the distribution of income adds insult to injury. In the Financial Times last month, Martin Wolf explained: According to the Federal Reserve, the upper 3 percent received 30.5 percent of total income last year, and the next 7 percent received 16.8 percent. That left barely over half of total income for the remaining 90 percent of employees.
There is a 45 percent chance that a child born into a poor family will remain poor as an adult, the report points out. But the chances of remaining poor drop to 16 percent if the child attains a college degree. Without a college education, he or she has only a 5 percent chance as an adult of reaching the top 20 percent of income earners.
Kansas is a particularly interesting “experiment” because the state’s “extremely conservative” Governor Sam Brownback had the temerity to blame the state’s budgetary woes and financial meltdown on “the failed economic policies of the Obama Administration” he asserted “are affecting states throughout the nation.” However, not only are Brownback and Kansas Republicans shifting blame for their economic ineptitude on President Obama, they are lying through their teeth and ignoring empirical data revealing that the President’s economic policies are great success stories because they are the polar opposite of Brownback and Republicans’ economic disasters. In fact, Democratic states like California that enacted economic policies Brownback claims are failures are thriving in every category and, like on the national level, were necessary to reverse the damage of eight years of a Republican administration following Bush and now Brownback’s failed economic policies.
On the national level, instead of a crushing budget shortfall, job losses, and a Moody’s credit downgrade Brownback’s trickle down tax cuts produced, the Congressional Budget Office reports that the Treasury Department posted a $114 billion surplus in April alone that is the largest for that month since 2008. The Congressional Budget Office also projected the 2014 shortfall declined to 2.8% of GDP, or $492 billion that is $23 billion below its own forecast a few months ago. The surplus is partly due to a minute tax increase on the richest one percent as well as more Americans leaving the ranks of the unemployed that eviscerates the thirty-plus year contention that greater tax cuts for the rich equals more jobs and increased revenue; an assertion that Kansas’ economic meltdown, job losses, and budget shortfall disproves. Brownback asserted that “economic policies of the Obama Administration are affecting states throughout the nation,” but like his claim Kansas’ economic disaster if proof tax cuts for the rich are working as planned, it is more lies to cover Republican economic policy failures.