Over 100 top state GOPers endorse Gov. Sam Brownback's Democratic opponent after tax cuts for wealthy devastate state...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/17/2014, 9:00am PT  

The Washington Post recently reported that more "than 100 current and former [Kansas] Republican officials [have] endorsed Democratic state Rep. Paul Davis [in his] bid to unseat Gov. Sam Brownback (R)."

The website of the group that refers to itself as the "Republicans for Kansas Values," reveals that the source of their revolt can be found in what the LA Times' Michael Hiltzik described as Brownback's draconian "Tea Party tax cuts," enacted in the name of economic "freedom" that have, he says, benefited only the wealthy and have turned the Sunflower State "into a smoking ruin."

As we once described in "'Tea Party' Future: Fascism, Feudalism, Economic Collapse", that "smoking ruin" was not unexpected. But neither was the revulsion of traditionally conservative Kansas Republicans to Brownback's application of the Koch brothers' radical brand of libertarianism...

The tax cuts, which Brownback claimed would "pay for themselves," have, from the perspective of both fairness and good government, been an unmitigated disaster.

While income taxes were "eliminated for a select class of higher income" citizens, according to Republicans for Kansas Values, Brownback actually raised taxes on middle and lower income families, who also suffered from a regressive sales tax increase and the elimination of tax credits --- all the while increasing the state's debt load by $800 million in three years. The dissenting Republicans further assert that Brownback sought to conceal the deficit by shifting "more than $1.1 billion from the State Transportation Fund to the State General Fund."

Where Brownback, like George W. Bush before him, promised the tax cuts would create job growth, the dissenting Republicans assert that Kansas was one of only five states "to lose employment during the six month period ending May 1, 2014."

The result: Moody's Investor Services downgraded the state's credit rating beginning in May of 2014, citing their tax cuts and inability to pay for them.

Hiltzik adds:

The state's rainy-day fund is dwindling to zero. Month after month, revenue comes in even lower than fiscal officials' most dire expectations.

In the rest of the country, school budgets are finally beginning to recover from the toll of the last recession; in Kansas, they're still falling. Healthcare, assistance for the poor, courts, and other state services are being eviscerated.

Hiltzik's only mistake is to refer to Brownback's policies as deep "Tea Party tax cuts." The ideology behind those policies long predated the so-called "Tea Party." They are, in fact, an application of the Koch brothers' radical brand of libertarianism --- a philosophy that extols individual greed, expressed as individual liberty, as a virtue that should never be sacrificed to "the common good."

The Koch brothers simply do not accept the core purpose of government recognized by the U.S. Constitution --- "to promote the general welfare."

The fact that conservative Kansas Republicans are repulsed by the Koch brand of libertarianism --- even as Koch Industries is based in Wichita --- is hardly novel.

After the 1980 campaign, in which David Koch ran for Vice President of the United States on a "Libertarian Party platform [that called] for the abolition" of most federal agencies, including the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Energy, "abolition of Social Security, minimum-wage laws…and all personal and corporate income taxes" and for reducing government to the singular function of protecting "individual rights," renowned conservative columnist William F. Buckley, Jr. referred to the Kochs and their brand of Libertarianism as "Anarcho-Totalitarianism."

It is rather obvious that the true "conservatives" in the Kansas Republican Party do not share the Kochs' desire to destroy the economy and the government's ability to promote the general welfare simply to protect the Kochs' "liberty" to enhance their already obscene family fortune.

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Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @Cann4ing.

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