It takes a special kind of delusion to believe -- despite decades of empirical evidence -- that massive income tax cuts for the wealthy will unleash economic prosperity, thereby boosting job creation and increasing government revenues. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, however, clung to that delusion. Advised by the charlatan Art Laffer -- originator of the curve -- Brownback slashed income taxes for individuals and businesses, promising that his supply-side "experiment" would jump-start the Sunflower State's economy. Instead, Kansas' rendezvous with voodoo has created a $344 million revenue shortfall that legislators must fill by June, while the tax cuts haven't delivered the promised economic benefits: Kansas' rate of job growth has lagged behind that of the nation, per-capita income has remained stagnant, and the state's GDP growth has fallen behind that of its neighbors in the Midwest and Great Plains.
How, then, does the delusional emperor of Brownbackistan respond? By insisting that all is going swimmingly, of course.
In an interview with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins over the weekend, Brownback hailed his state's phantom progress, asserting that Kansas' economic engines were roaring and arguing that the good times will become even better provided that the state -- wait for it -- continues to make it harder for women to have abortions.
"You have advanced pro-life policies, pro-family policies, and now you are building a strong economic base that is showing the federal government a thing or two when it comes to job creation," a fawning Perkins said, displaying either embarrassing obsequiousness or an utter ignorance of recent news -- or some combination thereof.
"Well, it’s working," Brownback replied. "And we’re pretty straightforward here. What we want Kansas to be is the best place in America to do two things: Raise a family, grow a small business."
While Brownback had nothing to say about what his massive education cuts would mean for those trying to raise a family, he was rather eager to tout the number of anti-choice bills he's signed during his four-year tenure as governor.
"I’ve signed 10 pro-life bills. There’s another one moving through the legislature on ending dismemberment abortions, where you actually dismember the child to abort it," he said, vowing to sign the latest bill.
Reflecting on the connection between socially conservative policies and economic growth, Brownback said, “They really support each other. Frankly, one of the problems we have in the country is we’re not forming enough families. And that is hurting our economic work, and it’s hurting our economic projections, because the best place for a child is within a strong family unit. And if you’re not forming the family unit you’re also slowing your economic performance, so these things really tie closely together. And I think we do a disservice politically when we separate them."
Perhaps he simply hasn't been draconian enough yet -- maybe his recent order stripping LGBT state employees of non-discrimination protections will help -- but Brownback's right-wing social and economic policies didn't stop Kansas from becoming one of the top states people moved out of in 2014.
Listen to Brownback and Perkins celebrate the governor's policies below, via Right Wing Watch: