It is too bad that during campaigning for the 2014 midterm elections, many Democratic candidates ran away from President Obama’s economic achievements and did their level best to be Republicans. Yesterday the President briefly touched on his successful economic record that Democrats were terrified of and Republicans claimed was a major disaster. Republicans ran on, and won big with, their claim that the GOP is “the party of solutions” founded on conservative pro-growth economic policies, deregulation, and tax cuts for the rich they claimed were more successful than anything “hapless” Democrats or Obama could ever hope to achieve. This is despite the President’s nearly five-year job growth record, world-leading GDP growth, and increased revenue paying down the nation’s debt at a record pace.
This column has given special attention to the trickle-down economic disaster in Kansas, but plenty of other Republican states’ economies are failing miserably; especially states with Republican governors held up as the model for the nation in hopes of winning the White House and running nation’s economy into the ground. Republicans said throughout 2014 that Democrats and the President consistently offer up “ineffective economic policies” responsible for the President’s failed economic policies leading to increased income inequality plaguing the poor and middle class. Republicans have no interest in addressing income inequality according to red states with failing economies due to their storied “pro-growth agenda” of tax cuts for the rich and corporations.
In New Jersey, Chris Christie campaigned on and entered office on a pledge of balancing the state budget and “replenishing the state’s pension program.” Instead, Christie’s “pro-growth agenda” of cutting corporate taxes drastically increased pension liabilities, created Kansas-style revenue shortfalls, and earned the state a record eight credit downgrades; a new mark for a sitting governor. New Jersey is also, like Kansas, lagging the rest of the nation in creating jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and while the national unemployment rate has been steadily dropping, New Jersey’s is growing just over the past year.
Christie tripled corporate tax cuts in less than three years with more coming this year and, like Brownback in Kansas and Republicans in Washington, he promised and still claims that more frequent and larger business tax cuts are absolutely necessary to grow the economy, create jobs, and most importantly; “benefit the big corporations.” The only part of Christie’s promise that reached fruition is the benefit to big corporations; the goal of all conservative “pro-growth reforms.”
Despite a flagging economy, poor job growth, revenue shortfalls, and eight credit downgrades, Christie has pledged that he will do nothing to endanger the still-growing corporate tax cuts to save the state’s economy. In fact, even raiding and cutting pension-fund payments is not enough to make up for the growing corporate tax cuts he has no intent of stopping.
In Louisiana, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal’s conservative economic policies have the state facing “a very large shortfall as we go into the spring session of 2015 because we’ve been relying too much on those onetime funds for recurring expenses” according to a fiscally conservative Republican state representative. Brett Geyman said Jindal has relied “too heavily on a non-replenishable pool of “onetime” funds that won’t be available next year.”
The “very large revenue shortfall” is in spite of “the steepest cuts to education ever proposed for the state” that the Republican speaker of the Louisiana House has vowed to block because they “will set us back generations.” The fact that Jindal is still in office is proof enough form semi-intelligent Americans that the state’s education system has already set the state back generations. Jindal claims the steep education cuts are necessary to balance the state’s budget even though with the drastic cuts, the state still faces a substantially large revenue shortfall. Jindal wants to completely eliminate corporate taxes completely and raise them on the bottom 80% of the population; a tactic that will exacerbate the revenue shortfall. However, like New Jersey’s Christie and Kansas’ Brownback claim, eliminating business taxes will be a “great benefit to big corporations.”
Republican Scott Walker of Wisconsin is also facing a “pro-growth agenda” revenue shortfall this year to the tune of $2.2 billion as well as a record “slower than average job and wage growth” compared to the national figures according to a recent analysis. Walker claims the facts are false, and that he will make up the $2.2 billion shortfall by “adjusting funding priorities” that in Republican economic parlance means steep cuts to domestic programs and pension payments. Walker already cut taxes for the rich and funded them partially with Medicaid cuts and still; the state faces a 2.2 billion revenue shortfall.
What is telling in all these Republican economic failures is that the national economy is and has been steadily growing, job growth is at record pace, manufacturing is growing, and gas prices are falling. There is a reason why these, and other, Republican-led states are not enjoying the same growth and recovery as the rest of the nation and it is down to the Republican ‘pro-growth agenda’ of tax cuts for the rich and corporations and cuts to pensions and domestic programs that help drive the economy whether at the state or federal level.