Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Last Call For Like A Kansas Tornado, Con't

Things are so bad now with the Great Brownbackian Austerity Experiment in Kansas that the state's Republican lawmakers are no longer willing to sacrifice their careers on the Laffer curve hill along with the Governor. 

Brownback took office on a pledge to make Kansas friendlier to business and successfully sought to cut the top personal income tax rate by 29 percent and exempt more than 330,000 farmers and business owners from income taxes. The moves were popular in a Legislature where the GOP holds three-quarters of the seats. 
The governor argued that Kansas had to attract more businesses after a "lost decade" in the early 2000s, when private sector employment declined more than 4 percent. 
The predicted job growth from business expansions hasn't happened, leaving the state persistently short of money. Since November, tax collections have fallen about $81 million, or 1.9 percent below the current forecast's predictions. 
"We're growing weary," said Senate President Susan Wagle, a conservative Republican from Wichita. While GOP legislators still support low income taxes, "we'd prefer to see some real solutions coming from the governor's office," she said. 
Last month, Brownback ordered $17 million in immediate reductions to universities and earlier this month delayed $93 million in contributions to pensions for school teachers and community college employees. The state has also siphoned off more than $750 million from highway projects to other parts of the budget over the past two years. 
Lawmakers are worried about approving any further reductions in an election year. All 40 Senate seats and 125 House seats are on the ballot in November.

Brownback isn't on the ballot.  All state legislators are.  They're the ones who are going to take the fall for the austerity choking Kansas's economy and they know it.  The plan is to leave Brownback holding the bag.

Democrats have long described Brownback's tax cuts as reckless. Republican critics want to repeal the personal income tax break for farmers and business owners to raise an additional $200 million to $250 million a year. 
Debate over the next budget will intensify after lawmakers return from a recess later this month. They could follow through on their threat by adjourning without making specific reductions and leaving the governor with the authority to do so. He faces fewer repercussions because he will not appear on the ballot again before leaving office in January 2019. 

But with so many Republicans in office in Kansas, Democrats can afford to say "I told you so."

Meanwhile, Kansas reported gaining only 800 private-sector jobs between March 2015 and March 2016, a mere 0.1 percent increase.

800 jobs for the entire state in a year, because tax cuts going to "the job creators" don't create jobs when people can't afford to buy goods and services in order to create the demand for growth.  That's basic macroeconomics folks, and Kansas and Sam Brownback have utterly failed.

You elected Republicans, Kansas.  Time to vote them out.

Hot Sauce Time Machine

If Hillary Clinton's admission to a New York radio show yesterday morning that she carries hot sauce in her bag is "suddenly pandering to NY black voters" then she's been doing it since she was in the White House as First Lady.

So there are a couple of possibilities. One is that Hillary Clinton really does like hot sauce and carries it around with her so she can season her food. The other is that she’s been building an elaborate long con over hot sauce – because she’s been talking about it at least since 2008. A New York Times piece got at Clinton’s love of hot peppers, based on a “60 Minutes” interview:

“I eat a lot of hot peppers,” she told CBS News anchor Katie Couric, who had asked her how she maintains her stamina on the campaign trail. “I for some reason started doing that in 1992, and I swear by it. I think it keeps my metabolism revved up and keeps me healthy.”

Apparently she kept 100 bottles of hot sauce when she was in the White House. In 2012, she told Conde Nast Traveler about bringing red pepper and Tabasco on her trips as Secretary of State. And late last year, she and her staff talked about peppers and farm stands.

To Clinton doubters, perhaps this is all just something she’s been planning since Bill’s election. Could it be that Hillary has built an elaborate myth around herself as someone who is not as bland as she seems but is actually edgy, gutsy, and working so hard she needs to eat food that a lot of white Middle Americans consider too spicy so she can keep moving at high speed?

Gosh, it's probably a massive conspiracy.  But I like Scott Timberg's response in the article:

But here’s another way of looking at it: If Hillary Clinton predicted the impact of BeyoncĂ© in 1992, saw her own likelihood of running for president decades later, and began eating raw peppers and carrying little bottles around in her purse back then, she’s not really a panderer. She’s the candidate we want debating Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. She’s the president who can deal with a Republican Congress. She’s the leader who can go head to head with Vladimir Putin. If you’re on the fence about Hillary Clinton, her calculating quality is what will make her an effective president. Given that politics is at least half theater, maybe the Democrats should nominate someone who’s comfortable playing a role?

 Yeah, I can see that.

Besides, I like hot sauce.

Berned Up And No Place To Go

Expectations for the Sanders campaign today in New York are already down to the "if he doesn't lose by double digits it's a moral victory" stage, which is never a good sign when you need to win by 20 points in order to close the delegate race with Hillary Clinton.

Bernie Sanders will score a moral victory in New York’s Democratic primary if he can limit Hillary Clinton’s winning margin to single digits, party insiders say.

But they also caution that such a result would not be enough to change the overall shape of the race, in which Clinton holds a solid lead.

To have any real shot at wresting the nomination away, the experts say, Sanders would need to produce a seismic shock on Tuesday, defeating Clinton in the state she represented in the Senate for eight years. 
The odds of such an outcome look slight, given that most polls show the former secretary of State leading by more than 10 points. The RealClearPolitics polling average has Clinton ahead by 13.8 points in the Empire State. 
“If he loses but comes close in New York, he can claim a moral victory,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. “The bad news is moral victories don’t do him any good. Winning delegates is what he needs.”

And he's not going to get them. 247 delegates are up for grabs today and Sanders is down by almost that many pledged delegates.  Clinton getting a double digit win would increase her delegate lead by 25 or so, all but erasing the gains Sanders has made in smaller states over the last several weeks.

Having said that, Sanders will probably pick up enough delegates today and next week's contests in Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic states to make sure that Clinton's not going to be able to put Sanders away until California and New Jersey in June, so expect another seven weeks of Sanders complaining about superdelegates.

Fun for all the kids.


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