An Experiment in Kansas

I live in Missouri, but it’s less than a five minute drive to Kansas. I’m fairly committed to staying on this side of the state line. Kansas politics are scary. They have a hefty budget gap that can pretty directly be attributed to, you know, chopping taxes like crazy.

Now there’s more bad news. From the Kansas City Star: “The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the total number of nonfarm jobs in Kansas fell by 4,100 in November.”

Meanwhile, “Missouri boosted employment by 4,500 in November, for instance, while Oklahoma gained 3,400 jobs. Two other neighbors, Nebraska and Colorado, were among the job losers, though not close to the number shredded in Kansas.”

So here we have a state in the midst of a pretty serious problem. More from the Star: “12,200 total jobs for the first 11 months of the year. That’s barely more than 1,000 a month, and a growth rate of under 1 percent for the year. Missouri, by contrast, has a more robust 1.6 percent growth rate for 2014.”

Brownback’s “experiment” was supposed to prove the conservative model of sweeping tax cuts really worked. He promised 2,000 jobs a month.


Other Midwestern Republican governors had attempted similar experiments, but they were hemmed in by reluctant legislatures and restive electorates. Brownback had Republican majorities in Topeka, which became more decidedly right-wing after the 2012 elections. This gave him near-complete freedom to create a conservative utopia. And Republicans cheered him on. “This is exactly the sort of thing we want to do here, in Washington, but can’t, at least for now,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Brownback.

So now we have a Republican majority, but can they really justify it after the poor showing in Kansas? I suppose we’ll see what happens.

Can Cops Do Anything Right?

Fuck the police. Right? Anyway, so for once I was thinking of a good thing they do. To be perfectly clear, I’m speaking to state troopers on the highway. My friend was telling me about getting a ride (instead of a seven mile walk to the closest gas station) from a state trooper. That made me remember a time when I got helped out by them.

They aren’t local police forces. They do give lots of tickets and they’re probably terrible in other ways, but it’s worth noting what they do right. In fact, I would argue that focusing on a more humanitarian route would make cops a much better institutional force. Like…what if cops helped people? Served the people? So that’s what I’d like to highlight, that a small glimmer of hope.