In 2015, Grover Norquist, who has successfully defined unconditional opposition to taxes as the defining tenet of party orthodoxy, waxed enthusiastic about one state in particular that was leading the way for the nation. “Kansas is the future,” he told an interviewer. “Kansas is the model.” Kansas was the state where Sam Brownback, the former congressman who mentored a young staffer named Paul Ryan, implemented supply-side tax cuts that, Brownback promised, would usher in prosperity and fiscal stability.
Now Brownback’s tax cuts have failed so dramatically and incontrovertibly that the state’s Republican legislature overrode Brownback’s veto to eliminate them. Incredibly, a majority of the Republicans in both chambers of the state legislature voted against the tax cuts. In a new interview with Russell Berman, Norquist insists the failure in Kansas does not tell us much at all about anything. “If you’re a Republican looking for a model,” he says, “Kansas is not the model.”
One might think that the economists who designed this now-repudiated plan would have been cast out of the party, or at least embarrassed into rethinking their assumptions. Yet nothing of the sort has taken place. Stephen Moore and Art Laffer, the supply-siders who crafted the failed Kansas experiment, are also taking the lead in designing Donald Trump’s tax plan. Their op-ed urging the president to throw himself behind massively regressive, debt-financed tax cuts found its way into his hands. So profoundly did their argument impress Trump that he instructed his advisers to immediately release a tax-cut plan mirroring the recommendations made by the architects of the Kansas debacle. Now the machinery of government is in the hands of people determined to replicate a policy so unmistakably erroneous that the majority of their own party could no longer live with it.
“Trickle down economics” has NEVER worked. Not once, not ever. I called it “piss on you poor people” in the 80s, and I’m calling it that now. Get ready for “the tRump crash” to be written into the history books.