Sunday, March 20, 2011

The GOP vision for America is on exhibit

The GOP has had firm control of the government in Texas and Mississippi for a decade or more. That means if the GOP mantra is to cut taxes and cut government spending they've had unfettered means to do so in both states and time to make it work. So how is it going?

In Texas they expect a $27 billion shortfall in the state budget this year. They're talking about raiding the Rainy Day Fund, which might last them all of three years. That leads to an important question. Why aren't they able to cut spending to match income? To do that they have three options: eliminate Medicaid, drastically cut payments to schools, or drastically cut the number of state employees. Even heartless Republicans can't go that far?

In Mississippi, the poorest state, Governor Haley Barbour is trying to burnish his conservative credentials because people have been saying he has a (small) shot at the White House next year. But his state is broke. How to raise taxes without raising taxes? Make it clear that income and business taxes will not be raised. Then raise taxes on hospital beds, cigarettes, and businesses who lay off employees. These are economically inefficient and don't raise much money. Deep cuts to education are still required, dropping Mississippi even lower in ratings of "best states for business and careers," where it is 48th.

The goal in Wisconsin seems to be to make that state more like Mississippi. And Miss. is poor, has a low high school graduation rate, has the nation's unhealthiest residents because the health care system is so bad, is the deadliest gun state, has a high divorce rate, and tops the teen birth rate.

Welcome to the GOP vision for America.

Lots of GOP talking heads in Washington (and elsewhere) call for "shared sacrifice." Heather Digby Parton in an opinion piece for The Hill says, "It’s very easy to prescribe 'shared sacrifice' when you will not personally sacrifice anything at all."

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