Kansas Gov. Brownback's experiment in tax-cuts-for-the-rich-austerity-for-the-poor has been a demonstrable failure.* Yet, this fact gets little attention as our leaders herd us toward a tinderbox that could become the next American Revolution. Instability is not good for anyone: not for the wealthy, corporations, small businesses, the middle class, and especially not the poor. The Social Safety Net is a stabilizing force for society and the economy, and yet we are watching the ruling party dismantle it with a wrecking ball. As a result, we are rushing headlong into a nationwide replication of what Kansas has already shown to be a recipe for economic ruin. Worse yet, when it all comes crashing down around us, the wealthy might find their gated communities to be guilded cages - lovely, but what good are private box theater tickets when you can't leave your fortress?

Yes, it could get that bad. Both history and current events have shown us that poor, desperate people have little to lose.

*From The Kansas City Star: http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/editorials/article152242787.html 

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Steven PBarrett's picture
Steven PBarrett 34 weeks 3 days ago
#1

As legend has it, while taking a walk in Berlin's vast Tiergarten, Germany's "Iron Chancellor" Otto von Bismarck was queried about some things he had grave concerns for and he replied, the permanent acquisition of Alsace-Lorraine, which would come back to haunt the Reich later on, and the possibility Germany might at one time roll back its growing social safety net, which he played a great role in constructing.

Bismarck has long received a great deal of bad post-partem press for his stressing of "blood and iron" necessary for securing the rising and growing Prussian state which he directly served in the unification of all Germany. It was a hodgepodge of ethnically aligned, but hardly politically unified states. A unified Russia on the east and France on the west forever occupied his thoughts notwithstanding Germany's trouncing of France in the Franco Prussian War. And of course, while not seeking to defend Prussian militarism per se, fairness requires that we over here not be so stuffy in our quickness to condemn the Prussians for relying on might to achieve their ends during the First and Second Reichs of Hohenzollern Germany. We have our own record of "blood and steel" concerning our "Indian Policy."

Besides the pragmatic diplomatic, legal and military benefits arising from creating a united Germany, Bismarck also achieved the construction of Europe's and the world's first truly social safety network. Did it arise totally out of Bismarck's hidden "soft side"? Nein! He had only his own class of Prussian Junkers and the rest of Germany's upper aristocratic nobles and wealthy businessmen to think of when he recalled the French Revolution(s) of 1787 and 1848 which spread to one of Germany's most consequential principalities, Hesse, especially Frankfurt, a.m. which then as it remains now, the principal banking city for Germany. If the rising masses had nothing left to hold on to securely house, feed, clothe and yes, even medically count on to take care of their families, German society was bound to collapse. Let's not also forget that Karl Marx and his writings had become quite popular during the 1848 revolts. But unlike the Bourbons and the Romanovs later, the Hohenzollerns listened to their best and brightest and not only managed to keep their thrones and heads, but their nation unified as well. Don't let the madness of the Nazis throw us off from viewing the overall successful demonstration of how a nation could transform itself and maintain a strong social ethic when it came to meeting social needs. Incredulously enough, even while our GIs were fighting their way through some of the harshest rural towns of northern Bavaria near Nurnberg, in some towns there remained basic components of regular non-Nazified social service agencies.

Of all the nations most able to bring back some semblance of social cohesion after years of (necessary bombardment) disruption, etc. following the cessation of hostilities ... it was Germany.

The GOP in Kansas and its governor succeeded in deluding themselves on the sheer combined power of massive tax cuts, decreasing the size of government services and other gimmicky notions that haven't improved any thing save for the wealthiest Kansans bank accounts ... but they've also proved how little they've learned from sound conservative examples from the past. Hell, they haven't even learned anything from Abraham Lincoln whose administration was able to rely on our own variety of "blood and iron" to restore the Union and abolish slavery.

Why are the Republicans so quick to abandon their past? When Nixon advisor Kevin Phillips wrote his then-famous "Sunbelt Report," he didn't write it it for the purpose of becoming a future obituary for the Northeast or even a precursor to the even more odious and downright subversive "Powell Manifesto" written by Nixon's other appointee, Lewis Powell to the Supreme Court. Before joining the court, Powell was Big Tobacco's leading lawyer. (Far too many lawyers have to endure the "ambulance chaser" label, but only Powell can said to singularly be named as America's Legal Hearse Driver. And with his notorious Powell Report where he urged a massive reembracement of gerrymandering to create a permanent pro-business gerrymandered Congress and locked in Senate for the conservative pro-business pols, you can see why Kansas is so important to learn from. Kill government funding, kill the agencies set up to save lives, and that's less people we have to worry about? Right? Well, how does this square with Gov Brownback's strong opposition to abortion? Simply put, he just doesn't give a shit about life because if a woman dies in during an illegal botched (unsanitary unsafe abortion) in Kansas, "that's her tough luck but she brought it on her self." Ah, but if she has an abortion out of state, "well, that's their problem and on their conscience."

How's this governor? Why don't you prolife pols in Kansas live up to your moral codes and ideals and make it unthinkable that a woman would ever want to Not raise her child in your state or be able to know her child if she decided not to keep it would be adopted by any loving and checked out mature couple regardless of orientation?

Never hurts to have a heart along with blood n' steel

claywoman's picture
claywoman 34 weeks 3 days ago
#2

Great historical perspective, Steven.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 34 weeks 2 days ago
#3

The Kansas City Star link did not work for me.

Gaius's picture
Gaius 33 weeks 5 days ago
#4
Quote claywoman:..., when it all comes crashing down around us, the wealthy might find their gated communities to be guilded cages - lovely, but what good are private box theater tickets when you can't leave your fortress?

Monte Carlo has comfortably sheltered the Grimaldi for over two thousand years. When Rome fell its wealthy tended to survive quite well.

Roland

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