by Max Brantley
The Republican-controlled Kansas legislature is working to pass legislation to RAISE taxes on people making less than $25,000 a year and to CUT taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year. Gov. Sam Brownback likes this idea, too, only he'd raise taxes higher on the working poor than the legislature and cut taxes more for the wealthy. The legislature modestly scaled back Brownback's plan, which bears repeating:
* The poorest 20 percent of Kansas taxpayers would pay 2.2 percent more of their income in taxes each year, or an average increase of $242.
* The middle 20 percent of Kansas taxpayers would pay 0.3 percent more of their income in taxes each year, or an average increase of $146.
* Upper-income families, by contrast, reap the greatest benefit with the richest one percent of Kansans, those with an average income of over a million dollars, saving an average of $16,933 a year.
This is what a "flat" tax rate, though seemingly lower on its face, does to poor and middle class people after credits are removed. It screws them and gives the rich a windfall. That's why the Kochs and Co. are pushing the idea.
It is, as one Kansas Democratic senator said, Robin Hood in reverse. It is Alice in Wonderland. And you don't have to read much issuing forth from the mouths of the likes of Arkansas Republicans and Kochheads such as Sen. Jason Rapert and Rep. Nate Bell to know that this sort of thing would come soon in Arkansas with a Republican legislative majority. See, they believe, that working poor are deadbeats, living fat off government handouts. If we'd only stop taxing rich people entirely, they say, the rich will pour a little goodness down on everyone else. The last dozen years of the national experience that disproves this don't matter to the faith-based tax choppers. Nor does it affect the thinking of the Republicans in the Arkansas legislature who have no outside jobs and receive their only pay and illegal expense checks courtesy of taxpayers.
Bank it. This story will be repeated in Arkansas in 2013 if the Republicans take a majority and the likes of Jason Rapert will have Arthur Laffer on speed dial. Yes, I know, if it happens it will be the voters call. Vote in haste, repent in (poorer) leisure.