I know there are a lot of smart people in Kansas. It’s just that they tend not to end up in elective office there. The latest examples of Kansas-being-Kansas are staggering. Take for example the matter of Gov. Brownback’s massive tax cut on business profits. From what I understand by reading news material from the corporate controlled news media, Kansas, under Brownback and the GOP controlled legislature, have managed to end taxes on business income. The fact that Koch Industries is based in Wichita is more than a little coincidental, I’m guessing.
Evidently the GOP “leaders” in the KS legislature have been dueling it out with Missouri, awarding tax incentives for companies to move across the border to the Kansas side. This kind of fratricidal fiduciary hijinks is not uncommon. All states are eager to raid other states for businesses. Tax concessions are the pieces-of-eight in this interstate piracy. Our states are in a race to the bottom in their pursuit of business transplants.
Of interest relating to Kansas is this little nugget. AMC Entertainment Inc. announced that it is moving to Leawood, KS, from the Missouri side. But, about the same time it was announced that the Dalian Wanda Group would buy AMC Entertainment. Dalian Wanda Group is about to reap the benefits of Brownback’s tax policy by operating in KS. A Chinese company makes one of the largest buyouts of a US company and lands just in time in the Kansas tax haven.
Let me speak plainly. A Chinese company owns a largish US company headquartered in Kansas will be taking advantage of infrastructure put in place over generations by hard working Kansans and US citizen taxpayers. All have contributed in many ways to Kansas infrastructure by way of grants for electrification, roads & highways, universities, military bases, as well as protection by all of the branches of the US military. This Chinese company will enjoy greatly reduced tax liabilities by operating in Kansas. The controlling stockholders are Chinese and will benefit from operation within US borders at the expense of Kansans as a result of the Kansas GOP. These foreign owners will instead allow their employees to contribute to the public coffers.
The burden for expenses related to responsibilites previously administered by the state will be unpooled and relocalized. The purpose and benefit of taxation has been that pooling funds can bring the benefits of civilization to the state without having to rely on the Darwinistic forces of the market. It is ironic that a state so rabidly against evolution has embraced such a Darwinistic approach to social policy.
The stated intent of GOP leaders (like Dick Army, etc.) cloaked behind the curtain has been to “drown the beast”. That is, kill federal and state government by unfunding it. You do that by electing serial government haters like Gov. Brownback and possibly by having the Koch boys behind the scenes pulling strings. Not only has Kansas stuffed a dagger in the chest of civic administration of government services, they have opened the pipeline for profits to stream out of the US from a state tax haven from the operation of a corporation by a Chinese conglomerate.
The Kansas GOP has accelerated the transition of power from a constitutionally backed system with structural transparency to the private concentration of power with no transparency and no civic obligation. Way to go boys. The full import of this should be evident in a generation when most of the GOP legislators who enacted this shit sandwich will be long gone.
Make no mistake. The GOP euphamism of “drowning the beast” is really about the transfer of power from the many to the few. The slogans about liberty and freedom are a plush teddy bear for the masses of low information voters to embrace. Power is in the ability to allocate resources. As the public loses its ability to allocate resources, it loses power. As private or corporate interests accumulate resources, their ability to exercise power rises. There is nothing new here. Power always concentrates.
[Note: A copy of this essay appears in the Daily Kos.]