Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Real News Relegated to Page 8,000

The media is lying to you, and they have been for quite some time. I don't know how some of these reporters (and their editors) sleep at night. I can barely sleep at night recognizing the lies and knowing there's little that can be done to slow their roll, but here goes:

Kansas' economy isn't falling off a cliff. In fact, the Sunflower State's growth in GDP is the sixth best in the country. The newspapers are covering this mega story; it got about three paragraphs of coverage on page 600 of the Wichita paper. You would think with the gaggle of people covering Rep. Jim Ward's every move, and the paparazzi that apparently follows former Sen. Bob Dole around, some reporter could find a quote somewhere from someone about this major accomplishment, but nope! Three paragraphs on an inside page. 

Meanwhile, you have legislators and their media allies pretending that people who make $40,000 per year are the wealthy people who aren't paying their fair share. That's part of the gut wrenching budget proposal a bunch of self-interested people submitted yesterday. With a straight face, these folks said people earning $40,000 per year should pay more in income taxes. Oh, and by the way, everyone should pay an extra 11 cents per gallon in gas so the state can rake in an extra $821 million. 

And don't even get me started on their laughable suggestion that they'll help poor families by reducing the sales tax on groceries. Fat lot of help that will be when the price of gas increases by a third, which will increase the cost of groceries. I can't believe the media is repeating this lie--that lowering the sales tax on groceries will somehow help poor families. It might, if YOUR PROPOSAL DIDN'T INCLUDE AN INSANE GAS TAX HIKE! 

And then there's the ridiculous notion that people in Kansas will all just gladly pay an extra 11 cents per gallon. Um. I guess if you are the tiny percentage of Kansans who don't live near a border. Everyone in Johnson County will just go over to Missouri. Bye bye every convenience store in the county, and bye bye sales tax proceeds from the other things people buy when they stop for gas. Apparently these people's understanding of economics is about as good as my understanding of quantum physics. Please hold. Since Rise Up Kansas is being taken seriously as economic experts, I'm going to go make a few proposals for building the next Hadron Particle accelerator.

If you are an average Joe or Jane making $40,000 per year, the media wants you to believe that you are living the high life. Children, the elderly and the infirm are suffering because you are too selfish to pay your fair share. 

Now I recognize that when everyone starts suggesting that we just need some tax increases that in theory, everyone thinks that the wealthy people need to pay more--not recognizing that they themselves are the "wealthy" ones. Raise your hand if you feel like you're not paying your fair share if you make between $40,000 and $90,000 per year. Seriously, is there anyone with a hand in the air? The media spent all of campaign season condemning the wealthy elites for taking bread from the mouths of children. I was surprised to learn they meant me.

Your sales taxes are up and they're about to go higher. Your property taxes have skyrocketed. In Johnson County, property taxes were up about 14 percent. Do you know what "the children" got in return for the additional 14 percent you likely paid in property taxes last year? King Louie. So that's really helped feed the children, shelter the elderly, and really improved the lives of just about every single person in the entire county. 

If you were one of the people lucky enough to get a raise last year, on average you received 3 percent, barely enough to cover the rate of inflation. Figure in your all the tax increases at the local and federal level and you didn't get a raise last year. You got a pay cut. 

The media is pretending that your economic challenges are the result of tax cuts courtesy of the John Vratil-2012 tax plan, and they've led everyone to believe that it's those evil LLC-business owners who are raking in the dough and leaving everyone else in the dust. Only now, the emperor has no clothes. 

Yesterday, on Twitter, an elected official had the sheer nerve to explain to Gov. Brownback that LLC business owners WANT their taxes increased. Um. OK. But I'm not an LLC business owner. I'm a normal person who has no choice but to put gas in my car so I can go to work and rake in the YUGE money. (Cue laugh track.)

I am so angry that these people are pretending that taking money out of my pocket to give to school administrators is some sort of moral imperative. The average teacher salary in Kansas is $48,000 per year, which I note, is close to what I bring in when all of my side jobs are considered. I have the same level of education, and I don't get summers off. I really don't like talking about my job or my salary. It seems impolite. However, to win an argument, it's important to put a face on it. So, use my face. I am a real person with a professional, white collar job and a college education working more than one job to survive. I am not an LLC. I don't work for an LLC, and I would like to keep as much of the money that I earn as possible. That's not selfish; that's fair. 

I'm not a fan of class envy. I don't like it, and quite frankly, I'm not all that motivated by money. When given the choice to have a higher paycheck or have more vacation time, I choose more time. I negotiate for more vacation rather than more cash. That said, I am fully enraged at the idea that teachers aren't making enough money so I should make less. That's basically the argument the liberals and their media allies are making--that working Joes should take a pay cut so people who make more than them already can have more. I'm sick of it, and the people making the argument shouldn't be doing it with a straight face. How dare they. Seriously, how dare they.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Great Wealth Transfer

Rise UP-- a coalition of groups that earn their lucrative livings riding the taxpayer funded gravy train--has announced a plan to abscond money from those who make their living in the private sector and transfer it to line their own pockets. Guys, I'm incensed, and if you actually care about children, families, and the middle class, you should be too.

The plan would raise income taxes for anyone making more than $40,000 per year, and would effectively increase the gas tax by 11 cents per gallon. 

First, let's talk about the organizations and individuals that crafted this plan. Every last one of them is on the government gravy train in one way or another, so any plan that takes from my wallet without making any cuts to government personally benefits them. The organizations include Kansas Center for Economic Growth and Kansas Action for Children, who are the same organization with two separate names, but OK. Next, the Kansas Contractors Association--also known as people who make their living off of government contracts. Every time a school district builds a football stadium or a recreation center or builds a room for a $10,000 Baby Grand piano, a member of the KCA earns his wings, err, gets a cut. The last two organizations involved are the Kansas Organization for State Employees--so you know, the people making more than they would doing the same jobs in the private sector and earning a more glorious pension than your paltry 401K will likely ever yield. And finally, the Kansas National Education Association--the teacher's union. Guys, these people don't have your best interests in minds. They have their own wallets in mind. Visions of permanent job security and vacation homes are dancing in their heads. The next time any of them suggests for ONE second that a person like me--who is struggling to keep the bills paid without sinking into debt--is being selfish for thinking she should get to keep more of the money she earns, I want you to remember just how self interested these scam artist that made this proposal are. 

Among the individuals who helped craft this Great Wealth Transfer Plan (from our pockets to theirs) was Duane Goossen, former budget director. Yeah, that budget director-- the guy who was investigated by the SEC for financial statement fraud. The guy who absolutely decimated KPERS funding. 

Anyone who says they care about children--anyone who says they care about schools--can NOT be serious in suggesting that the budget solution to a tiny budget project shortfall is to increase the state's gas tax by 11 cents per gallon and to raise taxes on individuals earning more than $40,000 per year. Apparently, we're the top wage earners, those of us who are making hay and stealing from school children what with our $100,000-less-than-the-JoCo-average-property-value homes and our cars manufactured in 2002, and our swanky vacations to places like Atchison, Kansas. Who knew our lavish lifestyles were the cause of so many children suffering?

Look, the part that this self-interested plan was designed to rob the middle class of the money they earned is enraging, but perhaps the most hypocritical part of the entire thing is that this sham of a plan would damage the very people it most portends to help. Do you know how much school districts suffer when the price of gas goes up? It's actually a bit shocking.

Do you know who suffers disproportionately from gas tax increases? Poor people. And it's not even close. With a food tax increase, people can buy less expensive food. It's not ideal, but individuals can buy beans and rice instead of Hamburger Helper. With a gas tax increase, there's no way around it. If you're poor, you're more likely to live a greater distance from work. Those homes in Lenexa are much more expensive than a home in Gardner. And you can't just buy cheaper gas. That's not how it works.

I could rant about this laughable, ridiculous plan for another 50,000 paragraphs, and I'll probably do so tomorrow, but in the meantime: Please be aware that this proposal was intended to make you so enraged that you'll settle for a mere 5-6 cent gas tax increase instead. This is part of a negotiation tactic. But there shouldn't be any room for negotiating on the gas tax, if children, schools and the less fortunate are our priority. The answer isn't just no. It's hell no.

Kobach Will NOT Head DHS

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will not lead the Department of Homeland Security. Trump named Gen. John Kelly to that role. 

There are rumors that Kobach may be asked to serve as deputy secretary, but I'm not sure Kobach would take that gig. Several people have suggested Kobach wouldn't take anything less than DHS in a Trump administration as he'd rather stay in Kansas and consider a run at the Governor's office.