It’s becoming increasingly clear that conservative governors trying to push trickle-down tax cuts for the rich and austerity for everyone else will, eventually, face a political backlash.
Once again, a bipartisan coalition of fed-up legislators has overridden their intransigent governor’s veto to keep their state from driving off the cliff. On Thursday, Illinois Republicans joined with the Democratic majority in the legislature to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a $36 billion budget that raises much-needed revenue with income and corporate tax rate increases and brings an end to the longest running budget crisis in the country.
Rauner, a Republican and multimillionaire, has tried to impose his agenda of spending cuts and attacks on labor unions but has long faced staunch resistance in Springfield, which took the form of a more than two-year political standoff over the budget. The financially troubled state has not had an operating budget since Rauner took office in 2015, leading to $15 billion in missed payments and a series of credit downgrades that brought Illinois’s bond rating to the verge of “junk” status.
While Rauner had for years managed to keep Republican legislators under his thumb, ultimately the state’s worsening fiscal disaster and the governor’s obstinacy provoked 11 Republicans to join with Democrats to override his veto.
The end of the Illinois impasse comes just weeks after a similar scenario in which the Kansas’s Republican-controlled legislature, with the help of Democrats, overrode Governor Sam Brownback’s disastrous tax experiment. As I reported for the Prospect’s summer issue, in a matter of five years, Brownback’s radical tax cuts succeeded in throwing the state into fiscal chaos by blowing a massive whole in the state budget and completely failed to generate Brownback’s promised “shot of adrenaline” to the Kansas economy.
And while sanity ultimately prevailed in Kansas and Illinois, it will take both states several years to dig out from underneath the fiscal rubble left by both governors.
Trickle-down tragedies have a long tail.
Tax Cuts for the rich. Deregulation for the powerful. Wage suppression for everyone else. These are the tenets of trickle-down economics, the conservatives’ age-old strategy for advantaging the interests of the rich and powerful over those of the middle class and poor. The articles in Trickle-Downers are devoted, first, to exposing and refuting these lies, but equally, to reminding Americans that these claims aren’t made because they are true. Rather, they are made because they are the most effective way elites have found to bully, confuse and intimidate middle- and working-class voters. Trickle-down claims are not real economics. They are negotiating strategies. Here at the Prospect, we hope to help you win that negotiation.
(CQ Roll Call via AP Images) Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, with Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., during Mnuchin's confirmation hearing in January. trickle-downers_35.jpg T ax cuts for the rich and corporations simply aren’t enough, says a growing chorus of influential Republicans in both Congress and President Trump’s cabinet. For the trickle-down economic growth to be fully realized, they say, their generous cuts need to be permanent (-ish). Under current Senate rules, deficit-increasing tax cuts must expire after ten years. The Republicans claim that this makes corporations and the wealthy too economically anxious to invest and create jobs. Once they get done shredding the American health-care system, Republican leaders hope to be ready to pass a big tax-cut plan with a simple majority in the Senate (avoiding a Democratic filibuster) by using the budget reconciliation process. However, the Senate’s “Byrd Rule” requires...
YouTube Wisconsin ironworker Randy Bryce in a video announcing his bid to unseat Paul Ryan. I n late June, an ironworker from southeastern Wisconsin made waves when he released a video announcing his campaign to oust Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, one of the country’s most powerful and influential conservatives, from his seat in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District in the 2018 election. In the video, Wisconsin Democrat and longtime union activist Randy Bryce squarely criticized the American Health Care Act, which Ryan co-authored and steered to passage in the House. Bryce talked about his mother’s struggles with multiple sclerosis and his own battle with cancer. He pledged to be a voice for working people like him, and challenged Ryan to trade places with him and come work the iron while Bryce goes to Washington. The internet blew up. Bryce’s campaign video quickly went viral, with many commentators calling it one of the most effective political messages in years. People...
Amid the threat of a high-profile strike one year ago, the airline vowed to clear the path for its contractors’ low-wage employees to unionize. Now, the workers’ union says the company is backtracking.
(Sipa USA via AP) Doug Parker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, American Airlines Group, speaks during the 2017 Aviation Summit hosted by the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce in Washington, D.C., on March 2, 2017. O ne year ago, American Airlines publicly promised to encourage its service contractors not to oppose their workers’ campaign to unionize, in order to avoid an impending publicity disaster if Philadelphia airport workers went on strike during the Democratic National Convention. But now that those workers have voted overwhelmingly to unionize with the Service Employees International Union—and the contractors have refused to recognize their employees’ vote—the union claims the airline giant is turning a blind eye to its contractors’ resistance, and reneging on its promise. “We have seen that promise broken,” Hector Figueroa, president of the SEIU Local 32BJ, told The American Prospect . The expectation that President Trump’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board will...