Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It may actually BE time to start the movement to #RecallScroogeMcDucey

There are a number of topics requiring attention and blog posts at this time, from Diane Douglas' Listening Tour, to John Kavanagh's bloviating deceptiveness on the plastic bag ban bill, to the condition of Arizona government altogether. But this evening, another story is urgently troubling.

According to the Arizona Republic, Stephen Slivinski, senior research fellow at Arizona State University's Center for Economic Liberty and formerly a senior economist at the Greedwater Institute, published a disturbing new report this week on the feasibility of eliminating the state income tax. Slivinski has also held senior positions at the Cato Institute and the Mercatus Center.

Each of those organizations is funded with big money from Charles and David Koch and are aggressive extensions of the messaging machine that has turned up the volume on Reagan's "government isn't the solution, government is the problem" propaganda. ASU's center for enslaving all but the top 1 percent of Arizona (a more fair characterization of the mission of Slivinski's current host organization) says about itself,
Committed to the study of the role economic liberty and the free enterprise system play in increasing opportunity and improving well-being, the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty seeks to advance our understanding through independent thinking, scholarly debate, factual argument, and clear, honest communication of research and policy findings. The center is a non-partisan academic unit within the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University; our scholars enjoy academic freedom and share with each other a basic commitment to a freer, more prosperous world.
Our operations are financed by donations from foundations, individuals, and alumni who share an interest in advancing our understanding and continuously improving the institutions that make us free and prosperous. 
In other words, from the Kochs and the Kochtopus. Russ Wiles, the reporter who authored the story linked above, states about that funding,
The ASU Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, also housed at the W.P. Carey School of Business, was established in 2014 with the help of $5 million in gifts. Part of the money came through a grant from the W. P. Carey Foundation, which supports schools and universities in the areas of business and economics. The organization's founder, the late investor Wm. Polk Carey and founder of W. P. Carey & Co., also provided a $50 million gift to ASU in 2003 that resulted in the renaming of the business school.
The W. P. Carey Foundation helped to secure up to $3.5 million for the new center from the Charles Koch Foundation, which focuses its philanthropy on university research and education to advance understanding of how free societies improve the well-being of people around the world.
Again, it has been well established that what the Kochtopus funds is NOT charitable endeavors but studies and activities that provide the "intellectual" foundation for public policy implementation that enriches THEMSELVES. The Economist reported in 2014,
The Kochs are also at the heart of one of America’s most powerful political machines. Most businesspeople take a strategic approach to politics: they lobby for special privileges and contribute to both sides of the political aisle. The Koch brothers have ideology in their DNA. Fred senior was a leading light in the anti-communist John Birch Society. David ran as the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 1980, and Charles and David helped to raise an estimated $400m for efforts to defeat Barack Obama’s re-election bid in 2012. Critics fret about the “Kochtopus”—the Kochs and the network of institutions that they finance, ranging from the Cato Institute, an august think-tank in Washington, DC, to Tea Party organisations like Americans for Prosperity.
As Upton Sinclair, author of the revolutionary novel about the meat packing industry in Chicago, The Jungle, said (plenty of times),
It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!
But I digress.

Slivinski has argued, thus far (in my opinion) unsuccessfully, that eliminating the income tax would create tens of thousands of jobs in Arizona. Given data comparing tax rates and job growth, you'd think somebody would have a level of critical thinking skills necessary to see through Slivinski's bullshit. But when they all make big bucks pushing the Koch agenda, all bets on who has those skills get thrown out the window.

Arizona has cut taxes (including income taxes for individuals and corporations) consistently (pretty much EVERY year) for more than two decades. Coupled with this strategy -- that, by the way, has produced lower than the national average job growth over that period -- has been dramatically increased reliance on sales/transaction privilege taxes. So, what does Slivinski, the latest prominent Arizona-based Koch propagandist suggest we do? Double down, of course. Here's how he opens his new "academic" report.
Restructuring the state's revenue system to rely more on consumption taxes (i.e., the transaction privilege tax, commonly known as the “sales tax”) and eliminating the personal income tax can be beneficial from both an economic perspective and a public policy perspective. In the following study, I explain how the reform can be accomplished while still maintaining budget balance over six to eight years.
Data regarding economic performance and public policy IS available. We do NOT have to take the word of voodoo economists like Slivinski anymore.

By the way, because Scrooge McDucey falsely boasted about the meaning of his Moody's credit rating report last week and because he has boasted since before the 2014 election that he intends to eliminate the income tax in our state, it may actually be time to gear up to #RecallScroogeMcDucey. After all, he has done what he promised as far as cutting state spending, with especially draconian cuts to education. Now McDucey's job approval rating is at 27 percent, with disapproval at 44 percent.

Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.

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