Kansas is a state with a history of moderate representation. The fanatics that our state is currently known for remain more numerous than any of us would prefer, but this is a state that has had its fair share of moderate Republican and Democratic governors.
But in 2010 the majority of Kansans chose to elect the righteously conservative Senator Sam Brownback as the 46th Governor of Kansas. Kansas residents who care about equality and reproductive justice were fully aware of the Senator’s voting record and his past statements on gay rights and abortion rights. We knew his election would have devastating repercussions in these areas, and fears have certainly been borne out with each signature on all five pieces of duly fanatical anti-choice legislation that has passed over his new desk.
Senator Brownback’s gubernatorial win was largely due to the tide of Tea Party mentality and action within the state, much like what was seen throughout the rest of the nation. Throughout his career, his fanaticism has always been on display. He has always worn it like a right wing badge of honor. He never bothered to hide it or conceal it. Until his campaign for Governor, which is when he was savvy enough to distance himself from his past fanaticism, spoke in amazing generalities and avoided making the inflammatory statements that he had been known for in the past.
It was during this campaign that Sam Brownback donned his sheep’s clothing. He has put that clothing to very good use over the first year of his term as Kansas Governor. He has worn this clothing each and every day. As he begins his second year as Governor of Kansas, practicality remains his fashion motto.
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If you are a wolf poised to prey upon the poor and underprivileged citizens of your state, practicality dictates that you don’t come right out and say:
“I’m going to force women into motherhood and marriage, take food stamps away from children, drastically reduce early childhood programs, take away tax credits that help working families, thus enabling a significant tax cut to my privileged constituents.”
No, practicality dictates that the Governor continue to wear his sheep suit and say things like, “Reducing childhood poverty is a cornerstone during my term as Governor” and “the greatness of a society can be measured by the compassion it shows to its least fortunate.”
Then, you can hold town halls that present marriage as the answer to childhood poverty, tacitly approve of contracts that require victims of domestic violence to be counseled on abstinence and suggest returning to their abuser to promote “two-parent families” and willfully ignore policy that take food stamps from citizen children of undocumented parents.
Then in your spare time, you can present a budget that strips $16 million dollars from Children’s Initiative Funds that support programs like Early Head Start and a tax plan that would eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit for those making less than $25,000 a year and remove the child care tax credit, which ultimately enables you to provide a tax break of $5,200 to those making over $250,000.
This tax policy has been given the thumbs up by Brownback’s hired budget consultant, Arthur Laffer. Mr. Laffer is known for the “Laffer Curve” and as a “father of Reaganomics.” Laffer appeared before the Kansas Senate Tax Committee last week. During that proceeding, I was presented with a unique opportunity to challenge Mr. Laffer on Governor Brownback’s elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The elimination of this credit will have immediate effects upon single mothers who use the money received from this credit to repair their car, pay off the outstanding doctor bill or maybe even buy a new suit so that they might interview for a better job to provide for their children. Brownback’s office has accused these working moms of “fraud.”
The Lawrence Journal World quoted the Governor’s Budget Director, Steve Anderson as saying:
“We have no way of making sure, for example, that a single mother is spending that on needs for her children.”
“Fraud” is nothing more than the politically correct way to continue to disparage the single, working moms of Kansas. “Fraud” is nothing more than Governor Brownback desperately trying to cover himself with his last remaining scrap of his sheep costume. The disguise has finally worn thin, and he currently finds himself presenting his full on wolf-self to the citizens of Kansas.