Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, March 5th, 2016.

How to Kill a State

Republican Party

There’s a devastating article in the Washington Post about how falling oil prices and Bobby Jindal’s policies have pretty much destroyed Louisiana.

The math is daunting: For the fiscal year that ends June 30, Louisiana is facing a $940 million deficit, roughly one-eighth of what the state typically doles out from its general fund in a year. For 2016-2017, which begins July 1, the gap is $2 billion.

“This was years of mismanagement by a governor who was more concerned about satisfying a national audience in a presidential race,” said Jay Dardenne (R), the lieutenant governor under Jindal and now the state’s commissioner of administration. Dardenne said Jindal had helped the state put off its day of reckoning in a way that mirrored a “Ponzi scheme.”

Of course, the shit is hitting the fan just as a Democratic governor is taking office. Watch the Republican Party blame Louisiana’s pain on John Bel Edwards. And then they’ll persuade voters that the way back to prosperity is to run the state the way Bobby Jindal ran it. They might not use his name, but it’ll be the same Ponzi scheme.

And then there’s Chris Christie.

What Christie did when he endorsed the brashly divisive billionaire is between him and his conscience. How he got there is the more interesting question.

When this whole process started eons ago, many experts predicted that voters who found President Obama’s experience lacking would find executive records appealing. And indeed, the field filled with governors, not just Christie but Florida’s Jeb Bush, Texas’ Rick Perry, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and of course, Louisiana’s own Bobby Jindal.

Turns out governing experience what not what most primary voters wanted. 

…There are many reasons this is so, but one could be how these governors have behaved in office. Rather than show the world what they could do by running a state well, Jindal and Christie in particular tailored their policies and priorities to sell on the national stage.

And both paid the price back home. Jindal left office in January with stunningly low approval numbers, and anger over his fiscal irresponsibility is about the only thing Republicans and Democrats in Baton Rouge have in common. Christie too is deeply unpopular in his own state. After he shocked the world by signing on as a Trump surrogate, six New Jersey newspapers published a joint editorial calling him to resign.

“We’re fed up with Gov. Chris Christie’s arrogance,” the papers wrote. “We’re fed up with his opportunism. We’re fed up with his hypocrisy.”

I don’t think we yet know how much damage Christie did to New Jersey, although NJ’s proximity to New York City tends to buffer it from total ruin.

Perhaps Jeb Bush didn’t destroy Florida, but Jeb wasn’t quite as “conservative” as his successor Rick Scott.  From what I can see from here, Scott and Rick Perry of Texas are very much alike. They can both pull all kinds of statistics out of their butts to show how their policies helped their states, but when the dust settles somehow low- and middle-income people are still getting poorer and poorer.

And what can one say about Scott Walker, except … damn, what a maroon. See Scott Walker destroyed his state’s economy and A closer look at Wisconsin’s economy under Gov. Scott Walker, which begins,

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is looking for a new job but, unfortunately, so are too many of his constituents.

At least Sam Brownback, who destroyed Kansas; and Rick Snyder of Flint, Michigan lead poisoning fame are not running for President.

And now we get to John Kasich, the allegedly “centrist” Republican still running for President. You can find a lot of puff pieces about the wonderful things Kasich has done for Ohio, but others are not so sure. Ohio has mirrored the national recovery rate; Kasich takes credit. However, for 32 consecutive months, the state has trailed the national average for monthly job growth, says an article published in August 2015. About the best thing one can say about Kasich’s Ohio is that it doesn’t seem to be as bad off as Kansas. Or Louisiana. Or Wisconsin …

In short, if you really want to destroy your state’s economy, elect a Republican governor. That’ll do the job.

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