How to Kill a State

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.

15 thoughts on “How to Kill a State

  1. Ever since I was becoming politically aware, in the early 70s, one fact has emblazoned its mark onto my consciousness:

    Republicans break whatever they touch, then expect Democrats to come in behind them and repair it. Once the cycle is compete (one generation), the voters have forgotten it all.

    Rinse, repeat.

    State, Federal, whatever – the pattern is the same.

  2. Don’t forget McCrory’s race to the bottom in NC.

    Same story as elsewhere: a bunch of malicious pinheads rode the 2010 red tide and Gerrymandered the districts, while Dem’s sat around theorizing about the imminent demise of the Republican Party. Here we sit, now, in NC: NO representation in the US Senate, Medieval abortion laws, regressive labor protections, coal ash, fracking and off-shore oil under consideration, teacher pay about the lowest in the nation.

    The General Assembly wants to come back from recess early now so they can (try) to overrule Charlotte’s public restroom ordinances (not sure they without a fight, but the NC Supreme Court is no friend of the People, either.).

  3. And yet, the rubes always come begging for more of the same.

    The GOP drives their state’s or the national economy off a cliff, and then promptly blame the Democrats who are elected to replace them and once again clean-up their fucking mess, because they can’t raise the car fast enough, or make it look nice and shiny like it did before it smashed into the ground below the cliff.

    And as @Dan said, rinse and repeat.

    Back in the old days, P.T. Barnum would have so many freaks, geeks, and rare animals (real, and fake), that people would dawdle at the exhibits, and this prevented him from making as much as he could if they picked-up their pace.
    So, what he did, was put up a sign at the last exhibit that said something to the effect of, ‘Come and see the egress!!!’
    And so, people would want to see the next marvel so much, that they went hurrying through the door.
    But, instead of some amazing creature, the bumpkins found that they had exited – that being what the word egress means.

    In too many states, and throughout this once great land people keep paying admission fees ‘to see the egress,’ and keep ending up outdoors.
    And then, pay again, only to find themselves outside again.
    “Goddamit!!!” One of these days, I’ll pay and see that fucking egress!”

    And so, it continues. Doing the same thing, time and time again, hoping for a different result.

    But if Barnum really did say that ‘There’s a sucker born every second,” he sadly underestimated.

  4. I don’t know for what reason, but Scott Walker is the biggest creep of the bunch. It’s probably just his physical appearance..he looks like the henchman he is.

  5. Kasich balanced the budget by slashing state support to localities and especially schools. The result has been cutbacks and increased taxes as local governments and schools try to adjust. My school district plans to ask for a levy next November that will increase my taxes by $800 a year. That’s a big increase.

    This is what Kasich means when he gets all sentimental about what Americans can do for themselves and their neighbors. Because their help isn’t going to come from any place he’s heading the executive branch. You’re on your own baby in Kasich’s world.

    • Ohio Mom — the same thing happened when Christine Whitman was governor of New Jersey, way back when. Her tax cuts caused cities and town to crank up property taxes. Thanks loads, Christine. But she really was moderate compared to the clowns in office now.

  6. I’m on my tabloid, so I can’t figure out how to link, but there’s a photo of Trump at a rally, asking people to raise their right hand and promise to vote for him.
    And they do!
    Creepy, and more than a bit frightening.

    Heil Trump!

    Oh, btw, fuck you Mr. Godwin and your stupid “law!”

    Yes, it can happen here!

  7. Just look what’s happening in Michigan. The state will be dead by the time Snyder leaves office, given the tragic messes his Emergency Managers made of Flint and the Detroit Public Schools.

  8. One of my favorite bloggers, The Rude Pundit, is from L’oosiana and seems to visit family there a couple of times each year. And for years, he has been writing about how Jindal is driving the state into bankruptcy. No one seems to have been listening.

  9. Thanks for including WI and Walker on the list. His approval ratings have dipped into the mid-30s and yet he’s talking about a third term. What, to completely ruin the state? While the rest of the country has seen some economic recovery WI has actually gone backwards. We were the only non-oil producing state to have a net loss of jobs last year. People have been comparing us to Minnesota which has a Dem governor and their recovery has been great. The only thing Walker points to is a lowering employment rate, but that’s only dropping because people, and especially young people, are leaving the state. He is literally depopulating the state. Throw in the fact that we are the worst state out of all of them to be black, and to me Alabama is looking good. At least it doesn’t snow as much.

  10. Off-Topic The media has been reporting a near mid-air collision which, according to the prosecutor I nearly caused in my flight. Words fail me in expressing my anger about this lie. Here’s two facts. 1) DC Police Chief Dine testified to members of Congress that I landed at 1:23. 2) The Bureau of Transportation Statistics recorded that Flight 1639, the flight the prosecution cited, actually departed DCA at 12:58. That’s not the scheduled departure time – it’s the ACTUAL departure time – TWENTY-FIVE minutes earlier.

    Back my flight up to the closest point of intersection and turn back the clock accordingly – three minutes. Our flight paths were roughly parallel for a mile and then they diverge. So back up the clock, generously, 2 minutes. (That’s 5 minutes total.) So at 1:18, and for a distance of approximately a mile, my flight path was parallel to the flight path of departing flights, 8 tenths of a mile distant by the prosecutors estimate, which is suspect.

    Mind you, I was always over land, carefully inland. The airbus had to fly over the Potomac – I was in airspace strictly prohibited to commercial traffic (and to me, but I knew they could’t go where I was). The point being, the path of departing flights was almost a mile distant at the closest point and not converging and I knew it before I flew.

    Give the Airbus, travelling 200 MPH, time to reach the point where our paths diverge, generously 2 minutes, but I’ll assume the departure time does not include accelerating down the runway. So here’s the timetable. The Airbus passed the parallel point of our two paths at 1:00. From that time on, the Airbus was flying away from my path. I passed the closest point on MY path, almost a mile distant at 1:18. Our flight paths might have been a mile apart, but we were also separated by 18 minutes. Eighteen minutes at 200 MPH is over 60 miles, hardly a near miss.

    If you want to ignore the deliberate lie in the specific flight which was 60 miles away and just analyze the two flight paths, you have to be three dimensional. There is the factor of altitude. I was descending in preparation to land – the Airbus was climbing for altitude as hard as he could, which is why he was only going 200 MPH (cruising speed of an Airbus 320 is 500+ MPH). Under any objective estimate, there was a always a difference of at least 500 feet of altitude, (roughly the height of a 40-story building) possibly as much as 1200 feet, (height of the Empire State Building) along the parallel tracks nearly a mile apart.

    Calling that a near-miss is a damn lie.

    • Holy Crow, Doug. That sucks. I hope your lawyer rebuts that charge vigorously.

      Also, by now he should have gotten my letter affirming your good character. I even cited Teddy Roosevelt’s “man in the arena” speech. It was stirring.

  11. Doug,
    It seems to me that they’re piling on some more BS because they realize their case against you is weak, and public sentiment for you, is strong!

  12. Barbara thank you for your letter.we wiil be making multiple submssions to the judge but.I requested that your letter be in the first few letters of the first group. It stood out in quality and impact.

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