Sam Brownback Officially Leaves Kansas With the Worst Economy in the Plains

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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has decided to step down from the governorship of Kansas in order to assume the vital post of ambassador at large for international religious freedom. If you’ve never heard of this position, you’re not alone.

Anyway, this marks the official end of the Brownback era in Kansas. As you may recall, he took office at the start of 2011, declaring that Kansas would be ground zero for a true test of conservative economic principles: slashing taxes on the rich and then making up for it by slashing spending on everyone else. It didn’t work out. To commemorate the full Brownback era, here is employment growth in Kansas compared to its neighboring states:

Brownback had a chance to beat one neighboring state, but at the last minute Oklahoma pulled out of a tie and recorded employment growth a little better than Kansas—despite a brutal recession caused by falling oil prices.

So that’s that. Over the course of the entire Brownback era, Kansas had the worst employment growth of any state in the region. Ditto for GDP growth. I don’t expect this to change any minds, though. Cutting taxes on the rich has never been about economic growth anyway.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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