New Orleans This is all getting to be very scary. At first you think, wow, how can this be happening here, and then you realize that you are not living through some kind of sick social experiment of reverse Robin Hoodism, but instead are just one test tube of a right wing Republican lab experiment going crazy.
Am I ranting? What am I talking about?
Louisiana’s Governor Jindal over recent weeks dropped a bombshell on our poor, beleaguered state with a proposal to simply eliminate ALL of the state’s fairly modest income tax and substitute that lost revenue by jacking up the state sales tax. In some communities like New Orleans (remember we are one of the poorest cities when measured by per capita income in the country!) where the sales tax is already at 9%, we could see a jump to 12% or higher, to reach record levels nationally. Because the Republicans finally control pretty much all of the state apparatus (look at the wreck and ruin of our higher and lower educational systems!), this totally crazy, anti-poor, regressive (meaning that the burden is higher on lower income families than higher income families as a percentage of income) tax measure will not only get a serious and sober hearing, way past what it merits on its face, but actually could become law.
But, while I was scratching my head in disbelief and thinking we should have a pity-party down here along with the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras festivities, I was forgetting about the Koch Brothers and our friends at ALEC, who have brought us the anti-union, anti-immigrant nightmares sweeping many states around the country. It hits you that, damn, we may not be alone, and the next thing you realize is that Kansas has already jumped ahead of us to move on this crazy sales for income tax plan, and, reportedly, Nebraska and other states are not far behind.
Republicans in fact are so heartened by these rearguard attacks on low-and-moderate income families that they are touting Jindal, Brownback, and others as the shining lights from the states pointing the way to their future. Jindal while forcing these idiotic programs down our throats in Louisiana, is somehow being quoted favorably for saying that the Republicans can’t “be the stupid party,” even while he enacts these insane measures in Louisiana. He is somehow getting credit for being a “moderate” voice for the national party, even while pursing aberrant, radical, and reactionary measures.
Living in the “red” states, we have a rough, rough road ahead of us!