Kansas Is Still the Land of Make-Believe

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Kansas governor Sam Brownback has been leading an epic battle to turn his state into a supply-side nirvana. So how’s it going? A new poll—possibly the greatest poll in American history—suggests that Kansans are a wee bit confused:

When it comes to Brownback’s tax policy, which has featured heavy cuts in income taxes and taxes on businesses, three-fifths (61 percent) of respondents felt the policy had been “a failure” or “a tremendous failure” in terms of economic growth. About one-third of respondents said it was “neither a success nor failure” and 7 percent said they felt it was at least “a success.” Only 0.2 percent agreed it was “a tremendous success.”

But at the same time, 61 percent of respondents favor “somewhat lower” or “much lower” taxes and spending in Kansas. And yet…about 63 percent of respondents felt taxes on top income earners should be increased while 6 percent felt they should be decreased.

What does this mean? That tax cuts have been a failure, but maybe they’ll work if we just cut them more? That tax cuts have been a failure, but Kansans just want low taxes anyway? That Kansans don’t really care if their economy is any good?

I do not know.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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