Kansas Waitress to Right-Wingers: Tip the School System

Tip the schools instead.

That’s the message waitress Chloe Hough gave Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback this weekend when he stopped in for a bite to eat at Boss Hawg’s Barbeque in Topeka.

Hough was actually on her last shift as a waitress there, so when the governor asked for his check, she saw an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

After crossing out the tip line on the bill, she wrote a note next to it that said, “Tip the schools.” Hough then posted a picture of the edited bill on Facebook, where it’s since gone viral.

Don’t get the wrong idea, though. This wasn’t some sort of publicity stunt.

For Chloe Hough, this was personal.

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Like millions of other Jayhawk State residents, she and her family have felt the sting of Gov. Sam Brownback’s failed experiment in Reaganomics.

Chloe Hough is right. Education is the foundation for a better country and a more forward-thinking society.

But that, of course, is not how Governor Brownback and the rest of the Republican Party see it.

To them, education funding is just another thing to cut to make way for massive tax cuts – tax cuts that in Kansas have been an absolute and unmitigated disaster.

After he was elected governor in 2011, Sam Brownback promised to make his state “a real live experiment” in right-wing Reaganist economic theories. So he went ahead and slashed the top income tax rate for the rich, opened a loophole that allowed businesses to pay taxes as individuals, and eliminated a bunch of other smaller taxes.

The governor said that these tax cuts for rich people would boost Kansas’ economy and jump start job growth, but nothing has really panned out the way he said it would.

Since 2012 when Brownback’s tax cuts began, Kansas has consistently lagged behind the national average in job growth, and while it did do better on that count in 2014, it didn’t do nearly as well as neighboring states like Missouri, which didn’t cut taxes for the rich.

Thanks to Brownback’s tax cuts, the Jayhawk State now faces a budget shortfall of $422 million.

And who’s had to pay the price for the fiscal mess created by Brownback and the ideologues in the Republican Party?

Well, among other things, the school system.

That’s right, the school system!

Instead of repealing his disastrous tax cuts, Governor Brownback has instead slashed funding for Kansas’ already cash-strapped public schools by $51 million.

The situation has gotten so bad that some schools are now closing early for the summer just to save money, and, as Chloe Hough’s family learned, many of the most vulnerable students are losing access to the programs they need to succeed.

What’s happening in Kansas is shocking, but it shouldn’t be surprising.

The myth pushed by people on the right that cutting taxes for rich people and corporations will make wealth “trickle-down” to everyone else is just that – a myth.

No nation, state or political entity in the history of the world has ever cut its way to prosperity.

This was true of the Weimar Republic, it’s true of Greece and Kansas right now, and it will be true of whatever Republican-controlled state next cooks up a tax cut scheme.

That’s because rich people use their money differently than working people do.

Instead of going out and spending the extra money they get back from tax cuts, rich people stash it in their Swiss bank accounts or wherever it is they keep their millions.

This means that that rich people’s money only minimally recirculates back into the real economy, and rarely finds its way back into the government’s hands as tax revenue.

So in effect, it’s lost money. Once the government cuts taxes for the rich, it’s never getting that money back.

Republicans, of course, don’t see it that way.

The smart ones know that the “trickle-down” economics is just a scam to make the super-rich even richer, but most of them, the suckers, are still drinking the Reaganomics Kool-Aid.

They’re members of the economic equivalent of a death cult, these so-called free-market fundamentalists, and most can’t be reasoned with because they don’t believe in facts, just ideology.

Let’s just hope that Chloe Hough’s special message to Sam Brownback tips some of them, and the country, in the right direction.