, , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday Missouri’s GOP engineered the passage of a draconian tax cut for wealthy Missourians. The justification? To promote growth.

Today the Los Angeles Times cites new research from the University of Wisconsin that radical taxcutting and similar “pro-business policies don’t really contribute to economic growth. They just make the rich richer, which is not the same thing at all.” Read the details here and weep. Of course, if you’re ready for the unabridged version, you can always purchase a copy of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century and get the same message with massively more data to support the conclusions.

Two voter ID bills introduced in the Missouri House, HB1073 and HJR47, designed by Republicans to limit voting access by Democratic leaning citizens, have advanced to the Senate where Republicans, who are all hot and bothered by non-existent voter fraud, are very likely to send them on to the Governor for what is just as likely to be another veto.

However, as Henry Waters III notes in the Columbia Tribune, judges in Arkansas, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have found similar voter ID laws unconstitutional on the grounds that “Photo ID laws are an interference with voters’ rights not warranted as protection against voter fraud.” Doesn’t deter our lawmakers from pressing on though. Missouri may be the show-me state, but it’s awful hard to show folks something if they aren’t capable of drawing the right conclusions from the display.

Both the Missouri House and Senate have okayed similar legislation that attempts to nullify federal gun laws (but only, as Brian Nieves insists, the unconstitutional laws), punish federal agents that attempt to enforce those laws, and permit open carry – even in jurisdictions that want to prohibit the open display of guns by armed yahoos.

Guess what? Sane folks know that state lawmakers don’t get to decide which federal laws are unconstitutional and if the final bill survives a guaranteed veto by the Governor, it’ll head straight for the courts – and cost Missouri a bundle in the process. In the District Of Columbia v. Heller decision of 2008, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the 2nd amendment permits the regulation of firearms – a point articulated by even the ├╝ber conservative activist judge, Antonin Scalia . On a more immediate level, the mayors of St. Louis and Kansas City are concerned about the potential of this law to endanger cooperative federal and state task forces working to combat gang and gun violence. As for open carry, apart from the disrespect the law shows for local self-determination, the oft-stated rationale, that more guns means less crime, has been shown to be essentially false.

Have you noticed a pattern here?  The Republicans who mostly run our state spend lots of time legislating from perspectives that can’t stand the the test of fact-based reality. The result? Counter-productive, costly, and even unconstitutional laws that have the potential to seriously harm Missourians, destabilize our civic and social life, and debase our democratic institutions. The folks who stand to gain? Members of the state’s oligarchy with money to burn and the politicians who want to help them burn it. Each of the examples above either constitutes a direct giveaway to Republican political patrons, or are useful in either directly (voter ID) or indirectly (pandering to gun-related paranoia) securing Republican power. We’re governed by power-mad, corrupt (what happened to those ethics bills?) fantasists. As a result we’re left to cope with what promises to be a consistently deteriorating reality.