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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Alabama and Kansas shows where conservatism leads

  •     Alabama has been in the news lately with its Republican-controlled radical pro-life agenda in restricting access to abortions. This former Confederate state has a long history of showing the impact of resisting progress and change.  Here is where the state ranks on quality of life issues.
  • Health Care                                                                                                                        #49
     Some have joked that life begins at the borders of Alabama.
     Kansas is another example of where conservative Republican control leads to disaster when they implement their policies.  The long-held Republican belief in tax cuts to stimulate the economy were blown out of the water with the example of what happened in Kansas.  Here is what happened:

"In 2012 and 2013, at the urging of Governor Sam Brownback, lawmakers cut the top rate of the state’s income tax by almost 30 percent and the tax rate on certain business profits to zero.  Under “supply-side” economic theory, these deep tax cuts should have acted — as Brownback then predicted — like “a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy,” stimulating strong growth in economic output, job creation, and new business formation.  But in reality, Kansas underperformed most neighboring states and the nation on all of those measures after the tax cuts.  For example:
  • Kansas’ 4.2 percent private-sector job growth from December 2012 (the month before the tax cuts took effect) to May 2017 (the month before they were repealed) was lower than all of its neighbors except Oklahoma and less than half of the 9.4 percent job growth in the United States.
  • Likewise, the number of Kansas residents reporting income on their federal tax returns from a partnership or “S corporation” (two of the main types of businesses that the tax cuts exempted from income tax) grew by 4.1 percent between 2012 and 2015, well below the 5.4 percent growth for the United States and below all of Kansas’ neighbors except Missouri.
Moreover, Kansas revenues plunged, leading to cuts to education and other vital services and downgrades in the state’s bond rating.  On June 6, 2017, the legislature terminated what Brownback had termed a “real live experiment” in supply-side tax policy, repealing the business profits exemption and moving income tax rates back toward where they had started."

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Next big technological shift

     In the 1990s who would have seen the impact that the digital revolution would have had on our lives.  How we communicate, learn, get our music, even the way our cars work have been dramatically changed.  We may be seeing another seismic change in what we eat that will cause a change in agriculture that may be profound.
     The move in diets from dairy and meat will have significant impacts on what farmers grow.  Traveling around the Mid West recently it was clear that a vast amount of land is used in the production of our dairy and meat production.

Related image

     So what will bring about this dramatic change--the rapid increase in non-dairy and non-meat products.

Image result for non dairy drink

     The growth in non-dairy milk alternatives from nut based products is rapidly growing if you go into any grocery store.  If you haven't tried these alternative products you are missing out on healthier products that can have a very similar texture and taste to milk.  My favorites are almond and soy milk.  The texture of soy milk is probably the closest to regular milk and certainly better than skim milk.  Almond milk is better if you want to stay with a lower calorie drink.  I even mix those two drinks.
     Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Ground Frozen Gluten Free - 13.7oz

         At the same time, the rapid growth of non-meat products that closely resemble meat is escalating daily  The two major companies in this growth are Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger companies.   While the product that they have initially developed is a burger product they will be eventually rolling out other meat products such as steak, chicken and fish.  The initial efforts have focused on developing a product that feels and tastes like real meat but the future will be targeted to having those qualities in a far healthier product.  Once these are developed and are price competitive to real meat the meat industry will be severely impacted. 
      Getting back to all those Mid-Western farmers who now grow crops that go into dairy and meat what happens to them?  Will they go the way of workers in the blue collar jobs that don't have equivalent jobs to move to?  Or will the transition mean that they will transition to crops that are used in the production of the new products?  The Mid West may be in for a change in the near future similar to what the coal mining areas of our Country have been experiencing the past 50 years.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

It's becoming clearer everyday

     Trump Republicans are showing every day that when it comes to choosing to further your political priorities or defending our democratic values you have no trouble choosing your political priorities.  We now face a time when the courts will have to decide if the separation of powers defined in the Constitution still applies in the "Age of Trump."  Maybe it shouldn't be surprising that almost 40% of Americans and almost 90% of Republicans never did really want to live in a democracy but would prefer authoritarian rule.  We are getting to see every day what it would have been like to have had George Wallace elected President.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Richard Rothstein author of "The Color of Law" at the Miller Library May 30th


         Richard Rothstein has written a book on how the laws of our Country discriminated against persons of color in federal housing programs.  Here is the link to register to hear this author.