The Kansas state Senate has voted to lower the sales tax from 6.3% to 4.95% on groceries only – other purchases remain at the same rate – trying to ease the burden on middle class and poor families. It passed by a vote of 25-14. The plan also cuts the state income tax. Now it goes to the House, but its fate there is not very promising. Governor Sam Brownback would like the sales tax to stay at the current rate to make up for income tax cuts last year and the House is inclined to do what the governor wants. The situation has some urgency as the Kansas legislature is working overtime in Topeka to get business completed before their summer break. Aw, poor babies.
Enter State Rep. Jeff Melcher, the leader of the opponents of the Senate’s plan. His arguments against the tax rollback are not based on economics, however. He’s worried that lower prices on food will move the poor to buy more… food. Let that one roll around your brain for a minute, I’ll wait. Your head still in one piece? Okay, here’s Melcher’s insane troll logic:
“It seems to me we are encouraging the behavior of purchasing food and discouraging the behavior of purchasing anything else.”
That’s less than a nickel on a dollar. He’s worried that the poor will use that extra nickel to buy, what, another stalk of celery? Oh my goodness, a ten-dollar grocery bill will have an extra 50 cents, you better watch out or those poor people might buy another can of corn! And you have to understand that just that extra little bit of energy might give them enough to go vote or realize how badly they are being treated. Who knows what could come of that? And what else could they possibly buy – a piece of bubble gum? A broken crayon? There just isn’t much one could buy with a nickel on the dollar. Talk about out of touch!
He did give another reason: it will add “complexity” for the retailers. Complexity? Like that they might have to push a different button on the cash register? Most states have different tax rates for different items already and somehow the western world hasn’t dissolved into chaos, with confused cashiers weeping hysterically, faced with the choice of which button to push. Good grief, what an idiot.
Moderate Republican (they actually have one of these in Kansas!) State Rep. Barbara Bollier told The Huffington Post:
“I have no words. That’s just beyond comprehension to me. We each get to think what we want to think. But this is so far out there that I can’t believe someone said it. It’s frightening. That’s what it is.”
Indeed it is. And it points to a serious problem in this country, as Republican lawmakers demonize the poor, making it easier for them to steamroll their ALEC-ordained policies through gerrymandered Republican legislatures. The stigma of being poor, of being unable to feed, clothe and shelter one’s family has grown into a terrible misrepresentation of an increasingly larger section of our population. The poor are not lazy or stupid, not most of them, but they are being used as a scapegoat by the rich people’s party. Our financial woes were not brought on by the poor and unemployed, the sick and disabled. It grew from the uncontrollable greed of the rich and entitled. And it’s time we cut that ugly weed off at the root. Vote the GOP out next year, all of them, everywhere. It’s the only way we can save our country.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…