Three ways Missouri GOP turns logic on its head
The Kansas City Star
Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones was fairly diplomatic in his GOP response to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s State of the State address tonight, but it’s obviously going to be a testy session.
Here are three emerging points of friction on which Jones, and presumably much of the GOP caucus, are gearing up to turn logic on its head:
1)Nixon wants to take federal money to expand Medicaid eligibility to about 300,000 low-income working Missourians. Jones said he doesn’t agree with putting working people on an entitlement program, and said he doesn’t expect the House budget to include the Medicaid expansion.
Eventually the speaker should be asked to explain how people who earn salaries in the $10-an-hour range can be expected to purchase medical insurance if their employers don’t provide it.
Jones also criticized Nixon for ignoring the confusion over Missouri’s medicaid malpractice law, which he called “the true health care crisis in the state.” Um, no. The true health care crisis is what is going to happen to the state’s hospitals when they lose federal subsidies to care for uninsured patients, without getting patients insured under Medicaid. But perhaps Nixon and the GOP could trade some kind of malpractice legislation for expanded Medicaid limits.
2) Whereas Nixon stressed that Missouri is a low-tax, business-friendly state, Jones heaped praise on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for slashing income taxes to very low levels. “I think taxing income generally tends to be regressive,” Jones said. “The more progressive position tends to be taxing consumption.” Actually, most people would say it’s the other way around. Taxing purchases, especially on essentials, forces low-income people to pay the same tax as rich people. That’s regressive.
3) Nixon vowed to work on an initiative petition to cap campaign contributions if the legislature won’t do it this session. Not surprisingly, that led to some snarky remarks about the big campaign contributions that the governor routinely receives.
Jones indicated little interest in capping contributions, framing it as a free-speech issue. “People’s voices do not want to be silenced in how they participate in the political process,” he said. But actually, Missouri voters have already voted once to cap campaign donations. And it will be pretty easy to make a case that the voices of the average voter are drowned out by the grotesque amounts of money that a few donors pump into the process.