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At The Progressive, Mary Bottari provides A Reporter's Guide to the Koch-Funded Rich States, Poor States ALEC Report:

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is slated to roll out its annual "Rich States, Poor States" publication this week. The document, whose lead author is economist Arthur Laffer, is sold to the press as an objective, academic measure of state economic performance, but should instead be viewed more as a lobby scorecard ranking states on the adoption of extreme ALEC policies that have little or nothing to do with economic outcomes. This year, leaked documents revealed that the report is directly funded by the Kochs, on top of longstanding Koch support for ALEC itself.

Until recently, little information was available about the funders of Rich States, Poor States, but tucked in a cache of ALEC internal documents obtained by the Guardian in December was a spreadsheet (PDF pg. 40) that showed for the first time that Rich States, Poor States is funded by the Kochs' Claude Lambe Foundation, as well as the Searle Freedom Trust. […]

Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First in Washington, D.C., told theMilwaukee Journal Sentinel that Laffer's report evaluates and rewards states that are suppressing wages and moving their tax burden from the rich to the poor. "This is all about regressivity," LeRoy said. The non-partisan, non-profit resource centers Good Jobs First and the Iowa Policy Project issued a report in 2013 which took apart Rich States, Poor States on methodological grounds. Their analysis criticized Rich States, Poor States for its "primitive approaches" and for ignoring decades of academic peer-reviewed studies on economic development.

Moreover, the 2013 Rich States Poor States appeared highly politicized, ranking Scott Walker's Wisconsin 15th in the nation at a time the state was ranked 44th for new job creation by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Laffer and his colleagues, which included Stephen Moore (formerly of the Wall Street Journal, now at the Heritage Foundation), seem intent on rewarding Republican governors who pursue austerity agendas even if that agenda hurts economic growth. Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker is a former ALEC member who signed 19 ALEC bills into law in his first two years in office, slashed government spending and eviscerated state unions prompting mass protests in February 2011. […]

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008Pelosi, At Papal Mass, Demonstrates Pro-Choice Politicians Not Prohibited From Receiving Communion:

Why is there a persistent belief among many that the Roman Catholic Church denies Communion to people—especially American politicians who are pro-choice and members of the Democratic party—who don't adhere to every tenet of Church doctrine?  

Because many reporters are lazy and don't bother to figure out the facts. Four years ago American Bishops voted on a proposal to deny communion to politicians, and the proposal was rejected 183-6. And why has the issue come up? Because conservative political activists who are also Catholic have tried to make it an issue. For them, Church doctrine is only relevant on issues of the crotch. The Just War doctrine, economic justice, capital punishment, none of those things matter. No, the only things that matter for them are abortion, homosexuality and human conception. And they're trying to use the Church for their partisan political goals. And as seen by idiotic questions from reporters like this, they're at least succeeding with some dimwitted media types.

Tweet of the Day:

Oligarchy Defined: Koch Brothers Worth $100 Billion, Buy GOP For Just $412 Million

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, an extended conversation with long-time Netroots denizen (and former BLM employee!) Mark Brooks. Hear him recount his efforts to stay on top of issues of local governance in his rural VA county, and fight his way through the many (and familiar) obstacles that still hinder effective use of the Freedom of Information Act. Local? Yes. Unsexy? Maybe. But it's an issue with enormous impact on your everyday life. Come hear what he's got to say about it, and learn where you can turn if you're fighting a similar uphill battle. And the story I snuck in under the wire: U.S. appeals court finds conflict-minerals rule violates free speech.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments. Overnight News Digest.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Vut allows money to make zuh vorld go 'round? (9+ / 0-)

    Bullshit and the susceptibility to bullshit.
    When it comes to money, bullshit is the most important product on earth. Except for usefulness, people are dead last.

    To quote the greatest philosopher of the 20th century: "I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam."

    by franklyn on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 08:33:57 PM PDT

  •  Produced by an "economist"... (13+ / 0-)

    ...who does all his "graphs" on cocktail napkins (probably is a state of inebriation).

    No wonder it's crap.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 08:34:48 PM PDT

  •  For someone who endlessly bitches and moans (12+ / 0-)

    about Hollywood and Hollywood "types", Bill-O sure spends a lot of time hanging out in Hollywood with Hollywood "types".

    ‘Drop Dead, Man!’: When Bill O’Reilly Attacks:

    For the crime of asking him a question at a Hollywood Reporter party last night, Bill O’Reilly screamed at reporter Gabriel Sherman: “Drop dead, man!”

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 08:45:58 PM PDT


    SARAH PALIN IN FRONT OF A GREEN SCREEN is on and it's so bad that my 12 year old son ripped a fart when he was laughing at it. Basically some old dude is out with fire fighters doing the hard stuff and Sarah sits in a studio and reads shit off of a prompter in a voice best understood by idiots. She pronounced off to a good start.

  •  The next time some Wingnut mouth-breather (8+ / 0-)

    starts bloviating to you about so-called 'tax and spend, big government liberals', show them this and tell them to STFU.


    As it turns out, it is red states that are overwhelmingly the Welfare Queen States. Yes, that's right. Red States — the ones governed by folks who think government is too big and spending needs to be cut — are a net drain on the economy, taking in more federal spending than they pay out in federal taxes. They talk a good game, but stick Blue States with the bill.

    See if they still want to cut off funding when it means no more socialism for Republican slave states.

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 09:04:32 PM PDT

  •  On this sad anniversary, no progress at all (14+ / 0-)

    West Texas Explosion photo west-texas-fertilizer-plant-explosion-2_zps86f92583.jpg

    A year after a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas, no new regulations have even been filed, let alone passed, according to the Texas Tribune. It quotes State Rep. Joe Pickett (D) confirming that “there were none.”

    On the evening of April 17, 2013, something started a fire in a seed room at West Fertilizer Co., and eventually 28 to 34 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded with the power of 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of TNT, killing 15 people and injuring hundreds. Authorities have still not determined the cause of the fire, nor have they determined if regulatory agencies failed to prevent the accident.

    Think Progress

    In West, Texas, They Ran Into the Fire


    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 09:05:18 PM PDT

  •  IF we want to kill off (11+ / 0-)

    the Kochtopus, not only do we have to go for it's head (shining sunlight on the Koches as Reid has been doing), but we also need to expose the tentacles.

    For example, the SPN affiliated stink tanks they control.  In New York, that's the Manhattan Institute and the Empire Center for New York State Policy.

    Both have outsized influence on state government and the state press corps - which means they have outsized influence on the opinions of the population even in a blue state like New York - without people even knowing they're the local goons hired by the Koches.

    They're everywhere.  Writing op/eds in the papers, on news program roundtables, testifying in budget hearings, as "go-to" sources for reporters that don't understand a particular piece of legislation or state policy....  And no one is usually the wiser because of the innocuous sounding names and lack anyone pointing out who they actually work for or who funds them.

    If they can get that kind of influence in New York, imagine the kind of influence they can get in a state they outright own like Kansas.  They might be able to go as far as ending teacher tenure and a shitload of other far right things... that have already happened in Kansas.

    "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

    by Darth Stateworker on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 09:06:08 PM PDT

    •  What we need to do is win the presidency in 2016 (10+ / 0-)

      And do exactly what the right has done, only in reverse.

      We need to change the make-up of the Supreme Court, and then start filing lawsuits against all of that corporate person-hood crap that the current Roberts court has been passing.

      “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

      by Jeff Y on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 09:45:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes and start on "packing the courts" as the GOP.. (4+ / 0-)

        ..accuses. No really, focus on the Judicial branch of government bi time, There are many seats to fill.

      •  I agree on that point (7+ / 0-)

        from a tactical perspective, but we also have to remember that the Koches have been playing a very long term strategical game that runs beyond terms of sitting Presidents or Congresses.

        The SCOTUS, corporate personhood - all parts of that long game they've been playing since Charles lost as the Libertarian party candidate in 1980.  They don't care about how quickly they can affect the change in the direction they want - and this is why they've built their giant political machine.

        Electing another Democratic president doesn't do jack shit to throw a monkey wrench into their long game - it simply slows them down.  Nor does it do anything to their long game to elect a majority Democratic Congress - they - along with Wall Street and the rest of the FIRE sector - own the Third Wayers.  A more liberal court may possibly help in the short term, but again, these guys are all about the long game.

        So if we're going to do exactly what the right has done - we need to build our own political machinery geared towards ultra-long-term strategy, just like Randolph and Mortimer have done.

        These guys are quite literally as Machiavellian as you can get - and they have no issue pouring whatever resources they need to into their political machine to eek out slow, incremental change over an extremely long timeline - as long as it pulls the nation rightward.

        If you look at where the nations Overton window was in 1980 - versus where it is today - you can see they've been far more successful then people give them credit for.  Continually moving it ever so slightly rightward, and then making a big push right to take advantage of the shock and anger of people during the deepest depths of the recession with their artificial birth of the Tea Party to try to turn anger into populist appeal.  That success is due to their patience and persistence as well as their deep pockets.  You don't beat that back in an election cycle or two.  You have to go after the machine itself - and build a machine of your own to counter it.

        "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

        by Darth Stateworker on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 10:35:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Precisely! Not just the Kochs playing that game. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cadillac64, JeffW, Darth Stateworker

          When FDR won and dominated there is evidence a whole batch of oligarchs went underground so to speak to play exactly that long term game.

          Meanwhile, as I constantly note and grind tooth enamel, too many of "our side" are like silly rabbits playing in a meadow as the foxes stalk. The concentrate on the big presidential prize while going AWOL in local, state and off-year federal elections. It is as if they are football "boosters" and "fans" that believe getting the number one quarterback is all and can play without a line and no bench at all.

          I see here, as well as among less "political" people, a fantasy land in which our grass roots and (in my opinion ill conceived) "sign the petition" fund raising stuff can somehow compete in the big money game.

          First, most of us have been hit by the giant sucking sound of the economy heading to the 1%. My fairly limited donations have been going to family hit by various aspects of that. If it is a choice between sending cash to a political campaign or helping out a grand kid during a crisis it ain't going to the politician. And I'm sure I'm among the more fortunate.

          Second, the concentrated big money has a home court advantage all around. That is the "advantage the TP/GOP has is the actual central planning and enforcement" the central planning of that effort enjoys. From that recent comment:

          Just concentrate and consider a bit the unified message on certain anti-democratic (small "d"!) agendas being pushed largely from a few very deep and self interested pockets from campaign literature down at the local level, canned ALEC "legislation" and the trained howling hound of a certain national media network. Note the fear instilled among even "reasonable" (if such a creature exists) politicians with (R) tags—fear of the fatal hyper funded primary back home.
          From an even earlier comment—the only way we are going to win this thing:
          votes cast by real people trump $$$$$ "votes" cast by plutocrats
          Silly rabbits! Throw that weapon away this November and in any local or state election this summer and the foxes got your neck.

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 04:34:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Tweet of the Day (8+ / 0-)
    Own ALL the Republicans for less than .05% of your holdings ...
       Cheap date.
  •  Laffer's report on "Rich States Poor States" (8+ / 0-)

    is another exercise  in Republicanspeak. It obviously has nothing to do with economics...except in the mindset of corporatists and the wealthy. It is clearly meant to delineate which states are rich-friendly as compared to what he considers poor-friendly states. It may be released yearly under the guise of being an economic study but it's just another example of Republican Orwellian bullshit. I mean come on...Laffer? Funded by the damned Kochs? What else would you expect?

  •  When does the war with Russia start? (0+ / 0-)

    Kerry made it pretty clear today that bullying Russia is at the top of the US foreign policy agenda.  I don't know why "liberals" really want to go down this road, the road to war paved with scurrilous lies.  I'm a left critic of the Dems, but I honestly never thought they'd choose to behave like  macho idiots.  Even Bush-Cheney wouldn't go this far.  Just stop, before it's too late.  Please.

    Pay no attention to the upward redistribution of wealth!

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 09:19:44 PM PDT

  •  Uh oh! (6+ / 0-)

    It seems that Randy has run into a little problem on his way to what would have been a landslide loss to Hillary in 2016.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 09:21:37 PM PDT

  •  This sounds like a useful source of Laff-lines (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Cadillac64, Calamity Jean
    lead author ... Arthur Laffer ... a lobby scorecard ranking states on the adoption of extreme ALEC policies that have little or nothing to do with economic outcomes.
    ...if it actually lists these policies instead of merely distorting their end results.
  •  Such an obscene deployment of Koch money, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, nellgwen, Cadillac64, JeffW

    so hard to keep track of all the subcontractors and wholly-owned subsidiaries.

  •  "Put your head on my shoulders..." (10+ / 0-)

    "...and cross your paws there too..."

    Mr. Max is a hoot.

    (Actually, he's a Husky...)

  •  Red v Blue States & ALEC (8+ / 0-)

    Minnesota ranked #2, #3, #4, #8, #12, #16, #23 & #46 in recent composite State-to-State Rankings. Guess which one was by #ALEC?

    It was also the only one where Wisconsin did better than Minnesota, which I assume was done so Walker can use it as propaganda.They have MN going from #33 to #46 & WI going from #44 to #17! which is preposterous!

    Somehow having a more business-friendly environment however has not helped Wisconsin yet. It is languishing behind MN not only in new businesses but job creation. MN has been rated as #8 Best for Business by Forbes & #16 by CNBC. (WI is #41 &22). MN also ranks #2 for opportunity (Opportunity Nation), #4 in the Gallup-Healthways Index & #12 by the Milken Institute on science & tech. CNBC also rated MN #2 for quality of life. MN leads WI in all of these & others, often by a lot.

    The ALEC rating is based almost entirely on taxation! with a little worker disempowerment thrown in. Basing a rating so heavily on taxation raises the matter of CROSS-state subsidies. Notice that The Tax Foundation's Tax Freedom Day map is almost the inverse of its Taker v Donor States map:  

    Maps by The Tax Foundation
    The way I see this is that well-off blue states end up paying for federal social safety net services that Red States refuse to offer their own citizens. In addition, we pay more at the state level because we value our own. This ALEC/Koch/Laffer ranking is a highly political scam, designed to prop up failing Red States: failing on just about every human dimension imaginable, & I have the charts to prove it.

    "All politics is national."

    by Auriandra on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 09:57:10 PM PDT

  •  So the "conservative movement" economic.. (7+ / 0-)

    ..theory con job of the century - Reaganomics, ALEC, Laffer, whatever - proven a Fail and a complete lie

    The American Legislative Exchange Council’s Rich States Poor States studies have since 2007 urged states to cut taxes and suppress wages in order to create jobs and raise incomes. But the states ALEC rates best turn out to have actually done the worst.
    - ALEC's flawed prescription for prosperity
    A Joint Publication of: Good Jobs First and The Iowa Policy Project (pdf)
    Rich States, Poor States purports to provide a recipe of state policies to achieve economic growth and prosperity. These policies entail cutting or eliminating progressive taxes, suppressing wages, and cutting public services.

     The evidence and arguments cited to support the beneficial effects of these policies range from deeply flawed to nonexistent.

    In actuality, the Chapter 8. Policy Conclusion book provides a recipe for economic inequality and declining incomes for most citizens and for depriving state and local governments of the revenue needed to maintain public infrastructure and education systems that are the underpinnings of long-term economic growth.

    ALEC’s policy prescriptions don’t work.

    Alec/Laffer dismantled piece by piece; methodology proven false. Scope proven false. Collection of data cherry picked and misinterpreted. false correlation of statistics.
    labor becomes more productive through investments in “human capital”—education and training—that increase the skills of workers. Finally, the overall productivity of the economy depends on labor and capital being used as fully as possible, and this requires full employment, and a labor force that remains healthy and on the job.

    It's almost amazing that each and every claim made by ALEC/Laffer is not just provably wrong but diametrically opposite the truth too

    We conclude that the actual purpose of Rich States, Poor States is to sell the ALEC-Laffer package of policies—fiscal austerity, regressive taxation and wage suppression— in the sheep’s clothing of economic growth.
    Tax cuts for the rich do worse than nothing
    Increases in food stamps or unemployment compensation in fact have five times the stimulus effects of cuts in taxes on high income households. Progressivity is good for the economy, a truth quite inconvenient for ALEC.

     - emphasis added

    States that controlled by republicans that adopted ALEC policies did the worst. States that had more progressive agenda did much better in almost every way.
    Indeed, the policies that make up the ALEC-Laffer Economic Outlook Ranking are not a recipe for growth and prosperity, but more likely quite the opposite.
    "Right to work" for less is nothing but a ploy to bust unions and lower labor costs/wages. And states with higher wages do better.

    - So ALEC/Laffer/Conservative movement policies  et al. proven wrong again, thoroughly wrong.

    Reaganomics =  voodoo, trickle down fairy dust economics that hurt real people

    Major Kudos to the authors/researchers for this excellent work up - Peter Fisher with Greg LeRoy and Philip Mattera

    Thx MB

    (wow - this is a keeper - hotlisted)

  •  Relatively speaking, I give more than the Koch's (5+ / 0-)

    If I had $100 billion I would be giving $1 billion in proportion.

    So they are stingy with their money.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 10:33:01 PM PDT

  •  My crotch is decidely cosmopolitant in taste. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson
  •  Not A Fly By Night Operation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Oh, the pathos.

    To quote the greatest philosopher of the 20th century: "I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam."

    by franklyn on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 10:58:55 PM PDT

  •  Completely OT, non-political question (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, Cadillac64, Calamity Jean

    This is driving me nuts.  Has anyone seen the new commercial on the Science Channel for this Saturday's episode of Outrageous Acts of Science?

    They show a round little animal, with feet, that reminds me of a puffer fish.  It's the cutest dang thing I've seen, but don't have a clue what it is or what it's called.

    I'm going crazy searching the net, and I dunno if I can wait till Saturday.

    Can anyone put me out of my misery?

    "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress Chris Christie. But I repeat myself." ~ Mark Twain, (with a twist) ;o)

    by Terre on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 11:05:00 PM PDT

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