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David Mansheim

David Mansheim

Iowa may not be a river in Egypt, but it does seem to be in denial.

Voters on Nov. 6 returned control of the Iowa House, Senate and governorship to Republicans. Their leadership pledges more business-friendly legislation and vows they will continue on a path similar to what Kansas and Wisconsin have taken over the last eight years.

Terry Branstad, Kim Reynolds, Linda Upmeyer, Pat Grassley, Bill Dix and his successor, Annette Sweeney, have taken us quite a way down that path already.

In the last two years, Republicans privatized Medicaid, gave tax credits to corporations and tax cuts to the wealthy, underfunded education and other essential state services below the rate of inflation, used up the state’s surplus, restricted voting rights, expanded gun rights (Glocks for tots, anyone?), diminished collective bargaining, closed mental health institutions and made zygotes people. The average Iowan has received little beyond more hog lots and casinos.

So why are we in this handbasket, and where are we headed? Kansas went broke following “trickle-down economics” (what George H.W. Bush called voodoo economics). This theory says cutting taxes leads to an economic boom that will more than replace the lost tax revenue. Never mind the fact it has never worked anywhere it has been tried.

Wisconsin took a Dumpster dive following a corollary that says giving tax money away to corporations will result in more investment and employment. Economic royalists there and among our Iowa legislators believe that if you really want to help the poor, you have to give the money to the rich because a rising tide lifts all yachts.

Iowa may have voted to double down on this path to destruction, but the states that are four years ahead of us on that path just voted to reverse direction. Voters in Kansas woke up and threw out Gov. Sam Brownback and his wackadoodle theories.

Voters in Wisconsin revolted and threw out erstwhile presidential candidate Gov. Scott Walker after seeing his education cuts damage their children, his war on labor damage their economy and their state government run by the Koch Brothers, Americans For Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Those in Alcoholics Anonymous say an alcoholic must reach his bottom before denial stops and they ask for help. Buddha supposedly said, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” meaning the message is everywhere, but one can only hear it when one is receptive.

Iowa isn’t ready yet. We will have to reach our bottom first.

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David Mansheim is a retired lawyer, educator and businessman living in Parkersburg.


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