02/18/2011 10:41 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Drowning (State) Government in a Bathtub

As conservative movement figure Grover Norquist put it, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

Many states are having problems balancing their books due to this recession. But what's happening in Wisconsin is a self-inflicted crisis.

Talking Points Memo reported on Thursday:

"Walker was not forced into a budget repair bill by circumstances beyond he control," says Jack Norman, research director at the Institute for Wisconsin Future -- a public interest think tank. "He wanted a budget repair bill and forced it by pushing through tax cuts... so he could rush through these other changes."

Wisconsin is not alone. Stateline reported on Monday:

... GOP governors in Florida, Iowa, Michigan and elsewhere want to go a step further. In what is widely considered the worst year yet of states' four-year budget crisis, these governors are promising big tax cuts for businesses and, in some cases, individuals. The proposals reflect their conviction that one of the best ways to spur business growth and job creation is to reduce taxes for those who do the hiring.

These governors are setting up their own future budget crises.

This redistribution of wealth to the rich from the rest of us, a reverse Robin Hood scheme, might make sense if the tax cuts were shown to work. But as the AP reported just this past Sunday, they do not.

But there's a catch to the anti-tax, pro-business rhetoric: Businesses consider a range of factors when deciding where to locate, including the quality of schools, roads and programs that rely on a certain level of public spending and regulation. And evidence suggests there is little correlation between a state's tax rate and its overall economic health.

Now Arkansas, one of the poorest states in the country, is debating capital gains tax cuts. How many times do we need to be trickled down on before we recognize the economics do not work?

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