Some of the richest people in the US have been at the front of the queue as the government has handed out trillions of dollars to prop up an economy it shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the billionaire class has added $308bn to its wealth in four weeks - even as a record 26 million people lost their jobs.
After a failed economic experiment meant to boost economic growth blew a hole in the Kansas budget as big as a prairie sky (a $350m deficit in the current fiscal year and nearly $600m in the next) state jobs and services have been slashed. To make ends meet, money that was earmarked for roads has been diverted to the general fund. A state that used to maintain 1,200 miles of road a year is now repairing 200 miles a year. Even in the capital, Topeka, potholes are everywhere.
Kansas has rejected the years-long tax-cutting experiment that brought its governor, Sam Brownback, to international attention and provided a model for the Trump administration’s troubled tax plans. In a warning shot to the Trump administration, even Brownback’s fellow Republicans voted to override his veto of a bill to reverse many of the tax cuts he championed as a way to spur entrepreneurs and the economy, but which have left the state with a $1bn hole in its budget.
Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate, sold stock in US banks on the same day he attended a confidential meeting where top level officials disclosed the sector was heading for a deep crisis.