A Tale of Two KPIs
Posted on July 6, 2016
Yes, we know it can be quite confusing at first. We’ve heard it from multiple activists: why are we named KPI when there’s already another KPI, Kansas Policy Institute, whose goals are roughly the diametric opposite of ours? A KPI who, as one recent tweeter described as “a facsist arm of corporate ALEC ”
To be sure, at the time we changed our name from Ad Astra Institute to Kansas Progress Institute, the fundamentally dishonest Kansas Policy Institute was then known as the Flint Hills Institute.
Forgive of us this quasi overly self-referential post, but when you have such a media based on both fast and very economical delivery of information, disinformation easily finds its way among even very educated folks. Hence, the need to explain, to respond to disinformation.
In the big picture of things, however, the moniker is the least of the disinformation to respond to, as Steve Rose reminds us in his recent editorial in the Kansas City Star criticizing Kansas Policy Institute’s really phony math used to drum up support for continued cuts to education and other important public services .
In fact, one of the primary motives of starting this, Kansas Progress Institute (our KPI), amid its not so deep pockets and lacking the connections to billionaires, was to counter multibillion dollar industry* of the publication of pseudoscientific policy research that radicals like the Koch brothers and others have since the nineteen seventies put billions into, all for the sole purpose convincing the media, so by extension the masses at large to denigrate any productive role of government to keep the wealthy from paying their fair share of taxes–basically dismantle almost everything that made this country a great leader in the world as modern democracy.
And we see the extreme results of this convincing in the state of Kansas, where Governor Sam Brownback and the Radical Right legislature, after months of warnings from mainstream economist about the deficit it would cause, passed the heinous 2012 tax cut, turning a multi-million budget surplus into a stunning multi-million deficit, manufacturing a crisis that forces cuts to education, and even to road maintenance which generally have bipartisan support.
And yet months after it was passed, the Kansas Policy Institute predicted that at least $323 million in new local sales- and property-tax revenue would be generated.
We thank Mr. Rose, and many others like Duane Goosen from the Kansas Center for Economic Growth (KCEG) for following up and responding to the Kansas Policy Institute’s disinformation. The economic disadvantage we are all in does in a real way necessitate that we do counter the bad research.
But we must also offer our own ideas and alternatives, which we will be doing and seeing more of in the coming years
*Footnote: For a good overview of the reach of these billionaires into the word of manufactured Science see the following table, Leading Billionaire orgs for RRR philanthropy, from KPI President David Burress’s forthcoming book.