Once again, we’re brought back to a raw fact: economy is politics, politics economy.
The Arizona state legislature’s response to the state budget crisis engendered by the collapse of the Bush economy has been pigheaded beyond belief. Elected leaders here, brought into office before the recent national changeover in leadership and set free to work mischief by the loss of Democratic governor Janet Napolitano, cling to the failed Republican doctrine that government borrowing is bad and taxes are worse. The wretches fail to grasp that government is different from private corporations and different from their own little household economies.
As a result, they have engaged in an extended bloodbath that continues to this day, with K through 12 schools forced to fire thousands of teachers statewide, universities closing down entire colleges and canning or furloughing thousands of employees, libraries and parks shutting down, basic services curtailed or eliminated. The kindest term for their strategy might be “draconian”; a more accurate one, “stupid.”
Now, many days late and vast billions of dollars short, it’s beginning to dawn on our august leaders that they’re going to have to borrow some money to keep the government functioning. Local television station KPHO’s online news quotes Sen. Pat Gorman as saying, “We don’t like to borrow. We don’t think that’s a good idea. . . . But right now, we’re looking at what’s a bad idea and what’s a really bad idea.” The station also reports “a spokesman for the Republican governor” as saying that “the governor was reluctant to borrow money as a way to reduce the deficit. She supports the tax increase as a better option.”
News reporters often get quotations wrong, but the strange pin-headed thinking of this state’s elected leaders has been reported so often and its consequences have become so obvious that it’s hard to figure anything but that the reporters are getting the general gist right.
Borrowing now is a day late and a dollar short. The state needed to do that before its workforce and its private industries were devastated by vast layoffs.
And as for raising taxes, let me tell you: I would have voted in favor of a tax increase to rescue the state’s economy while I still had a job. Now it’s too late. A larger percentage of nothing is nothing. How will raising taxes on workers who no longer have jobs raise money to help the state’s economy?
The loss of my job at the Great Desert University and of the wages of thousands of my coworkers is directly attributable the majority Republican legislators’ bizarre short-sightedness and stubbornness. At my age I will not get another job. Social Security plus what shreds of my life savings remain after the collapse of the Bush economy will not support me without my working part-time for the rest of my life. Arizona can raise my taxes and be damned. The tax collectors can visit me at the Seventh Avenue Overpass, under which I will soon be living, in a tent nursing home.
There oughta be a law against electing damn fools to public office.