« 'Another Los Angeles' | Main | We'll be OK, right? »

March 01, 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


It is a shame we can't get info like this from our local writers so we can make informed decisions on our legislators and the job they are doing.When the balloon pops and we ask "What the hell happened ,the local media are going to shrug their shoulders and say "How were we supposed to know?" Well,this is when we need you to remember your stats.

Jon said,"Housing, another self-measure of well-being, is still badly mauled from the Great Recession".
in my travels there are apartments, houses, RV Parks, etc going up in Arizona from NM to California BorderS. They are trashing any and all water sources and desert environment. Currently its impossible to go to the grocery store with the crush of winter visitors including those illegal Canadians.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Cal! As an illegal Canadian who has been wintering in a small former mining town south of Gila Bend for some 9 or so years now, I am reminded of a brief conversation I had with a "snowbird hater" in a New WalMart in Fortuna Foothills lo those many years ago. There was a long lineup at all checkouts. "It's the snowbirds'fault!" At least their infusion of cash was helping the job market. "They're not permanent jobs!" Noticed the fellow was packing, swallowed a familiar 2-word phrase.

Your welcome Norm. Maybe ill stop by Ajo on my way to a great place called WHY. I'LL buy the coffee and we can see what the book store in Ajo has to offer. I don't despise snowbirds. But i do shop late as most them snowbirds and soil bankers seem to be lights out at 2100.

PS Norm. Im usually packing.

The boosters live in their own "alternative facts" universe where what they say is the only thing that registers. The echo chamber in their bubble has more surfaces for the message to rebound than the Grand Canyon.

It sounds like a hot date, Cal... unfortunately this tight-lipped (!!) migratory Canadian has to vamoose north in 2 weeks, but I look forward to the coffee whenever! And I'm a fan of The Y as well.

5 months medical insurance ran out?

Mike Doughty, Jon was a "local writer," but the powerholders didn't like him raining on their parade. In Arizona, it's your civic DUTY to conform--and if you don't, they'll let you know (in no uncertain terms) that you're not wanted....

Mike Doughty, The powerholders in Arizona consider "authoritative sources" to be "fake news."

Arizona is a low-tax, low services, and minimal public square state. It's also very attractive to senior citizens who want a strong safety net for themselves paid for by taxes from young people. The right is very clever by suggesting seniors bootstrapped their pensions and health care by paying for them in advance. This is, at best, an incomplete story. SS benefits are paid by FICA taxes on current workers. Current Medicare recipients pay only about a third of the benefits they receive. Arizona's political culture leverages this information failure by shifting the long-term costs to the young. This translates to low investments in education, training, and infrastructure that underwrite a strong economy.

The best economies in this nation and around the world redistribute the wealth with higher taxes and good services. What makes this politically feasible is the relative homogeneity of the polities themselves. Whether it's Blue State America or the nations of Northern Europe, strong social democracies indicate social majorities that are still willing to put the "we" before the "I".

Tip O'Neill famously said that all politics is local but that misses the greater truth of Donald Trump's America. Red states like Arizona exist in national information bubbles that scapegoat minorities and immigrants. Fox News and other electronic media feed them a steady stream of cultural and racial grievances. They vote as if they're victims when, in fact, they're very nearly the opposite. What you see economically plays out like a dystopian nightmare where old vampires feed on young virgins.

The Republican Party today feasts off the meanness and ignorance of old people, all of whom grew up in a America where a much stronger social contract paid for their education (including college), underwrote their pensions, subsidized their housing, and extended their lifespans with Medicare. Arizona is a Republican state for a reason and its economy is "successful" in that it keeps the old voting GOP while demoralizing its non-voting younger citizens. It's the civic equivalent of Trump University.

soleri, the "we" before the "I" comment is a perfect description to excoriate the cynically selfish behavior of trump and his New American Nazi storm troopers. This is where the strategy of divide and conquer thrives. Again, Kudos to you!

Cal: no, we always have lots of slack in our out of country health coverage. And it's affordable! Those pesky family matters are calling us away early this year, back in the fall. Notice how the RC comment section is a virtual love-in compared to Jon's Seattle Times column? You'd think that Arizona was the last bastion of reasonable progressives...

Bradley, thank you for your comment. Right-wing tribalism has been around as long as I've been alive. I think the difference today is that the Republican Party is no longer a Big Tent in that there are few liberals or even moderates in the ranks. Trump is the proof of this assertion but hardly its cause. It even precedes Reagan to a certain extent. That cause, I think, is the GOP's transition to a white-identity party.

The reason this matters for our discourse and politics is easy to see. A party predicated on a particular demographic will necessarily radicalize as that slice gets smaller. It's why the appreciation of objective reality, truthfulness, and political norms has attenuated dramatically on the right. Panic will do that to you when you sense survival itself is at stake.

Arizona is as good a state as any to see how this phenomenon works. While its Republican Party was always very conservative, it was sometime in the 1990s that it simply became unhinged. Of course, you could make this same observation about the national party as well. This is why it helps to put Arizona in context. The "winner" states are largely blue while most of the "left behind" states are mostly red. What is germane here is the presence of an educated and prosperous middle class that votes as if other people still matter. Once a state loses that quality of citizenship, a civic abyss begins to open. It's a telltale sign of a failing democracy.

I don't know if Arizona can pull out of this tailspin or not. It needs to raise taxes in order to invest in education and infrastructure. Just as important, it needs to conserve its natural resources and beauty if its going to attract high-end jobs and a "creative class". Right now, the state is lurching semi-consciously while it pursues a laissez-faire "what works" strategy. Real-estate players and ideologues swear by it but it will eventually exact a cost that is unpayable. This has always been the problem for those human societies that opt for a sugar rush of immediate gratification. Arizona is eating itself into a diabetic coma.

“What is germane here is the presence of an educated and prosperous middle class that votes as if other people still matter.”

The modern era Republicans generally don’t believe what happens to others effects them. Many live insular lives abetted by cars, exburbs, homeschooling and self employment. Anglos in Arizona and New Mexico mostly don’t know what a prosperous middle class is given the lack of corporate headquarters located in the region. The motto for Arizona is “Live for myself and live for today”. The state is too far gone with too many challenges to overcome.

Soleri, you said: “The right is very clever by suggesting seniors bootstrapped their pensions and health care by paying for them in advance. This is, at best, an incomplete story. SS benefits are paid by FICA taxes on current workers.” Not exactly true! SS ceased to be a “pay as you go” system with the SS Reform Act of 1983 when tax rates were bumped up over a few years to the current combined SS/Medicare rates of 15.4% with the SS wage base increasing every year as it continues to today. The “excess” collected was accounted for in the Trust Fund backed by special Treasury Bonds which would grow in an amount sufficient to cover Baby Boomers SS checks until they were just about actuarially dead. The right wingers like to say SS needs to be reformed because there is nothing in the “Trust Fund” except future federal obligations. But the money collected from the Boomers was very real and used to fight wars and pay other federal obligations and if you’re really into right wing conspiracies - pay for the Reagan tax cuts. There’s no denying that this tax system has created pockets of enormous wealth concentration. People with far too much money can be danger to the public - like the car dealer magnate bought out by Berkshire Hathaway who created an unneeded resort community in Wickenburg that has sapped what’s left of that town’s real estate market, and the proposed new high tech city proposed by Bill Gates - 5 miles from one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants - for God’s sake!

John Cote, I agree! I only meant to suggest that SS depends on younger people feeding the benefit stream for the current cohort of of elderly citizens. This becomes a problem when a certain cynical political party tells its low-information base that this is a Ponzi scheme. It's why so many younger citizens think SS will not be there for them. And the Randian right (see: Paul Ryan) lurk in the wings ready to attribute their yawning deficits on "entitlements". This is their long con: tell the voters there's a problem with the system because of treasury outflows, then cut taxes on the rich, and voila! Mission accomplished!

They impoverish the public square and blame the problem on tax-and-spend liberals. The con really becomes apparent when the elderly are frightened into thinking that their Medicare is being weakened on behalf of the undeserving workers without health insurance (see: Obamacare hysteria). It's a classic shell game. Step One: Divide the electorate. Step Two: create an artificial crisis. Step Three: conquer. This weakens faith in the social contract and feeds social divisions. It's not just intergenerational. The con is predicated primarily on feeding the racial paranoia of America's least evolved and and least informed citizens. If you're voting Republican, you're either very stupid or, possibly, a cynic.

soleri, And then there is the term the Republicans bring to describing social services: entitlements. When one pays into Social Security, that becomes an "earned" benefit.

This is deliberate duplicity--and is intended to make the target voters think those receiving the "entitlement" are freeloading. I posit there is very little morality or Christian motivation behind such verbal hoodwinking. And yet, the Republicans still shamelessly call themselves the "Party of God."

I don't love the Democrats, but I believe they do "give back" a bit more than the Republicans.

Bradley, it's even worse than it looks (pace Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann). The Republican Party is not merely distasteful. it's an existential threat to America itself. I scratch my head and struggle to remember anything Democrats have done that is as ugly, stupid and vile as Donald Trump on any given day. Or Devin Nunes working to undermine his own country for the benefit of Party and Leader. Or Mitch McConnell subverting basic democratic norms for that Party. Or Paul Ryan exploding the deficit in order to undermine the safety net. Or all the various NRA toadies, full mooners, Neo-Confederates, and media vultures who make a mockery of measured self-government with every breath they take.

We know as human beings that nobody is entirely right and the other person entirely wrong. But what we're seeing politically is a kind of group hysteria on the right that is utterly antithetical to American ideals, history, and best interests. It doesn't give me any pleasure to write these words: Republicans are killing America. Not Democrats, Republicans. That's all you need to know.

USA adds 300K+ jobs

Arizona loses 45K jobs.



Hey Guv Ducey, what's up with that???

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

My Photo

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz