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March 17, 2015


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One wishes it were different, but after 25 years of Republican misrule, one sees the writing on the wall.

The new lowest in the nation welfare- one year of it is all you get- is even lower than what was available during the great depression.

And the result of this Randian paradise is more poverty. More Joads will be leaving Arizona, which will warm the cockles of the Chamber and all of those who hate the poor once they are born.

Of course, one would think the Realtors would be happy to keep the poor around to build the houses cheap, but even that train is gradually ending as Arizona loses the competitive advantage over everywhere else.

I find it significant that one of the few people who think that Arizona ain't so bad is the commenter from Alabama- just goes to show the comparison with Appalachia and the deep South is apt.

Quite frankly, the leaders of the state from 50 years ago would be appalled at the current situation, as it represents the destruction of their goals of making Arizona better and joining the national economy through increased development.

Business growth here is failing due to the lack of employment for the educated (a significant portion of Arizona's recent college graduates leave for employment).

But, in the face of a religious level of ideology, data and reality have become irrelevant.

After a while, one just begins to disengage, and decide that it is not worth the effort: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus#/media/File:Nekyia_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen_1494_n2.jpg

We got what the people didn't want, and when the people finally wise up, it will be the end of the Republican Party, because it will be so tainted by this reality.

"When people finally wise up."

Those five words just negated your whole post.

We will get another Huey Long, and the oligarchy may not be as lucky as last time.

That is what I see happening, and the capitalists will sell their souls to him to save them from the masses.

Right now everyone thinks socialism is dead, and that is just when you mix some intense nationalism with a bit of leveling, and bingo, you own a country down to it's soul.

Marine La Pen. Fidesz. Putin.

The writing is on the wall, read it before it gets here.

"He who despairs is a coward, but he who has hope is a fool."

Metro Phoenix is no longer an inexpensive place to live like it used to be, and those who move here under the illusion that's "it's so cheap to live in the Valley, who cares if most jobs pay under $10 an hour" are in for a rude awakening. In the past 10 years, wages for most middle and lower income jobs have remained stagnant and in some cases have declined, while the cost of living for necessities like food and shelter continues to soar.
Let's encourage employers to start rewarding a college degree through higher pay since roughly only 25% of adults in the country have one. A liberal arts degree tends to make you a more intelligent person and critical thinker, but it doesn't seem to be valued in Arizona. Sadly, there are probably many liberal arts majors who possess excellent reading, writing and critical thinking skills that are making under $30,000 a year in AZ. They are a great undervalued asset. Arizona needs to attract better quality, higher paying jobs instead of low wage call center and service sector jobs.

That one low point in your life has always caused me to have a soft spot for food banks.

I am drifting through Phoenix for a month or two after 5 years away. The pressure is still on for the wage earners here. Read that the Kooks have a five year plan to continue lowering taxes even after the severe cuts to education and social services this fiscal year and before. Planning my exit before the triple digit heat begins very soon. No place for a thinking human being to reside if other options are available.

Your work place experiences Rogue reminded me a lot of mine over my two to three decades of time spent in Phoenix. No respect for employees here when such an ample excess of low and middle workers exist.

The hope of positive change for Arizona mentioned in earlier comments seems overly optimistic. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for Kook Land Arizona.

Now should it be Portland, Denver or Minneapolis next?

Israel and US take a hard turn right.
Citizens are marched into the nite.
Freedom is put to bed.
The religious right turned out the light.
They struck the match for the "Fire Next Time."

This cutting and cutting of education and the very small safety net for people who really need help is a national strategy probably coming from ALEC and those who run ALEC. Unions have been busted in Wisconsin. They just passed their "right-to-work" law. Some of the people I know there think they will become like Mississippi. They are wrong. They will become more like Arizona. The politicians will be long gone onto other positions when all of this will hit the fan. Good companies will not move here since the education system is in such disarray. I already know of well educated people who have had really good job opportunities here who have not come because of their fears of the school system. Our infrastructure is really deteriorating. We would have seen the streets of Phoenix be in really bad shape, but the stimulus gave the City a lot of money to fix streets that were becoming very, very bad. Lots of other things need to be fixed. But, they are sort of invisible and can be patched for awhile. Sometimes people from the east coast who come to visit are surprised we do not have cattle in the streets, like an old west movie. Maybe we will....

Mike when the desert reclaims Phoenix the asphalt and concrete will be choked with desert grass and The Seri's will wander about the mesquite believing evil once visited here.

Re: Concern Troll about “I find it significant that one of the few people who think that Arizona ain't so bad is the commenter from Alabama- just goes to show the comparison with Appalachia and the deep South is apt.”

I guess that would have to be me. You couldn’t be farther from the truth on this – as a few other things. Tended to believe what I read about here concerning the state of the Phoenix economy. But recently came across some interesting data to demonstrate just how rotten it is in Phoenix.

First from Per capital real incomes by metro: (these are adjusted by “price parity” considerations RC alluded to.


The list is per capita “adjusted” incomes. It is for the 52 metro areas in the US with a population greater than 1,000,000.
Western Metros:
San Fran/Oak Ca 52,105 1
San Jose Ca 51,095 3
Seattle 47,290 10
Denver 46,337 13
Kansas City 45,802 15
Sacramento 41,371 35
Portland 40,706 39
San Diego 39,657 43
Salt Lake City 38,705 46
Los Angeles 37,192 48
Phoenix 36,155 49
Las Vegas 35,053 51
Riverside/San B 28,472 52

BTW Birmingham is at #22 with 44,038 – one spot above Dallas-Fort worth at #23

An interesting historical overview of the situation is in this one:


The “new Appalachia” if you must insist would consist of Southern Cali, Az, N. Mex and Nevada.

P.S. I find it astonishing that San Fran, with its high cost of living still easily comes in highest.


The demographia data, while computed in 2012, uses 2008 chained dollars. If that uses a constant CPI used in the entire country, it's going to be very deceptive because it's not going to capture the different housing cost increase difference between San Fran and Phoenix.

And the averages really hurt the analysis. San Diego about 10% more than Phoenix? Sure- if you're comparing San Diego way east of the I-15 to similar outskirts of metro Phoenix. But the LaJolla area of San Diego to Paradise Valley in Phoenix? A 50% difference would not cover the housing cost difference.

Just to make my comparison completely transparent to wkg- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_educational_attainment

Look at the neo confederacy and appalachia living on the bottom of the charts.

Now, realize that Arizona has been sinking on this chart relative to Alabama when you look at the census data link: www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0233.xls

Now, look at your state improving the numbers since 1990- all the while Arizona has been very slowly improving, but moving down the charts from 32 place in 2000 for HS grads to 37 in 2010- But the real damage is in the comparison to 1990- Arizona was 21st in HS grads in 1990 and has slid down that far!!!

That ain't progress, that is sliding down the scale.

No other conclusion can be drawn than Arizona is stalled in education, and the rest of the country has been significantly improving.

Your mileage may vary, but Arizona is heading toward dead last in this race, and losing fast.

I am currently in San Francisco to visit one of the kids. The cost of living is relatively high, the amount of recently acquired wealth is mind blowing. Some ranking or other (perhaps from Rogue's Front Page) showed that the City now has the 2nd highest number of "extremely wealthy individuals." 49 square miles. Bayview is getting hot as a business start-up and residential area... Bayview!!!
Meanwhile California, if it can get a little rain, is recovering very nicely from the effects of the recall coup d'etat of 2002 followed by 8 years of Ahnold the clown. This with an old hand at the helm, one Jerry "moonbeam" Brown.

Rogue wrote:

"Another sign of the peculiar way of work: 43,000 jobs were lost in January. Washington state, of similar population, added 18,300."

Remember, Arizona's rural areas are traditionally agricultural. If instead of the states we compare metro areas, we get a different picture:

"Job openings declined in 19 of the 25 largest U.S. metros in January 2015. Positives areas of growth included month-over-month gains in Phoenix (1.86%) and Miami & Fort Lauderdale (0.74%)."


In fact, in January 2015, while Phoenix jobs grew by 1.86%, the Seattle-Tacoma area lost jobs (-1.36%).


So, Phoenix did pretty well in January, in terms of job creation. In fact, only one other metro did better than Phoenix, out of the top fifty metro areas by population, in job creation in January.

It may be possible that a meaningful analysis of employment dynamics requires distinguishing between the vicissitudes of a traditionally agricultural state where agriculture is of decreasing importance, and large metro areas like Phoenix. Or, perhaps my observation is facile and in error. I'm keeping an open mind, but I think the idea deserves exploring.

P.S. You can see the 63,431 jobs added in Phoenix in January, categorized in terms of Top Posting Industries (top 10) and Top Posting Occupations (ditto) here:


Food service workers are sixth on the list of top posting occupations; the top five (for those too lazy to click) are: nurses; office and administrative workers; information technology workers; and salesmen.

The answer is the first post Jon's Front Pages,

As of 2010, Walmart was the biggest employer in 25 states.


In 2006 it was the largest employer in 16 states, so its growth is phenomenal.

I can't seem to find the number of states as of 2015 where Walmart is the largest employer.

As of 2010, Walmart was the biggest employer in 25 states.


In 2006 it was the largest employer in 16 states, so its growth is phenomenal.

I can't seem to find the number of states as of 2015 where Walmart is the largest employer.

Robert Reich's dystopia is one possibility, cal.

I have to imagine that political stability will require some sort of socialism (whether it's called that or not), if unemployment rates soar on a permanent basis because of automation. Once this affects the middle class, you can bet that political candidates and TV pundits will be talking a different language.

Speaking of talking a different language?http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/18/glenn-beck-republican-party-out_n_6896428.html

Will Glenn be excommunicated?

At Troll re: ”Just to make my comparison completely transparent to wkg-“

You failed. I think I can see your point. We’ve been down this path before. Many things go into having a good economy. Education is just one of them. But in Phoenix’s case, I don’t think education levels are the main reason for its economic doldrums. Improving them will not miraculously improve the economy.
Sorting the three columns of educational attainment (in your click-through) indicates that advanced degree attainment seems to be the one most closely associated with economic success. Does this mean having ASU double the rate of advanced degree production is going to really do much to improve the economy? Oddly enough, I’d say yes – if they were the right ones. Raising the Engineering, Biology, Mining and Agriculture schools to World Class stature could have a real positive effect. I’m dubious that the production of more advanced degrees in Education, Business, English, or Sociology would have any effect at all. There are a couple of potential problems with the scheme though.

One is that people who are super-talented, super-educated and super-motivated are highly mobile. To invest in individuals that are out the door the moment the investment is about to pay off is a problem.

The other is that “Eds and Meds” are a me-too strategy – it’s on everyone’s menu. Isn’t ASU already the largest university in the country?

I would propose picking a couple of specialties. One might be solar energy utilization. This would involve aspects of Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, and Manufacturing. It doesn’t mean that the schools need to be across the board great – just the aspects that deal with all things solar.

Call me contrarian, but I think Agriculture is the place to be in the future.

Next, your own statement: ”Business growth here is failing due to the lack of employment for the educated (a significant portion of Arizona's recent college graduates leave for employment)” speaks for itself.

Finally re: “gradually ending as Arizona loses the competitive advantage over everywhere else.” I’m not aware of any particular advantage that Phoenix has over anybody else – except for weather for three or four months per year. This is offset by brutally bad (hot) weather for three or four months a year.

Well, I’ll quit for now. To conclude I think the education-economy mime is too simple and just wrong.

Rogue wrote:

" And don't forget retirees whose dream in the sun set. In 2011, Arizona had 2.97 million Social Security recipients."

Sorry, but no. That's the number of Arizonans with income subject to S.S. and D.I. payroll taxes, not the number of benefit recipients. If you scroll to the bottom of the table you'll find the total for all areas (U.S.), which is 158 million. That's roughly half the population of the country.

wkg my point to you is I do not want any more mines or mining engineer's. The 3 state university's are sufficient, no need for private rip off the government and students for Profit schools. No need for more residential building or permeant residents and the weather in Phoenix for me is fine 12 months out of the year. Arizona is blessed with five seasons.

PS wkg, "the advent of agriculture was the beginning of the downfall of man" (or manunkind) or something like that by Jared Diamond

"Bad hot weather". 5 months a year I'm surrounded by wimpy N easterners and Canadians that whine about "liberals" while sunbathing and driving their off road vehicles and tearing up what's left of the great Sonoran desert.
And then there are the gun enthusiasts that look like ISIS terroist's roaring thru the desert in their jeeps an pickups firing their big guns (lots of folks with AK47's) at Sajuaros and anything that looks like a rabbit or coyote. And oh yes their favorite targrt, highway signs.

Weekly wages vary enormously depending on the period and locale.

For example, in the 2Q of 2014:

U.S.: $940
Maricopa County: $931
Arizona: $888


So. during this period Arizona's most populous county was at par with the nation as a whole. The rest of the state (which depends inordinately on mining and agriculture) brought the average way down, though Arizona was still 21st among states.

Median average household income is probably the most informative measure, though again the results depend on whether you are viewing data by state, county or city and on the period.

Per capital measures are likely to be misleading in a state with lots of child Hispanics and some retirees, both of which bring the per capital average down.

per capital = per capita My damned mobile keeps auto-"correcting".

One problem with median household income is that the Census sourced data isn't updated that often: the 2014 data isn't scheduled for release until September 2015. This can lead to misleading comparisons during or just after recessions and economic crises such as housing market collapses, which don't affect all states and regions equally.

A business story published three days ago gives Maricopa County median household income as "about $53,596" though it's unclear to me whose estimate this is and how it was derived:


OK, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures for 2013 (the latest available), median household income:

U.S. $53,046
Maricopa County $53,596
Arizona $49,774


So actually Arizona's most populous county beats the national average. The state as a whole is well below it (rural areas dependent on mining and agriculture, as well as underdevelopment compared to metro areas like Phoenix).

Arizona is blessed with five seasons?


I count seven.

Cal, what the HuffPo coverage fails to make clear is that Glenn Beck is disenchanted with the Republican Party because it's leadership didn't support Ted Cruz's shutdown of government (that is, didn't support it to the bitter and bloody end). His disaffection with the National Rifle Association is seems to be based on its ties to Grover Norquist (he of the no new taxes pledge) because-- get this-- somebody accused Norquist of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In other words, the wackadoodle Right has begun to eat its own. Chickens. Home. Roost.


Well common cents I take it U R one of the Wimps?

Wkg wrote:

"One is that people who are super-talented, super-educated and super-motivated are highly mobile. To invest in individuals that are out the door the moment the investment is about to pay off is a problem."

By this logic, education should end at the sixth grade, or at least public investment in education should.

"The other is that “Eds and Meds” are a me-too strategy – it’s on everyone’s menu. Isn’t ASU already the largest university in the country?"

Maybe Arizona should put junk food in school cafeterias; after all, nutritious foods are on everyone else's menu too.

The medical sector is expanding quickly in most states because of aging demographics and expanded federal funding. As for research and development public investment, it isn't a zero-sum game. Research and patents that bring Arizona federal and private funds and acclaim will benefit the state regardless of achievements elsewhere, and will also help the state attract (or retain) talent.

Restructure the Arizona University System to provide greater accessibility, affordability, and accountability to a public university education for many more Arizonans:


@Emil, in response to your comments: the thread relates to education and its effects on the economy; more specifically – is under-spending causing Phoenix’s economic problems and would spending (a lot) more improve it significantly. My position: not really.

Re: “By this logic, education should end at the sixth grade, or at least public investment in education should.” I think my comments were clearly about advanced university education. My opinion is that public spending should focus, in descending order K-12, CC and University. As I have said earlier, K12 should focus on three areas: reading/writing, science/math and history/geography/economics. The result should be a HS grad that can get along in the world. If you have the skills outlined, you can learn everything else that might be needed as the occasion arises. I admit to having no answer about what to do with those children that can never “get along in the world”. As usual, it should be “free”.

CC should focus on specific skills and abilities that have a “right now” application.

University education should be reserved for only the most gifted and motivated. The “gifted” qualifier would be somewhere around 20% of the population. Add the qualifier of “gifted and motivated” and we’re at something like 15% of the population. Paul Fussell

, whose liberal cred can’t be questioned, puts the number at 13%. Given that the US as a whole has 28% of the eligible population with BA’s/BS’s from somewhere in something, there is no shortage of “college educated” people. Phoenix has no immediate use for the college grads it has now.

My reference to “Eds and Meds” as a me-too response is self-evident; of course every city of any size is going to have reasonable higher ed and medical systems. It’s a lot like having paved streets as an economic growth strategy. It’s a given. I think Phoenix easily meets the basic qualifiers in this regard. But to turn either into an industry of its own is rare and hard to do. Boston is the only city that I can think of where higher ed is an industry.

Re higher ed as a “talent attracter”: I’m not buying into the R. Florida meme. I think an equally strong story could be written about strong economies attracting talent, not the other way around. In any case, there are 80K+ “talented” individuals already residing right now at ASU in Tempe. I don’t think attraction is the problem – keeping the talent that’s already there is the problem.

The gold standard for higher education is inclusion in the American Association of Universities (AAU). There are currently 62 in the US and Canada. From their web site:

“The Association of American Universities (AAU) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization of 62 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1900 to advance the international standing of U.S. research universities, AAU today focuses on issues that are important to research-intensive universities, such as funding for research, research policy issues, and graduate and undergraduate education.”

“AAU member universities are on the leading edge of innovation, scholarship, and solutions that contribute to the nation's economy, security, and well-being. The 60 AAU universities in the United States award nearly one-half of all U.S. doctoral degrees and 55 percent of those in the sciences and engineering.”

One of the AAU schools is right down the road in Tucson, Arizona.

I have previously written that specific, targeted areas could merit higher ed investments, e.g. solar energy utilization. Let me add two others that might make sense for Phoenix: geriatric medicine and mining (how to do it without making a mess). I’d add agriculture, but unless you can convince several million people to move somewhere else – I don’t know if there’s a future given the water situation – which looks like it’s only going to get worse for the next 10 years or so.

Re Sanjeeve: “Restructure the Arizona University System to provide greater accessibility, affordability, and accountability to a public university education for many more Arizonans:” It’s already too accessible.


The Letter of Invitation
The Letter of Invitation to the Founding Conference of AAU
In January 1900, five university presidents from around the United States sent a letter to nine of their colleagues inviting them to a meeting in Chicago to discuss issues of common concern.
Weighing on their minds were three things: that the lack of consistency and standards in American higher education was hurting the reputations of the stronger institutions, that U.S. students were going to Europe to earn graduate degrees rather than staying home to attend U.S. institutions, and that European universities had little respect for U.S. academic degrees and, in some cases, were "dumbing down" graduate programs for American students.
Out of the resulting meeting that occurred at the University of Chicago on February 27- 28, 1900, came creation of the Association of American Universities (AAU).
The letter of invitation from the five university presidents is reproduced below.
The original document is in the AAU archive in the Special Collections of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at The Johns Hopkins University.
Harvard University Columbia University Johns Hopkins University The University of Chicago University of California
To President _________________________ Dear Sir:
In behalf of the Universities which we represent, we, the undersigned, beg to suggest that the time has arrived when the leading American Universities may properly consider the means of representing to foreign Universities the importance of revising their regulations governing the admission of American students to the examinations for the higher degrees.
We therefore extend to your University a cordial invitation to take part in a conference
file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Tom%20Bozzo/Desktop/website%20html%20files/Invit.html (1 of 3) [2/21/08 11:50:39 AM]
The Letter of Invitation
to be held in Chicago, during the month of February, 1900, for the discussion of matters relating to this subject.
This invitation is prompted by a desire to secure in foreign Universities, where it is not already given, such credit as is legitimately due to the advanced work done in our Universities of high standing, and to protect the dignity of our Doctor's degrees. It seems to us, for instance, that European Universities should be discouraged from conferring the degree of Doctor of Philosophy on American students who are not prepared to take the degree from our own best Universities, and from granting degrees to Americans on lower terms than to their native students.
There is reason to believe that among other things the deliberations of such a conference as has been proposed will
1) result in a greater uniformity of the conditions under which students may become candidates for higher degrees in different American Universities, thereby solving the question of migration, which has become an important issue with the Federation of Graduate Clubs;
2) raise the opinion entertained abroad of our own Doctor's Degree; 3) raise the standard of our own weaker institutions.
This invitation is extended to the University of California, The University of Chicago, Clark University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Leland Stanford Junior University, University of Wisconsin, and Yale University.
The United States Commissioner of Education has been invited to take part in the conference. The Federation of Graduate Clubs has likewise been invited to send a delegate.
It is suggested that each University be represented by a delegation with a single vote, but that the delegation may consist of one member or several members, at the discretion of the University.
Particulars concerning the exact date and place of meeting will be sent later to those accepting the invitation.
An early reply is greatly desired. It is requested that replies be sent to the University of California, Berkeley, California.
Very respectfully yours, file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Tom%20Bozzo/Desktop/website%20html%20files/Invit.html (2 of 3) [2/21/08 11:50:39 AM]
The Letter of Invitation
Charles W. Eliot. (Harvard University)
Seth Low. (Columbia University)
Daniel C. Gilman. (Johns Hopkins University) William R. Harper. (The University of Chicago) Benjamin Ide Wheeler. (University of Calif.)
January, 1900.
file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Tom%20Bozzo/Desktop/website%20html%20files/Invit.html (3 of 3) [2/21/08 11:50:39 AM]

interesting how some folks from the east consider the SW some kind of "Outland".
and how progress is viewed as "MORE not less.
and legislators in charge of AZ see no need for education beyond 8th grade unless you belong to thier tribe, particularly if you are not pure "white".

and "reserved for" sounds a lot like Reservations,
More social cleansing

"In any case, there are 80K+ 'talented' individuals already residing right now at ASU in Tempe. I don’t think attraction is the problem – keeping the talent that’s already there is the problem." -wkg

This is a little off topic, but interesting.

You do know there really aren't 80k+ students in Tempe? I often hear this in the form of a question, as in: "how did you deal with all those students?" To begin with, the Tempe campus has about 50,000 students enrolled at any given time and not all of them are full-time students. Traditional, full-time college student enrollment is closer to 40K in Tempe. Furthermore, there are 3 other residential campuses around metro Phoenix. The West and Downtown campuses are the largest apart from Tempe. ASU Downtown will take more students from Tempe with the opening of new law school facilities.

While enrollment at ASU is mainly students from Arizona, that is changing every year. That makes it even harder for Arizona to keep those students here after graduation. Of the people I grew closest to at ASU only about 20% remain in the state. To be fair, most of those who left weren't from Arizona to begin with. ASU ranks high for attracting the most international students (representing over 130 countries) when compared to other universities. It is also home to one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation: Minority enrollment is above 36%.

Compared to a university in the South, say Alabama, ASU is unique. Only 14% of students there are minorities. As such, I feel that ASU prepares more students for change that would come from accepting jobs in places where they would begin careers alone, and away from friends and family. For White students, I am sure that when almost 40% of the students you learned with and graduated with are from different backgrounds, it makes meeting people from diverse backgrounds much easier where ever you go.

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