Arizona 2010 State of the State address

In case you didn’t know, Arizona’s leadership is completely fucked. Since the whitehouse drafted our previous governor, Jan Brewer has stepped in to try and navigate the mess that is Arizona politics. And it hasn’t gone all that well. Since taking office, she’s been consistently in opposition to both parties in the state legislature, and has fostered animosity between the sheriff, county board of supervisors, and our attorney general and judges. There’s a tremendous power grabbing pissing match going on and as far as I can tell, Jan has done little to nothing to get it under control.

And it turns out that when that whole housing bubble burst, we were kind of in a bad place. See, when the money is rolling in, who cares about hedging risk right? New construction was booming and we were living fat off of taxes on new property sales, and property taxes on existing homes that continued to escalate in value. Little thought went into who exactly would live in all these new houses, and who would work in these new commercial buildings. It’s not like we have a diverse corporate infrastructure here in Arizona. Not like we have a surplus of high paying white collar jobs. We had construction jobs.

Well as I’m sure you are aware, that house of cards collapsed and our tax base went into free-fall and our legislature went into denial. Controlled by republicans, they simply refuse to raise taxes, and just don’t want to cut any of the benefits they promised their buddies in the business community. And of course the democrats don’t want to cut spending on social services or education.

So Jan Brewer, proving herself extremely ineffective in rallying her own party, controlling her subordinates, or engaging folks from across the aisle has issued a battle cry in her 2010 state of the state address. And it’s a fucking mess. It’s clear that Gov. Brewer doesn’t have the political clout to make things happen in Arizona, and her address largely comes off as a whining screed blaming everyone else for the problems of the state, rambling incoherently about public policy philosophy and morality, and insisting that she’s got the right people to fix things if only everyone would stop fighting her.

I’m going to pull choice bits from the address and make fun of them. Enjoy:

Honesty, versus lies. Right, versus wrong. Those are the choices Arizona faces. The essence of the challenge laid at our feet.

In a homage to George Bush the First, I was waiting to see the good verses evil line. Jan pushes hard from the beginning for her brand of moral absolutism. Governing isn’t really all that complicated, and if you don’t agree with me and my policy decisions, then you’re probably corrupt or more interested in politics than in helping people. We’re off to a strong start.

They carried out their perilous work with consummate skill and calm. And then before disengaging — came upon yet another device. The discovery came too late. With his last breath on this earth, this courageous man shouted a warning to his two fellow guardsmen. He saved their lives. He gave his own.

While my speech will barely mention the military, it’s always a good thing to associate yourself with bravery, patriotism and heroism. See, I’m just like this hero guy. The fact this guy gave his life for his country makes the stuff I’m about to say seem more relevant, urgent and meaningful.

Last spring, you will recall that I offered you a five-point approach to resolving this fiscal crisis and restoring our economic vitality. In my year on the job I have grown wiser — and time has grown shorter. And I know times are tough. So today, let me open these proceedings by offering you a deal — a 40% cutback…I’m going to boil my 5 points — down to 3.

I’ve tried to push this agenda for almost a year, and I haven’t gotten anywhere. What if I cut it back to just 3 things. Would you do it then? Pretty please?

The economy has still not recovered, our revenues are still depressed and there is no avoiding this hardship. More state jobs are going to be shed and services are going to be further curtailed or lost. Let me be clear, in the history of this state no other Governor has cut state government more than I have.

I’m not going to bother to actually look up the data on this in inflation adjusted dollars, because the statement itself is just ridiculous. Government exists to provide services to its constituents. Want to cut government? It’s not really that hard. What’s hard is improving efficiency and eliminating waste. Sometimes that requires short term infusions of capital to improve automation, or execute process redesign. You know, the hard work of actual governing. Just cutting budgets and telling state institutions to suck it up no matter what is not effective governance. Jan seems to be unaware of this distinction.

Government must live within its means. I did not create this situation — but I intend to resolve it — and continue telling the people the truth about it.

It’s not my fault. Really. And it’s not my fault that I essentially haven’t done anything for a year to resolve the problem. You’re all just in denial about our problems. I am the only one who knows our hardship. My heart is heavy with this burden. BTW: Napolitano really did this to us. It’s all her fault. Also, for some reason she won’t get the government to pay for our immigration problem. She’s a bad person.

And let me make one point very clear. I have great respect for everyone in this chamber, and your contributions to our state.

You are all fuckwads who have done nothing but fiddle while rome burns. (which BTW I agree with)

But there is no one here, and no one elsewhere, who has fought any longer or harder than I have for lower taxes, job growth and economic freedom in Arizona. So, spare us the profiles in courage; it’s time for a little less profile and a little more courage.

My entire speech so far has been me painting my own profile in courage. But you guys should really lay off that.

But if we do not act decisively, we will look to the west to California and see our future — government over-grown — people over-taxed — borders over-run — employers over a barrel — and freedom … simply over.

See how badly those democrats have fucked up california? Well sure their governor is a republican like me, but he’s really a closet liberal. – Employers over a barrel? Yeah it’s awful, all that capital flight from california. Oh what’s that? California still has a tremendous tax base funded in part by some of the most successful and largest companies in the world? And why haven’t they moved to Arizona again? Oh because California continues to create and attract the smartest people in the world? riiiiiiight.

And what the fuck does she mean that freedom is simply gone in California? Did LA become Stalingrad when I wasn’t looking? Has she tried crossing the border from California into Arizona recently? You know, those places that the supreme court has ruled are “constitution free zones”? Those places far into Arizona land where federal agents can stop and search you without probable cause to conduct a “routine search”?

Or has she perhaps read up about Sheriff Joe’s immigration sweeps where if you’re a certain shade of brown you will be pulled over and forced to show your papers?

Our federal government has reached new levels of arrogance, foolishness and disregard for the Constitution. The biggest external threat to our budget comes from the federal government — oppressive health care mandates, job-killing environmental restrictions, and continual refusal to pay for costs associated with illegal immigration.

It’s hard to rebut the constitution part, partially because I have no fucking idea what she’s talking about. But this is just pure party-line bullshit. I guess arrogance and foolishness are the chief characteristics you need to actually function as an effective politician. Say what you want about Obama, but he’s getting shit done in the face of significant opposition. What are you doing again? Oh right, nothing.

When you begin by spreading the wealth around — you end up destroying it.

You have no fucking clue what you’re talking about. More equitable distribution of wealth across classes has been shown time and time again to lead to better social outcomes and more political stability. It doesn’t fucking destroy anything. It just means rich people don’t get richer. The redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the super rich is a major part of why our economy is so fucked up right now. And you have no idea what I’m talking about because you were a fucking chiropractor (quack) and realtor before starting your political life. How’s that macro-economics reading list going? I thought so.

The President and the Congress tell us they are going to help by reducing costs. In reality, what they are doing is eliminating freedom for our citizens, dictating the policies they must buy for their families, and forcing our employers and the state to pick up the tab.

Not just the president, but the GAO and respectable party neutral organizations have acknowledged that the bill currently being reconciled will reduce health care costs considerably. Want to really reduce costs and improve the quality of healthcare? Go to a single payer system and put doctors on salaries. Its been shown over and over again that doing this increases quality of care and lowers costs. It’s fine if you want to live in a free-market fantasy where private business is the ideal solution to all problems, that’s fine, but don’t criticize the people who actually know what they’re talking about.

The federal government is also failing to control our southern border and refusing to pay for its failure. The cost of incarcerating these criminal aliens is not Arizona’s responsibility. It is Washington’s legal and moral obligation.

What? Why? While it’s absolutely a shared government responsibility to keep national borders safe from attack, why is it not a state responsibility to police its own borders? So you’re all about state’s rights and independence when it comes to mandated health care, but you’re all about government intervention on illegal immigration?

So, the ruinous cost of healthcare isn’t a widespread national concern that requires government intervention. It’s a state by state concern and should be left for private industry to fix on it’s own, i.e. you shouldn’t have to fix it. And porous borders on 3 states are a massive national concern that should be enforced and paid for by the government, i.e. you shouldn’t have to fix it. Got it.

Washington also likes to pretend that Government creates jobs. But, we know better. No government ever created a dollar of wealth or a dime of capital. Only the free market can do that.

You should have a grasp of economics, but we know better. Government policies including the fed rate, regulation, trade agreements, monopoly and patent protectionism, law enforcement and taxation generate or annihilate wealth, and either inspire capital investment or flight. They also enforce, extend or reduce class distinctions. There is no genuine free market in the US, nor should there be. There’s no such thing as a level playing field, and there’s always information asymmetry that well placed players can use to dominate markets.

It might be one thing if you were Ron Paul, and actually had read up on the austrian economics school (which is completely wrong headed, but is at least concerned and relatively informed). Or were a die-hard Greenspan/Randite, but you’re not. You’re just spouting the same mantra that flew our economy straight into the ground. Where where you for the last 2 years? Even Greenspan has recanted that shit.

In many ways, it’s the “free market” that has caused major systematic vulnerabilities in our economy. Specifically neo-liberal free trade agreements with countries that essentially allow for slave labor, wide-spread pollution, zero workplace safety, and manipulate their currencies to keep exchange rates favorable. They also charge marginal taxes that do nothing to offset the massive costs of the externalities that these companies impose on their host countries. They can do this because even those small taxes can make a small group very very rich, and that small group doesn’t give a shit about what the skies will look like when their grandkids are having kids. This is what is encouraging capital flight and suppressing wages, and driving unemployment in the US.

As long as I am your Governor, the sign out front will always read ARIZONA IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

Since I don’t understand any of the above, and don’t have any education on long term public policy philosophy, I don’t understand how to produce anything but a burned out industrial husk of a state with no real culture, education, business or population diversity. So hell, the only thing I can do is promise massive tax incentives to artificially lower operating costs for businesses in opposition to my previous free-market fantasy statement. I don’t understand that this kind of government intervention into the market is ironically the opposite of my stated objectives. I know our budget is fucked, but I don’t understand how decimating the business tax base will impact the state’s revenues. My business consultants assure me that this will bring in additional jobs and businesses so we’ll have more income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes, but I’ve never read any studies that prove this almost never happens and that states almost never recoup the lost tax revenue. I also don’t know that most of these companies always promise full time work, and always deliver part time, low paid positions that end up suppressing labor costs, encouraging labor mobility to other states, and pushing healthcare costs onto state and federal governments because they don’t provide benefits.

Just a few days ago, I helped secure an agreement from Tower Automotive to come to Arizona and invest more than $50 million, and create nearly 200 quality jobs.

I won’t detail the promised tax breaks, or reduced property prices or taxes we’ll award to these businesses to start up. Largely because they would make a stupid 50 million dollar capital investment look small. The fact that I crow about the possibility of 200 new jobs, and imply that’s a major win for my administration shows just how pathetic and desperate I really am. I mean, that would be pretty weak for a mayor. I’m a freakin governor.

We need to do more to un-shackle our job creators.

We need to roll back business and capital gains taxes, reduce enforcement on the taxes that we still decide to charge, offer sweetheart deals on state owned land and state offered services, provide infrastructure support at taxpayer expense, reduce enforcement of labor laws, you know the kinds of things that really inspire business investment and build strong communities.

Second, I will be allocating a significant portion of remaining federal stimulus funds directly to bring new jobs to Arizona.

Remember that bullshit about free markets I was spouting earlier? This is not another contradiction. This is not a government intervention into free markets that favors some businesses over others and gives them significant advantages over their competitors both locally and in other states. Remember that bullshit about federal arrogance and foolishness? Well giving us money for this was not the stuff I was talking about.

Third, under the leadership of Jerry Colangelo and Commerce Director Don Cardon … I have created the Governor’s Commerce Advisory Council. Working with other Arizona business leaders, they will transform the Department of Commerce into an engine for job creation.

So you know that guy who owns the suns, the mercury and ran the coyotes into bankruptcy? The guy who pays no property taxes on his stadiums in borderline illegal land lease deals? Oh and that guy who oversaw the housing bubble in Arizona as director of the department of housing? The guy who brokers these massive tax rebates and subsidies now as commerce director?

These two guys are going to fix business in Arizona. Largely by giving away the farm in special interest deals to their personal buddies from which they will undoubtedly take a cut. But hey, at least I don’t have to do it.

And — while I’m talking about jobs let me say we should do everything we can to see that Arizona is named a training site for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Remember earlier when I said that the government doesn’t create wealth or capital, well I still mean that, but I guess it does create jobs and feed families. And this would represent a massive influx into state coffers. But government is still bad.

I’d like to recognize the work to-date by the regents and Presidents of our universities and community colleges…in response to my call for a new higher- education model that promotes greater access, quality and affordability.

I won’t mention the unilateral budget cuts that lead to job cuts across all of our universities with no consideration to actual spending needs. They can suck it up.

Isn’t it astonishing that in Arizona today, Bill Gates or Craig Barrett would not be considered qualified to teach students about computer science? We must stop our gate keeping and open the doors to all qualified and skilled citizens who want to teach our children.

So we have a shortage of skilled teachers? Really? Might that have anything to do with teacher’s salaries? I’m sure Bill Gates would love to come in and teach computer science for a college professor’s salary. Really. What we’re really saying here is:

We must crush teachers unions and the tenure system at universities because they are socialist and bad. I have no appreciation for the skills necessary for effective child or adult education, and think I could come in and control a classroom with zero preparation. I believe that success in a particular field is entirely determined by skill and resolve and has nothing to do with luck. It has not occurred to me that Bill Gates’ success was largely determined by his sociopathic need to win above all other things, including technical skill. I will ignore the fact that despite literally a mountain of Ph.Ds at his beck and call, he cannot produce a product that doesn’t suck in almost every way, and succeeds almost entirely due to early, barely above board, and often below board bribery to institutions and manufacturers.

But we must give parents the ability to make the best choices for their children. Starting with where they go to school. We lead the nation in school choice. In Arizona –a parent’s right to choose the best school must endure — whether that’s a district, private, charter or home school.

Our public schools fucking suck. We are consistently ranked among the bottom 3 in the nation. But that’s because of the dirty mexicans. White parents don’t want their kids going to school with dirty mexicans who can’t even speak english, so it’s important that we encourage gentrification and white flight to the suburbs and exburbs. If everyone had to go to a school in their own district, that means we’d actually have to deal with the problems in our shitty public schools rather than offer parents an easy out.

Also, our state is dominated by old people who hate taxes, and especially hate paying for the education of little mexican kids. So our elementary education system will remain underfunded and under-resourced. But that’s okay because rich people don’t have to use them, and poor people don’t vote. That’s a win/win in my book.

We must also arm parents with the information they need to help monitor their children’s academic progress. We will make sure they have up-to-date data that is available on-line –at any time. Sorry, kids, no more losing your report card!

The reason your kids are dumb is that you’re not making the effort of giving them the education we don’t really care to provide. You should really be doing our job, despite the fact that our economy is in shambles and you have to work 3 part time jobs just to make ends meet and maybe see your kids 2 hours a day. Doing this at least lets us place the blame on your shoulders by claiming that we’ve been telling you your kids are dumb on a regular basis and you did nothing about it.

And we should know well before third grade those students who are falling behind and get them the help they need. I look forward to working with Senator John Huppenthal and Representative Rich Crandall and other members to enact these reforms.

Who’s going to pay for that extra help? Fuck if I know. Johnny and Richy will figure that out.

First, I’m establishing the Commission on Privatization and Efficiency or “COPE”. COPE will identify state services and agencies whose functions can be eliminated, consolidated, streamlined or outsourced to achieve greater operational efficiency in meeting the needs of our citizens.

I fucking hate my job. It’s hard keeping track of all this government shit. Why can’t we just pay our buddies to do this for us at crazy rates? Of course they’ll offer inferior or no service, but it’ll probably cost us less over-all. At least for a couple of years until rate increases start happening every year and we’re held hostage by the small group of businesses that we fed like hungry ticks while starving out other local companies and decimating our in house expertise, leaving us with no choices and no options to recover when we’re fucked. Did I mention that private business does everything better than any government agency could do? I mean like everything. Never mind that private business has an incentive system that is systematically and diametrically opposed to the public good. I don’t understand that the whims of investors and their ongoing need for ever growing profits might not actually increase efficiency, but in fact lead to taxpayers getting ripped off. I haven’t read up about any other states doing this kind of thing, like say the wholesale deregulation and privatization of california’s energy infrastructure. I think that went peachy.

While we agree we must provide essential services for those with no place else to turn…we must only offer those benefits necessary and ensure that we have a program free of abuse or waste.

We must decrease visits to high cost settings like emergency rooms — and encourage those receiving state service to take personal responsibility for their own health, as all Arizonans should.

If you’re sick, it’s your fault. Eat less twinkies fatty. We shouldn’t pay for it. You should. Don’t have the money to pay for it? Die. Thanks.

Third, budget cuts within state government have resulted in reduced or limited funding for services for our most vulnerable — the elderly, disabled and low- income residents. Therefore, I’m establishing Arizona Serves. With the assistance of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Arizona Serves will connect faith-based and non-profit organizations to help meet those needs.

On second thought, if you are sick and poor, maybe this is an opportunity to funnel public and federal funds into churches and non-profits that my buddies run. Hey. This might just work. Maybe I’ll net a fat directorship out of one of them if I lose the election. That would be sweet. God knows I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing here.

I won’t go in to her awful concluding comments. Ugh. Yet another shitty Arizona governor.

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