Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Times!


The Circus Is In Town

These are not good times. As Dicken’s stated, “they are the worst of times.”

Many states are going through some rough budget sessions now. The recession isn’t over, and it appears that it may be lingering for a long, long time.

It appears that the rest of the country is finally starting to catch up to where my wife and I live. We live in Arizona.

Arizona has long been known to its residence as a bit of a backwater in politics. Much of the rest of the United States knows Arizona by its national political leaders that have risen to power. People with names like Goldwater, Babbit and Napolitano. But these are the exception.

Most of the people that run Arizona are idiots. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I am speaking literally here. They are idiots, their IQs on average, must be below 50.

So with state budgets being hit hard, it appears that folks in Wisconsin, California and New York are finally starting to catch up with Arizona. When times are good, the electorate tends to turn a blind eye to the politics in their region. Sure, we know they are corrupt and possibly inept, but we let it slide because there isn’t any real ‘affect’ on the rest of us.

Then times get really bad, and we come to realize that these yahoos actually control large sums of money and jobs. Much to our horror they start slashing positions or withholding funds and pretty soon the domino effect starts hurting us all. It is times like these that the electorate really starts to see how messed up the process really is.

Welcome to MY world America.

In the past 15 years, here in Arizona, the State Government had come close to bankrupting the state three times prior to the current recession. The laws were so poorly written and badly thought out that the State Senate and House couldn’t even figure out their impact on the state budget.

One of the problems we have in Arizona is that there are really TWO Arizonas. There is the Phoenix-Metro area (where we live) and there is rest of the Arizona which is very, very rural. Phoenix is is the 5th largest urban center in the country. In rural Arizona, you can drive for hours and never even see a cow.

The problem here, is that in the State Senate and House, the representatives from the rural areas have as much power as those from Phoenix. Give a local yokal with 250 acres of land and a grade school education a seat in the State Senate and you can guess what happens.

If uncle Billy-Bob wants a stop light in front of his Circle-K in Jerome, all State Senate work stops until he darn well gets it. (this happens a lot at the Capital, seriously).

But in all fairness, it happens in almost all state politics, we just don’t notice it, until times are bad.

So, that is why I find this time of year so entertaining. That picture at the top of the blog was taken on 3/29/2011. It shows the State Capital with a tent in front of it.

The circus is in town! Every day for the next two months (when the government is in session, we have a ‘part-time’ legislature that only meets for 6 months out of the year), there will be a tent (or tents) out there. The tents are erected by lobbyists and special interest groups to ‘persuade’ and ‘influence’ the legislature with lunches and presentations. Lots of smoozing, back-slapping and promises inside those tents....and I bet they are all tax deductable!

So far this year, some of the better high points in the Capital debates are: trying to get schools and hospitals to ‘snitch’ on illegal immigrants, banning gays and lesbians from being able to adopt, requiring all Presidential candidates to ‘personally’ come to the state with their birth certificate and present it to the government if they want to be on the ballot, allowing ‘anyone’ to carry a concealed weapon, even into bars (they just can’t drink) and making it illegal for dogs to ride in the bed of a pickup truck, but not humans. All the while trying to figure out a way to close that two billion dollar budget gap in State funding.

Good Times Indeed.