Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Arizona’s poor will reap the whirlwind of limited government

To state the obvious, you get the government you elect. And for the poor in Arizona, they’re about to get a government elected by the middle and upper classes who are more concerned about the welfare of their incomes than the welfare of others.

The poor in Arizona don’t vote, or at least not in the same numbers as the middle and upper classes, according to statewide voting precinct results when compared to census household income data.

They’re about to pay dearly for their civic indifference.

A few weeks ago Senate President-elect Russell Pearce appeared on Phoenix public television news program where he was asked repeatedly whether the state Legislature would cut or even eliminate state-funded health care for the poor.

Pearce is normally full of tough talk but he didn’t seem to have the courage to admit that he planned to stick it to the poor.

He was asked three times a direct question about health care spending for the poor and three times he gave an ambiguous answer. Yes or no seemed to have dropped from his lexicon.

Recently, Gov. Jan Brewer was asked the same question and she gave the same evasive answer though she eventually conceded that perhaps voters should decide whether to throw nearly a million people in Arizona to the wolves.

Meanwhile, the governor and the new veto-proof Republican Legislature seem hell bent on reducing state tax income even though Arizona remains in the economic doldrums and the state budget has been out of balance for more than three years.

Calling it a jobs and economic recovery bill, Brewer wants to cut corporate taxes because she believes it will magically draw new businesses and industries here and make everything better.

But this is no jobs bill. It’s Republican tax-cut orthodoxy wrapped in a jobs bill cover. It’s tax cuts for tax cuts’ sake.

And even if it worked, the loss of revenue would be immediate yet it will take years before any economic improvements are realized. Businesses don’t pop up and start hiring overnight.

And if you want to talk about jobs, consider the jobs that will be lost in the health care industry if the Legislature tells one out of six Arizonans that they have to pay for their own health care now even though they can’t afford to.

If poor people in Arizona get cancer, they’ll just have to die or beg for help because we’re more concerned about the health of corporations than the poor.

But this is what Arizonans wanted, according to last month’s election results. The state budget crisis and its effect on funding for education, health care and other social services was well known to the state’s voters. As were the intentions of the Republicans running for office – drastically cut spending and taxes and everything will be better.

Republicans won in a landslide. The most endangered species in Arizona is an elected Democrat.

The whirlwind of limited government roars into Arizona on Jan. 10 when the new Legislature convenes.

Reap it.

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