Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wonder if Jan Brewer is a fan of The Rolling Stones...

...because they must have had her and the situation in Arizona in mind when they cut the song "Rock And A Hard Place."

The morphing of the GOP into the "Grand Obstructionist Party" isn't confined to all but three members of the Republican membership in Congress.

Across the country, a number of Republican governors have announced that they are considering not accepting some or all of the federal economic stimulus money.

From AP via MSNBC -
GOP govs consider rejecting stimulus money

Opponents say move puts conservative ideology ahead of constituents

BATON ROUGE, La. - A handful of Republican governors are considering turning down some money from the federal stimulus package, a move opponents say puts conservative ideology ahead of the needs of constituents struggling with record foreclosures and soaring unemployment.

Though none has outright rejected the money available for education, health care and infrastructure, the governors of Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alaska, South Carolina and Idaho have all questioned whether the $787 billion bill signed into law this week will even help the economy.

The article goes on to note that some of those governors have the luxury of proving up on their "True Conservative" Republican bonafides (apparently, screwing over your constituents is a Republican "principle"), because while *they* may not accept federal stimulus money, they can count on their states' Democratic legislatures to do so for them.

Jan Brewer, Arizona's newly-minted governor (coming up on her one-month anniversary - whooo hooo...right Jan?) doesn't have that luxury - not only does her own party have a majority in both chambers of the state lege, it's the radical, anti-everything positive wing of her party that's in charge.

Which places Brewer, the person who is supposed to be in charge of Arizona's government, in a tough position.

If, as the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) says, she is the one who decides if federal stimulus money is accepted and how it is spent, then her constituents (you know, the ones who will be voting next year), will expect her to look out for their interests. Sen. Russell Pearce, one of the leaders of the radicals, disagrees, but so far he is being polite about it (read the article linked to "says").

So on one hand, if Brewer plans to run for a full term as governor, refusing stimulus money for especially hard-hit Arizona could alienate economically-ailing voters and cost her a general election win.

On the other hand, accepting the money will almost certainly motivate a primary challenge from Pearce's radical wing of the GOP, and given the wingnuts' defeat of moderate Reps last September, such a challenge could very well generate a high enough turnout of the radicals to unseat Brewer even before the general election.

So she's got problems either way she goes, if she pursues a full term.

If she chooses not to seek a full term, that would free her from factoring electoral considerations into her decisions on stimulus money. However, even if electoral considerations are removed from the decision equation, that would leave the best interests of Arizonans competing with her own partisan ideology.

Arizonans - be afraid, very afraid.

Having never met Governor Brewer or any of her advisers, I don't know if they are smart enough to figure a way out of this for Brewer that leaves her with a political future. The tap dancing should be fun to watch though.

That dance has already started, awkwardly, with her trial balloon of a special election to raise the state's sales tax.

That one seems to have had a unique effect of uniting both caucuses of the lege - the Reps have pledged to only cut programs, not raise revenue, and many Dems (including the non-legislator writing this post :) ) find that raising the most regressive tax in the state (one whose instability as a revenue source is a major factor in the state's budget crisis) is the absolutely worst approach for addressing the state's budget shortfall.

BTW - am I the only one who finds that the Governor's move to put it out to referendum, without even *trying* to get it through the lege, smacks of craven political cowardice? One of the things that a governor has to do is make tough, even unpopular, decisions.



Thane Eichenauer said...

Man-o-man, what ever did people do before government was invented? I imagine the world you and I know is really a science experiment funded by a research grant of the Democratic Republic of Alpha Centauri. Frankly that is the only concept that explains the continued existence of Newsweek.

It is so odd that whatever exact percentage of voters in Arizona that voted for Jan Brewer (even if only for SOS) and the other Republican legislators (and whose election was certified as correct and legitimate by Democrat Janet Napolitano) that they aren't given any credit for having representation in Arizona government.

As for all the referendum rumors let loose by the staff of Jan Brewer I still say it is all a ploy to reduce negative press by whatever mainstream/liberal media that still exists come election day.

Donna said...

Thane, what did people like you do before Ayn Rand came along and wrote crappy novels that told you how to think? Science fiction is just that, fiction, and the sooner you and your cohorts join the reality based world the better off you will be.

cpmaz said...

Thane, somehow, I *knew* you were going to bite on this one. :)

What did people do before government was invented? They worked on inventing it.

Actually, they worked on creating societies with rules to allowed people to live together.

The bailout package isn't perfect, but it is a good start. Many of the facets of it (infrastructure, education) bring a longterm benefit to society, which justifies the longterm debt incurred. And those are the sorts of expenses that government/society should absorb - private businesses are too focused on short-term profits.

Businesses think in terms of months and years; somebody has to think in terms of decades and generations.

As for the voters who voted for Republican legislators and Jan Brewer, I expect that more than a few of them are wishing that they could change their votes right about now.

Mike said...

RE: the possible tax increase-We need some good data on what kind of money we are talking about to keep CPS services,parks,etc. at acceptable levels.The wingnuts paint all tax increases as non-starters without talking numbers,much like the property tax equalization.When you hear the #s,it seems ridiculous to not keep the revenue at at time when we need it most.The fact is that 90% of us are still employed and some could afford a little(probably very little)more tax.

Thane Eichenauer said...

I will try my best to make helpful (and polite) comments on this.

I have no objections to rules but I expect the goal of the rules to be for the betterment of all. Government operations that I know about better the rulers (otherwise known as government officials).

As for government debt, I have doubts and great concerns. I don't see how government borrowing is much distinct from individual borrowing (but on a larger scale).

If individuals borrow they are responsible. If government borrows to benefit its operators (the officials, contractors and employees of the government) the people who are required to pay are taxpayers. This seems unfair to me.

The Japanese government has a per capita debt of $55,000 (almost but not quite twice the debt per capita of the US government). The economy of Japan is on a downhill tilt, why shouldn't anyone believe that the US economy won't follow it?

Donna said...

Thane, don't post something dripping with condescension and strawmen and then sniff about the need to be "polite". As for your comment about us following the downward tilt of the Japanese economy - uh, that horse has already left the barn. Face it, the Randian/Milton Friedman free market bullcrap that you worship has proven to be as big a fraud and a failure as Soviet-style collectivism. An unregulated market will never "correct itself" because it's built on a rotten, moldy, untenable foundation to begin with, and even Greenspan has acknowledged that now.

Thane Eichenauer said...

My name is Thane and I have been polite for 1 hour. Thank you for welcoming me to Political Commenters Anonymous.

As for Milton Friedman and Chicago economics I do not claim him or the Chicago School as my preferred economic model. I do however prefer it to what I believe to be the completely disconnected from reality premise that government spending and regulation (always more) can fix any and all problems.

I don't claim to be an Objectivist but there are plenty of worse clubs to look to when it comes to analyze and improve human society.

Find some failures of Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian school of economics and I'll defend them.

Alan Greenspan is a statist (someone who believes government is the best if not only solution) who may have been less statist in his earlier days.

It sounds like you are claiming that Japan is unfixable and so my comparison with the US is untenable. Both the US economy and the Japanese economy can be turned around if allowed to but current government policy that government spending can solve economic doldrums isn't going to help (my opinion).

My belief aligns with Tom Wood writing on "The Fed's Lead Slug Under Your Pillow" that government bailouts and government spending gone amok (so far) are harmful. Your opinion apparently differs.

If you have book suggestions that might explain why I am wrong, please do offer them.

Lastly, please try to forgive me if I crack wise, I am sure there is a government research program that is right around the corner to finding a cure (and only needs a $10 million a year to continue its research for *one*more*year*).

Dang, I fell off the wagon again!

Donna said...

Oh Thane, I never fail to expect conservo/libertarians to play the No True Scotsman card and you guys never fail to disappoint me.

For a book, I recommend Screwed (The undeclared war on the middle class) by Thom Hartmann.

Donna said...

I'll try to find some scholarly criticism of von Mises, but my main problem with him (from my admittedly scant knowledge of his theories) was that he seemed incapable of breaking out of rigid dualistic thinking where socialism and free market were concerned. IOW, you could either have a total free market OR total socialism but a mixed economy wasn't possible. von Mises compared the U.S. to the Soviet Union and declared that the U.S. was a paragon of capitalistic success but refused to acknowledge the role that government played in that.

Thane Eichenauer said...

Thank you for the book suggestion.