Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, December 19, 2014

What to expect from Scrooge McDucey... and what Arizona Democrats need to do FIRST to prepare for 2016

As Governor-elect Scrooge McDucey prepares to take office in just a couple of weeks, few pertinent details of his plans have emerged for public consumption. The Arizona Republic apparently has not reported on the transition since December 10.
Kyl said Ducey has put together an impressive transition team. It includes former Brewer chief of staff Eileen Klein, former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams and Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore. Ducey earlier this month tapped Adams to be his chief of staff.
Heritage Foundation's Stephen Moore also previously founded the Club for Growth.
Moore calls his creation of the Club for Growth the defining moment of his career.
This is what the Club for Growth is about:
  • Reducing income tax rates and repealing the death tax
  • Replacing the current tax code with a fair/flat tax
  • The full repeal of ObamaCare and the end of abusive lawsuits through medical malpractice/tort reform
  • Reducing the size and scope of the federal government
  • Cutting government spending and passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution
  • Regulatory reform and deregulation
  • School choice
I could go on and on about the downside of each and every one of those bullet points but the bottom line is that Scrooge McDucey is "all in" on "Voodoo Economics."

For perspective on Gov-elect Scrooge's overt plans to drive Arizona's economy into the ground, consider this very recent report on the economic performance of Kansas, the Koch-model for McDucey's economic policies. From the Kansas City Star, "New Kansas job figures stun Brownback and not in a good way."
The new Kansas jobs numbers were released Friday morning, bringing horrible news to state taxpayers and Gov. Sam Brownback.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the total number of nonfarm jobs in Kansas fell by 4,100 in November.
Kansas’ disturbing experience was at odds with how much of the rest of the country did. A total of 37 other states gained in employment in November, while only 13 others, including Kansas, dropped. [...]
The figures show it’s going to be even tougher for Brownback — after pushing through excessive income tax cuts — to make up for the hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax revenues from those reductions. They took effect in 2013.
The Kansas Legislature and Brownback already knew they were going to have a rough time figuring out how to slash a staggering $648 million from the next fiscal year’s projected budget of just over $6 billion. That work starts in January.
But if Kansas is not creating lots of new jobs — which the tax cuts were supposed to help do — the state budget could be in even bigger trouble than is now recognized. [...]
Brownback, you will recall, has pledged that Kansas should be able to add 2,000 private sector jobs a month during his second term starting in January, which he earned with his narrow re-election on Nov. 4.
Simply put, there remains no good evidence to believe the governor knows what he’s talking about on this subject.

McDucey will take little comfort in the wisdom of Albert Einstein (or maybe it was Benjamin Franklin or Mark Twain or in a book published by Narcotics Anonymous),
Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.
Nevertheless, that practice differs from "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" in that with persistence and repetition, one would expect to have learned from his own and others' mistakes and make adjustments to the effort. Yet, with McDucey hiring Stephen Moore, it's certainly not in the cards that the new administration will significantly change course any time soon.

Well, maybe. Of course, that's where McDucey's "strategic agility" comes in. It doesn't matter what he promised to do during the campaign, he can change course at any time.
How exactly does building a campaign operation that functionally deceives the electorate at every turn, on every uncomfortable question from reporters and citizens, demonstrate fitness for holding that office? Shall we even discuss McDucey's pre-election disclosure of how he will justify abusing his office? "Strategic agility." That sounds like something he came up with from a Bullshit Generator. What it really means is that he reserves the right to do the exact opposite of what he promises.
Take heart! The Arizona Republic's Michael Squires proclaimed, on December 14, that he'd be watching to see whether McDucey honors his word on campaign promises. Here's one of Scrooge's big ones:
• Eliminate state income taxes, which account for almost half the $9 billion in state tax revenue. After talking about it for months on the campaign trail, Ducey said in October, "no one's talking about eliminating the income tax."
And then there's McDucey's endorsement by Sarah Palin:
Doug Ducey is the private sector job creator and proven conservative leader that Arizona needs as its next governor. A self-made man, Doug came to Arizona for college, working at the local beer distributor to pay his way through. After graduation, Doug applied his skills and work ethic to the business world. Through his efforts as CEO, Doug grew Cold Stone Creamery from a small local Tempe ice cream parlor with four stores into a major international chain with 1,400 franchises in 31 countries. Still headquartered in Arizona, this international business provides jobs and revenue for the state. Since being elected State Treasurer, Doug has fought to close financial loopholes, fix the state’s books, and stop a $1 billion annual tax increase.
We all know you can take Palin's word to the bank! Wink, wink.

In an interview with local broadcast news outlet Fox10, McDucey responded to a question about creating jobs, "How would you go about creating good jobs?"

Government’s first role in job creation is to get out of the way. Much of the time, this is the single best service the government can provide. Why is our country still struggling through the slowest economic recovery ever? In large part because of federal tax and regulatory policies that are hostile to free enterprise, job creation, and the dignity of work.We can’t afford to make that same mistake at the state level. I want businesses across America to know that if they plan to build, expand or create more jobs – and do so with minimal hassle from government – then Arizona is the place to be. My business partners and I had a chance to build a great American success story, Cold Stone Creamery, right here in Arizona.
My goal is a growing, thriving economy where citizens of this state can make their own opportunities and be successful in their own way. I support reforming the tax code and reducing the individual income tax. I also support policies that reduce lawsuit abuse and regulatory overreach.

Doesn't that sound like he's channeling Saint Ronald?

That, as we have seen repeatedly over the last three decades, is nothing but nonsense. The GOP has bamboozled Americans into believing it. Economists call it "voodoo economics."


As of this posting, no new bills have been pre-filed for the first regular session of the 52nd Arizona Legislature (set to begin in January 2015) since my last post about Rep. John Allen's effort to stem the tide of campaign/political sign theft.


In the wake of the November 4 election, Democrats did a little wailing and gnashing of teeth over losing every statewide election race in Arizona. [This week, word comes that the -- anything but transparent -- CD2 recount has been conducted and Martha McSally has been declared the winner.]

The first thing we heard from news outlets was how badly Arizona Democrats had messed up. That was underscored by outgoing Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell declaring that the Arizona Democratic Party had died.
“There’s got to be a serious autopsy,” said outgoing House Minority Leader Rep. Chad Campbell. “And I say autopsy because I think we’re dead at this point. The infrastructure is dead, the party structure is dead. So there has to be an autopsy to figure out why it died, and move forward with a new model,” he said.
“It’s not just money, we have a much bigger problem than that,” he said, adding he’s also at fault as House Democratic leader and organizer of his caucus’s independent spending. “I can’t blame anybody. I’m part of the problem, too.’’
His declaration was both premature and overly harsh. Just saying he couldn't blame anybody doesn't mitigate the harshness. But that there's key value that can be and needs to be gleaned from those who ran the races and those who worked with them on campaigns (paid AND volunteers) is undeniable.

Today I received an email from the Democratic National Committee asking me to take a survey to give them my insight on how they can be or do their best in 2015. Of course, when I clicked the link, I got a list of questions that was focused more on how they could read me and get me to do what they want me to do rather than them doing more of what I want them to do.

Even though we know our results, notably with the legislative races, were not a disaster, the Arizona Democratic Party, as an organization, missed some significant opportunities in the later stages of the 2014 election season. There are ways to get a handle on the situation, as a learning organization, to better prepare for 2016.

My friend Representative-elect Ken Clark has talked about holding forums across the state to gather feedback from those who worked on campaigns and volunteered their time for candidates. He has not gotten much response from his suggestions to do so.

However, a well-designed survey/questionnaire can be inexpensively produced, circulated on paper at legislative district meetings and next month's ADP state committee meeting. It can also be posted online. Then feedback can be compiled and used for guidance in 2015-2016 decision making.

This must be undertaken. It can be done without requiring anyone to disclose their names and can be a safe mechanism for learning without harshly blaming individuals.

Among the pillars of the learning organization is that leadership must be able to engender and promote a shared vision. And she/he must be able to get people to follow with him or her on the path to making that vision become reality.

Traditionally, the chair of the Arizona Democratic Party has been expected to lead the fundraising campaigns necessary to allow the staff of the organization to function. That's all well and good but the next chair and executive committee of ADP must be able to demonstrate the capability to articulate and make that shared vision come to pass.

Thus far, the only big name I've heard of anyone interested in running for that position is Chad Campbell. Chad certainly has leadership experience to draw on. But as his harsh comments reflected right after the election, he has important room for improvement in developing that shared vision and inspiring Democratic activists to follow along.

Others have expressed some interest but are uncertain about undertaking the challenge. Hopefully, more people will be interested and a productive reorganization can take place on January 24.

It's time to Rise UP!

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