Arizona’s State Budget Proves That MAG’s Proposed $70 Billion ‘Momentum’ Plan Is a Complete Failure

Arizona’s State Budget Proves That MAG’s Proposed $70 Billion ‘Momentum’ Plan Is a Complete Failure

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

State taxpayers should not be bailing out a broken Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) plan. But that’s exactly what lawmakers are doing in the recently enacted Arizona state budget. That’s right. Your elected leaders just passed a budget that includes hundreds of millions of dollars for road projects—all being paid for with your tax dollars. (You can see for yourself on pages 9-11 right here.)

At first glance, that probably doesn’t seem like a big deal. After all, it makes sense for tax dollars to go toward necessary road projects. But the problem is that these road projects are supposed to be paid for by the Maricopa County Prop 400 regional plan that was assembled by MAG…

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Strong Families for All Are Worth Defending

Strong Families for All Are Worth Defending

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a landmark report in which he contended that the rising number of black families headed by unmarried mothers would reduce the prospects for Blacks to rise out of poverty, in spite of that era’s landmark civil rights legislation.

Moynihan was furiously denounced for his efforts. But he was proven right, and he would be even more correct making the same observations today.

It’s been a tough half century for families. Although Moynihan focused his concerns on Blacks, family breakdown correlates as much with income level as it does with race.

Because there are more low-income Blacks, more black children are raised by single mothers, but the overall percentage of births to unmarried women has gone from 5% in 1960 to 40% today. In 1970, 84% of U.S. children spent their entire childhood with both biological parents. Today, about half do.

Partly because of the withering criticisms directed at Moynihan, the chattering classes have mostly avoided the issue of family deterioration, at least until recently. But the consequences have been enormous.

Harvard economist Raj Chetty analyzed the causes of income disparity and concluded that “the strongest and most robust predictor is the fraction of children with single parents.”

In fact, there is scant evidence that race or racial discrimination causes the multiple economic and societal problems associated with family breakdown. Government spending doesn’t seem to have any effect, nor even does education explain the income gap. It’s family status itself.

So, what caused families, long our core civic institution and the means for passing on our values, to falter? There’s no easy answer, of course, but scholars note a sea change in our views of almost everything that began about the middle of the last century.

Especially in developed countries, people became more anti-authoritarian and more critical of traditional rules and roles. Views about sex outside of marriage, divorce, cohabitation, and single parenthood significantly changed.

It wasn’t all bad. Many of the changes extended civil rights and created a fairer society. But some of the “progress” has been tough on the kids.

For example, it’s not judgmental, just descriptive, to note that the increase in cohabitation has resulted in more unstable family structures.

Even with children, cohabiting couples break up faster and more often than married couples. Unmarried fathers are even less likely than divorced dads to form lasting bonds with their children. What may appear to be simply a matter of documentation can have a profound impact on the well-being of children.

Changing mores regarding sex before marriage has resulted in millions of young women bearing children for which they have made no financial or other preparations.

It’s not judging. It is the essence of caring for each of us to do a better job of informing these potential mothers of the catastrophic lifelong consequences of their casual decisions, both on themselves and the new life they are bringing into the world. We should also do a better job of making unwed fathers, many of whom openly boast about the children they are not raising, accountable for the consequences of their actions.

As Ronald Reagan might say, government is not the solution to this problem. It is the problem. There’s no question that the Great Society welfare rules, requiring recipients to be unmarried and unemployed to qualify for benefits, led to countless women making the sensible decision to “marry the government” rather than the uneducated, undependable father.

Government has also mortally harmed families by taking over many of their traditional functions, especially care of the young and the aged. Families traditionally stayed together to assure that those unable to provide for themselves would be sustained.

Today, it is assumed that the elderly are entitled to be cared for by the government. Some adults are known to simply walk away from their families because they don’t see the need.

We need sound strong families for all Americans, not only the wealthy and privileged. It would help if government did less harm. But we need to do a better job of protecting and prioritizing our families, respecting the outsized role they play in making our country strong and our lives worthwhile.

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

California Unions Are Pushing a Debt Cancellation Initiative in Arizona That Would Make Bernie Sanders Proud

California Unions Are Pushing a Debt Cancellation Initiative in Arizona That Would Make Bernie Sanders Proud

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

“Let’s just make everything free!” That might as well be the Left’s motto at this point as they clearly don’t understand how a good economy works. While the past 18 months under President Biden is proof enough of that, they’re not done yet. The Left is fully committed to its plan to build back even broker. And now, they’re targeting conservative states like Arizona to do so.

The latest initiative being pushed in our state comes from California unions. (Because apparently no one knows a good economy like a California union.) It’s called the “Predatory Debt Collection Practices Act,” which sounds harmless enough. After all, who doesn’t want to stick it to predatory debt collectors? But just as you would expect from a California initiative being pushed here in Arizona, it’s not only anti-creditor, it’s anti-business. And it would make Bernie Sanders proud…

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Another Guilty Plea in Yuma County Demonstrates How Voter Fraud Is a Real Problem

Another Guilty Plea in Yuma County Demonstrates How Voter Fraud Is a Real Problem

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

The Left says it isn’t happening. And they’re quick to run to their allies in traditional corporate media to further the lie that voter fraud is a made-up problem. But then maybe they would like to explain the guilty plea from last week.

On Thursday, Guillermina Fuentes of San Luis pleaded guilty to one count of Ballot Abuse for her role in a ballot harvesting scheme from the August 2020 Primary Election. And she wasn’t the first one to do so. Back in March, Alma Juarez, also of San Luis, entered the same plea. Both women admitted that they knowingly collected ballots from another person, and those early ballots belonged to individuals for whom they were not a family member, household member, or caregiver.

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A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment May Be Our Only Hope

A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment May Be Our Only Hope

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

Over the last few decades, no force on earth has been able to halt the explosive growth of U.S. federal debt.

At the conclusion of WWII, fiscal conservatives were aghast that our national debt had ballooned to $259 billion. By the end of the Vietnam War, it stood at $533 billion and, despite urgent warnings, was over $5.6 trillion by the end of the century. Today it stands at $30 trillion after the Biden administration’s horrific spending spree conducted on the pretext of limiting the fallout from COVID.

The reason is pretty simple. Spending other peoples’ money is politically popular. Taxes are not and budget cutting is risky.

We have developed a political culture in which the reelection of incumbents is the highest of all priorities. It is considered perfectly acceptable to just kick the can down the road and let future generations sort out the consequences of our selfishness.

So, for example, when Bush 43 attempted to propose desperately needed reforms for Medicare and Medicaid, he was mercilessly demagogued for “pushing granny over the cliff.” His Republican allies deserted him, and the effort collapsed. Nobody has tried any such thing since, although debt reduction is mathematically impossible without entitlement reform.

It doesn’t take a genius to see where this is going. Interest rates are rising while serious geopolitical threats are forming. We’re backing ourselves into a position of severe internal and external weakness at just the wrong time.

Yet the political class remains unmoved. Some pay lip service to fiscal discipline, but the spending goes on unabated. Student loans, accommodations for illegal immigrants, and missiles for Ukraine on the condition that no Russians will be harmed by their use are all embraced as if unlimited funds are available.

Fortunately, our forefathers anticipated that the government they created would attempt to exceed its limited constitutional powers. They gave the states a powerful tool to defend themselves—the right to amend the Constitution on their own.

Article V of the Constitution mandates that Congress “shall” call a constitutional convention when requested to do so by 2/3 of the states and that any amendments proposed, when ratified by 3/4 of the states, become “Part of this Constitution.”

The founders would be disappointed to know that the states have never exercised this extraordinary privilege. Thomas Jefferson, knowing how these things go, thought a convention of the states would be needed every generation or so to reign in federal government encroachments.

Instead, the states have stood meekly by as the federal government has far surpassed them in power and prestige to the point where calling a convention of the states is seen as an act of rebellion against authority.

But nothing else has worked to restrain federal spending. Millions of dollars have been spent to elect self-described fiscal conservatives, yet it’s beyond obvious that Congress will never reform itself.

Of course, the convention-of-the-states idea has its enemies. Opposition from the spenders on the Left is understandable because they don’t want to end their gravy train. But it is the alliance between the Left and conservative stalwarts like the Eagle Forum and John Birch Society which have effectively stalled progress.

Their arguments are inspired by fear. Their principal objection is the perceived threat of a “runaway convention,” the fear that in a constitutional convention, there would be nothing to stop special interest groups from pushing their agendas from banning abortion to banning guns.

Hogwash. Even if the state legislatures fail to limit the authority of Convention delegates, 38 states must ratify any proposed amendments. That historically has been a very strong protection.

Right-wing opposition seems mostly concerned that the convention could inflict lasting damage to the sanctity of our Constitution. The opposite is the truth.

Nothing could honor and strengthen the Constitution more than using its own provisions to enable us to address our most urgent modern threat. The other option is the Left’s practice of declaring a “living” Constitution that says whatever judges say it does.

It’s time for us to flex our democratic muscles and fulfill our destiny as free, optimistic, and proud Americans. Our republic may be in the balance.

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

A Gas Tax Holiday Is a Gimmicky Talking Point with No Real Long-Term Benefit

A Gas Tax Holiday Is a Gimmicky Talking Point with No Real Long-Term Benefit

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

With Bidenflation guzzling through the pockets of all Americans, especially at the gas station, we have heard more and more politicians promoting the idea of a gas tax holiday. Regardless of how popular the idea has become or how good it sounds among Republicans and Democrats alike, it’s still nothing more than a gimmick and talking point for campaigns.

A tax holiday isn’t a new idea. Several states have permanent sales tax holidays, commonly occurring for a week or two each year around the time kids return to school and parents are busy shopping for clothes and classroom items. But these permanent recurring tax holidays don’t accomplish what they seek to accomplish.

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