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October 04, 2010


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I think Arizona's perpetual churn and boom, its deracinated citizenry, and its Bowling Alone culture pretty much ensured we'd get to Kookland first. But we were only slightly ahead of the curve. Here's Matt Taibbi writing from Kentucky:

John McCain's toga is beginning to look like a blend of polyester and titanium. All his various apostasies now look like so much litter on the road to Meet the Press. And the great denouement to a life of public service might as well be the screechy rant of a talk-radio blowhard. As The Arizona Republic bravely intoned, he's still "relevant".

I saw Terry Goddard over the weekend looking his usual diffident self. I nodded as if to acknowledge his celebrity and maybe his near-certain defeat. We're the same age and life is no longer getting better. If there was an opportunity to make a difference 30 years ago, it passed and what's left is a state more pitied than loved. http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/Economy/100624

"what's left is a state more pitied than loved." - soleri

A perfect punctuation.

"Arizona has been a proving ground for Tea Party policies for more than 20 years." - Rogue

A dank, poisonous "tea" 'brew(er)ed' in tepid, stale 'goldwater' and served for a waterboarding party.

"Arizona has been a proving ground for Tea Party policies for more than 20 years. The result: Economic and social disaster. And yet watch the state reload before shooting itself in the foot yet again (in a bar, legally)."

I missed your clever prose, Mr. Talton.

And you commenters are amusing too.

The "Best and Worst Run States in America: A survey of all 50" study is well worth browsing. For some reason there are comparative tables scattered between individual state evaluations, so if you go there just looking for Arizona you might miss them.

As it turns out, in addition to the fact that Arizona's credit rating is second worst in the nation, Arizona is:

* 50th (dead last) in terms of the percentage of residents below the poverty line;

* 47th in terms of the percentage of residents without health insurance;

* 47th in terms of the percentage of residents 25 and older who have graduated high-school;

* 48th in terms of GDP per capita


And from another study:

* 49th in terms of per pupil spending adjusted for regional cost differences


We discussed Ken Silverstein's essay on Arizona (Harper's, July 2010) a couple of months ago (http://roguecolumnist.typepad.com/rogue_columnist/2010/08/what-happens-in-arizona.html)

Silverstein is now leaving Harper's Washington bureau and his reasons are sad but all-too familiar to readers of this blog.


Emil's recap shows some really dreary rankings. Our legislature has a 30 year history of single party dominance, so a large measure of accountability would be appropriate. Right? But the Republic endorses the likes of Horne and Brewer, thus ensuring the perpetuation of our dismal situation.

"Arizona's perpetual churn and boom" - soleri.

The "boom" part ain't so "perpetual", is it?

No, it isn't. It's more like a volcano that finally blew out its cone.

I'm 62 and this is my first experience of Phoenix as a depressed place. Even in the S&L blowout of the late 80s, Phoenix still had a real economy. Motorola was the state's largest employer. Honeywell, Sperry, GE were strong. So, even with all those RTC auctions, Phoenix still seemed like it was on the ascent. John Teets, CEO of Dial, made an ostentatious commitment to our city by greenlighting the massive corporate headquarters on Central & Palm Ln. Other movers and shakers (say, Richard Mallery and Jerry Coangelo) were making similar commitments. Now, it's impossible to imagine anyone stepping forward in a similar manner.

I don't see Phoenix coming back simply because the fundamentals are so deeply inverted. That's why the "boom" was destined to eventually become a death spiral. We completely overshot our sustainable economy with cheap growth. Once exposed, there was nothing left except selling off excess assets. That's what Phoenix has become now: a foreclosure auction on the courthouse steps.

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