Government Spending

No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.

<p>No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.</p>

The Social Security reform debate is over for now. But as any ostrich can tell you, sticking your head in the sand doesn't solve the problem. According to the Annual Report of the Social Security and Medicare trustees, the Social Security benefits we've promised but cant pay rose more than $200 billion last year alone.

State Rep. Phil Lopes says that with his proposal to provide government-run health insurance to every resident of the state any person could visit a doctor any time, yet no health care provider would be forced to accept lower payments. That's not exactly the way government health programs work.

Patients in Canada and the United Kingdom commonly wait up to a year to see a doctor, while providers, especially of primary care, are becoming scarce due to declining revenue. Our Medicare and Medicaid systems are plagued with the same problems.

The Arizona Senate is recommending $7 million in business tax cuts this year, with many senators saying the state cannot afford more. That represents 0.06 percent of the Senates $10.6 billion budget proposal. By contrast, the Arizona House was able to come up with $46 million in recommended business tax cuts. To paraphrase occasional presidential candidate and magazine publisher Steve Forbes, maybe its the politicians we cant afford.

If car insurance were structured like health insurance, oil changes would cost only a few dollars with a co-payment. Low-income car owners would qualify for free coverage. Oil would be changed constantly, with the insured demanding the best, most expensive oil be used. Mechanics would not be able to keep up with demand; they would have to raise their prices regularly to comply with increasing compliance costs from insurance companies. Needless repairs would be frequent because car owners would have little incentive to prevent them.

Sound familiar?

Holy misdirection, Batman! Only sitting elected officials could make a spending problem seem like an economic illness.

Arizona's state revenues are short an estimated $600 million for 2008, just three months into the fiscal year. The culprit cited is a slowing housing market and falling home values.

However, under Governor Napolitano, every budget from 2004 to 2007 has grown faster than Arizonans' collective personal income. Nearly 7 percentage points faster in 2004, 12.3 points faster in 2005, 5.7 points faster in 2006, and 0.5 point faster in 2007.

The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) has released its latest Urban Mobility Report. The good news is that Phoenix is not the most congested city measured (15th worst out of the 85 areas examined). The bad news is that congestion is getting worse and it is costing Phoenicians lost time and wasted fuel.

President Bush is probably on the losing end of the political argument over his veto last week of the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. But that's in part because he hasn't established a pattern of vetoing excessive spending.

Arizona Republic reporter Pat Kossan is writing a series on school choice program accountability, the most recent investigates a School Tuition Organization (STO). There is both more and less to this story than meets the eye.

The STO, the Arizona Scholarship Fund, used funds raised through Arizona's scholarship tax credit law to help mentally disabled adults attend K-12 level classes.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently announced plans for a new curriculum for all Venezuela schools. Criticizing the old school model as "colonial, capitalist, and soul-destroying," Chavez promised a new model: "We want to create our own ideology collectively." Private schools will also be forced to embrace the new curriculum and those that don't comply will be closed or nationalized.

In June, the Goldwater Institute released A Test of Credibility. The essence of the argument: Arizona's Terra Nova exam produces unrealistically high scores (above the national average in every subject and grade level), when national tests show Arizona­ consistently below the national average.­ Both results can not be true.

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