In what appears to be an example of mass irresponsibility on the part of Arizona's citizenry, the vast majority of Arizonans chose not to join in protesting state budget cuts. Arizona legislators have reported many hundreds of emails protesting the cuts. College students numbering perhaps 1,000 from the state's three public universities protested cuts as well. That means, however, more than 6 million Arizonans chose not to call, email, or show up in person to complain about cuts.
Bob Smith, a carpenter from Chandler, was interviewed outside a Starbucks in Mesa. "You know, the thing is, I had to pick my daughter up from tap lessons that day, and my dog really needed a bath," he said.
Other taxpayers echoed similar sentiments. John Derry in Laveen admitted that he had trouble setting priorities. "I'm working two jobs right now to make ends meet and it's been a little stressful. Honestly, I don't even know what they're cutting, but I'm just exhausted in the evening," said Mr. Derry.
Mrs. Derry home schools their three children. She points out that current events are part of her children's curriculum. "I guess maybe we should have gone up there and protested. I just feel so bad for John," said Mrs. Derry. "If they didn't cut, they'd raise taxes and I don't think John can take another job," she said.
While protesters express little doubt that widespread hardship will ensue with budget cuts, Arizona's citizens remain blissfully ignorant or appear not to care. On the day of the student protest, Betty Squint of Phoenix showed up to volunteer at a food bank instead. "I just feel like I'm helping people when I go down and load boxes," she said. "I even manage to give them money occasionally. I understand now how it was wrong. I should have gone to the capitol," she said as she began to tear.
Once again, this morning it was noted that even though the legislature was in session, Interstate 10 was full while the capitol parking lots sat a quarter empty.
Byron Schlomach, Ph.D, is director of economic policy at the Goldwater Institute.
Matthew Ladner, Ph. D, is vice president for research at the Goldwater Institute.
Editor's note: This article celebrates the long history of satire in American politics and is meant to remind legislators of the "silent majority." The vast majority of Arizona citizens are too busy to come to the capitol to protest and they trust that the people they elect to represent them will weigh the issues carefully and do the best they can to keep Arizona fiscally healthy.
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