Need for strong federal government more important today than ever - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

Need for strong federal government more important today than ever

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Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler

Posted: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 3:30 am | Updated: 12:53 pm, Sat Feb 12, 2011.

Arizona's state government has clearly demonstrated in grandiose terms its inability to match revenues with expenses. In fact, under current legislative leadership, state government has shown an addiction to reducing, eliminating or ignoring potential revenue streams while at the same time exhibiting gross negligence when it comes to delivering minimal services to its constituents.

The centerpiece of Gov. Jan Brewer's grand budget balancing scheme is to disenfranchise nearly 280,000 Arizonans from health care, not to mention those who are awaiting critically needed transplants only to be told that they must sacrifice their lives for the state budget. Now those are recallable offenses!

Of course, the irony here is that Brewer and her compadres need President Obama's approval for an exception to move forward with their disenfranchisement plan. It doesn't appear likely that Brewer's request is consistent with Obama's commitment to providing more Americans with health care coverage - not less. What's that old saying: "What goes around comes around"? Maybe Brewer & Co. shouldn't have gone to war with the federal government over SB 1070 or, as we saw last week, introduce bills that would allow Arizona to nullify federal laws at the whim of our right-wing legislative leaders.

The need for a strong federal government is more important today than ever. Witness the amazing job that Presidents Bush and Obama along with Congress did by saving our country from a certain depression by enacting the bank bailout and stimulus plans. That's exactly the role that the federal government should play when our national economy is at risk and the private sector incapable of "carrying the water."

Many of the services provided by state government are either mandated, approved or funded by the federal government.

Arizona's state government is currently dominated by national player "wannabes." These pretenders don't have either the pedigree or the money to win a seat at the federal table so they are using our state government as their bully pulpit. Sheriffs Joe Arpaio and Paul Babeu along with State Sen. Russell Pearce and State Rep. John Kavanagh are leading examples.

Do these people really believe that each state should have the inalienable right to determine the citizenship status of newborns? Last I checked, I was a citizen of the United States of America and a resident the state of Arizona - not the other way around. In the unlikely event that the courts would side with Pearce and Kavanagh, I would suggest that we make their interpretation of the Constitution retroactive. In that case, only those of Indian or Mexican descent would actually be conveyed the rights of citizenship, especially here in the state of Arizona. We are all immigrants. I'm not thinking that the first Europeans off the boat carried citizenship applications.

What's next? Each state decides its own foreign policy? Who to declare war upon?

Brewer and the legislature would be better served to focus on growing our revenue base, reducing spending responsibly, creating jobs and helping people stay in their homes vs. wandering aimlessly into areas such as immigration and citizenship reforms which are clearly the dominions of the federal government. Illegal immigrants are not responsible for our Great Recession nor would their eradication accelerate our recovery.

Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler

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