This week, the State of Arizona decided to cut the lifetime limit of welfare recipients to 12 months. The cut in benefits will likely create a 4 million dollar savings in order to make a dent in the 1 billion dollar budgetary shortfall. Is 4 million dollars worth 1,600 families, including 2,600 children, losing their benefits as of July 2016? Is it safe to say that those who run Arizona don’t care about the poor?
Well, let’s run through the shortlist of why Arizona doesn’t care about its poor or building a middle class. First of all, Arizona has been a Right to Work state for decades now, so there’s a good chance that your Union maybe under-powered or non-existent. Secondly, if you happened to have employment and were laid off, in Arizona you have 26 weeks of benefits. Not a lot of time to find a job that particularly matches your skill set. Let’s say you’re lucky enough to find a job again, but your new job doesn’t offer healthcare. Arizona has been fighting the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act since its inception. The reason why Arizona is systematically dismantling the safety net is to become “friendly to business.”
Has Arizona actually become more attractive for business? Nope! According to Forbes Magazine, Arizona is ranked 22 in states best for business and number 47 in economic climate. You can see those numbers here. My question is: Why do it? These policies make it harder for working people to rebound from a setback and for poor people to survive. Is the sacrifice of the average taxpayer worth attracting outside investors at any cost? I think not.