Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 13:58:57 -0700
From: weavermt@YAHOO.COM (Tim Weaver)
Subject: Missing Communist plank found at Arizona Republic

For those who don't get the Arizona Republic, you can access the referenced editorials for a few more days at:

Under the section "Opinions" Tim

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Posted on 2002-06-24 16:21:14

Missing Communist plank found at Arizona Republic

By: PHX - Craig J. Cantoni

The editorial page of last Sunday's Arizona Republic was in keeping with a long journalistic tradition. The tradition happens to be that of Pravda, the Communist Party newspaper, but it is a tradition nonetheless.

If you think the comparison is unwarranted, consider Sunday's three editorials, which endorsed more taxes, more government spending, more redistribution of income, more government control of families and more central planning. And that is not all. Also i keeping with the Pravda tradition, the editorials distorted the facts and served as propaganda pieces for the paper's statist agenda.

One editorial said that the city of Mesa should spend $24.9 million without voter approval to build 1.1 miles of the $1 billion light rail line approved by Phoenix voters after they were duped by a series of misleading editorials in the Arizona Republic. Sunday's editorial went on to say that "commuters fed up with traffic would benefit from light rail" and that it would be "cost effective."

What hogwash!

According to the Federal General Accounting Office, the Federal Transportation Administration and the Arizona Department of Transportation, light rail has a negligible effect on traffic and has a cost-benefit ratio that pales next to buses.

The costs of light rail are so high and the benefits so paltry that the only way to make the system economically viable is for riders to receive a hidden eight-dollar subsidy per ride from non-riders, a fact that the Arizona Republic and other advocates do not want the public to know. Light rail would not exist if it were not for the hidden subsidy, a subsidy that creates an imbalance between supply and demand, that distorts costs and prices, and that results in a misallocation of capital.

Light rail is nothing but a central planner's dream and a $1 billion feast for all of the rent seekers who contract with the government and get their sustenance from pork barrels.

Another editorial in Sunday's edition continued the Republic's support for a larger convention center in downtown Phoenix. As with previous editorials on the subject, it did not mention the glut of convention space in the nation and the numerous scholarly studies that debunk the loony notion that convention centers pay for themselves.

But the editorial that won the Pravda award for excellence in propaganda was the one on children.

The editorial was based on a poorly designed and thus unreliable voter survey conducted by the Republic. Previous Republic news stories and editorials had also touted the survey.

The survey gave respondents a list of 13 "issues facing Arizona" and asked them if they were very concerned, somewhat concerned or not concerned about each issue. Tellingly, taxes, government spending and the growth of government were not on the list, although state spending has doubled over the last 10 years and has far outpaced inflation and population growth.

The first item on the survey was "Welfare of Children." Of course, as survey designers know, the first item on a 13-item survey will get the most attention from respondents.

Surprise, surprise, 63 percent of respondents picked the first item as being of high concern, a response rate that the Republic interprets as meaning that voters want to spend a lot more money on children -- not on their own children, mind you, but on other people's children. How the paper came to that conclusion without asking any questions about taxes is a mystery that only journalists have the arrogance and hubris to fathom.

The survey was so amateurish that it did not eve differentiate the results between parents and non-parents. Were the 63 percent parents or non-parents? No one knows.

As a parent, the welfare of my child is the most important issue in my life. Accordingly, I would have selected the "Welfare of Children" as my top issue on the Republic survey. But it does not follow that I want to pay more in taxes for other people's children, a conclusion that the Republic somehow reached. In fact, I want to pay less in taxes so that I can spend more money on my child's welfare.

The Republic's unsubstantiated conclusions from the survey were overshadowed by even more embarrassing examples of faulty logic in the same editorial.

For example, the Republic believes that insufficient state spending accounts for the state having a high dropout rate, a high rate of out-of-wedlock births and "twenty percent of Arizona children living in low-income working families."

What poppycock!

Let's connect the dots for the Republic. Dot Number One: Out-of-wedlock births are the primary cause of poverty, crime and learning problems. Dot Number Two: Out-of-wedlock births are highest where government dependency is highest. Dot Number Three: Government dependency is highest on tribal lands, where Native Americans are suffering from socialism; and in the inner-city, where the rate of out-of-wedlock births among Black women on welfare is almost 80 percent.

When connected, the dots show that the Republic's call for increased social spending will create more dependency, which will create more out-of-wedlock births, which will create more poverty, which will harm more children. The rest of the nation learned that lesson the hard way from the failures of the Great Society programs of the 1960s, but the Republic must have been marching in the May Day parade when the lesson was taught.

Children also will be hurt by the Republic's call for free child care and more state-mandated training and pay for child care workers. Free child care will encourage, not discourage, out-of-wedlock births. Moreover, additional regulations and costs inflicted on the child care industry will drive up the cost of child care and reduce the number of child care providers who operate from their homes. Many of those mom-and-pop providers are poor Mexican immigrants who spend the extra income on their own kids.

The Republic says that its endorsement of improved child care stems from "scientific evidence of how important early childhood experiences are in determining later success in life." Well, the Republic got it half right. Of course early childhood experiences are important in determining later success in life. But, as other studies show, those experiences have to come from loving parents, not from state bureaucrats or institutional child care.

The first draft of the Communist Manifesto had a plank calling for the state to take over the rearing of children, but it was deemed too controversial and thus removed from the final version. Unfortunately, such statist ideas are not too controversial fr the Arizona Republic.

Pravda must be proud that the plank is in good hands at its sister newspaper.

Mr. Cantoni is an author, public speaker and consultant. He can be reached at

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