Okay, let's look at it this way. This guy owes you a bunch of money. He has owed it to you for a long time. For a while, he had been making steady payments, but then he claimed to have hit a rough patch. He came, hat in hand, to ask if he could skip a year's worth of payments to regain his financial footing. You figured, "Hey, we're all in this together, so I'll cut him some slack."
But, as Isaac Hayes said on the "Hot Buttered Soul" album, "Sometimes, people mistake kindness for weakness and they trip out on it." When it came time for your debtor to resume payments, he did like John Belushi when he got cornered by Carrie Fisher in "The Blues Brothers."
It's not my fault! I ran out of gas! Aliens stole my money! Has a year passed already? I forgot my wallet! Are you sure I didn't pay you? I had a flat tire!
You tried to be patient. There's no way this guy is going to stiff you, right, considering that he knows that the money is going to help kids? But stiff you, he does, time after time, growing bolder and more vitriolic with each passing year. Finally, he gets to the point where he just tells you that he's not going to pay what he owes and what are you going to do about it?
You finally take him to court and it takes the judge about 20 minutes to find in your favor. In fact, she stops just short of backhanding the deadbeat upside his fat head. So what does this deadbeat do? He goes to another court in an effort to stall the first court from enforcing its decision. This drags on for years while the children suffer and the deadbeat's wallet keeps getting fatter.
Then, a funny thing happened. Public opinion began to turn against the deadbeat to the point where he saw his cushy gig threatened. He got together with his new powerful friend, Il Duce (pronounced Douche-y) and they hatched a plot. They would pay you some of the money that was owed and they would do so by taking money out of your own bank account. They knew that your kids were hurting for money, so they can get away with partially stiffing you on a permanent basis. And then they'll try to take credit for their fake-ass heroism.
Is anybody really buying this nonsense? The Legislature has been shirking its constitutional responsibility for nearly a decade and was facing an angry court that had finally become impatient. El Douche-y had his moistened finger to the wind and realized that his (ugh!) national aspirations were about to devolve into a one-term governorship.
It's a crappy C.Y.A. deal that takes money from the schools, long-term, and gives it to the schools, short-term. It allows the Legislature to short-change the schools yet again and it's done not for the right reasons, but simply for political expediency. And we're supposed to applaud Douche-y for his "leadership?" Um, no.
There's this old joke about a guy who approaches a woman at a party and asks her if she would sleep with him for a million dollars. She thinks about it for a second and then says that she would. He then asks if she would sleep with him for $50.
Offended, she exclaims, "No! What do you think I am?"
He says, "We've already established that. Now we're just haggling over the price."
I think about that story every time I read a quote from Daniel Scarpinato, the paid mouthpiece for Gov. Doug Ducey. They say that everybody has a price, but I wonder how much I would have to be paid to lie for a living. Scarpinato has been at it for a while, working for several Republican campaigns, then for Republicans in the Arizona House and was national press secretary for the RNCC. (He's like a hooker who gets passed around at a frat party, only with less integrity.)
Scarpinato's take on the crappy deal is that it represents a "significant increase" in school spending. Wow. Even a kid in one of Arizona's vastly underfunded schools would know that going from next-to-nothing to a-bit-more-than-next-to-nothing represents an increase. Adding "significant" to it is like adding "viable" to "alternative." It doesn't change anything.
Since when are we supposed to get all gushy when somebody does the job he is (over)paid to do? That's the adult equivalent of participation trophies for all the kids on the junior soccer team. So, the governor sees to it that the schools get a portion of the money that they've been owed for years? That's not the governor doing his damn job. It's the governor doing part of his damn job. You don't get a pat on the back for that; you get a kick in the butt.
The schools are hurting so badly, they're going to have to accept this crappy deal. So, IF the governor doesn't back out and IF the teacher-haters in the Legislature don't pack the deal with too many poison pills and IF the people pass the measure next May, our schools would go from dead last in funding in the United States all the way up to 48th.
That would be a significant increase.