Fitz gets down to math with Tooth Fairy

Satire alert!

This week, Gov.-elect Doug Ducey promised to balance the state’s $500-million-short budget by relying on the time-honored tools of accounting, raiding and, gasp, borrowing.

Weeks before the election, Democratic candidate Fred DuVal called Republican Ducey’s budget proposals “tooth fairy math” and now, with the mythical theory out of the bag, I wanted to learn more about how it works.

I caught up with my favorite pixie, the Tooth Fairy, and my favorite governor-elect, Doug Ducey, at the Easter Bunny’s retirement party at the Biltmore in Phoenix: “It must be a very exciting time for you both. Tell me about ‘Tooth Fairy Math’.”

Ducey smiled at the sprite on his shoulder. “I believe in Tooth Fairy Math. I believe in magic. I believe in Arizona! And I believe I’ll have another chocolate egg. Is that Rumplestiltskin over there by the punch?”

“Next year the state will take in far less than it will cost to keep the doors open and the lights on. How will you balance the budget?” I asked.

The Tooth Fairy spoke for the governor-elect. “We’ll raid state funds. My extensive background in sneaking into children’s bedrooms without being detected will come in as handy as a toothbrush. And …”

“The state owes public education $336 million. Where is that money going to come from?”

Ducey laughed at me like I was a fool. “Our booming economy! And I’m going to do it all with magical tax cuts. And I won’t raise taxes. Not even a little bit. Why? Because I believe in trickle-down. I do. I do believe in trickle-down. I do, I do, I do!”

“With the coffers empty, have you considered canceling the $100 million in tax cuts the state is giving away to corporations?”

“Why would I do that? Corporations are wonderful people, people who will invest in Arizona.”

“What fairy land are you living in? They’ll take the tax break windfall and spend it on overseas investments, offshore speculation and themselves. While corporate profits have shot up by trillions, the American worker’s share of the profits are the lowest since 1950. That’s Tooth Fairy Math in action.”

“Shinnypickles!” said the Tooth Fairy. She took flight and waved her magic wand over my head. Shimmering dollar signs sparkled in the air. “Trickle-down will save us. Believe! Believe! Believe!” A misty-eyed Ducey looked away to wink at Sarah Palin, who was talking to the Three Little Pigs about death panels.

I pointed out that trickle-down has failed in Kansas, a comparable test case. After years of tax cutting, there is no miracle. Kansas is an economically dead wonderland of blight with a public education system that’s floating off the edge of the world. “Trickle-down is discredited bunk. The evidence tells us the rich only get richer and the gulf between rich and poor grows wider.”

Ducey smiled at me the way an evangelical preacher smiles at a heathen. “Next thing you’ll be telling us is that Santa isn’t real! And he was here just a minute ago! Don’t let the Easter Bunny hear you talk like that!”

The Tooth Fairy scoffed. “Your evidence isn’t worth a troll’s molar. We’re going to balance the budget by magically growing the economy, just as surely as dragons fly. Wait until Governor Ducey makes personal and corporate income taxes disappear! That’s half the state’s revenue! Half! Sales taxes will take up the slack! We’ll spend our way to prosperity”

Ducey looked thoughtful. “Of course, they’ll hit the middle class harder than the rest of us but, by golly, someone has to make sacrifices for the good of us all. Picture it: the engines of capitalism unleashed, no longer burdened by having to pay their share. And then I’ll privatize and corporatize everything! Jiminy Cricket! I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it.”

The Tooth Fairy, having drunk too much punch, hovered like a surly hummingbird inches from my nose. “Have you read any of Ayn Rand’s fairy tales about the magical wonders of the free market? Hiccup! What’s the matter with you? Don’t you love a good fairy tale?”

The governor-elect took the Tooth Fairy’s hand and said, “We have to go. The Mad Hatter invited us to tea. It was great visiting with you.” I wished them luck and that was the end of the interview.

And it came to pass that Tooth Fairy Math ruled the land. Arizona became Kansas with saguaros and corporate shareholders and the wolves of Wall Street pocketed the windfall. Workers’ wages remained as flat as the first little pig’s house of straw, public education went the way of the unicorn and all the children found IOUs under their pillows. And all of the Lords and Ladies, and Princes and Princesses in Scottsdale, Cave Creek and Paradise Valley lived happily ever after.

Article source: