Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 17, 2012


Host: Ted Simons

Arizona ArtBeat: Cirque du Soleil’s KOOZA

  |   Video
  • Combining acrobatic performance with the art of clowning, Cirque du Soleil’s KOOZA will be performed under a big top in Glendale from June 8 – July 15. Michael Smith, the artistic director of KOOZA, talks about this production that returns to the roots of Cirque du Soleil.
Guests:
  • Michael Smith - Artistic Director of KOOZA
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: art, artbeat, cirque, du, soleil, kooza, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: CIRQUE DU SOLEIL IS STARTING A NEW FOUR-CITY AMERICAN TOUR HERE IN PHOENIX NEXT MONTH WITH A SHOW THAT RUNS FROM JUNE 8th THROUGH JULY 15th. THE PERFORMANCES WILL BE HELD IN A MASSIVE, AIR CONDITIONED BIG TOP IN A PARKING LOT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX STADIUM IN GLENDALE. JOINING US NOW IS MICHAEL SMITH. HE'S THE SHOW'S ARTISTIC DIRECTOR. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE.

Michael Smith: THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME.

Ted Simons: THE PERFORMANCE IS TITLED "KOOZA." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Michael Smith: IT COMES FROM A SANSKRIT WORD, KOOZA, WHICH MEANS A BOX OR A TREASURE TROVE. SO IT'S THE IDEA THAT WHEN YOU TO GO A BOX, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING TO BE INSIDE IT. THERE'S NOTHING ON IT.

Ted Simons: CIRCUS IN A BOX.

Michael Smith: IT'S CIRCUS IN A BOX.

Ted Simons: AND I READ IN THE RELEASE ABOUT THE SHOW IT COMBINES ACROBATICS WITH THE ART OF CLOWNING. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Michael Smith: IT'S TRADITIONAL CIRCUS. THE WHOLE THING OF SEND IN THE CLOWNS. IT'S KIND OF THAT. THE CLOWNS TAKE THE AUDIENCE ON ONE JOURNEY. THE ACROBATICS TAKE THE AUDIENCE ON ANOTHER JOURNEY.

Ted Simons: THAT'S THE KEY TO CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, ISN'T IT?

Michael Smith: YES, IT IS. I THINK IN "KOOZA" IT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CLOWNS AND THE ACROBATICS IS MORE MARKED THAN IS IN SOME OF THE OTHER SHOWS.

Ted Simons: WHY IS THAT?

Michael Smith: BECAUSE IT WAS A MANDATE FROM GUY, OUR FOUNDER, THAT HE WANTED TO RETURN MORE TO THE ROOTS OF CIRCUS. BACK IN 1984, WHEN THEY STARTED, THEY WANTED TO REINVENT CIRCUS AND THEY DID. AND EVERY SHOW THAT WAS DONE WAS SOMETHING DIFFERENT, NEW, PUSHING THE BARRIERS, PUSHING WHAT PEOPLE EXPECTED. BUT THE THEN HE STARTED FROM CIRCUS. NOW WHEN IT WAS THE SHOW WAS WEBCAST CREATED THERE WAS A CONFIDENCE IN THE COMPANY, YES, WE CAN DO TRADITIONAL CIRCUS AND DO IT BETTER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE.

Ted Simons: WHEN IT COMES TO TRADITIONAL CIRCUS MUCH OF WHAT YOU GO TO THE CIRCUS FOR IS TO BE ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT, TERRIFIED.

Michael Smith: YES, IT IS.

Ted Simons: WHEN YOU HAVE A PERFORMANCE CALLED "THE WHEEL OF DEATH," I GUESS THAT'S PRETTY TERRIFYING. WHAT IS THE WHEEL OF DEATH?

Michael Smith: A TERRIFYING EXPERIENCE. I'M STILL STRUGGLING TO SIT THROUGH, I HAVE ONLY BEEN WITH THE SHOW A MONTH. IT IS ACTUALLY TWO WHEELS THAT -- WHAT'S VERY DANGEROUS IS THE FACT THAT THE TRUST THAT IT HAS TO EXIST BETWEEN THE TWO ARTISTS, THEIR LIVES DEPEND ON THAT TRUST. IT'S ABOUT BALANCE AND IT'S ABOUT TRUSTING THE OTHER THAT HE IS NOT GOING TO GO TOO FAST BUT THEY ARE SPINNING ROUND AN INCREDIBLE VELOCITY ON A WHEEL AT 20 METERS HIGH AND JUMPING IN THE AIR. ON A MOVING OBJECT.

Ted Simons: THAT'S, LOOK AT THAT. THAT'S OUTRAGEOUS! HOW DO YOU TUNED PEOPLE 20 DO THIS SORT OF THING?

Michael Smith: IT'S A VERY SMALL NICHE OF PEOPLE THAT DO THAT. THAT ARE HAPPY TO RISK THEIR LIFE DOING IT.

Ted Simons: ARE THESE PEOPLE RECRUITED? ARE THESE PEOPLE, DO THEY COME TO THE CIRCUS? HOW DOES THAT WORK?

Michael Smith: A BIT OF BOTH. IN THEIR CASE BECAUSE IT'S A VERY, VERY SPECIFIC DISCIPLINE, WE HAVE CONTACT WITH EVERYBODY WHO DOES THAT. WE KNOW EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD WHO DOES THAT. OBVIOUSLY, WE GO FOR THE BEST ONES.

Ted Simons: I WAS GOING TO SAY. WHEN YOU ARE GOOD AT SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THERE ARE PROBABLY NOT TOO MANY OPTION THE OUT THERE.

Michael Smith: NO, NO.

Ted Simons: YOU MENTIONED CIRQUE DU SOLEIL RETURNING TO ITS ROOTS, TO ITS CIRCUS KIND OF ROOTS. WHAT ARE CIRQUE DU SOLEIL'S ROOTS?

Michael Smith: INTERESTING. THE COMPANY WAS FORMED BACK IN 1984. WITH LIKE A GROUP OF 12 DELINQUENT STREET MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS. AND THEY STILL HAVE AN IMPACT. THEY ARE STILL INVOLVED IN THE COMPANY. THEY WANTED TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. AND THEY LOVE ACROBATICS. THEY LOVE CIRCUS. BUT HOW TO MAKE THAT TANGIBLE INCLUDES A BIGGER AUDIENCE, I DON'T THINK THE ORIGINAL INTENTION WAS ABOUT MAKING MONEY. IT WAS ABOUT HOW DO WE SPREAD THIS ART FORM AND HOW DO WE REINVENT THIS ART FORM TO GET TO A BIG ARE AUDIENCE THAT CAN ENJOY IT?

Ted Simons: FOR SOMETHING LIKE "KOOZA," IT LOOKS LIKE THERE'S A NARRATIVE, LIKE SOMETHING OF A STORY THAT GOES BEHIND THE ACTION. YOU ARE SHAKING YOUR HEAD. THERE'S NO NARRATIVE?

Michael Smith: NO. THERE'S ONLY ONE SHOW THAT WE HAVE WHICH IS IN VEGAS, KA, THAT HAS A STORY, THAT HAS A NARRATIVE. WE ARE DIFFERENT FROM MUSICAL THEATER IN THAT. WHEN A CHARACTER IS CREATE CREATED, IT'S CREATED WITH WHAT THAT PARTICULAR ARTIST CAN COME UP WITH AND PROPOSE TO THE DIRECTOR. WHAT THE DIRECTOR CAN DIG OUT OF THAT PERSON. THAT CHARACTER DEVELOPS THE CONCEPT ALONG THOSE LINES AND IT'S ABOUT -- IN PEOPLE COME TO SEE A SHOW AND THEY DON'T FEEL THEY UNDERSTOOD THE STORY THEY HAVEN'T MISSED ANYTHING. WE NEED THOSE TOOLS IN ORDER TO CREATE A WORLD, A UNIVERSE THAT INVITES PEOPLE IN TO SHARE IT. THE IDEA THAT AN AUDIENCE JUST SITS PASSIVE IN THE BIG TOP DOESN'T WORK. THE AUDIENCE IS KIND OF IN A SEMI CIRCLE AROUND US. EVERYTHING SHOULD FEEL INCLUDED. EVERYTHING WE DO IS TO BRING TRUTH TO A CHARACTER IN A PERFORMANCE SO WE BRING THE AUDIENCE WITH US.

Ted Simons: BUT YOU SAY THERE'S NO NOT REALLY A NARRATIVE INVOLVED. CERTAINLY I THINK THERE'S LIKE A TRICKSTER CHARACTER IN THIS.

Michael Smith: THERE IS.

Ted Simons: THEY DO THINGS. THEY GO PLACES. THEY ENCOUNTER OTHERS, DON'T THEY?

Michael Smith: YES, THEY DO. BUT IT'S BASED ON A CONCEPT RATHER THAN A NARRATIVE. SO THE CONCEPT IS THAT THE DUALITIES EXISTS IN EVERY HUMAN BEING. SO THE TRICKSTER, I WOULD SAY, I THINK IT'S A NICE NAME FOR A MANIPULATOR, HIS OPPOSITE IS THE INNOCENT CHARACTER. SO TOGETHER THE TRICKSTER INVITES THE INNOCENT CHARACTER INTO THIS WORLD OF KOOZA WHERE ALONG THE WAY, HE BUILDS RELATIONSHIPS AND, AS IN LIFE, UNDERSTANDS THAT CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS HAVE CERTAIN CONDITIONS.

Ted Simons: THAT SOUNDS LIKE A "ROCKY HORROR" KIND OF THING.

Michael Smith: IT'S NOT "ROCKY HORROR" AT ALL! IT'S ABOUT WHAT IS FRIENDSHIP LIMITED? IS IT CONDITIONAL? IS IT UNCONDITIONAL?

Ted Simons: HOW DO YOU GET THAT ACROSS WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE RUNNING AND JUMPING AND DOING THINGS I CAN'T POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND?

Michael Smith: BECAUSE THAT'S INCIDENTAL TO THE CONCEPT AND THE EMOTIONAL JOURNEY THE AUDIENCE IS GOING ON. WHAT ADDS TO THE FEAR AND WONDER THAT THE CIRCUS IS IS THIS EMOTIONAL CONNECTION THAT CERTAIN CHARACTERS HAVE AND THE CLOWNS HAVE WITH THE AUDIENCE BECAUSE IT TAKES ITS TO ANOTHER DIMENSION. SO I THINK THAT THE LEVEL OF ENJOYMENT AND COMMITMENT IS GREATER FOR THE AUDIENCE.

Ted Simons: DOES THAT MEAN, "KOOZA" HAS BEEN AROUND FOR A FEW YEARS.

Michael Smith: SINCE 2007.

Ted Simons: HAS "KOOZA" CHANGED SINCE?

Michael Smith: ABSOLUTELY. THE CONCEPT STAYS THE SAME. THE RUNNING ORDER OF THE SHOW STAYS THE SAME. THAT WAS THE DIRECTOR'S INITIAL VISION. WHEN I NEED TO CHANGE A CHARACTER, IF I AM CASTING YOU, WE WILL TALK THROUGH THE OUTLINE OF THE CHARACTER. YOU WILL PROPOSE THINGS, I WOULD PUSH YOU TO EXPLORE DIFFERENT THINGS. INSTEAD OF DOING A COPY AND PASTE OF WHAT EXISTED, WE TAKE WHAT EXISTED AND MAKE IT YOURS AS WELL. SO IF YOU HAVE OWNERSHIP, AGAIN, IT'S ABOUT FINDING TRUTH IN THE CHARACTER THAT INVOLVES AN AUDIENCE.

Ted Simons: IF THE LAST GUY WHO WAS WEARING THE SKELETON SUIT WAS DOING A CERTAIN NUMBER OF, I DON'T KNOW, TRICKS BUT ACROBATICS.

Michael Smith: TRICKS WORKS.

Ted Simons:AND I COME IN AND I SAY, LISTEN, I CAN DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I CAN DO THIS. ALL OF A SUDDEN THIS NOW BECOMES A GROWTH, A CHANGE IN THE SHOW?

Michael Smith: YES, ABSOLUTELY. THERE'S AN ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT. THERE'S AN ACROBATIC DEVELOPMENT. THE SHOW ACROBATICALLY IS A HIGHER LEVEL IN 2012 THAN IT WAS IN 2007.

Ted Simons: INTERESTING. PEOPLE KNOW CIRQUE DU SOLEIL. THIS IS A VERY, VERY WELL-KNOWN COMPANY. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOLKS, WHEN THEY LEAVE THIS PERFORMANCE, WHEN THEY LEAVE THE BIG TOP, WHICH IS ITSELF A STORY, WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO THINK ABOUT, TO FEEL?

Michael Smith: I WOULD LIKE EVERYBODY TO HAVE BEEN IMPACTED BY THE SHOW IN WHATEVER WAY IS RELEVANT TO THEM. BECAUSE IT'S NOT A NARRATIVE, BECAUSE IT'S NOT A STORY, EACH PERSON'S OPENNESS TO INTERPRET WHAT THE CHARACTER IS DOING IS UP FOR DISCUSSION.

Ted Simons: YES.

Michael Smith: AND SOMETIMES I GO INTO THE LOBBY WHEN PEOPLE ARE COMING OUT BECAUSE I LIKE TO HEAR WHAT IS BEING DISCUSSED, THE FACT THAT IT CREATES A DISCUSSION ABOUT HUMAN BEHAVIOR, ABOUT HUMAN EMOTIONS, I THINK THAT'S A WONDERFUL THING.

Ted Simons: ALL RIGHT. GOOD LUCK WITH THE SHOW.

Michael Smith: THANK YOU.

Ted Simons: GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Ted Simons: AND THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

Facebook IPO

  |   Video
  • Wayne Stutzer of RBC Wealth Management discusses the initial public offering of Facebook shares on Wall Street.
Guests:
  • Wayne Stutzer - RBC Wealth Management
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: Facebook, IPO, stocks, wall, street, management, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: TOMORROW WILL BE A NOTABLE DAY ON WALL STREET. FACEBOOK WILL MAKE ITS INITIAL PUBLIC STOCK OFFERING AT $38 A SHARE, WHICH MEANS EARLY INVESTORS IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANY COULD TAKE IN OVER $18 Billion from the IPO. Here to talk about what's Shaping up as one of the largest STOCK OFFERINGS IN HISTORY IS WAYNE STUTZER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND FINANCIAL CONSULTANT FOR RBC WEALTH MANAGEMENT. HOW BIG A DEAL IS?

Wayne Stutzer: IT WILL PROBABLY BE THE LARGEST IPO, INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING THAT THIS COUNTRY HAS EVER WITNESSED BEFORE. SO IN THAT SENSE IT'S A HUGE DEAL.

Ted Simons: $38 A SHARE SOUND RIGHT TO YOU?

Wayne Stutzer: MOST OF THE PROFESSIONALS, PROFESSORS OF ECONOMICS AND ANALYSTS ARE SUCH SAYING AT THAT PRICE, WHEN, IF IT COMES OUT 245 WAY, WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT THE MARKET CAPITALIZATION, THE STOCK PRICE TIMES THE NUMBER OF SHARES THAT ARE OUTSTANDING AFTER THEY FLOAT THAT STOCK, CREATE $100 BILLION ENTITY, THEY BASICALLY FEEL THAT'S PRETTY MUCH PRICED TO PERFECTION.

Ted Simons: YEAH, I THINK $104 billion. Down to the four. You are talking like $18 billion in cash could be raised just in one fell swoop. Huh 1234.

Wayne Stutzer: Yeah.

Ted Simons: What are they going to do with all that money?

Wayne Stutzer: That is a good question actually. Right now they will sit on it. It will also gives people like Mark Zuckerberg instant wealth. Real dollars. Not just paper money, real dollars.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about some options here. Acquisitions could they start taking some of these folks that might be nipping at their heels and say, come under the umbrella?

Wayne Stutzer: THEY CAN. BUT USUALLY WHEN THESE BIG DEALS COME ABOUT THE FIRST THING THEY WILL DO IS SIT ON THE CASH FOR A WHILE. FROM THERE THEY WILL PROBABLY MAKE SOME DECISIONS. BUT PREDOMINANTLY IT ALLOWS THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN IN THE COMPANY FROM ITS INCEPTION TO REALIZE SOME OF THAT HARD WORK WITH HARD CASH.

Ted Simons: AND SOME OF THOSE PEOPLE, TALK ABOUT ISSUES, WHAT YOU DO WITH THE MONEY NOW THAT YOU GOT IT, I WOULD ASSUME SOME OF THOSE MONEY WILL BE TO SAVE, RECRUIT AND RETAIN SOME OF THESE EMPLOYEES. THESE ARE MULTIMILLIONAIRES. THEY MAY HAVE SOME IDEAS FOR THEIR LIVES.

Wayne Stutzer: THEY MAY BE INSTANT BILLIONAIRES.

Ted Simons: THEY CAN START THEIR OWN COMPANIES. THEY CAN WANDER OFF SOMEWHERE BUT THEY WILL HAVE TO STICK AROUND THE OFFICE.

Wayne Stutzer: SPAWN OTHERS. I THINK THAT IF YOU LOOK AT THIS AND ASK YOURSELF WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN FOR AMERICA? WHAT IT MEANS IN MY MIND IS THAT THAT SPIRIT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP THAT YOU CAN START AND GROW A COMPANY, IS THERE. MARK ZUCKERBERG BECOMES SOMEBODY THAT IS IDOLIZED BY MANY, MANY YOUTH PEOPLE WHO SAY, IF HE CAN DO IT, WHY CAN'T I DO IT? TO ME AGAIN IT INDICATES THAT IN AMERICA, IT SORT OF IS COOL TO BE A MILLIONAIRE OR BILLIONAIRE. IT HASN'T BEEN LIKE VOTED OUT.

Ted Simons: AND THIS HAPPENS RIGHT ON THE HEELS OF A STORY THAT KIND OF ROCKED WALL STREET WHICH IS THE J.P. MORGAN CHASE. YEAH. HOW DOES THAT, IN TERMS OF JUST MOOD AND CONFIDENCE AND OPTIMISM, THAT PLAY A FACT THERE ARE?

Wayne Stutzer: YES, IT DOES. IN FACT, TO ME, I WOULD LOVE TO TELL STUDENTS STUDYING TODAY TO STOP TRYING TO BECOME A FINANCIAL ENGINEER. RATHER BECOME A PHYSICAL ENGINEER. TO CREATE. SO IN SOME WAYS, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE TWO CONTRASTS HERE. J.P. MORGAN CHASE AND THAT TRADE, FINANCIAL ENGINEERING, WHAT DID THAT DO TO CREATE A CREDIT DEFAULT WHATEVER? DID IT CREATE JOBS OR WEALTH IN AMERICA? ABSOLUTELY NOT. FACEBOOK ON THE OTHER HAND CREATED A REAL ENTITY. AND SO I HOPE THAT PEOPLE EMULATE MARK ZUCKERBERG AND NOT THE WHALE OF LONDON.

Ted Simons: LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT FACEBOOK DOES NOW TO MAKE MONEY FOR ITS SHAREHOLDERS.

Wayne Stutzer: WELL, THAT'S GOING TO BE THE BIG QUESTION. THAT'S ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. OBVIOUSLY, THERE'S GOING TO HAVE TO BE ADVERTISING. THAT'S BASICALLY HOW THEY MAKE THEIR MONEY. THE PAST WEEK YOU HEARD THAT GENERAL MOTORS HAS DECIDED THAT THEY ARE GOING TO PULL THEIR CONTRACT, OR A BIG PART OF THEIR CONTRACT WITH FACEBOOK BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T REALLY SEE IT HAVING AN IMPACT ON THEIR SALES. ORDINANCE, FORD MOTOR COMPANY SAID, YOU KNOW WHAT? WE'RE GOING TO BEEF UP OUR WORK WITH FACEBOOK BECAUSE WE DO SEE IT HAVING AN IMPACT ON OUR SALES. WHERE THEY ARE GOING TO GET THEIR MONEY? THROUGH COMPANIES LIKE THE G.M.'S AND THE FORDS AND OTHER COMPANIES ADVERTISING AND TRYING TO ATTRACT BUSINESS.

Ted Simons: IS THERE A DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU ARE DEALING WITH A SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANY, BALANCING WALL STREET DEMANDS WITH USER DEMANDS? YOU GOT A LOT OF FOLKS THROUGHOUT THAT THINK THEY ARE PART OF SOMETHING BIG RIGHT NOW.

Wayne Stutzer: YOU DO. NOW YOU WILL HAVE OPEN SHAREHOLDERS MEETINGS AND THE SCRUTINY OF WALL STREET AND THE SCRUTINY OF SOME THAT MIGHT HAVE 50 SHARES, THEY CAN COME TO A BOARD MEETING, AN ANNUAL MEETING, EXCUSE ME. NOT A BOARD MEETING. WHEN YOU GO PUBLIC THE SPOTLIGHT IS FULLY ON YOU.

Ted Simons: YES.

Wayne Stutzer: IT'S DIFFERENT THAN BEING PRIVATE. MARK ZUCKERBERG HAS HAD THIS COMPANY FOR SIX OR SEVEN YEARS. IT'S NOT LIKE HE'S BRAND-NEW AT THE TABLE. BUT THIS WILL BE A WHOLE NEW ASPECT FOR HIM WHERE HE HAS TO NOW ANSWER QUESTIONS TO SHAREHOLDERS.

Ted Simons: IS THIS A WHOLE NEW BENCHMARK FOR TECHNOLOGY, FOR SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE MARKETPLACE? THINKS BRAVE NEW WORLD HERE?

Wayne Stutzer: WELL, WHAT IT DOES IN SOME WAYS, YES. IT MOTIVATES OTHER COMPANIES. YOUTUBE, YOU, TOO, COULD BE A MARK ZUCKERBERG. IF YOU WORK HARD AND ARE DILIGENT, SOME DAY, YOU, TOO, CAN BE A MULTIMILLIONAIRE. THAT'S WHAT MAKE AMERICAS GREAT.

Ted Simons: TALK ABOUT A WHALE. THE FACEBOOK WHALE, SWALLOW IT LIKE I MENTIONED EARLIER, ACQUISITION. YOU CAN START YOUR COMPANY AND SAY, HEY, MARK, WHAT DO YOU THINK? TAKE A LOOK.

Wayne Stutzer: ONCE YOU ARE AT THE TOP OF YOUR GAME THAT'S WHAT MAKE CREATIVE DESTRUCTION IN THIS COUNTRY SO MARVELOUS. THERE WILL BE PEOPLE 2458 SNIP AT THE FEET OF FACEBOOK JUST LIKE GOOGLE IS AT THE TOP OF ITS GAME. CAN IT STAY THERE? APPLE, CAN IT STAY THERE? WE HAVE SEEN JUST IN THE AREA OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS, TED, WHAT HAPPENED TO NOKIA? WHAT HAPPENED TO BLACKBERRY? RIGHT? NOW WE GOT APPLE. THE DROID AND GOOGLE. WHO KNOWS WHAT WILL BE NEXT?

Ted Simons: CRITICS OF FACEBOOK SAY WHAT HAPPENED TO MYSPACE? YOU NEVER REAL KNOW.

Wayne Stutzer: THAT'S WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS COUNTRY.

Ted Simons: ALL RIGHT. WELL, WE WILL WATCH TOMORROW. GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE, WAYNE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Wayne Stutzer: YOU BET.

Making Ends Meet in Arizona

  |   Video
  • How much income do Arizona families need to make ends meet? Find out when we examine the results of the 2012 Self-Sufficiency Standard for Arizona report from the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona.
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: making, ends, meet, Arizona, income, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: HOW MUCH DOES IT TAKE FOR ARIZONA FAMILIES TO MEET BASIC NEEDS WITHOUT PUBLIC OR PRIVATE ASSISTANCE? A NEW STUDY ROOKS LOOKS AT SELF SUFFICIENCY STANDARDS IN THE STATE. IT'S A REPORT COMMISSIONED BY THE WOMEN'S FOUNDATION OF SOUTHERN ARIZONA. EARLIER I SPOKE WITH THE AUTHOR OF THE REPORT, DR. DIANA PEARCE, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR WOMEN'S WELFARE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON'S SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK. AND LAURA PENNY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE WOMEN'S FOUNDATION OF SOUTHERN ARIZONA. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TONIGHT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON." GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS REPORT. WHAT DID YOU LOOK AT?

Diana Pearce: WE LOOKED AT WHAT IT COST TO MEET YOUR BASIC NEEDS AT MINIMALLY ADEQUATE LEVELS. IT'S A REAL BARE BONES BUDGET DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU LIVE AND WHAT YOUR FAMILY CONFIGURATION IS, KIDS, AGES.

Ted Simons: THE IDEA OF MAKING ENDS MEET, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? DEFINE THAT TERM.

Diana Pearce: IT'S HOW MUCH YOU NEED TO PAY FOR HOUSING, FOR FOOD, FOR CHILD CARE, FOR HEALTH CARE TO GET THE MINIMUM, TO GET, FOR THE FOOD BUDGET, FOR EXAMPLE, IS JUST YOUR GROCERIES, NO TAKEOUT OR RESTAURANT FOOD. NOT A PIZZA, NOT A LATTE IN THERE. JUST WHAT YOU NEED MEET YOUR NUTRITION NEEDS. AND MEET THOSE NEEDS BUT NOT BEYOND THAT.

Ted Simons: WITHOUT PUBLIC OR PRIVATE ASSISTANCE?

Diana Pearce: RIGHT. NO HELP FROM THE GOVERNMENT, LIKE NO FOOD STAMPS OR ANYTHING TO HELP WITH FOOD BUT ALSO NO HELP FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHO MIGHT SHARE HOUSING OR PROVIDE BABY-SIT.

Ted Simons: WITH THAT IN MIND, ONE ADULT WITH TWO KIDS HAS TO EARN $51,000 A YEAR TO MAKE, THOSE BASIC ENDS MEET?

Laura Penny: IN MARICOPA COUNTY.

Ted Simons: YES.

Laura Penny: YES.

Ted Simons: THAT'S A SURPRISING NUMBER.

Laura Penny: IT IS. I THINK IT'S BEEN SURPRISING TO EVERYBODY WHO HAS SEEN THE REPORT. BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT CONSTITUTES THAT $51,000, IT STARTS TO MAKE SENSE TO PEOPLE.

Ted Simons: TALK TO US ABOUT THAT.

Laura Penny: FOR INSTANCE, A THREE-PERSON FAMILY, TWO CHILDREN, YOU THINK ABOUT A TWO BEDROOM APARTMENT. AND THE COST OF UTILITIES. AND SO WE BUILD I BELIEVE THE FAIR, THE AVERAGE MARKET VALUE OF AN APARTMENT IN PHOENIX, AND THE COST OF UTILITIES. WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT LIVING IN SOME, YOU KNOW, SUBSTANDARD HORRIBLE ENVIRONMENT. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT JUST BASIC HOUSING. ADEQUATE HOUSING. SAME WITH FOOD. WE ARE LOOKING AT REALLY WHAT DOES IT JUST COST TO BUY GROCERIES AND EAT? I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE SOME SPECIFIC NUMBERS.

Diana Pearce: LIKE CHILD CARE, FOR THOSE TWO KIDS, AN INFANT I MEAN A PRESCHOOLER AND A SCHOOL-AGE IS $1319. PART TIME FOR THE SCHOOL AGE CHILD, FULL TIME FOR THE PRESCHOOLER.

Ted Simons: AS FAR AS MEASURING THIS, THOUGH, AND THE METRICS INVOLVED, HOW DO YOU FIGURE THIS OUT?

Diana Pearce: WELL, WE USE GOVERNMENT SOURCE. WE TRY TO USE WHAT, NOT WHAT YOU AND I MIGHT -- WE WOULD BE TOO GENEROUS. SO THIS IS THE MINIMUM THAT LIKE THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE HAS A FOOD BUDGET, HOW MUCH IT COST TO MEET YOUR NUTRITIONAL NEEDS, THE MINIMUM IT WOULD COST. THE HOUSING AND CHILD CARE, HOW MUCH PEOPLE WOULD GET FOR HOUSING AND CHILD CARE IF THEY ARE GETTING ASSISTANCE. SO THIS IS FOR LOW-INCOME PEOPLE WHO ARE GETTING LIKE A CHILD CARE SUBSIDY. THIS IS HOW MUCH THE STATE WILL ALLOCATE FOR THAT. THIS ISN'T REALLY GENEROUS. THIS IS THE MINIMUM. THAT'S HOW WE COME UP WITH THAT.

Ted Simons: YET IT'S VERY DIFFERENT THAN FEDERAL POVERTY GUIDELINES. CORRECT?

Laura Penny: HUGELY DIFFERENT. HUGELY DIFFERENT. THE FEDERAL POVERTY LIMIT FOR A FAMILY OF THREE IS A LITTLE OVER $19,000. THAT DOESN'T MEAN IF YOU MAKE $20,000 OR $21,000 YOU ARE NOT POOR ANYMORE. YOU ARE STILL DESPERATELY POOR. THE MORE MONEY YOU MAKE, YOU BECOME INELIGIBLE FOR SOME OF THOSE SUPPORTS THAT HAVE HELPED YOU KEEP YOUR HEAD ABOVE WATER WHEN YOU ARE ONLY BRINGING HOME $19,000 A YEAR.

Ted Simons: AND THE FEDS, FROM READING THE REPORT, IT SOUNDS LIKE THEY DON'T NECESSARILY LOOK AS CLOSELY AS THIS REPORT DID AT FAMILIES OR WHERE THOSE FAMILIES MIGHT LIVE.

Laura Penny: EXACTLY.

Diana Pearce: THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL IS THE SAME NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE EXCEPT ALASKA AND HAWAII. BUT IT'S THE SAME FOR THE FAMILY OF THREE. IT'S THE SAME AMOUNT, NO MATTER IF YOU LIVED IN MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, MANHATTAN, KANSAS.

Ted Simons: LET'S TALK ABOUT IF THERE WAS A MANHATTAN, ARIZONA. MARICOPA COUNTY, HIGHEST NUMBERS THERE?

Laura Penny: THE MOST EXPENSIVE COUNTY IN THE STATE.

Ted Simons: OK. DOES IT DIFFER, AND IT'S JUDGING FROM THE REPORT, IT LOOKS LIKE THERE ARE A LOT OF VARIABLES IN THERE. IT VARIETIES GREATLY WITH THE VARIABLES ADD UP AS WELL. WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT LIVING IN COCHISE COUNTY AS OPPOSED TO PINNELL COUNTY AS OPPOSED TO ANY OTHER COUNTY?

Laura Penny: WELL, YOU ARE A MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREA HERE IN PHOENIX. AND WITH THAT COMES INCREASED PRICES. THAT'S INTUITIVE. YOU SEE THAT ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THE COST OF LIVING MAY BE LESS IN COCHISE COUNTY OR SOME OF THE MORE RURAL COUNTIES. BUT WHAT WE DON'T KNOW IS WHAT PERCENT OF PEOPLE ARE STILL HAVING TROUBLE MEETING THAT STANDARD. SO THERE ARE MORE JOBS HERE, BETTER PAYING JOBS HERE THAN THERE ARE IN BENSON.

Ted Simons: YES.

Laura Penny: YOU KNOW, SO THE RATE OF LOW-INCOME PEOPLE MAY BE THE SAME SIMPLY BECAUSE THERE JUST NORTH GOOD JOBS THERE. PINAL COUNTY IS INTERESTING BECAUSE 10 YEARS AGO, IT WAS, IT HADN'T EXPERIENCED THE DEVELOPMENT BOOM THAT WE SAW. AND SO PINAL IS NOW I BELIEVE THE SECOND MOST EXPENSIVE COUNTY IN THE STATE. AND THAT'S A REAL SHIFT FROM 10 YEARS AGO.

Ted Simons: TALK ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO. THIS IS NOW THE LAST TIME THIS STUDY WAS DONE WAS 10 YEARS AGO. TALK ABOUT THE DIFFERENCES. WHAT HAS CHANGED? OBVIOUSLY THE NUMBERS HAVE GONE UP. BUT HOW MUCH AND WHAT ELSE HAS CHANGED?

Diana Pearce: WELL, WHAT'S HAPPENED IS THAT NUMBERS HAVE GONE UP. AVERAGE OF A LITTLE OVER 3% PER YEAR. OVER THE DECADE, ACROSS THE STATE AS AN AVERAGE ACROSS THE STATE. IT'S GONE UP MORE IN SOME PLACES LIKE SOME COUNTIES THAT HAVE EXPERIENCED RAPID DEVELOPMENT. BUT ONE OF THE PROBLEMS IS THAT WAGES HAVE ONLY GONE UP ON AVERAGE ABOUT 19%. SO EACH YEAR, YOU ARE GETTING A WIDER AND WIDER GAP BETWEEN PEOPLE'S WAGES WHICH AREN'T GOING UP AS FAST AS THEIR COSTERS GOING UP. WHAT'S THAT MEAN TO INCOME AND INCOME INEQUALITY? S THAT'S ONLY PART OF THE PICTURE. THE OTHER PART OF THE PICTURE IS PEOPLE ARE EXPERIENCING IS CRUNCH WHERE THEY CAN'T MEET THEIR NEEDS.

Ted Simons: SO WHAT ABOUT THE IMPACT OF CHILD CARE, HEALTH, FOOD ASSISTANCE, MEDICAID, HOW DOES THAT MET GATE WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HERE? HOW MUCH IT TAKES TO MAKE ENDS MEET IN ARIZONA?

Laura Penny: IT HAS A HUGE IMPACT. IT IS POSSIBLE FOR SOMEBODY TO BE WORKING AND TO RECEIVING, TO BE RECEIVING EVERY PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR WHICH THEY ARE ELIGIBLE, AND THEY COME PRETTY CLOSE THEN TO BEING SELF-SUFFICIENT. YOU KNOW, BUT AS WAGES INCREASE AND WE HAVE HEARD STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE TURNED DOWN PROMOTIONS OR CUT BACK HOURS BECAUSE THEY WILL BE MAKING TOO MUCH MONEY FOR A PARTICULAR SUPPORT THAT THEY FEEL LIKE THEIR FAMILY CAN'T GET BY WITHOUT KIDS CARE OR WITHOUT SUBSIDIZED CHILD CARE.

Diana Pearce: MOST OF THE ELIGIBILITY LEVELS ARE CLOSE TO THE POVERTY LINE. LIKE FOOD STAMPS, WHICH IS NOW CALLED SNAP IS AT 130% OF THE POVERTY LINE. BUT THE SELF-SUFFICIENCY STANDARD IS WELL OVER 200% OF THE POVERTY LINE. A LOT OF PEOPLE FIND THEMSELVES IN A SITUATION WHERE THEY ARE EARNING A MODEST WAGE BUT IT'S NOT NEARLY AS MUCH AS THEY NEED FOR CHILD CARE, HEALTH CARE, ETCETERA. SO THE SELF-SUFFICIENCY STANDARDS HERE, ELIGIBILITY LEVELS AND THEY ARE CAUGHT THIN POLICY GAPE WHERE THEY SUPPORT THE POOREST PEOPLE WITH THINGS LIKE FOOD STAMPS BUT IF YOU EARN A LITTLE BIT MORE BUT STILL WELL BELOW YOURSELF-SUFFICIENCY STANDARD YOU ARE CAUGHT IN THIS GAP.

Ted Simons: WITH THAT IN MIND, WHAT DO YOU WANT POLICYMAKERS, WHAT DO YOU WANT ALL OF US TO TAKE FROM THIS REPORT?

Laura Penny: YOU KNOW, FIRST OF ALL, AN AWARENESS. LIKE WE SAID, EVERYBODY WHO HAS SEEN THIS NUMBER HAS BEEN LIKE SO SHOCKED BY IT. BUT SECONDLY, WE HOPE THAT POLICYMAKERS WILL TAKE A LOOK AT THIS AND REALIZE WHEN WE CLOSE THE DOOR ON KIDS CARE, WHICH WE DID THIS YEAR. WE HAVE RECENTLY OPENED IT A LITTLE BIT. WHEN WE CLOSE THE DOOR ON STATE SUBSIDIZED CHILD CARE WHICH HAS A PHENOMENAL WAITING LIST RIGHT NOW, THIS HAS SERIOUS IMPACT ON FAMILIES WHO ARE HARD WORKING, WHO ARE TRYING TO KEEP THEIR HEADS ABOVE WATER, AND WE ARE JUST PULLING THE RUG OUT FROM UNDER THEM.

Diana Pearce: CHILD CARE IS A REALLY SMART INVESTMENT. IT'S GOOD FOR KIDS. THEY ARE BETTER PREPARED FOR SCHOOL. IT'S GOOD FOR PARENTS BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT KIDS ARE BEING TAKEN CARE OF SO THEY ARE BETTER EMPLOYEES. IT'S GOOD FOR EMPLOYERS BECAUSE THEN THEY ARE EMPLOYEES HAVE DEPENDABLE CHILD CARE. AND IT'S GOOD FOR THE SOCIETY THAT THEY ARE GOING TO GROW UP TO BE BETTER STUDENTS AND BETTER WORKERS. AND TO CUT BACK ON THAT CHILD CARE JUST CUTS ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

Ted Simons: ALL RIGHT. WE HAVE TO STOP IT RIGHT THERE. INTERESTING REPORT. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Guests: THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

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