Thursday, February 04, 2010

“The core Republican idea is destroying the American way of life.”

What Small Government Looks Like

Via Paul Krugman, small government and Colorado Springs. The city’s voters rejected a tax referendum needed to cover a budget gap caused by the recession. So, essentially, the city is shutting down services.

More than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday. The police helicopters are for sale on the Internet. The city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops — dozens of police and fire positions will go unfilled.

The parks department removed trash cans last week, replacing them with signs urging users to pack out their own litter.

Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own lawn mowers to local green spaces, because parks workers will mow them only once every two weeks. If that.

Water cutbacks mean most parks will be dead, brown turf by July; the flower and fertilizer budget is zero.

City recreation centers, indoor and outdoor pools, and a handful of museums will close for good March 31 unless they find private funding to stay open. Buses no longer run on evenings and weekends. The city won’t pay for any street paving, relying instead on a regional authority that can meet only about 10 percent of the need.

The article also says residents distrust the city government and don’t believe their tax dollars are being spent wisely. But this level of cuts in services is not caused by overpaying a few people or leaving the lights in the library turned on too long.

Thomas Levenson (via Monica Potts) writes,

This is, among other things, what folks like Megan McArdle never seem to get — not merely that governments do things that (a) private entities won’t and or can’t and (b) that are necessary if you are, say, going to have thousands or millions of folks living in close proximity to each other, and (c) those things that need to be paid for — by the people in common, that is to say, by government — include a bunch of stuff essential for a sound economy and any chance of achieving what is commonly thought of as the American way of life.

These cuts probably will hurt business, including tourism. The right-wing model that sees the public and private sector perpetually at odds with each other is a denial of the basic fact that those miraculous free markets wouldn’t exist without governments that provide stuff like roads, bridges, street lights, law enforcement, a stable banking system, garbage pickup, etc., and these are things that have to be paid for somehow. And unless we want to go to a system in which all roads are toll roads, houses burn until the firefighters are paid (it’s been done), and street lights are all coin operated, this means government does these things through tax money.

Levenson is right — “The core Republican idea is destroying the American way of life.”


hannah said...

What we have here, it seems to me is crooks who have discovered that they can get away with extortion, theft, and general mayhem under the cover of law.
How do you get rid of the police? You pass a law that insures they won't get paid.
The West may have been lawless at one time, but for most of the period of settlement, the natural resources of the area were claimed and allocated according to law. And when those laws no longer suit the resident crooks, they get changed. The rule of law is a great subterfuge.

NWO said...

VERY well said!