If you’ve ever wondered where conservative economic policies like permanent tax cuts for the wealthy, slashed social services and government spending are supposed to lead us, look no further than Colorado Springs.
David Sirota’s description of what’s happening to that conservative stronghold should serve as a cautionary tale.
When the so-called tea party movement’s anti-tax activists refer to the abstract concept of conservative purity, we can turn to a microcosm like The Springs (as we Coloradoans call it) for a good example of what such purity looks like in practice—and the view isn’t pretty.
Thanks to the city’s rejection of tax increases—and, thus, depleted municipal revenues—The Denver Post reports that “more than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark; the city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops; water cutbacks mean most parks will be dead … recreation centers, indoor and outdoor pools [and] museums will close for good; buses no longer run on evenings and weekends; [and] the city won’t pay for any street paving.”
Meanwhile, even with the Colorado Springs Gazette uncovering tent ghettos of newly homeless residents, the city’s social services are being reduced—all as fat cats aim to punish what remains of a middle class. As just one example, rather than initiating a tax discussion, the CEO of The Springs’ most lavish luxury hotel is pushing city leaders to cut public employee salaries to the $24,000-a-year level he pays his own workforce—a level approaching Colorado’s official poverty line for a family of four.
This is what Reaganites have always meant when they’ve talked of a “shining city on a hill.” They envision a dystopia whose anti-tax fires incinerate social fabric faster than James Dobson can say “family values”—a place like Colorado Springs that is starting to reek of economic death.
Well, maybe it isn’t a function of government to provide streetlights, municipal water, parks, swimmingpools, fire department, police protection, and paved roads. Or it won’t be, anymore. Someday, we’ll have to pave our own roads. Scratch that. We’ll be free to pave our own roads and hire our own police, etc.
Read the whole thing. If this is where we headed according to their roadmap, how long before we get there?