Privatization

The Colorado Springs Experiment

|

In January The Denver Post ran a horror story about the budget crunch in Colorado Springs. The lede was "This tax-averse city is about to learn what it looks and feels like when budget cuts slash services most Americans consider part of the urban fabric," and the rest of the piece adopted the same tone; the article was widely linked on liberal blogs to show how terrible things can get when citizens refuse to pay for government.

Today The Wall Street Journal has a more balanced report on the situation in the city, one that doesn't ignore the problems the town is facing but doesn't dismiss the successes as well. Here's an excerpt:

Colorado Springs eternal

Like many American cities, this one is strapped for cash. Tax collections here have fallen so far that the city has turned off one-third of its 24,512 street lights.

But unlike many cities, this one is full of people who are eager for more government cutbacks.

The town council has been bombarded with emails telling it to close community centers. Letters to the local newspaper call for shrinking the police department and putting the city-owned utility up for sale. A commission is studying whether to sell the municipal hospital. Another, made up of local businessmen, will opine on whether to slash the salaries and benefits of city employees….

[F]aced with dwindling revenues, intransigent voters and widespread distrust of government, this city of 400,000 has embarked on a grand experiment: It is trying to get volunteers and the private sector to provide services the city can no longer afford.

Taxi drivers have been recruited to serve as a second set of eyes for stretched police patrols. Residents can pay $100 a year to adopt a street light. Volunteers are organizing to empty the garbage cans in 128 neighborhood parks. The city is asking private swimming programs to operate its pools, and one of the city's four community centers soon will be run by a church….

Many people here say the proper role of government should be limited to paving streets, paying police and firefighters and, if there's money left over, frills like parks. Those are, in fact, the only projects for which Colorado Springs voters have been willing to approve tax increases in recent years.

[Via Sean Paige.]

NEXT: If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It. Unless You're a Member of Congress.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The town council has been bombarded with emails telling it to close community centers.

    RAAAAACIIIIISTS!

    1. Dumbass.

  2. I know where I’m moving to next.

    1. If you are a fundamentalist Christian you might enjoy it. Otherwise, for an Atheist like me, the place is a bit suffocating.

      1. Why? Are there big fat Christians sitting on your chest?

      2. Dude. I live in Mississippi. I’m moving to Colorado in a few years. The place rocks. I never ran into any fundamentalists when I was visiting.

      3. I’ve been to Colorado Springs a few times. Always seemed to me to be a relatively liberal place, culturally speaking.

        1. It is, that guy has no idea what he’s talking about. The only time you will run into some fundamentalist Christians is if you go to their church, otherwise people are pretty relaxed.

          There are bars and strip clubs and medical marijuana dispensaries too, OMG.

          Colorado Springs is a nice city that’s been given a bad rap by these idiots in the media who refuse to do the least bit of research. The city is not in dire straits or falling apart. The crime rate is really low and people are usually pretty nice. You can walk down the streets and even see the mayor and say hi if you want. The electric rates are some of the lowest in the country too.

          The only problem with Colorado Springs is that the sales tax revenue has been lagging so cuts needed to be made to the budget. Most people have seen no impact to their daily lives because of those cuts. Even that thing about watering the parks has been mostly resolved through conservation rates and demand side management through the municipal utility.

          I’d even say that the Wallstreet Journal article is not as balanced as it could be, but nobody wants to do proper research and show both sides of an issue, they only want the bad news and rumors.

      4. I don’t care how annoying the religians are as long as they aren’t imposing morality on me by force.

    2. Howdy neighbor. I’ll meet you there as soon as I can manage an escape from craphole Illinois.

      1. Plus one.

        Fuck midwest california.

    3. “If you are a fundamentalist Christian you might enjoy it. Otherwise, for an Atheist like me, the place is a bit suffocating.”

      Who cares about the opportunity to live in what may become a freer society, if the free people there are believers?

      Just for the record, I’m doin’ the devil’s work for you guys here, trying to convince my Christian friends that atheists aren’t really as unreasonable as they seem.

      But it’d really help if you guys would try to be little less like militant purity cops. Sometimes I wonder if atheists, feminists and animal rights people are all drawin’ from the same crowd.

      They must be all readin’ the same books at the very least, ’cause scratch the surface and they sound about the same.

      1. What age group are you looking in? I may not be any less militant, but as I’ve aged I’m certainly less inclined to argue with non-atheists.

      2. You’re such a whiny little baby. “Wah, wah… atheist don’t like to be told what to do. Boo hoo, boo hoo… what ever shall I do?”

        They must be all readin’ the same books at the very least

        Like the Bible or C.S. Lewis?

        1. who is telling you what to do? it is the atheists who tell everyone what to do and spend their time telling everyone how evil their religion is. Don’t you realize how annoying they are? No, you don’t because they don’t annoy you. But, look at it from the other side some time.

          1. The poor oppression Christian bit is getting super-old. An atheist expressed his opinion about the Christian-ness of a place being not to his liking, and that gives Ken license to go off on some bizarre rant about atheists.

            1. “The poor oppression Christian bit is getting super-old. An atheist expressed his opinion about the Christian-ness of a place being not to his liking, and that gives Ken license to go off on some bizarre rant about atheists.”

              There’s nothing bizarre about it.

              And do you feel the same way about other forms of bigotry?

              And that’s all it is–bigotry. To the point that you’d choose less freedom so as not to be around so many…?

              And just because it sails over your head doesn’t make it pointless. Again–I’m not willing to wait for the rest of the world to become atheists before they choose freedom!

              Especially when there’s no reason to wait. …except for some people’s bigotry? I would hate to think some people wouldn’t listen to libertarian argument because of the bigotry of some self-professed libertarians.

              And anyone who doesn’t like having their bigotry called out in public should probably avoid spouting bigotry in an open forum.

              “If you are a fundamentalist Christian you might enjoy it. Otherwise, for an Atheist like me, the place is a bit suffocating.”

              An atheist Archie Bunker statement–it is what it is. Archie didn’t want certain types livin’ in his neighborhood either. …but even if it meant more freedom for him personally?

              That’s willful bigotry right there.

              1. Yeah, I used to have only one rule for who a real libertarian is, but now I’m willing to expand it.

                Rule #1: A real libertarian is someone who doesn’t think politicians are the answer to our problems.

                Rule #2: Anyone who chooses bigotry over freedom is not a real libertarian.

                1. Slow down there retard, you might hurt yourself.

          2. John, it definitely goes both ways. Most people like to tell everyone what to do. There are loads of irritating atheists and religionists trying to convince other people that they are right. This is not something unique to or universal among atheists.

            1. I’m sure it goes both ways. Whatever it is that causes such people to never confront me, I hope to continue doing it. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends who are atheists, Christians, Jews, etc., but whatever causes strangers to start proselytizing, I hope to discourage them without any effort.

              1. I’m sure it goes both ways. Whatever it is that causes such people to never confront me, I hope to continue doing it. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends who are atheists, Christians, Jews, etc., but whatever causes strangers to start proselytizing, I hope to discourage them without any effort.

                I am a Christian, and I know better than some than to try to convince others that Christianity is true.

                Matthew 15:16-17

                15 He said to them, But who do you [yourselves] say that I am?
                16 Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
                17 Then Jesus answered him, Blessed (happy, fortunate, and [4] to be envied) are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. For flesh and blood [men] have not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven.

                1. Nope it was flesh and blood men who did it. I’m pretty sure.

          3. In my experience, atheists are less annoying than religious people. Atheists don’t knock on people’s doors handing them flyers about God doesn’t exist or put “Under no God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

      3. I have lived in areas full of people who held religious views I would never agree with. And none of them ever bothered me or tried to convert me. But, God live next door to an atheist some time.

        Sorry guys, but atheists have a high dick quotient.

        1. That’s weird…I’ve never, or maybe just seldom had atheists or Christians come up to me and start berating me.

          1. That can’t be good. How sad.

          2. I could berate you, if you feel you’re missing out.

            1. Ha ha, you guys are the best.

              1. Way OT: Have you ever listened to She Wants Revenge? I loved the first album, but I having a hard time digesting the Depeche-Modey 2nd.

                1. I heard that single they did when they first came out, but I never really got into their work. I’m going to check some more of their work out on YouTube. I guess I got more into Interpol and The Killers for my pseudo-retro fix.

                  1. Yeah, I kind of came back to them. I’m going through a down phase where I’m digging through my old cassettes and using them to guide purchases. I bought a couple of used Shriekback CDs off eBay, if you can believe it.

                    1. Godd recommendation on Shriekback. I was honestly unaware of them until you just brought them up.

                    2. I like weird shit like that. I think I can get into Shriekback.

                    3. BakedPenguin introduced me to Suburban Lawns, Wolfsheim and The Organ, whom I like. I stumbled upon The Lover Speaks, whose music is unavailable through normal means last I checked.

                    4. Give Lords of the New Church a spin too… like Shriekback, they were former members of punk bands that started making darkwave dance music.

                      I think both of them are uneven, but they make some really good music when they want too.

                    5. I would also start with Oil & Gold regarding Shriekback.

                      It’s easy to see how darkwave dance and 80s acid-punk like Butthole Surfers ended up spawning industrial dance, even if it did become split between German-influenced (Front Line Assembly) or California influenced (My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult.)

                    6. Ahh – Shriekback. Found them from the soundtrack to “Manhunter.” Mmmm.

                    7. Wilco. I’m digging this stuff.

                    8. I wasn’t actually referring to the band Wilco, by the way.

          3. You must not read fark.

            1. I don’t. Perhaps i should start. I hate feeling like I’m missing out, unless I’m missing out on celebrity tabloid news.

        2. “If you are a fundamentalist Christian you might enjoy it. Otherwise, for an Atheist like me, the place is a bit suffocating.”

          I’m sorry, I’m just not willing to wait around for society to become both more free and more atheistic.

          …and the suggestion that believers are so bad, they even make freedom unpalatable makes me wince.

          If the statement above had been made about any other group of people, tell me you wouldn’t have a problem with it.

          “If you are [an African-American] you might enjoy it. Otherwise, for a [white guy] like me, the place is a bit suffocating.”

          “If you are [a gay man] you might enjoy it. Otherwise, for a [heterosexual guy] like me, the place is a bit suffocating.”

          “If you are [an atheist] you might enjoy it. Otherwise, for a [Christian] like me, the place is a bit suffocating.”

          …oh, and the place that’s a bit suffocating? That’s the place that’s all but doing away with government!

          Really, I wouldn’t turn less government down, even if it meant the place was rife with Mormons and latte-swilling liberals. I mean, seriously, if you’re a libertarian and you hate religion so much that you’d rather have more government? Then I’m gonna suggest you may have lost a little perspective along the line somewhere.

          1. One doesn’t have to live in Colorado springs when Woodland Park is just a few miles up the road.

          2. You might get less government with a lot of Mormons as neighbors — latte-swilling liberals, not so much so.

          3. First of all, people CHOOSE to believe in magic ghosts, unlike race or sexual orientation. So it’s only your own fault if you decide to be an idiot.

            Second of all, there is nothing wrong with not liking a certain group of people and not wanting to be near them. Why do you have a problem with that?

        3. Sorry guys, but atheists have a high dick quotient.

          Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, pot.

        4. I call shenanigans on John.

  3. one of the city’s four community centers soon will be run by a church….

    So now we see the real agenda.

    1. OMG JEEBUS! LORD DAWKINS HALP ME!

    2. I’m certain they’ll still let your worship the deity of your choice: The State.

      1. I’m certain they’ll still let your worship fellate the deity of your choice: The State.

        FI

        1. A distinction without a difference, guys.

          1. Why you think everyone is always praying on their knees?

            Don’t forget to lick the balls, Yahweh/Allah/Buddah/Krishna really dig that.

            1. Wouldn’t this make Hop Scotch a Teabagger?

    3. SHUT UP DANNY DEVITO

    4. Do we see the violence inherent in the system?

    5. private charities are better stewards than pc bureaucrats?

      1. Who cares as long as they aren’t spending MY money.

    6. Don’t worry. I’m sure that atheists and secularists can command the kind of organization, charity, and volunteerism required to build and run a competing, non-religious non-state community center.

    7. Bad Butters!

  4. “Many people here say the proper role of government should be limited to paving streets, paying police and firefighters and, if there’s money left over, frills like parks.”

    Oh, and also the government should spend hundreds of billions of dollars on defense, particularly the Air Force, without which Colorado Springs would be, like, tiny.

    1. So because the federal government spends money in Colorado Springs, the residents there are morally bound to demand a large, expensive city government? God your a douchbag.

      1. No, but it illustrates that like most “small government” types they don’t mind feeding on pork…

        1. Oh, so right. Your post put me in the mind to think of other, pork-devouring hypocrites, too. The worst, of course, were those students in Tienanmen Square. Here they are, with government-supplied food, clothing, shelter, transportation, education, utilities, information…and all they can do is carp about bullshit like “freedom” (which is, naturally, just another word for racist fascism).

        2. What are they supposed to do, go burn down the Air Force Academy? Further, all of them would no doubt say that national defense is a proper role for the federal government.

          You are a D level troll. Just because someone thinks that the government has some proper roles doesn’t mean they have to support the government doing anything. The choice isn’t anarchy or socialism. There are degrees in the middle. And the people of Colorado Springs are perfectly rational and consistent to say they think the Federal Government should provide for the national defense but the city government should not be running free daycare centers.

          I know you are liberal which means that rational thought is not exactly a valued skill. But Jesus, you need to put up a better effort than that.

          1. You drive on government roads and walk on government sidewalks, John. In Scotch’s world, you are now a thrall to the Central State if you dare step off your property.

            1. I know a lot of people who proclaim to be small-government libertarian types, but then turn and decry cuts to the military as a threat to jobs.

              I have no doubt that the residents of Colorado Springs would wail and gnash at a cut in military spending for economic reasons, and not political or liberty associated reasons.

              Populist libertarianism is generally led by a general selfishness rather than a general adherence to principle.

              1. Again so what? Maybe they like the Air Force Academy. Maybe they are wrong for doing so. But, that doesn’t make them any less right in demanding a smaller self government.

                Your point sounds good until you think about it. Then it just mundane and pointless.

                1. IOW, “a foolish consistency is the petty hobgoblin of small minds” (Emerson).

                  1. “Quoting Emerson is the petty hobgoblin of the dickhead”

                2. It is a total lack of justice to secure self-government for oneself at the expense of all others.

                  I do not care if they secure self-government for themselves, but if they openly decry those who seek it for themselves, they are wrong.

              2. Really? I don’t know any of those people, and I associate with a lot of libertarians. Maybe you’re just hanging with the wrong crowd, Brad.

                1. I must be running with the wrong crowd, cause it is extremely common for me to run into people who think government is to intrusive to whole-heartedly support the current level of military spending.

                  http://media.economist.com/images/pdf/TabReport20100407.pdf

                  Check out the correlations here. Of self-proclaimed conservatives, the programs that the fewest respondents wanted to see cut were defense and veterans benefits. Foreign aid and social programs rated the highest.

                  I am seriously wondering what group you run with. Are you a college student, perhaps?

                  1. self proclaimed conservative != libertarian

                    But thanks for playing.

                    1. How many of the populist libertarian variety do you believe claimed to be moderate or liberal?

                  2. Maybe defense spending is too high. That has nothing to do with how much money Colorado Springs should be spending. “No since defense spending is too high, your city government must be as large and oppressive as possible. To do otherwise would be hypocrisy”. Jesus Brad, I know you mean well, but that makes no sense.

                    1. John,

                      That isn’t even close to what I said.

                      It would be absolute hypocrisy for them to complain about cuts to the Air Force academy.

                      If they acknowledge that limited government is good, then they can hardly complain about cuts that are attempted at the federal level.

                  3. Uh, no, but I have one in college now.

                    And, as it’s been pointed out, conservative libertarian.

            2. Seems to me the problem that so many of Mr. Vanneman’s and Mr. Scotchie Hamiltoni’s ilk have is the inability to differentiate (or perhaps to understand the distinction) between state and federal government, the powers and proper roles of each, and the relationship between them.

              1. The “proper” roles of the various governments are totally subjective. You folks worship a 200 year old piece of paper just like the Fundies worship a 2000 year old book of myths, and then go apeshit when those of us in the reality-based community try to actually address today’s problems which people in past centuries had no way of knowing about…

                1. That 200 year old piece of paper is the law of the land. And it and respect for it is the only thing that stands between you and tyranny. If you can disregard it for your sacred cow, then anyone else can disregard it for theirs.

                  Sometimes I think posts like this one is one of the regulars trolling to make things interesting. But then I have the depressing thought that it is real. And that liberals really are this big of assholes and really this stupid.

                  Seriously, do you realize what an amazing idiot you are? No, No you don’t. Part of being stupid is not realizing that you are.

                  1. First off, you are delusional if you think that the constitution now stands between us and tyranny. It was circumvented long ago. The only thing that stands between us and tyranny are the norms held by the American public that make it politically difficult to institute tyranny.

                    Second, nothing about the Constitution being the “law of the land”, makes it right or moral.

                    1. You delusional if you don’t think that respect for that document is one of those “norms” that prevents us from having tyranny. Why do you think we have peaceful transitions of government instead of some banana republic coups? Because people respect that document. It may not be perfect, but it could be a lot worse.

                    2. What is your over/under on the number of rights guaranteed within the Bill of Rights that the average American can name?

                      I would say that people will name a few vague rights enumerated under the first and second amendment, and that is it.

                      I would say that the First Amendment is the only one that isn’t egregiously and systematically violated by all levels of government.

                    3. “I would say that people will name a few vague rights enumerated under the first and second amendment, and that is it.”

                      Thank you public school teachers unions! Good Night!

                    4. The norms held by the American public are to some extent (perhaps a large extent) guided by “fundamentalist” veneration for the Constitution.

                      (“fundamentalist” in quotes because, like actual religious fundamentalists, they tend to be selective in their fundamentals.)

                2. Government isn’t supposed to address today’s problems; no government would even be capable of doing such a thing. Free people can address them. Government is supposed to protect individual liberty.

                  1. “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

                    Gerald Ford.

                    1. That is a great quote.

                    2. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for the have nots.

                      How else could Robin Hood get elected?

                3. Just because something is subjective doesn’t mean there can’t be some rational guiding principles.

                  When you have stark differences in values between different communities, universal democracy is at best a polite, non-violent form of repression on all minorities at the behest of the majority. In some cases it’s a necessity, but in most cases it’s not utilitarian — the dominant community doesn’t have much to gain by forcing its way on the other community, while the minority community has a great deal to lose; but a democracy requires one law for all.

                  When those communities are geographically separate and don’t have a major stake in restricting the autonomy of the other communities, pluralist democracy is usually the ideal solution. This is just an extended version of individualism — that is, just because an individual’s actions start to affect other people in a way that might place those decisions outside of the bounds of personal autonomy, doesn’t suddenly make it a global issue. It’s a question best resolved by the people involved, in a lawful democratic fashion.

                  There are certain issues where the federal government is an obvious solution — as a neutral intermediary in interstate disputes (trade, pollution, etc.), controlling borders, establishing a baseline set of restrictions on the way federation members can behave.

                  But the FCC is pretty much the archetypical example of the folly of trying to enforce a single set of “community standards” on the better part of continent that contains many, varied communities.

              2. State governments are no more justified in engaging in aggression than the federal government.

                1. Wow. that would be a great point, if it had anything to do with the conversation.

                  1. Brad, you seem to be arguing with a conservative, not a libertarian. Although John could pass for either, I suppose.

          2. “”Further, all of them would no doubt say that national defense is a proper role for the federal government.””

            Sure.

            But Constituionally speaking, they would be wrong. The defense of the nation is provided by its citizens. That’s what the reasoning clause to the 2nd amendment is about. We were not to have a standing army. A standing Navy with a Marine Corps component, yes. There is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes a standing Air Force.

            But, yeah, we are a long ways from those days.

            1. The preamble states that the purpose of the document is to among other things “provide for the common defense”.

              Article II provides “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;”

              They clearly intended for their to be a separate national defense force from the militias. And as far as the Air Force goes, they didn’t have airplanes back then. There is no way that the document means that the government is restricted in its national defense to weapons and technologies available at the time. That is crazy.

              A common national defense is an absolute power of the Federal Government.

              1. To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

                To provide and maintain a navy;

                Notice the difference, 2 years of appropriation for the Army was to prevent a standing army. While the navy has no time limit on its appropriation because Naval forces are something you cant just come up with on the spur of the moment. Following that principle, I would say the air force is more like an air navy than an air army.

                1. Following that principle, I would say the air force is more like an air navy than an air army.

                  Modern armies aren’t something you can come up with on the spur of the moment, either, so I’m not sure that really works.

                  1. Maybe not, but it would take a constitutional amendment to change. Tanks and etc could be a part of state militias, moreso than aircraft carriers and fighter jets.

                    1. The various Air National Guards of the US would be surprised to find out that their fighter jets aren’t really theirs.

                  2. “”Modern armies aren’t something you can come up with on the spur of the moment, either, so I’m not sure that really works.””

                    Sure they can. You are in the army before you receive training. Deploying a well trained, or moderately trained army takes longer. You can argue which you prefer, I’ll probably agree. But if serious war was on American soil and a foreign army was taking American citys. You’ll be in the Army pretty much overnight.

                2. Agreed re air force being more similar to a navy. Also, remember that the US, being on a separate continent from most potential opponents, needed a navy for defense but (with exceptions) didn’t really need an army (an ad hoc militia would do the job fine if needed).

                  Additionally, there is a long history to the distinction drawn between armies and navies. The English roundhead/whig cause, of which the American Revolutionaries were a continuation, was never hostile to a standing navy, because a navy was by definition to protect Britain and its shipping from overseas threats, and couldn’t really be used to oppress the populace. Standing armies, on the other hand, would end up being used either for overseas military adventurism or creating tyranny at home. You should read about the leadup to the English civil war, so much of it comes down to Parliament’s refusal to fund the Stuart monarchs’ armies, whereas they never had a problem voting taxes to fund the navy.

                  That’s why, to this day, the Royal Navy has permanent existence, but there needs to be renewed parliamentary assent to the existence of a standing army every year.

                  1. “US, being on a separate continent from most potential opponents, needed a navy for defense but (with exceptions) didn’t really need an army (an ad hoc militia would do the job fine if needed).”

                    In 1789, the English still ruled a large chunk of North America and were still our enemies. Also, the other European powers were still interested in the Americas. And don’t forget the Indian nations who were a very significant military power and very much at odds with the US.

                    1. “In 1789, the English still ruled a large chunk of North America and were still our enemies.”

                      True, although the spur to the adoption of the Constitution was maritime raids by Barbary pirates. Land-based threats were a lot easier to deal with on an ad hoc basis than naval threats.

                      True, that logic doesn’t hold now, but as libertarians, we should be careful about arguments that bits of the constitution that are outdated should be jettisoned or “reinterpreted” (that’s the progressives’ favourite trick).

                3. If you have a standing army, you don’t need a militia, you can have a draft.

                  1. You need a standing army to train the militia and to form a professional core upon which the militia falls.

                    1. As ROBC already pointed out.

                      “”To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;””

                    2. And remember John,

                      “That 200 year old piece of paper is the law of the land. And it and respect for it is the only thing that stands between you and tyranny. If you can disregard it for your sacred cow, then anyone else can disregard it for theirs.”

                    3. “”You need a standing army to train the militia and to form a professional core upon which the militia falls.””

                      Wouldn’t the militias train in their respective states? You don’t need standing army per se, but you would need training.

                      Besides, even if we didn’t adopt a standing army, we would have experienced militiamen. Having a militia doesn’t keep you out of conflicts. The President could call forth the militia and send them where ever.

                    4. that is not how militias work. You have a full time army that trains the militias on weekends and drill periods. This country has always had a standing army for that purpose. The founders wanted a small army, but they wanted an army. There has never been a time that there hasn’t been at least a small standing army.

                      And just because they can only fund the Army in two year increments, doesn’t mean they can’t fund it every two years. It just means they have to re-look at the size of the Army every two years. It doesn’t mean no army can exist for more than two years.

                      Libertarians really go off the deep end when it comes to national defense.

                    5. The founders did not want to have a standing army the size that we have today any more than want the general welfare clause to allow things like social security, Medicare, or Obamacare.

                  2. We do have a draft. It’s called ObamaCare.

              2. And as far as the Air Force goes, they didn’t have airplanes back then.

                Which is why the air force started out as the Army Air Corps, and later spun off into a separate entity. Purely administrative; I’m not sure how you can argue that the Constitution would have to be amended to allow for an Air Force without also arguing that it would have to be amended to allow the armed forces to use things like trucks and tanks.

              3. Not an absolute power. The Founders clearly envisioned a navy for border defense, bt not a standing army, which they declared to be an absolute anathema that would would undoubtably be used to suppress the citizens at some point.

                see: my namesake, in the Federalist Papers (no. 6 I believe).

                1. see: my namesake, in the Federalist Papers (no. 6 I believe).

                  #8 Alex.

                  And it supports, in a tiny bit, John’s point, talking about Great Britain:

                  A sufficient force to make head against a sudded descent, till the militia could have time to rally and embody, is all that has been deemed requisite.

                  Now, that is much, much smaller than our current army size, but it isnt size 0.

                  1. In #24, you specifically argue that the 2 year clause is a guard against a standing army. Also, within it, you argue in favor of garrisons on the western frontier, so clearly your definition of a standing army is different that an army of size 0 anyway.

            2. To anyone who was against threaded comments, here is proof that you were wrong.

              1. No one saw Joe_D’s comment because of threading. 😉

        3. Hello Shit Facktory!

        4. Close down the fucking air force base then. Good land for a technology park.

    2. Springs is conservative, not libertarian. So I’d imagine there’s still some government services that’s OK for them.

    3. Remember, it’s only socialism if it helps poor people.

      1. Remember, it’s only socialism if it helps purports to help poor people.

        FIFY

      2. To each according to his needs…

      3. Remember, it’s only socialism if it helps purports to help poor people

      4. Remember it’s only socialism if if purports to help poor people.

        FIFY

      5. Wow, that’s a puerile oversimplification. Whatever makes it easier for you to pigeonhole it in your brain, I guess.

    4. The nerve of these hypocrites — benefiting from federal tax dollars while brutally slashing the federal budget and cutting back on federally provided services. Oh wait, that’s not what happened at all.

    5. Oh, and also the government should spend hundreds of billions of dollars on defense, particularly the Air Force, without which Colorado Springs would be, like, tiny.

      It is a proper role for the federal government.

    6. “…Provide for the common defense…”

      Defense spending is one of the few legitimate functions of the federal government.

      1. “”…and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States..”

        General welfare is also a legitimate function of the federal government.

        We could argue all day about what common defense and general welfare means. If you stretch one, the other can be streched too. I think the founding fathers would be appalled about how much we spend on both.

      2. Common defense shouldn’t mean we pay for the general welfare of other nations either.

  5. Before Reasonites get too excited, Colorado Springs is a very conservative city. It is full of people who go to church and do all sorts of unapproved activity. It even has a boat load of fundies.

    1. Towns near military installations tend to be like that (except for the strip clubs and pawn shops). Not sure if it’s a cause or an effect.

      1. Well, since they’re fundamentalists the believe that god created the chicken and the egg simultaneously. So to answer your question, it’s both cause AND effect.

    2. It is full of people who go to church and do all sorts of unapproved activity. It even has a boat load of fundies.

      And how does that prove it is conservative and not libertarian?

      1. Let him throw his anti-atheist temper tantrum. It’s best for him to get his venom out before it festers.

    3. Whether or not you personally believe in God or are undecided, I’m pretty sure Libertarianism allows for the creation of private churches.

      I’m not aware of a Libertarian platform that bars religion. Now, it might be that most end up not favoring a religion, but I’d happily live in a Libertarian-run town that was religious over a Democratic run town that was athiest.

      1. Hey< I think religion is a sham, and is harmful to the well being of a society (but so is communism and it is atheistic) but I would rather live among bible enthusiasts who don’t want to restrict porn and strippers than atheists who want to raise my taxes. If the bible enthusiasts do want to restrict porn and strippers they are just as bad as tax raisers in my opinion.

        There is nothing about libertarianism that is opposed to religion per se, but I would argue that religious thinking often does support authority centered notions of morality which can pose a grave threat to liberty and which often foster intolerance.

    4. I’m an atheist who lives in Colorado Springs, and the fundies don’t really bother me all that much.

  6. the article was widely linked on liberal blogs to show how terrible things can get when citizens refuse to pay for government.

    Market signals, baby. Market signals.

    Learn it. Know it. Live it.

  7. NOTHING THE GOVERNMENT DOES IS NONESSENTIAL.

    1. God don’t make mistakes, Meathead. Howdya think he got to be God?

  8. “Taxi drivers have been recruited to serve as a second set of eyes for stretched police patrols.”

    It will be interesting to see the distance between “recruited” and “drafted.” I don’t like the smell of this at all.

    1. You just made my report buddy

    2. “”It will be interesting to see the distance between “recruited” and “drafted.” I don’t like the smell of this at all.””

      Taxi drivers can call if they see something now. So how is this different? It does have a smell to it.

      1. All the animals come out at night – whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets. I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take ’em to Harlem. I don’t care. Don’t make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won’t even take spooks. Don’t make no difference to me.

  9. The lesson in this story is that even if a city’s voters aren’t utter assholes, everyone in its government still will be.

    “We’re about a hundred grand short on the maintenance budget. The assistant to the guy who decides what time the street lights come on makes about that much. And, uh, the lights come on by themselves. So…”
    “SHUT THE FUCKING LIGHTS OFF.”
    “People think there should be lights.”
    “THE FUCKERS CAN BUY SOME.”
    “They do already.”
    “I DONE RAKED DAT SCRILL.”

  10. Today is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

    1. Yes, and he’s spending it rolling over and over in his grave.

      1. Jefferson is only rolling over in his grave if he’s got a slave girl buried next to him!

          1. Thanks.

        1. At least one your rulers wasn’t a complete fucking pussy. Though his monument blows relative to a pyramid.

        2. +1

          Ummmm… slave girls…

  11. All organized human activity fall short of the libertarian ideal… funny, that.

    1. All organized human activity fall short of the libertarian ideal… funny, that.

      Since the libertarian ideal is to maximize voluntary action, I’m not sure how this follows.

      1. Apparently it is impossible for many people to conceive of organized action that is voluntary. The government schools have done their evil work well.

        1. Of course, living in Colorado Springs is in and of itself voluntary. Libertarians always forget this.

          1. You are confused…Colorado Springs is cutting back on government, and we libertarians are applauding, as this is an example of how voluntary action can work. So why would we “forget” that living there is voluntary? You make no sense.

            1. We haven’t actually seen if it works, yet.

              My point was simply that participation in the government of Colorado Springs is every bit as voluntary as participation in any other collective enterprise.

              1. I’m still confused about what point you’re trying to make.

                1. I think he’s trying to say that everyone in the Soviet Union volunteered to live under an oppressive communist regime.

                  1. “Fuck this, Comrade! I am so sick of having enough to eat.”

    2. Is it just me, or has it been like 5 years since you last posted here?

  12. or, they could just reduce the gold plated benefits packages paid to employees

  13. Eventually you run out of other people’s money to spend.

    It’s nice that Colorado Springs can debate, and even effect, a reduction in spending rather than raising taxes every time there is a revenue shortfall.

    Others could learn from this, no doubt. (Well, other than lefties, who always think there is someone else available to pay higher taxes.)

    1. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how Colorado Springs fares over the next few years. My guess is that at some point people will being to think that paying an extra $100 a year in taxes might be worth it not to have your town look like a garbage dump.

      1. You really think the town will “look like a garbage dump”? Why, specifically?

        1. I live in Colorado Springs. I can definitively state that the town does not, in fact, look like a garbage dump.

      2. I am sure it will look like a garbage dump. As opposed to say Washington DC, Philadelphia and pretty much every other center city in America all of whom have huge budgets but are generally much dirtier and more dangerous than Colorado Springs.

        1. Washington D.C. is different: it doesn’t look like a garbage dump.

          It is a garbage dump. I’m so happy that I don’t work in that city anymore.

          1. +1

            For all the money wasted in D.C. they couldn’t even fathom how to properly handle the record snowfall that Midwestern cities (and individuals) circumvent on an annual basis. I guess they were too busy paying the most for the worst schools in the goddamn country.

            1. Because it would be a great use of government resources to spend to build the capacity to have on standby all the time that required for a record snowfall.

              1. “Because it would be a great use of government resources to spend to build the capacity to have on standby all the time that required for a record snowfall.”

                First, they would not need to pay for emergency snowfall resources on standby ALL THE TIME. Just the winter months. Moreover, we had a pretty good idea several days to week before it dropped on us that the snowfall would be significant. I think a 3 days notice is enough to at least pay a bunch of private snow-plow owners to be on standby, and a week should be more than enough to amass the salt. But of course, this is a government we are talking about…an inept, slow, mis-managed, bloated government so expecting competance is more or less wishful thinking.

                By extension, imagine if the city saved money by paying less for terrible schools (there are ways like firing teachers who fuck their students, laying off pointless administrators, etc), they could possibly take a portion of the savings and allocate that toward weather relief regardless of the season (this winter had record snowfall, but several years ago floodwaters did ravage city and private property in the summer).

                In the end, the government trying to plan for this crap just shows how inherently immobile it is. They will plan for snow by alloting X amount of the budget for salt, truck drivers, etc. but after years without snow it will inevitably be rolled into pensions/salaries for city employees (a significant number probably don’t deserve any sort of extra benefit). And once again, this short-sightedness will catch up with the city. If you insist that the government MUST do SOMETHING, then I would rather it plan for emergencies than overcompensating underperforming educrats, haughty bureaucrats, crackhead mayors, etc.

                1. Drax, Drax, Drax. Take it from someone who lived in Wisconsin:

                  The kind of equipment it takes to clear roads of multi-inch snowfalls is pretty specialized. You either have it, or you don’t. You can’t just whistle it up on a few days notice.

                  I think a 3 days notice is enough to at least pay a bunch of private snow-plow owners to be on standby,

                  Just where is this fleet of private snowplows (heavy) in the mid-Atlantic States?

                  and a week should be more than enough to amass the salt.

                  Err, no. That’s a crapload of salt, and it has to be a particularly coarse salt. Its often mixed with grit for roads.

                  Plus, the equipment to spread it on roads is also specialized. In fact, you rarely see it except on the back of those heavy-duty snowplows.

                  1. Well, I’ll cede victory to your anecdotal derived opinion. My point was one of priorities:Overpriced Terrible schools vs. Some sort of improved weather handling process established by the people who force you to pay for the roads you can’t drive on when they are covered in shit.

                    I used to live in Colorado, and I am not sure how test scores stack up against D.C., but I know my IQ got kicked in the balls once I moved to this cesspool. Moreover, Colorado could handle the snow (albeit reliable). My family didn’t complain about taxes until we moved out here. Anecdotal…yes, but I think it justifies my opinion to some extent.

                    In the end I unfortunately have too much confidence in mankind’s ability to get stuff done, that I forget about his ability to completely fail at the majority of his endeavors. Its so depressing, I think I am going to drink heavily, jump in front of traffic, slit my wrists, or some combination of the previous.

        2. Remove the Air Force base from Colorado Springs and I bet it starts looking like Detroit in a hurry!

          1. Are you really that afraid of black people moving there? What a racist fuckbag.

            D- trolling as usual. And an Unsatisfactory for being a white supremacist.

          2. If you remove the Air force base, Colorado Springs will just look the the common foothill/mountain town in Colorado: not much to do in town, good scenery, seasonal tourist spot, loads of meth, and hookers (things any red-blooded American should demand). Heck, if the sold the air force academy to some Engineering College, the population demographics would hardly change (Male population under 30 would still be 80%).

            Now why does Detroit look the way it looks? Maybe overcompensating people well above market norms is not sustainable? Maybe producing shoddy products for 20+ years (handicapped by entitlements) would impact an industry’s bottom line? Maybe Detroit’s own centrally planned economy drove out business after business? Maybe your ideas of what is fair are no where near fair, rational, sustainable, executable, etc. etc.

          3. Because every town in America that doesn’t have an air force base looks like Detroit. And certainly every town that ever lost its air force base turned into Detroit.

            1. Detriot was a great city until the capitalists found cheaper labor to exploit elsewhere. Maybe if the US Air Force decided to outsource its labor we’d see how nice Colorado Springs turns out…

              1. Ha ha, terrible analogy. But darn the auto industries for using robots, too.

                1. But you are right that outsourcing hurt the rust belt.

              2. Detroit was a frozen wasteland until an evil capitalist had the balls to build cars there.

                The US Air Force will not outsource its labor because having people in other countries managing an (arguably) integral aspect of our defense is probably not in our interests. Outsourcing overpriced American labor is in our interests since it makes products cheaper for every (even poor {gasp}) American. If you are worried about our employment numbers and need something to blame, look no further than the multitudes of regulations that make it that much harder for employers to hire and retain people.

                1. Um, the USAF might not outsource its labor, but its private sector suppliers do — read the following and tremble with paranoia.

                  Foreign chip manufacturers may be building ‘kill switches’ into hardware sold to the U.S. military

                  1. Well then, maybe the solution is for the USAF to be a smart consumer and initiate contracts with stipulations preventing its suppliers from such practices (which we all know won’t happen). Maybe having a gigantic unsustainable world-spanning military is not in our interests anymore, since it is impossible to control all the graft, corruption, idiocy, and in this case, complete lack of oversight “necessary” for its sustainment. And let’s not forget all the innocent(and extremely pissed) survivors of the Air Force’s smart weapons in the last decade. I can’t wait to see what fruit that bears in 5-10 years. You’ve got to love unintended consequences.

                    In the end, this issue is about what would happen in Colorado Springs if the USAF outsourced its labor. I read that as a fearmongering statement positing that American servicemen would be replaced by some low-paid antagonistic foreign bogeyman of Scotch’s choosing. Whether or not chips are manufactured here or elsewhere would have fuckall to do with Colorado Springs, unless a munitions chip manufacturer decided to move to the foothills (go ahead and inform me if in fact, one has).

              3. This wouldn’t have anything to do with the second highest first world corporate tax burden, and crazy regulatory system, would it? Nah, that’s crazy talk.

            2. “”And certainly every town that ever lost its air force base turned into Detroit.””

              No, but pretty much every town that loses the big business that the town relies on turns into something like Detroit.

              Take a look at any military town that lost it’s base. If the town relied on military personnel to stimulate it’s economy, it will be in very serious trouble.

            3. Why does everyone think Colorado Springs is an Air Force town? Fort Carson has four times as many people as the three Air Force bases combined. The USAFA and Space Command are just a shiny veneer on the city’s camo colors.

          4. “Remove the Air Force base from Colorado Springs and I bet it starts looking like Detroit in a hurry!”

            Have you even been to both Colorado Springs and Detroit in order to make that claim?

            I have.

            And the only way to make Colorado Springs into a Detriot would be days and days of carpet bombing.

            1. Colorado Springs is a beautful town. It’s debateable if it would turn into a beautful shithole. I was for about a week in the late 80’s. Didn’t feel like a military town at all. It seem to have more going for it than the Academy.

          5. Uh, yes, if you were indeed to remove a large segment of a population of any given city, you would have many empty buildings, which I suppose one could say look Detroit-esque.

            But it’s not going to happen, so I guess your dream of punishing people who are tax averse won’t happen.

            Oh well.

      3. Scotch LULZ. Detroit has plenty of left-wing government, how’s that shithole of a progressive paradise working for you?

        1. What barfman barfed.

          1. Word. Weird comment from Scotch.

  14. services most Americans consider part of the urban fabric

    You mean like trash removal and community centers? Turns out those services are done better after they’ve been privatized.

    1. Privatization is great and all, but when do we get the associated tax cuts?

      We get to keep paying the taxes for it (cause hey, they need that money for even less important ‘services’) AND pay an additional bill as well.

      I got an idea, why not privatize EVERYTHING and then STILL GIVE UP 0 of out earnings in taxes! Besides, if you really needed that “disposable income” it wouldn’t really be disposable would it?

      1. “..STILL GIVE UP Thirty Percent of…”

      2. The city of Colorado Springs is funded primarily by sales tax. When that revenue is reduced, the taxes you are paying have already been reduced. That is the tax cut, and the taxes cannot be raised because of limitations in TABOR which prohibit increasing them without a vote of the people.

    2. Trash removal in Colorado Springs is private, there are two, possibly three competing companies that provide this service for a reasonable fee, in my case, around $50/three months.

  15. I don’t see anything in the article that leads me to believe that Colorado Springs is run by libertarians. It seems to me that the point of the story is that cutting back the role of government–for whatever reason or motivation–does not lead to the end of civilization, mass killings in the streets, all of the children being poisoned, etc. Perhaps the statists are wrong; maybe people can survive and even thrive without the government in every tiny corner of their lives.

    1. No way.

    2. Colorado Springs could be described as having certain libertarian tendencies.

      It leans conservative, but it’s generally of the smaller government type, and usually not terribly meddlesome in people’s private affairs. Hell, the medical marijuana thing has taken off here like you wouldn’t believe.

  16. The original story doesn’t even sound that bad to me.

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

    Sounds like Burning Man to me.


    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.

    OMG, two whole weeks without mowing. IT WILL BE A FUCKING JUNGLE!!!!

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

    What? No bedding plants? I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT BEDDING PLANTS!!

    What country did these people grow up in? When I was a kid, brown grass in summer was nothing to be afraid of.

    ? Community center and pool closures have parents worried about day-care costs, idle teenagers and shut-in grandparents with nowhere to go.

    What kind of wussy teenager needs a community center to make fun? And why is it the government’s job to amuse your grandparents. Hey, how about you send your KIDS to visit GRANDMA? Novel, yes!

    Tourism outlets have attacked budget choices that hit them precisely as they’re struggling to draw choosy visitors to the West.

    And presumably away from somewhere else that spends even mroe money on advertising.

    God, this is almost like the story about California cutting crossing guards and skate-park supervisors. HOW DID WE EVER LIVE WITHOUT THEM!!!????

    1. What country did these people grow up in? When I was a kid, brown grass in summer was nothing to be afraid of.

      Really! When I was a kid, only rich people and idiots wasted water on plain old grass in the summer. Grass was always brown in July; we had no idea that this was some sort of calamity.

    2. I for one am proud to live in a country rich enough and free enough for people to waste their resources on a patch of useless grass. Or where people are free enough to form associations that can dictate what shade of green your lawn is.

      Besides, how would you know which neighbors were total useless morons if not for their vast swathes of unproductive fertilizer-and-water-gulping illegal-immigrant-employing lawn. By the price of their car? Pfft, get real.

      1. “illegal-immigrant-employing”

        That’s where I have a problem. 😉

        1. DEY TUK ER JERBS!

      2. I for one am proud to live in a country rich enough and free enough for people to waste their resources on a patch of useless grass. Or where people are free enough to form associations that can dictate what shade of green your lawn is.

        As long as water is offered at prices that are estimated to maximize profit, that is fine.

      3. Lawns are bullshit. If someone would like to volunteer to take care of mine, you’re more than welcome to. That way I can go do stuff on my weekend that’s actually fun.

    3. Community center and pool closures have parents worried about day-care costs, idle teenagers and shut-in grandparents with nowhere to go having to deal with their own families.

      Waaah! WAAAAH!

    4. Grass in that part of the country is SUPPOSED to be brown. It’s a fucking semi-arid region at the edge of the high plains.

    5. 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.

      This will work. I’m not being sarcastic. There are a lot of people out there who, for whatever reason, really like to mow. And they’re extremely proud of their well-kept yards, and would be doubly proud of doing a good job mowing a park or roadside area or wherever. Whenever they pass it they’ll point out to others, “hey. Hey, you see that? Yeah, I mowed that.”

      1. It mgiht even give those idle teenagers and old people something to do. The old guy can ride around the part on his mower and talk to people, or the teenager can get some useful exercise and cheap employment from his parents.

  17. Tip- if you don’t water your lawn, you don’t have to mow it as often.

    Tah-daaaaah!

    1. You had the tip hidden up your sleeve, or under the stage right? I’ll figure out how you work your prestidigitation eventually!

      1. *revoking my own joke-handle-license*

        1. Where’s barfman?

  18. “Tourism outlets leeches have attacked budget choices that hit them “

  19. It would be absolute hypocrisy for them to complain about cuts to the Air Force academy.

    That’s ridiculous.

    If I state that I think that government should be restricted to national defense and maintaining the court system and associated police and corrections systems, that tells you the sorts of government activities I find legitimate, but tells you nothing about the appropriate level of spending within those categories.

    1. You are correct. It would only be hypocrisy for them to complain about cuts to the Air Force Academy except in terms of providing for the public defense.

      It is feasible that someone can make the argument that local provision of parks is intrusive, yet current Federal military spending is not and not be a hypocrite.

      I find it terribly hard to believe such an argument can be made effectively, but it can happen.

      Although, if the argument is made from a position promoting self-government it becomes exceedingly hard to make the argument without branching into contradiction, however.

  20. Well if Ted Haggard is a leader of the community, I can’t see any problems in Colorado Springs.

    1. Ted Haggard hasn’t lived in Colorado Springs since his festival of meth-fueled cock-suckery a couple years back.

      I think he lives in Arizona now.

  21. Also, New Life Church gets my vote for ugliest goddamned building in the entire city.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.