Republicans are always screaming for smaller government and lower taxes. The worst president of the twentieth century and hero of the conservative movement in the United States, Ronnie Reagan, is famous for saying that “government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.”
The citizens of Colorado Springs, Colorado are just about to find out exactly how big a problem government really is…
COLORADO SPRINGS — 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.
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.
What conservative Republicans do not understand (and the people of Colorado Springs are about to learn) is the meaning of community and the necessity of sound and supported government. It simply is not possible to have thousands or millions of people living in close proximity to one another and have “every man for himself.” We’ve learned this lesson before. Looks like it is time to learn it again.