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Old 04-11-2013, 06:44 AM  
Loneiguana Loneiguana is offline
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Conservatives find Government does help them earn money

Wyoming locals pick up tab for Yellowstone snowplowing
Sequester cuts idled federal plows and threatened the park's opening day. Even though most here favor limited government, this isn't quite what they had in mind.


By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times
April 6, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
CODY, Wyo. — For many, the federal budget ax that fell last month has meant a few nicks here and there. For Joe Kondelis, it's sliced a lot deeper.

After stewing for days, the 53-year-old opened his wallet and delivered a $2,000 check to the Cody Chamber of Commerce to help pay for snowplowing at Yellowstone National Park. It wasn't easy. Cash is scarce once Yellowstone shuts down for the winter.

But after automatic spending cuts idled the National Park Service plows and threatened to delay opening day for two weeks — two weeks that could cost his beer distributorship $100,000 in sales — Kondelis felt he had no choice.

"You live and die by the tourist market," he said beneath a framed picture of the Budweiser logo, which loomed overhead like a portrait of the family patriarch.

Fearing an economic disaster — people planning their vacations sometimes hear just the words "closed" and "Yellowstone" and there goes the whole summer — the chambers in Cody and Jackson Hole raised $170,000 to pay for the state to step in and fire up its snowplows. The work began last week and, barring a major storm, the park's east and south entrances will open on time in early May.

The story could end there, a happy tale of small-town pluck. Many in Cody are proud of how the community of fewer than 10,000 rallied to save the tourist season from sequestration, as the $85 billion in cuts are called.

"It kicked us right in the pants," said Mike Darby, a partner in the Irma Hotel, which was built in 1902 by "Buffalo Bill" Cody himself. "And thank God we rose up and kicked them back. We did."

But a weave of contradictions surrounds the episode, reflecting the tension between self-sufficiency and codependence, between these Westerners' stated desire for a smaller, more limited government and reliance on the services that people have come to expect from far off, little-loved Washington, D.C.

"We all want to cut the deficit but don't want to sacrifice the lifestyle that money makes possible," said Warren Murphy, a retired clergyman and one of the few avowed progressives in this deeply conservative part of a deeply conservative state. "Sequester is just a small sample of what you get."

Dan Wenk, the superintendent of Yellowstone, is the face of the federal government around Cody and his popularity underscores the truth that it's harder to dislike a neighbor than some faceless bureaucrat inside the Beltway. When the cuts hit, Wenk had to slice $1.75 million from his $35-million budget and do it with the fiscal year just about half-over.

He trimmed his payroll. He scaled back travel and training programs. Finally, he decided to idle the Park Service snowplows for two weeks, saving $30,000 a day and leaving it to the spring thaw to help clear more than 300 miles of roadway. The idea, Wenk said, was to ensure there was money left to keep Yellowstone open throughout the peak summer months. "We cut the budget in a way we thought was absolutely the least impactful," he said.

Locals were nearly unanimous in their praise for Wenk and the way he worked with community leaders and state officials to find a solution that got the plows rolling. It is a lesson, they said, that Washington should heed.

"We just talked it through," said Claudia Wade, marketing director for the county tourism office. "Everybody came to the table and said, 'How can we work this out?' Not, "Whose fault is it?'"

There are limits, however, to that goodwill. Wade and others insist the fundraising drive, or Park Service bailout, or whatever people choose to call it, was a one-time thing. "It was an important point that we'd only do it this time," said Scott Balyo, executive director of the Cody chamber.

Even so, many worry about precedent. Kondelis, who works alongside his wife and two sons in their beverage business, explained why he contributed: "I believe in this community and we need to step forward like everybody else. But my biggest issue was … the politics isn't going to change. So next year, they're going to say, 'Oh, you guys figured it out, you guys came to the table, so this cut was good.'"

The relationship between Washington and the West has always been fraught. The region's proud creed of independence ignores the crucial role the federal government plays in its prosperity. At the same time, few things grate more than the presumption that a distant landlord can better manage the land than the people who live on it. (The federal government controls about half of the acreage in Wyoming.)

People in Cody are used to dealing with natural disasters, like the wildfires or heavy snow that occasionally close Yellowstone and sucker-punch the economy. But this crisis felt artificial, man-made, and thus avoidable.

It's not that residents don't want to reduce the deficit. Washington needs "to grow the economy, not the government," said Jay Linderman, who owns an Italian restaurant on Cody's main drag and grudgingly gave $200 to pay for plowing. What rankles locals is the indiscriminate nature of the sequester, which cut programs across the board without weighing individual merits.

But therein lies the perennial rub: Cuts that are welcomed in the abstract are not always appreciated when they hit home. And everything the government does, however small, touches somebody.

"If it's a national park, it shouldn't be our burden to operate," said Bob Brandt, manager of the Cody Hotel, which sits on the main highway to Yellowstone, about 50 miles away. His business contributed $2,500 to the snowplow fund.

If not entitlement, locals at least share a feeling that Washington has obligations it mustn't slough off, even as spending declines.

"You pay your taxes to get certain services," said Bruce Eldredge, executive director of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, a world-class museum in the center of town, which delivered a $10,000 check to the chamber. "We would, I think, probably argue as a community that we pay our federal taxes to make sure the park is open at a specific time."

For his part, Wenk assumes the cuts made under sequester represent "the new normal." Yellowstone's budget has been shrinking for the last few years, even as the number of visitors has grown. Looking ahead to next year, Wenk said everything — including the snowplowing schedule — is on the table.

The state, meantime, has seized on the fundraising publicity to get an early jump on its summer tourism campaign. As a crowd cheered and cameras recorded the scene last week, big yellow tractors began chewing through the snow, bearing placards with the promotional theme "Yellowstone or Bust."

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...,5412062.story

/So I'm supposed to feel bad for the guy who had to spend $2,000 of his own money to help guarantee $100,000 in sales? Yeah, it sure does suck that the Federal Government wasn't there to help out that guys profit margin with my money.
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:53 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Wow, I can't even imagine the horrible implications of roads competing against each other. Or businesses somehow deciding what infrastructure is in the best public interest for the city versus what will benefit the public at large. Or that we should trust corporations and businesses to invest in this planning. Or that we should allow corporations with bigger pockets even MORE competitive advantage over small businesses because they can essentially control what roads and transportation lead to their business or even destruct roads that lead to a competitor.
Then you have a big gap in knowledge on economic history. Private roads did benefit the public at large. Read How Capitalism Saved America. It will fill in those gaps.
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:16 AM   #32
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:51 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Then you have a big gap in knowledge on economic history. Private roads did benefit the public at large. Read How Capitalism Saved America. It will fill in those gaps.
I have enough of a knowledge about economic history to know that we don't operate in the same world as we do then. And I have worked in private businesses long enough to know the way the private sector works today.
We are not talking about building new roads at an accelerated pace. We are largely talking about maintaining roads and, in some cases, building projects to change access.

I understand there is corruption and favoritism to corporate welfare in our public system today. I hate waste from construction projects that are either used to create jobs or run inefficiently because there's no incentive to do a good job. But the idea of privatizing roads is something I've heard many times and it just wrongfully assumes that private businesses collectively can make decisions that benefit the collective. That's bullshit. Private businesses make decisions to benefit themselves and will squash the competition. But there are controls in place, and rightfully so, to how far a private business can go to do that.

It assumes that all private businesses are good and ethical, that a system of consumption-based roads can be pulled off without centralization (e.g. a common EZ pass system vs. 20 different EZ pass systems). It assumes that good roads can be built without collusion or, if we allow collusion, that this behavior is a good thing (in most instances, it's not). It assumes you won't have private investors with big pockets funding their own pet projects, or companies that fund projects aimed at destroying access to competitors. It assumes it's a good thing that poor people should have terrible roads or should be limited from having access to nicer areas. It assumes that all private businesses are smart and that there won't be dumb leaders who fund ridiculous transportation and road projects that do more harm than good.

Libertarianism leans in the right direction here in that there should be more privatization in road planning. But there is a ton of benefit in centralization.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:24 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
I have enough of a knowledge about economic history to know that we don't operate in the same world as we do then.
No you don't. You suffer from mainstream in-the-box thinking which omits a lot of economic history. Most historians don't write about economic history because they don't know economics well enough. You have not studied alternatives and are closed to new ideas.

Again, I am NOT a libertarian.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:59 AM   #35
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:56 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
No you don't. You suffer from mainstream in-the-box thinking which omits a lot of economic history. Most historians don't write about economic history. You have not not studied alternatives and are closed to new ideas.

Again, I am NOT a libertarian.
Cities maintained city roads, not companies, in early America. The toll roads you are talking about were between cities and mainly over water-ways (A bridge can act like a monopoly, if you have to cross a river and that bridge is the only way, well there you go) They died out as the governed sponsored canals and railroads - Sponsored because of the economic benefit to the entire country of transportation infrastructure that would connect the whole country.

In your free market idea, What happens when a segment of the country is not cost effective to bring infrastructure? What happens if a company can't make a profit off a road. Here is an example using electricity:

"Although nearly 90 percent of urban dwellers had electricity by the 1930s, only ten percent of rural dwellers did. Private utility companies, who supplied electric power to most of the nation's consumers, argued that it was too expensive to string electric lines to isolated rural farmsteads. Anyway, they said, most farmers, were too poor to be able to afford electricity.

The Roosevelt Administration believed that if private enterprise could not supply electric power to the people, then it was the duty of the government to do so. Most of the court cases involving TVA during the 1930s concerned the government's involvement in the public utilities industry."

http://newdeal.feri.org/tva/tva10.htm
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:36 AM   #37
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No you don't. You suffer from mainstream in-the-box thinking which omits a lot of economic history. Most historians don't write about economic history because they don't know economics well enough. You have not studied alternatives and are closed to new ideas.

Again, I am NOT a libertarian.
And you suffer from independent thinking that is so idealistic that it doesn't factor in realities. As much as you push for the privatization of road building, you leave out an enormously long economic history of sharks in the private sector who, in their self-driven motive to either make money for themselves or drive a profit for their business, will engage in behaviors that are terrible for the public. It's why we have proactive laws to bust monopolies, regulate financial markets, outlaw collusion, create FDA standards and fair advertising standards, etc.... You're talking about different territory here. You can break up a corrupt business -- a new tenant will eventually take up that property. You can tear down buildings. You can't **** up infrastructure because it's tough to fix mistakes.

My thinking is not "in the box." I am for increasing privatization of roads and a more democratic process for deciding which projects get funded. But I pointed out plenty of reasons why privatization is a terrible idea. Much as I disagree with loneiguana, he's made some outstanding points in this thread.
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:43 AM   #38
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I am not interested in a long debate with a statist on this as a major hijack. I've done this debate before. No need to rinse and repeat the same arguments.
If you want to see my pov use the search. Then agree to disagree. Otherwise, you are left to argue with yourself.
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:48 PM   #39
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Okay, in a free, private market, where roads were under private operation, individual businesses and owners would to bid independently on services. Let us ignore the problems of calculating cost for driving on the roads and focus on one service, snow removal. Would multiply companies be removing snow on the same street? If one business did not pay, would they not plow in front of the building? Or would the street be plowed anyway, because the whole street needs to be plowed to function effectively?

No, what would be wisest and money efficient for companies would be maybe to form some type of organization that represents the companies to bid on services, maybe collect some type of fee to put towards that fund. Maybe organized street? But one street doesn't get traffic to that street from out of town. Maybe by town?

Yea, by town might work. Some type of city utilities or something.
That's easy. If a road were truly private, the owners of the road would pay for plowing it.
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:02 PM   #40
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1) see bep's post.
I doubt seriously that BEP is enough of a libertarian purist that she doesn't acknowledge that there is a place for some level of public infrastructure. But even if she is, a tiny minority of conservative dissenters doesn't invalidate my point.

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2) see response to bep's post. Please explain how.
I did so in the previous post.

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3) I disagree: Let's get specific, and speak of purely transportation infrastructure. mainly highways.

• The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways...
Let's not use a cherry-picked specific, because it doesn't prove anything relative to my point #3. My point #1 is an acknowledgement that we can find individual examples of government owned/maintained infrastructure that benefit our economy. But that doesn't mean that every conceivable government owned/maintained infrastructure project is going to be positive. To disprove point #3, you'd have to show that EVERY form of government owned/maintained infrastructure is a net benefit to our economy. All that's needed to prove that my point #3 is valid is one example of government owned/maintained infrastructure that fails to be a net positive. For example, it ended up not being built, but do you think the famous "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska was going to be a net economic benefit? Maybe it was, but I think it's more likely that it was not.


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My Point is that the government does stimulate the economy through infrastructure, and I used a specific example, of many, that showed the positive amount of stimulus government spending has. I used a recent article to make an argument for increasing government spending in American infrastructure.
In 2009, Barack Obama promised that his massive porkulus spending spree was going to be investment in infrastructure. Later, we found out it was just a gift to friendly constituents and very little of it had to do with infrastructure. We do have infrastructure needs in this country, but this administration can not be trusted to address those needs. Furthermore, I doubt that you and I would agree on what level of infrastructure is appropriate.
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:50 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
I've done this debate before. No need to rinse and repeat the same arguments.
If you want to see my pov use the search.


Everyone saw this coming. Why don't you just save everyone a bunch of time, post this in every thread, so we don't have to read your 1800's lunatic ravings.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:10 PM   #42
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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I doubt seriously that BEP is enough of a libertarian purist that she doesn't acknowledge that there is a place for some level of public infrastructure. But even if she is, a tiny minority of conservative dissenters doesn't invalidate my point.
I was not making a case for, nor do I have the desire to revert back our public roads to private hands because it would not work as well in reverse. Although I would not disallow any being built newly along with public roads. There are some private roads even today. My point was that private roads were once built and were paid for by businessmen, so they could get traffic to their businesses. This did happen and it benefited the public at large too. Things just develop differently, so it's not impossible. I mean all TV was free once too.

But let's face it, our interstate highway system was built for the military originally.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:12 PM
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:21 PM   #43
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Everyone saw this coming. Why don't you just save everyone a bunch of time, post this in every thread, so we don't have to read your 1800's lunatic ravings.
You don't speak for everyone. I've been around the bend with chiefzilla to the point where I know what he's going to say while it goes on endlessly. I don't have the time and it's not worth it. My choice. Now go back to your ivory tower and quit pretending you speak for everyone. Generalities won't do. Those debates are here. I sourced the proper book that covers it because you can't educate someone on a MB—especially someone who is unwilling to open their mind to new information—much like you.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:27 PM   #44
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cdcox is a narrow-minded professor. Who woulda' thought our colleges came to this when it comes to novel and new ideas.

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BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:35 PM   #45
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: None of your business
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Look at the lunatics promoting private roads in that video. Governor Mitch McDaniels of Indiana, John Stossel and Randall O'Toole, a public policy analyst, who studied transportation for 20 years.
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"“Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business.”" — Calvin Coolidge
Posts: 53,096
BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.
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