About a month ago I blogged about a phenomenon that suddenly was popping up in different parts of the country at about the same time: the turning off of America’s lights. In Rockford, Illinois the streetlights were being turned off. The same thing was happening in Highland Park, Michigan. And in Clintonville, Wisconsin. And in Franklin Township, Indiana bus service to get children to and from school was no longer being provided.
All of these basic services are being slashed because local governments “just can’t afford” to provide those services anymore. Of course, the reason lighting the streets and basic school bus service for children is no longer affordable is because – in an effort to please their Galtian Overlords – all of these local governments had slashed and/or refused to raise taxes. A low tax base and a lack of basic public services, apparently, are the key to a roaring economy.
Now comes the latest report from New Paris, Ohio, which at the end of the month will be shutting off its streetlights – apparently permanently – in order to save money:
Towns and cities across Ohio have felt the crunch from Gov. John Kasich’s (R) budget cuts, and decisions like the one New Paris made could have been avoided had Kasich and his Republican colleagues not preserved millions in benefits for the rich and corporations. Ohio Republicans cut the state’s estate tax, lowered its income tax in a way that benefited those with incomes over $200,000, and preserved multiple special interest tax breaks to benefit corporation.
None of that, of course, has brought the job creation and prosperity Kasich promised upon taking office.
You’d think these Ayn Randroids would eventually buy themselves a clue.
What is truly maddening about all this is that I remember reading Atlas Shrugged when I was a teenager and too callow to avoid such tripe. One of the things I remember is that her villains were constantly expressing the idea in one form or another that innovation, prosperity and material advances “just happened,” without thinking of the capitalist system that made all those things possible.
But it seems that these Randroids think the same way about government. Public lighting, school bus service, sewers that work, clean water available on tap in your home, police service, qualified teachers . . . these things “just happen,” and there is never, never any reason to think about how they are to be paid for.
So the rich get their taxes cut, and the rest of us get to watch as across the nation the lights go out on America.