Best in the long run |

Best in the long run

Bullet biting is not a popular sport, but one that we all should consider playing from time to time.

I’m suggesting we play it now ” today ” not tomorrow or the next day, as procrastination only serves to make the problem worse.

And the problem, or rather, the debate, is over the government’s role in today’s society. Not at the federal or state level though, as space limitations require this discussion stay at the local level, right here in Happy Valley, USA.

“They do too much!” some shout over feel-good social services, excessive regulations, dubious economic incentives and so on.

“They don’t do enough!” scream others over the exact same issues.

“They should do less!” is almost always countered with, “They should do more!” yet none of the above are ever really explained with any more clarity than Newt’s recent rationalization with infidelity.

A smattering of locals, specifically a few who have had their opinions published on this very page, insists the growing trend is for more government (or perhaps it’s just how they personally wish for it to be).

It’s as if they are convinced long-term propensities can be gleaned from a single vote or a single issue, or even toothless acts as superficial as biased polling or surveys.

I obviously disagree with their so-called trend, and am absolutely certain that it is a dangerous path to travel; all but guaranteeing a destination of socialism, or even worse, having to live amongst socialists.

I could write for weeks on end about the inherent dangers of government-guaranteed health services, housing, jobs, economic prosperity, etc., but again, those pesky space limitations are in the way.

The bottom line is I would love to see what would happen if we bit the bullet and ceased using local taxes for all but the very basics ” roads, bridges, protection from bad guys and fires, and the occasional school-bond issue.

You know, the way things were a long, long time ago.

No more taxes being wasted on government housing, deed-restricted housing, subjective tax incentives for businesses, subjective special zoning requests, subjective art purchases, subjective open-space purchases, schools for children of illegal citizens, charitable donations and all general appeasement tactics of any sort.

To put it plainly: Free markets caused the problems and free markets should be allowed to fix the problems.

If they cannot do so, then let the free markets suffer the consequences.

Leave the government out of the equation.

Left to the free market, housing will continue to be harder for workers to find. Eventually the workers will leave.

Businesses who cannot find workers will be forced to do one of two things: close their doors, or find housing for workers.

Trust me, they will do one or the other.

Left to the free market, we will not be subjected to the fiscally irresponsible cultural silliness of thousands of plastic windmills cluttering local golf courses, self-righteous acts of highly questionable land purchases based on highly questionable ethics, or highly questionable mass-vehicle purchases based upon highly questionable science.

Left to the free market, second-home owners will stop flooding said market by paying such ridiculously over-inflated prices because the services they were used to no longer exist because the businesses no longer have the workers to provide those services.

Million-dollar homes financed with million-dollar mortgages will find their values cut in half, and the ability to pay those mortgages will also be drastically reduced by the overall economic hit, thus causing an even further thinning of our Happy Herd, so to speak.

Real estate nest eggs will be scrambled.

We will no longer be No. 1 in SKI Magazine each year.

Developers will stop developing and leave the valley. Speculators will stop speculating and leave the valley. Builders will stop building and leave the valley.

Mortgage lenders will stop lending (especially those annoying sub-prime nutjobs who are already getting exactly what they deserve) and leave the valley.

Building heights will stop rising. Commissioners will stop campaigning.

Environmentalist will stop preaching (they might even read a scientific paper by someone other than Al Gore).

Many restaurants, bars, retail shops, real-estate offices, property management companies and golf courses will close.

Frontage road parking issues will disappear as will ad revenue for the Vail Daily.

The Ginn property will never be developed; the same for Lindholm’s 2,400 homes.

Arrabelle, Four Seasons, Solaris, the new Ritz, the Front Door Project and others will fail, leaving empty shells in their wake. Vail Resorts will be sold for 10 cents on the dollar and repurchased by George Gillett, who will once again ski the mountain dressed like Santa Claus on Christmas Day.

The Lionshead parking structure will stay parked and Ever Vail will be nevermore.

This inane culture of “What’s in it for me?” concerning economic protectionism, burdening regulations and mandatory wealth redistribution will fade from local memory.

All those who whine about not being able to afford living here without government assistance will leave.

All those who cannot afford to have children here without government assistance will leave.

Only a few of us will stay, or even be able to afford staying.

No doubt about it, biting the bullet would hurt, and hurt bad, for many folks for many years, yet local government could continue its constant re-prioritizing of limited funds, only this time with fewer generous parameters.

Vail would eventually return to a sleepy little ski town with two-for-one dinners, one movie theater, and 90 percent of retail businesses closed for mud season.

Happy Valley as a whole would be much better off in the long run.

Personally, I would enjoy the silence.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a biweekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at

Support Local Journalism