Aspen real estate is expensive. It got so bad some years ago that many workers had to commute about 25 minutes over a scenic highway from a cool little mountain town downvalley where housing is cheaper. Comfortable buses with free wifi are available at heated bus stops every 15 minutes, but commuters always seem to like their cars better.
Many of those commuters were employees of local, big business such as Aspen Skiing Co. which found that their employees wouldn’t work as cheaply as they’d like them to if they had to suffer that 25-minute commute. Other commuters were power-laden city elites.
So, they asked, what can be done about the fact that the place where they chose to work and would like to live is expensive?
This being the People’s Republic of Aspen, and the persons complaining being the persons who run the show, the first, second and third solutions were all … make the taxpayers pay. And so they did. Continue reading
We are all Keynesians now.” — attributed to President Richard Nixon
In the depths of the Great Depression, economist John Maynard Keynes theorized that the government could control business cycles through monetary and fiscal policies.
Keynes was right to some extent. Lower taxes, higher government spending and lower interest rates stimulate the economy, at least for a while. Even Nixon came to believe in it.
The phrase “We are all Keynesians” caught on. Economics is the dismal science after all.
A Newsweek cover story in 2009 took the catchphrase a step further in proclaiming on its cover that “We are all socialists now” as they celebrated President Barack Obama’s promise to fundamentally transform America.
Maybe Newsweek didn’t really think socialism would save the world, but just hoped it would save Newsweek. Within a few years after that story, Newsweek was dead as a print magazine and was sold for one dollar. Which was worth less than seven cents in the 1930’s money used by Keynes. Continue reading
This is the time of year when we ring in the new year, wring out the old, and mop up the drippings with a newspaper column. Here goes.
Aspen Skiing Co. announced this year that it is reining in dogs, since lately the whole town has been raining in dogs. Dogs don’t heed warnings from skiers like “On your left.” Maybe they heed snowboarders better, who just shout “Dude! Outta my way!”
And dogs do doo-doo on the slopes just like bears do doo-doo in the woods. I’d rather fall on a rock or on bear doo-doo than on doo-doo done by a dog.
The overgroomed inhabitants of the Aspen Labradoodle Sanctuary, otherwise known as the Red Mountain neighborhood, are barking and woofing about this crackdown. But their dogs couldn’t care less.
In local politics, Continue reading
“I love my truck, she’s right outside
I ain’t got much love, but I sure got a ride”
— Glen Campbell
Driving along the street the other day, I coasted toward a red stoplight half a block away. A pickup truck loomed large in my rearview mirror.
It closed to within a millimeter of my back bumper. I couldn’t see the driver in my mirror because he was about 11 feet off the ground. I saw only the grill of his Ford F350.
Or it might have been a Chevy Monstrosity or a Toyota Enormity or a Nissan Malignancy. It could have been a Dodge Rammer because I think I saw horns on that shiny grill, but those might have been the real thing and not a logo.
He swerved wildly to the other lane, gunned past me, honked his horn and flipped his bird. He swung back into my lane in front of me and accelerated right up to the stop light, where he screeched to a halt.
In due course, I eased up behind him at the stoplight. But I have to admit, he had me beat by 17 feet. Given the size of his vehicle, it could have been 23 feet.
What makes a person want a pickup truck? Continue reading
The immolation of Judge, now Justice, Brett Kavanagh didn’t keep him off the Supreme Court, but it did offer a road map to the left’s identity group politics.
The left has long been telling certain groups that they are victims. If those striving for victimhood can’t point to any specific instance of persecution, no matter. To be a victim, says the left, it’s enough that you’re a member of a group with other members or ancestors who were victims. If you are, then we’ll pretend you’re a victim too.
The left does this to get votes. They promise to champion these victims/voters for the recompense or maybe even the reparations to which they believe they’re entitled, if only they’ll vote Democrat.
This group victim idea was destructive enough, but now it’s evolved to something even worse. Continue reading
“Get your motor runnin’,
Head out on the highway,
Lookin’ for adventure,
And whatever comes our way.”
— Steppenwolf, 1969
I’m so hip that I use kick scooters. You’ve seen them, the annoying little vehicles about the size of a skateboard with a motor in the base and a handle on top.
They won’t get you from Aspen to Glenwood Springs. Heck, they won’t even get you past the roundabout. But once they’re offered in Aspen, they’ll transport you the mile from one side of Aspen to another.
For that, they’re great. They’re what Silicon Valley calls a “disruptive technology” and what the rest of us call a “game changer.” They make more sense for you, me and the planet than hauling around 3,000 pounds of steel, glass and rubber everywhere we go.
For the benefit of my two or three readers who are less hip than I, here’s how they work. Continue reading
Here in Aspen, we had a mayor named Mick Ireland. After a while, yard signs popped up saying “Sick of Mick.” A website even popped up, called SickofMick.com (the website is still up).
We finally got over Mick, we thought, but it turns out he was just in remission. Now he’s back.
A 2014 story in this newspaper shows how unpleasant this ailment can be. Mick crashed a private party in the park, ate their food and drink and abused a lady guest with profanities. When an 84-year-old at the party tried to escort him away, Mick took a swing at him.
Mick later claimed on Facebook that he’d been assaulted, contrary to the statements of everyone else at the party. And Mick made no mention that his “assaulter” was 84.
I once criticized Mick’s position on a political issue. He posted my column on Facebook with the comment “Aspen. It’s not for everyone. Maybe you should move on.”
I wondered what kind of mayor tells a citizen to leave town for disagreeing politically.
I soon found out. Continue reading