Defense industry’s so-called gravy train

Senator Ken Salazar described Colorado Springs as a crown jewel in our nation’s defense arsenal. The Pikes Peak area is indeed a magnet for the weapons industry because of our military installations. We have Fort Carson (3rd Armored Cav), Peterson AFB (Missile Space Command), Schriever AFB, of course NORAD and the Air Force Academy.
Mysterious Navy Pier 13We even have a land-locked high-altitude facility for the Navy.

We’re often reminded that the military keeps Colorado Springs afloat. In fact the County Commissioners, City Council and the Chamber of Commerce, egged on by car dealers and land developers, seize at every chance to lure the Defense Department budget to this city. Currently they’re trying to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, against the unanimous desires of the Southeast area ranchers, the state legislature, even much of the city population.

Now, consider this incongruity: over the last several years, both El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs have had to cut back their services to save money. At a time when the war business has been flush with income! County offices have reduced their hours. The city has abandoned many services altogether. Street medians are no longer maintained by city crews. Toilet facilities at city parks have simply been left locked. The only reason we’ve been able to grow the police force is by paying for them by issuing more citations. Let’s call that a nuisance tax.

The gravy train is a lie, isn’t it? We pay for the military presence in Colorado Springs with higher crime, predatory retailers, porn joints, all the low wage jobs required by businesses which cater to soldiers, and as a result, a disproportionate drain on our social services. What do we get in return? An impoverished infrastructure and the dubious privilege of schooling our kids with offspring very likely disadvantaged by troubled families and questionable role models.

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