The free market fetishists and rich-bastard-apologists at the Goldwater Institute have gotten their gold-embroidered underwear in a bunch over a city-owned gym and recreation center in Gilbert. Are you surprised? Do they seem like people who know how to have fun?
Like any average group of market psychopaths, they're offended that poor and working class people are getting their exercise at a cheaper than market rate. In a world where the rule is that the poor pay more, the Goldwater Institute are the enforcers. I suppose they figure us poor and working class people get enough exercise as it is thanks to our daily regimen of running from cops, struggling to pay the bills and those bootstrap pullups we do all day at our miserable, low-paying jobs (if we can find one these days). Toss that in with all the meals we skip and you can see why they think we're some hot shit. Don't hate us because we're beautiful, guys. Here's a newsflash: running when you're rich and running when you're poor look totally different to the cops. Especially on Tatum and Doubletree. Try it some time. See how many calories you burn.
The infamously delusional and free market institute has filed a complaint with the city objecting to the public service. Naturally, residents that live in the real world and who use the facility are baffled.
“I can’t believe it. Why are they picking on Gilbert?” asked Darwin Siegel, a Gilbert resident who uses the fitness center for thrice-weekly workouts. “It’s a needed function for low-income people, for older people on Social Security and people on assistance.”The only fixed income the Goldwater Institute recognizes is the one that comes with an inheritance and a famous name. In an article at AzCentral, Sharon Maiden makes the painfully obvious point: “Private gyms get plenty of people who can pay for those types of facilities. [Those] gyms don’t cater to the senior citizens nor do they encourage attendance by children.” Working people, of course, famously don't tend to have the money to hire nannies to take care of their kids while they work out. They're much more likely to be nannies, it turns out.
Still, the city council seems a bit confused about how to respond. Several members are vocal supporters of the private enterprise mythology of the Goldwater Institute, a fantasy world where forcing people without money to pay more for things makes sense. Former Councilwoman Linda Abbott describes them this way: "Some have stated that park land should be sold to developers and that libraries compete with bookstores and should be closed." Libraries compete with bookstores? Really? You can check out as many books as you can afford, Jimmy. Better go get a job in a sweatshop if you want to do any book learnin'!
Echoing that point, former Phoenix mayor Paul Johnson characterized the Goldwater Institute as “depressing” and “out of touch”. Of similar complaints he encountered during his time in office from free market
But let's get this straight, ok? The argument they're making is that the city provides the service cheaper than private companies can, which when you get down to it means that these private companies can't provide the service at a price that poor and working class people can afford. And this is messing with competition somehow? Competition for what? Services the private sector admits it can't and won't provide?
And beyond that, who says that everything in life has to conform to the demands of the market anyhow? The market isn't some natural and inevitable force in life. We all defy it every day. We share our beers and cigarettes, we slack off at work, we give each other gifts, we cook for each other, we take care of loved ones and friends. And what does the Goldwater Institute know about being poor? Look them in the eye. Do you think these Kierland Commons warriors know what life is like for the rest of us? Raised on the mean streets of the Biltmore!
Still, it's worth noting that the Goldwater Institute has suggested they would be satisfied if the rec center, under threat of a bankrupting lawsuit in times of austerity, were merely privatized (so they could raise prices above what poor and working class users can pay) or dismantled and sold off to private interests piece by piece. Just what distinguishes this from the looting and theft at the barrel of the gun that Goldwater hacks usually oppose isn't clear. The main point, apparently, is that some rich bastard is going to get some exercise equipment on the cheap. But why he would need it, given that he can afford a private gym membership?
But maybe there's one last appeal that can get through to the Goldwater privateers: think of the interns!