Discussing Denver's plan to finance the construction of a miniature golf course, Independence Institute president Jon Caldara stated during the February 20 broadcast of his Newsradio 850 KOA show, "We never think it's going to be the faces of little kids playing putt-putt golf that's going to turn us into a socialist nation. And you know what? That's one of the steps."
As the Rocky Mountain News reported on February 20, "Denver is taking a shot at the miniature golf business. The city is planning to spend more than $1.7 million to build a 'glitzy' 36-hole miniature golf course and clubhouse across the street from the Overland Golf Course in south-central Denver." The News further reported, "The money for the project will come from revenues generated by the city's Golf Department, which manages seven golf courses, and a multimillion-dollar golf bond issued about two years ago."
During his show, Caldara criticized the News article as being "a frickin' advertisement for government-run competition to the private sector." After a caller suggested that the city-funded miniature golf course was an example of "socialism creeping up on us," Caldara replied, "Absolutely," adding, "[W]hen we think socialism, we think, you know, Lenin popping up there; we think Karl Marx. We never think it's going to be the faces of little kids playing putt-putt golf that is going to turn us into a socialist nation."
From the February 20 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Jon Caldara Show:
CALDARA: Why is it that middle-class guys, or even rich guys, should get a subsidy when they play putt-putt golf?
CALLER: I don't play putt-putt golf. To me, that's a waste of time.
CALDARA: You missed my point, [caller].
CALLER: [laughs] I know what you're saying.
CALDARA: You know, here's the thing. If people --
CALLER: It's sort of irrelevant for me because it doesn't --
CALDARA: -- if people want to play putt-putt golf in this society, they're wealthy enough to pay -- play putt-putt golf. For those people who are too small, or handicapped, or too poor, great -- let's give them a direct cash subsidy so that they can go off and play putt-putt golf. You don't need to spend millions of dollars to build a putt-putt golf course --
CALLER: I agree --
CALDARA: -- tax free.
CALLER: I feel the same way about the Broncos stadium --
CALLER: -- and all of those kinds of things, where we really don't have much of a say in it; either that or the general public are just ignorant and vote for things that they're not really thinking about.
CALDARA: It's about the heartstrings. They'll pull on the heartstrings, and now the city's going to play -- pay -- have already paid six hundred thousand dollars, has a world-renowned putt-putt golf course designer working on this. And this is supposed to be something we're proud of. I mean, check this out: the Rocky Mountain News, the mouthpiece for these things -- and it's just a shame that government puts out press releases and the press gobbles them up without any sort of questioning if this is a good idea. Um, da-da-da-dum. [Reading from the News article] "Last year, the city approved a" one -- excuse me -- "a five hundred and one thousand-dollar design contract with New Jersey-based Harris Miniature Golf Courses Inc., which has been in business for more than 30 years." Then they have a pull-quote here: "To see examples of Harris' other miniature golf courses go to Harrisminigolf.com and click on picture gallery." This is a frickin' advertisement for government-run competition to the private sector. There is --
CALDARA: -- not a single -- no, there's not even, there's not even the usual tiny quote in the background that says "not everybody is happy about them going into the private sector."
CALLER: You know what it is? It's basically socialism creeping up on us.
CALDARA: Absolutely. And it feels so good. Who would've -- when we think socialism, we think, you know, Lenin popping up there; we think Karl Marx. We never think it's going to be the faces of little kids playing putt-putt golf that's going to turn us into a socialist nation. And you know what? That's one of the steps.