Stop Subsidizing Shit That Already Makes Money

For serious:

4. “Over the last 22 years, during which 125 of the 140 teams in the five largest U.S. professional sports leagues have built or refurbished home stadiums – most using public subsidies – evidence shows the facilities rarely, if ever, live up to their ‘measurable economic boost’ billing,” Danny Eckerwrites forCrain’s.

That’s what the data shows. Study after study after study. But what’s a few hundred million dollars of taxpayer money between friends?


“The Wrigley Field rehab is a case that Chicago-based SportsCorp Ltd. President Marc Ganis calls ‘unlike any other situation in the nation’ because of Wrigley’s status as a privately held asset that has a measurable effect on tourism . . .

“‘No other facility is as important an economic engine,’ Mr. Ganis says of the 98-year-old stadium’s role in the North Side neighborhood. According to the Cubs, about 30 percent of ticket sales come from outside Chicago.”

Doesn’t that really cutagainst public subsidies? The privately held asset is doing good for all of us just the way things are – and the Ricketts are already investing a sliver of their fortune to wring even more revenue out of the ballpark and the neighborhood. Aren’t they thelast people who need a public subsidy?

It’s one of the dumbest things about our current reward-the-wealthy culture (and there are plenty of examples of dumbitude to choose from): We have this thing that makes money, so we need to give it public funding, so that it will make money. WTF. Covering the suburbs 10 years ago, nearly every meeting was about how much of a tax break to give a Jewel or a CVS to set its fat ass down on a corner, when, erm, the guy selling baseball cards out of a storefront last renovated in the Eisenhower administration might need those bucks, too.

Anybody currently gearing up the “but Jewel will bring in much more money than that guy” argument, EXACTLY. So what are we giving them a break for?

If we are going to just arbitrarily give money to whatever certain people want, then I am starting a petition for a bagel shop because Dunkin Donuts bagels taste like ballsacks and the only other breakfast place nearby doubles as a drug deal waiting room (not inefficient, mind, but ill suited to my present needs). Or a good used bookstore/vintage shop/ferret hangout. I guess all I need to get that retail multiplex off the ground is a squillion dollars of my own and thus no need for the subsidies the city will rain down upon me.


4 thoughts on “Stop Subsidizing Shit That Already Makes Money

  1. But of course they’ll keep shoveling money to the rich…more tax breaks, stadium subsidies, infrastructure improvements in and around places like assembly plants, casinos…politicians spend money the way fat guys eat donuts — by the boxful. The money can either go towards community investments that benefit lots of people…or it can go to rich clods who are already rolling in it.
    What’s frustrating is trying to explain this to the Ronaldus Magnus cultists/schmucks. No amount of logic or reason will tear them away from their sacred mythology, which somehow manages to exclude stuff like sports stadiums or casino subsidies from their government-is-always-evil creed. The military budget is likewise excluded…because, as we all know, “small government” is really dog whistle for a pecking order that insists on certain people being at the bottom of it.

  2. Or how it is an “entitlement” (nasty word) when applied to provide basic needs of living. But it isn’t an entitlement when applied to the rich.
    An example local to here are the Ag subsidies. This year, severe draught conditions don’t look good for the crops. Don’t look good for grazing land. As a matter of public policy, the Ag subsidies and opening of public lands for grazing can make a lot of sense in stabilizing food prices and keeping farmers in business. However, in years where the profit of corn skyrocketed (good crops, increased demand to make Ethanol, etc.) the subsidies were still considered sacrosanct – couldn’t even adjust the subsidies based on current conditions.

  3. And the Ag subsidies are super sized, especially compared to small change like SNAP, unemployment, TANF, and whatnot. If I remember right the Department of Agriculture’s budget ranks fourth or fifth on the list of federal agencies, trailing only Health and Human Services, Defense, Homeland Security, and possibly Veterans Affairs.
    When wingers salivate ecstatically over eliminating agencies they can’t even remember (Energy, Governor Perry), they don’t mention that they’re attacking the smallest ones, and that even if they could dump Energy, HUD, and Education, you’re talking about maybe 5-10 percent of federal spending…

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