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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Forbes: Miami Marlins Have Become Baseball’s Most Expensive Stadium Disaster

But then Loria decided to switch to a different form of welfare: taxpayers. Last year the Marlines opened $639 million, publicly-financed ballpark and parking complex. Usually teams thrive when the first move into a new stadium because attendance goes up and all the splashy amenities and luxury seating boost revenue. The Marlins stadium has been a disaster and Mami-Dade county taxpayers are getting hosed like nobody before them.

For starers, the stadium’s financing scheme means there will be some $3 billion in interest expenses on the construction loans that will be paid by city and county taxpayers. Worse for taxpayers there is no incentive for Loria to put a good team on the field because the city and county must pay the bondholders regardless of how the team performs. Moreover, a small but quirky part of the bond financing has turned a $91 million loan into a $1.2 billion liability for taxpayers. And to add insult to injury the Marlins are nickel-and-diming taxpayers over capital repair costs.

Bad omen for taxpayers: Loria is slashing the team’s payroll by at least $50 million this season due to disappointing attendance and revenue at the new ballpark. But the NewYork Mets–who have cut payroll because of their high debt–have shown that will likely make things worse. The Mets attendance and revenue have been declining over the past two years and Standard & Poor’s recently lowered the rating on the bonds to Citi Field to two levels below investment grade.

The Marlins stadium is looking like the worst shellacking taxpayers have ever gotten from a baseball stadium.

Thanks to Dot.

Repoz Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:12 AM | 82 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, marlins

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   1. John Northey Posted: January 27, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4355889)
One can only hope Miami taxpayers teach the politicians who did this a lesson and slaughter them in the next election - every last one who voted for this white elephant should lose and lose big. Taxpayers in other areas should pay attention and anytime a politician even considers using tax dollars to build a new park they should scream and kick the politician out of office first chance they get. Major league stadiums are not a necessity, nor have they been shown to be 'profitable' by any study done by a 3rd party study (ie: one not done by a city or team). Force the leagues to build their own stadiums and if a team moved due to it, well, so be it. Better than tossing a billion dollars of debt onto your kids.
   2. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4355904)
Better than tossing a billion dollars of debt onto your kids.

I'm all for "slaughtering" Miami politicians, but unless Miami-Dade's hotel-tax revenue plummets and the locals have to start paying down the ballpark debt, the kids of Miami aren't and won't be paying for the Marlins' stadium. Almost all of the "taxpayer money" being spent on this is coming from hotel taxes (i.e., money paid by visitors rather than locals), which, by Florida law, must be spent on projects that are at least ostensibly tourism-related rather than on roads, schools, etc.
   3. John Northey Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4355945)
Of course, if they are short on money for stuff that is tourism related guess where they'll take it from? Plus, of course, a hotel tax means that profits the hotels could've made (thus leading to the ability to build more/better hotels which would've created jobs) is instead going to the stadium and the financiers of that stadium.

Taxes that appear 'safe' are always costing someone and will lead to less economic activity. The question is, does the gain from use of that money exceed the loss of taking it. In the case of stadiums the general answer is 'no'. I'm sure at some level it could be 'yes' but it is a lot less than the level this one is at.
   4. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4355948)
Taxes that appear 'safe' are always costing someone and will lead to less economic activity.

Careful, now. We don't want the BBTF liberals to run you off the site.
   5. Publius Publicola Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4355951)
Nice selective quote there, Joe. Did you happen to read the sentence directly behind the one you cut and pasted? You know, the one that completed the thought experiment and added critical nuance to his argument?
   6. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4355955)
Nice selective quote there, Joe. Did you happen to read the sentence directly behind the one you cut and pasted? You know, the one that completed the thought experiment and added critical nuance to his argument?

Ha ha. I knew that was coming. It's funny how spending tax money on sports stadiums is the only use of tax money that BBTF's lefties don't like.

According to BBTF's lefties, Obama's trilion-dollar "stimulus," which could have paid for almost 1,500 (!) Marlins stadiums, was such a great idea that we should have another one that's even bigger. But spending money to build a sports stadium — in a dying Miami neighborhood in a city with high unemployment, which will keep a high-profile sports team in town for 30 years — was a horrible, horrible idea.

The linked article is consistent with Mike Ozanian's political views, but the outrage shown by the liberals here is more than a little "selective" in nature. If only liberals were as judicious with taxpayer money in scenarios not involving sports teams.
   7. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4355964)
The linked article is consistent with Mike Ozanian's political views, but the outrage shown by the liberals here is more than a little "selective" in nature.
How many liberals is John Northey?
   8. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4355966)
Are you kidding? This seems like the hundredth thread we've had on the Marlins' new stadium.
   9. Publius Publicola Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4355969)
It's funny how spending tax money on sports stadiums is the only use of tax money that BBTF's lefties don't like.


So I take it that, since you reflexively disagree with anything that smacks of a liberal POV, you approve of using tax dollars this way?

Or don't you? It's not clear from what you have written so far.
   10. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4355970)
So I take it that, since you reflexively disagree with anything that smacks of a liberal POV, you agree with using tax dollars this way?

I'm generally against taxpayer subsidies of anything related to the private sector, but if the trillion-dollar "stimulus" was a good idea, then building this stadium was a great idea.

On the list of things on which taxpayer money is being spent unwisely and/or inefficiently, sports facilities don't crack the top 100.
   11. Tripon Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:50 PM (#4355971)

On the list of things on which taxpayer money is being spent unwisely and/or inefficiently, sports facilities don't crack the top 100.


And you're saying this because you're a baseball agent and indirectly benefit from subsidized stadiums.
   12. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4355973)
And you're saying this because you're a baseball agent and indirectly benefit from subsidized stadiums.

No, I'm saying it because it's the truth. The people who got stimulus money didn't perform the work at or below cost, and some of them probably didn't do any work at all. Why is it OK for one set of well-connected cronies to be enriched with taxpayer money but not some other group?

(Also, I haven't worked much as an agent since before I started posting at BBTF. Most of my baseball business these days is on the ownership/management side. You might see this as bolstering your argument, but it really doesn't. As we all know, there are only two facility issues in all of MLB, and I have zero ties to OAK or TB.)
   13. BDC Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4355976)
The people who got stimulus money didn't perform the work at or below cost, and some of them probably didn't do any work at all

Oddly enough, one major use of federal stimulus money in Arlington TX was to improve road and bridge infrastructure around the then-new (local-taxpayer-supported) Cowboys Stadium. (And the work really was done.) I reckon this means the stadium district in Arlington is something we can all be happy about :)
   14. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4355977)
Oddly enough, one major use of federal stimulus money in Arlington TX was to improve road and bridge infrastructure around the then-new (local-taxpayer-supported) Cowboys Stadium. (And the work really was done.) I reckon this means the stadium district in Arlington is something we can all be happy about :)

Spending taxpayer money on anything related to football is nothing short of an outrage!
   15. Publius Publicola Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4355978)
On the list of things on which taxpayer money is being spent unwisely and/or inefficiently, sports facilities don't crack the top 100.


I live in DC and I think it's quite apparent now that the investment in the new Nationals Stadium is proving to be worth it for the district. The area immediately around the new stadium has drawn enormous amounts of investment dollars and has totally revitalized what was a moribund area in the southeast. This redevelopment/renewal has even trickled over into the southwest area several blocks away near the river, where building is scheduled to start later this year, and new retailing, hotels/restaurants, and high-end urban dwellings are planned. It's now pleasant to live here, and things look like they are going to get better still.
   16. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4355983)
I live in DC and I think it's quite apparent now that the investment in the new Nationals Stadium is proving to be worth it for the district. The area immediately around the new stadium has drawn enormous amounts of investment dollars and has totally revitalized what was a moribund area in the southeast. This redevelopment/renewal has even trickled over into the southwest area several blocks away near the river, where building is scheduled to start later this year, and new retailing, hotels/restaurants, and high-end urban dwellings are planned. It's now pleasant to live here, and things look like they are going to get better still.


And if DC invested in a shopping mall, it would have been far cheaper and generated more economic activity. The Nats stadium is empty most of the year, and staffed mostly by minimum wage employees when it is hosting an event,

The idea that government spending "stimulates" activity is no duh. The idea that it does so efficiently is ludicrous. Its easy to see the effects of concentrated spending, but hard to see the greater economic benefits had that money not been appropriated from taxpayers, and spent on actual products/services that are valuable enough they don't need a handout get funded.
   17. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4355988)
And if DC invested in a shopping mall, it would have been far cheaper and generated more economic activity.

The "cheaper" part is assuredly correct, but the latter part seems dubious. I doubt there's anyone in D.C. who's holding onto his or her money because of a lack of stores at which to spend it.
   18. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4355996)

The idea that government spending "stimulates" activity is no duh. The idea that it does so efficiently is ludicrous.


Any economist will tell you that the economic multiplier attached to government spending varies widely depending on circumstances. Sometimes it is less than 1. Sometimes it really is more than 1. Private-sector spending might be more efficient, but there are times where the private sector simply doesn't spend, such as was the situation over the last 4 years or so.

Part of the problem with the Marlins Stadium project is that the financing was so foolish. The U.S. government can borrow currently at negative real interest rates. It's clear that the rates Miami-Dade were getting were far more usurious, which completely changes the context. Circumstances are everything; there is no set rule that applies in every situation. Life is complicated.
   19. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4356007)
Its easy to see the effects of concentrated spending, but hard to see the greater economic benefits had that money not been appropriated from taxpayers

According to D.C. Mayor Williams at the time, this was "but for" money, money that would not be available but for the construction of Nationals Park. I believe they set up a special tax district that would tax involved businesses specifically to fund the ballpark, at least that is how it was sold. It was not supposed to come from the general fund.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 27, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4356010)
I live in DC and I think it's quite apparent now that the investment in the new Nationals Stadium is proving to be worth it for the district. The area immediately around the new stadium has drawn enormous amounts of investment dollars and has totally revitalized what was a moribund area in the southeast. This redevelopment/renewal has even trickled over into the southwest area several blocks away near the river, where building is scheduled to start later this year, and new retailing, hotels/restaurants, and high-end urban dwellings are planned. It's now pleasant to live here, and things look like they are going to get better still.

Washington is somewhat of a special case, in that most of the fans attending the games come from Northern Virginia (estimated to be 60%) & Maryland (25%), so the Stadium operates as a de facto commuter tax, sucking up suburban revenue that wouldn't otherwise be spent in DC. That's not to say that there aren't other benefits as #15 suggests, but it's easier to do when you're attracting new money rather than just moving existing entertainment spending around a single jurisdiction.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4356024)
Any economist will tell you that the economic multiplier attached to government spending varies widely depending on circumstances. Sometimes it is less than 1. Sometimes it really is more than 1. Private-sector spending might be more efficient, but there are times where the private sector simply doesn't spend, such as was the situation over the last 4 years or so.


And when the private sector won't spend it's almost always b/c the gov't has effed up its more basic responsibilities.

The economy would be in much, much better shape today if we had used that $1T stimulus to break-up and recapitalize the "too-big-to-fail" banks into smaller, well capitalized lenders; after wiping out the equity holders, and forcing the long-term debt holders to take a haircut on face amount in exchange for equity in the new entities, of course.
   22. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: January 27, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4356028)
According to D.C. Mayor Williams at the time, this was "but for" money, money that would not be available but for the construction of Nationals Park.


"But for" taxes are just a way for politicians to justify it. It's a ######## term. The powers that be have decided that a group of people (generally, tourists) are going to be taxed. Fine. They could instead chose to use it on things that the tourists actually get use out of, such as transit and road maintenance and improvements, which also positively effects far more people that live and work in the area than go to ball games. But instead they use it to build a stadium that only a fraction of people use for a fraction of the time. It's crap.
   23. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: January 27, 2013 at 04:00 PM (#4356046)
And when the private sector won't spend it's almost always b/c the gov't has effed up its more basic responsibilities.


Article of faith.
   24. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: January 27, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4356104)
The economy would be in much, much better shape today if we had used that $1T stimulus to break-up and recapitalize the "too-big-to-fail" banks into smaller, well capitalized lenders; after wiping out the equity holders, and forcing the long-term debt holders to take a haircut on face amount in exchange for equity in the new entities, of course.
Nobody on BTF supports massive government action like Snapper does.
   25. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: January 27, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4356109)
Part of the problem with the Marlins Stadium project is that the financing was so foolish. The U.S. government can borrow currently at negative real interest rates. It's clear that the rates Miami-Dade were getting were far more usurious, which completely changes the context.
This. I wouldn't make it since I thought Miami should have let the Marlins burn, but there's a real argument to be made for the public funding of the new stadium. The Marlins did what any private agent wants to do: make money any way possible. The public interest doesn't enter into the equation.
   26. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4356112)
It's clear that the rates Miami-Dade were getting were far more usurious, which completely changes the context.

But this isn't really clear at all. If you build a new house in 2013 but either can't or don't want to make the first payment until 2028, the lenders are taking on a lot of risk, and the borrower should expect to pay a lot more than usual in interest.

This isn't to say I believe the Miami-Dade politicians handled this deal in an intelligent manner — I don't — but "usurious" seems like a stretch, and that's before getting into the effects inflation could have on the yield (as discussed in the last thread a couple days ago).
   27. McCoy Posted: January 27, 2013 at 07:13 PM (#4356176)
DC didn't need the park to revitalize DC or parts of DC. That was going to happen with or without a new park. If they can create a special money that can only be spent on a ballpark they could have created special money that could have only been spent on things besides a new ballpark. The park was/is a waste of taxpayer money and the Nationals have been trying to gouge the taxpayers and the fans of their team ever since.
   28. McCoy Posted: January 27, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4356177)
Washington is somewhat of a special case, in that most of the fans attending the games come from Northern Virginia (estimated to be 60%) & Maryland (25%), so the Stadium operates as a de facto commuter tax, sucking up suburban revenue that wouldn't otherwise be spent in DC. That's not to say that there aren't other benefits as #15 suggests, but it's easier to do when you're attracting new money rather than just moving existing entertainment spending around a single jurisdiction.

Except all those commuters would have been spending that money in DC anyway and it would probably help fund more jobs and better jobs than 81 days a year at low wages.
   29. McCoy Posted: January 27, 2013 at 07:25 PM (#4356179)
I work in a hotel that generates almost 30 million dollars a year in revenue and employs about 150 full time employees at good wages. I used to work at a hotel that did about 80 million or so a year and employed over 500 people at good wages. The tourists taxes that target hotels and restaurants raise the cost of going to these establishments which costs the city jobs all so a billionaire can get a cheap ballpark and employ a handful of people.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4356187)
Nobody on BTF supports massive government action like Snapper does.

We had the massive gov't action, and all it did was bail out bank shareholders and executives, and provide political cronies with tasty contracts.

The $1T is gone now. If the gov't had used the $1T to recapitalize banks, they would have had a ton of equity in the banks that could be sold (at a likely profit) when the banks were stable.

It's amazing that anyone thinks the equity holders and executives of companies that need Federal bailouts should be left in place to profit off the taxpayers' subsidies. If you need Gov't capital, you're bankrupt. Equity should be wiped out, l.t. debt written down, and senior management dismissed.
   31. jayjay Posted: January 27, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4356203)
This Forbes article sure is riddled with spelling and typing errors. The editor should be embarrassed.
   32. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 08:41 PM (#4356210)
The tourists taxes that target hotels and restaurants raise the cost of going to these establishments which costs the city jobs all so a billionaire can get a cheap ballpark and employ a handful of people.

So if the tourist taxes were eliminated, room rates would go down? That seems dubious.
   33. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: January 27, 2013 at 08:59 PM (#4356217)
So if the tourist taxes were eliminated, room rates would go down? That seems dubious.

Are you kidding? Without the additional taxes, the rates wouldn't be that high in the first place.
   34. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:07 PM (#4356219)
Except all those commuters would have been spending that money in DC anyway and it would probably help fund more jobs and better jobs than 81 days a year at low wages.

No, that's not true. There are a lot of suburbanites that rarely go into to DC for entertainment anymore. Too much of a hassle. There are movie theaters &'restaurants in the suburbs now. Many people come into DC, and bring their family, mostly for baseball. Or the Capitals. Perhaps the Wizards, too, if they improve a bit more.
   35. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:08 PM (#4356221)
Are you kidding? Without the additional taxes, the rates wouldn't be that high in the first place.

Did the Red Sox lower their ticket prices as soon as they traded Gonzalez and Crawford?

Hotel rates, like MLB ticket prices, are based on what the market will bear. Hotel taxes are much more likely to represent lost profits for the hotel owners than potential savings for hotel guests.
   36. McCoy Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:19 PM (#4356227)
Yeah, DC is hurting for tourists.

Those people that live in NoVa and MD commute into work everyday and spend money in DC everyday regardless of whether or not the Nationals exist.
   37. McCoy Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:20 PM (#4356228)
If the tax rates weren't as high the demand for the supply of rooms would be greater leading to more rooms and more jobs. Seems like pretty simple supply and demand.
   38. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:28 PM (#4356232)
If the tax rates weren't as high the demand for the supply of rooms would be greater leading to more rooms and more jobs. Seems like pretty simple supply and demand.

Again, this assumes that no hotel tax = lower room rates, but that's not necessarily true, as we've seen with everything from MLB ticket prices to (expired) airline surcharges.
   39. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:32 PM (#4356236)
Those people that live in NoVa and MD commute into work everyday and spend money in DC everyday regardless of whether or not the Nationals exist.

Getting the lunch business from a captive audience during the work week is entirely different from their discretionary spending on nights & weekends. The money that suburbanites spend at Nationals Park is mostly money that would NOT have otherwise been spent in DC.
   40. sunnyday2 Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:02 AM (#4356294)
The fundamental fallacy in the anti-liberal screed introduced here in post #2 (gosh, we got 1 honest post before the talking points!?) is that conservatives haven't and don't spend more than liberals. It's been proven (you know, how the rate of growth in federal spending under Reagan and Bush has far outstripped the others over the past 30 years). It's just a question of taxing or borrowing. All the rest is red herring as far as the eye can see.
   41. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:02 AM (#4356295)
The "cheaper" part is assuredly correct, but the latter part seems dubious. I doubt there's anyone in D.C. who's holding onto his or her money because of a lack of stores at which to spend it.


It's almost as dumb as a stadium to build more malls with the public money, but if you do at least you are providing full time jobs every day of the year.

Any economist will tell you that the economic multiplier attached to government spending varies widely depending on circumstances. Sometimes it is less than 1. Sometimes it really is more than 1.


If the mythical concept of the "economic multiplier" actually existed, it still has near zero impact on where government spending is directed, it's nearly always directed to the benefit of the most effective and active political supporters regardless of efficiency or "multiplier". But yea, the entire concept of a "mutiplier" is just another keynsiastic economic concept lacking any logical base, just like Krugmans assertion that the economy can be "stimulated" merely by having people dig holes in the desert and fill them back in.

Private-sector spending might be more efficient, but there are times where the private sector simply doesn't spend, such as was the situation over the last 4 years or so.


If private business isn't spending, the solution is to remove the obstacles that are causing them to pull back on spending and investment. Lack of spending was a symptom of the unwinding of a greater problem, ironically caused by an orgy of government intervention in the housing and banking industries, subsidizing uneconomic levels of housing, excessive risk taking by banks, etc.

Part of the problem with the Marlins Stadium project is that the financing was so foolish. The U.S. government can borrow currently at negative real interest rates. It's clear that the rates Miami-Dade were getting were far more usurious, which completely changes the context. Circumstances are everything; there is no set rule that applies in every situation. Life is complicated.


There are set rules that apply to every situation.

1) If investors invest their own monies, they'll make far better and smarter decisions than politicians and bureaucrats spending other peoples monies.
2) If an investment can't get privately funded, it's very likely it's not an economically viable investment.
3) If a business is publicly funded, it's very likely a drain on the economic output of the country.

So if the tourist taxes were eliminated, room rates would go down? That seems dubious.


So you don't believe in the law of supply and demand? Or you believe pricing is (illegally) coordinated in a market with hundreds of different businesses owning hotels and motels in the DC?

If you owned a hotel in the area, and the tax was removed so your profits went up significantly, you wouldn't lower your rates and try to increase occupancy to see if profits could go up more? Ok, so what do you do when the competitor across the street lowers their rates to steal your customers? Or someone builds a newer hotel down the street, attracted by the now higher return on investment in your business the tax removal creates?

Did the Red Sox lower their ticket prices as soon as they traded Gonzalez and Crawford?


Did you just compare a monopoly to a competitive business? The Sox have a fixed suppy of tickets regardless of what they spend on the field. Hotels can be built, and can be demolished or converted to other uses.

Again, this assumes that no hotel tax = lower room rates, but that's not necessarily true, as we've seen with everything from MLB ticket prices to (expired) airline surcharges.


I guess you don't understand the difference between monopolies and competitive businesses, since airlines function in a highly regulated industry even in "deregulation", they can't just start dozens or hundreds of flights any time they choose. They have to negotiate or buy gates (which none may be available), landing slots (again none may be available), government approvals, etc. Every airline has a fixed supply of perishable tickets, and it's difficult for them to increase that supply quickly, and your government is mostly to blame for the lack of competition since the entire system is government planned, run and operated from airports to air traffic control, etc and they limit competition at every step.

To give you a hint about how truly competitive markets work, if room rates in DC decline, more people will rent rooms in DC. More new hotels will be built to take advantage of the greater demand and lower costs. It doesn't matter if some hotels try to hold out and keep their prices the same, every time a competitor lowers their rates, the holdouts will take a beating. What determines room rates is ROI, return on investment. If ROI goes up, more competitors want to come in or expand, if it goes down, fewer do, if it goes down enough some competitors close up shop and convert their hotels into something else.
   42. McCoy Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:07 AM (#4356297)
Re 39

Highly dubious. It supposes that dc is not a journey that nova and md citizens would make if it wasn't for the nationals which is quite obviously false. Week nights, weekends, daytime, holidays, whatever the city is full of non dc residents.
   43. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:36 AM (#4356310)
The fundamental fallacy in the anti-liberal screed introduced here in post #2 (gosh, we got 1 honest post before the talking points!?)

Actually, I held off on the "anti-liberal screed" until post #4.

is that conservatives haven't and don't spend more than liberals. It's been proven (you know, how the rate of growth in federal spending under Reagan and Bush has far outstripped the others over the past 30 years). It's just a question of taxing or borrowing. All the rest is red herring as far as the eye can see.

LOL.
   44. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:37 AM (#4356311)
Taxes that appear 'safe' are always costing someone and will lead to less economic activity.


This is not true.

We had the massive gov't action, and all it did was bail out bank shareholders and executives, and provide political cronies with tasty contracts.

The $1T is gone now. If the gov't had used the $1T to recapitalize banks, they would have had a ton of equity in the banks that could be sold (at a likely profit) when the banks were stable.


What is this 1T you mention? TARP was around 450b and has been repaid...

But yea, the entire concept of a "mutiplier" is just another keynsiastic economic concept lacking any logical base, just like Krugmans assertion that the economy can be "stimulated" merely by having people dig holes in the desert and fill them back in.


This is an odd assertion, particularly since you could substitute 'a whole lot of military spending' over the last x years for digging and filling holes. Much of the spending on armaments is no different than building various ships, tanks, and guns, towing them to the middle of the ocean, and letting them sink. Or rust in the desert. Your pick.

1) If investors invest their own monies, they'll make far better and smarter decisions than politicians and bureaucrats spending other peoples monies.


You can't expect to say things like this and be taken seriously.

Funny stuff on private investment at

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704104104575622933390524688.html?KEYWORDS="just+say+no"+please


   45. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:51 AM (#4356320)
It's almost as dumb as a stadium to build more malls with the public money, but if you do at least you are providing full time jobs every day of the year.

The Nationals probably offer more good full-time jobs than even the best shopping malls.

Did you just compare a monopoly to a competitive business? The Sox have a fixed suppy of tickets regardless of what they spend on the field. Hotels can be built, and can be demolished or converted to other uses.

LOL. One minute the anti-stadium people are arguing that a sports team is in competition with all other forms of entertainment in an area, and that such sports teams simply cannibalize other entertainment spending. The next minute, that same sports team is a monopoly with an iron grip on its fans' dollars.
   46. greenback likes millwall, they don't care Posted: January 28, 2013 at 01:01 AM (#4356328)
To give you a hint about how truly competitive markets work, if room rates in DC decline, more people will rent rooms in DC. More new hotels will be built to take advantage of the greater demand and lower costs.

Based on the second sentence, I'm guessing you don't read Yglesias.

Somewhat similarly, I remember trying to find a room in DC that was "reasonably priced" and failing miserably. My vague impression was that way, way too many stay in DC with other people's money paying for their rooms.
   47. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 02:45 AM (#4356374)
This is an odd assertion, particularly since you could substitute 'a whole lot of military spending' over the last x years for digging and filling holes. Much of the spending on armaments is no different than building various ships, tanks, and guns, towing them to the middle of the ocean, and letting them sink. Or rust in the desert. Your pick.


Glad you agree with me, as Krugman would argue that the Military spending was highly "stimulative" when you and I both know it was a substantial negative for our economy.


You can't expect to say things like this and be taken seriously.

Funny stuff on private investment at

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704104104575622933390524688.html?KEYWORDS="just+say+no"+please


You got me. Since I didn't put "in aggregate" in my sentence I clearly must have meant that every private investing decision is superior to every public investment decision. I willingly concede that isn't true. And as someone who has actively managed client investment portfolios, I concede that most individual investors are horrible investors.

But if you allow me to put "in aggregate" back in, I'll stand by that assertion. I could cherry pick things like "the bridge to nowhere", TARP, Fannie Mae, Public Stadiums, etc to make my point. The vast amount of money invested by private entities is far more effectively invested because the vast majority is invested facing substantial penalties for failure. Factories, stores, startups, are almost always funded because the investors have good reason to believe they will succeed, or at least that their risk of failure is more than offset by the profits they'll earn when successful.

Someones "skin in the game" is an oft quoted truism that is directly related to the amount of care and due diligence they put into business decision. Making decisions with other peoples monies with little personal risk is almost always a recipe for unintended consequences, if not disaster, whether it's done by congress, local governments, or hedge funds.
   48. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 02:57 AM (#4356377)
The Nationals probably offer more good full-time jobs than even the best shopping malls.


LOL.

The most highly paid employees of the Nats don't have to live in the area half the year, and can spend most of their income and pay taxes on it in other states. Almost all of their scouts and coaches work elsewhere. Please tell us how many full time, year round good paying jobs the Nats have at the stadium.

A mall employees employs at least a thousand people year round, and every store in that mall has at least one person, if not many more, making good wages to manage it the store a shift or department. Then you have people managing security, maintenance, mall leasing, the financial department, HR, etc. Then you have highly compensated sales people at high end stores.
   49. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:06 AM (#4356379)
The most highly paid employees of the Nats don't have to live in the area half the year, and can spend most of their income and pay taxes on it in other states. Almost all of their scouts and coaches work elsewhere. Please tell us how many full time, year round good paying jobs the Nats have at the stadium.

I just counted 205 staffers who are likely to be both full-time and based in D.C., and I'm guessing that list isn't comprehensive.

Add in 25 players who make an average of $3.4 million* and spend 6-7 months or more in D.C. (and a manager, six coaches, and medical staffers who all make at least six figures), and I'm guessing the Nationals' payroll dwarfs that of the best shopping mall in the D.C. area.


(* MLB average; not WAS average.)
   50. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:11 AM (#4356382)
What is this 1T you mention? TARP was around 450b and has been repaid...


TARP is on track to lose $24B, so not totally repaid. TARP was a massive bailout of poor investment decisions, i.e. a subsidy of reckless investors so they could keep their companies and equity instead of being forced to refinance or reorganize in bankruptcy. Then execs at the bailed out banks paid themselves billions in bonuses made possible only by the TARP handouts.

The US government also bailed out foreign banks by taking over $50B in losses they had on money they lent AIG.

The actual loss will likely be much higher because politicians always hide or delay bad news. Banks are still trying to get out of repaying their warrants by lobbying congress, despite it's protestations Goldman Sachs will skate on up to $24B it owes the treasury when the ABA gets the warrants killed. When that bill passes the loss will probably increase as much as $100B.

But TARP was only a minor part of the foolishness. The fed gave out $7.7 Trillion(!) in cheap money to banks that significantly increased their profitability at virtually no cost, another massive subsidy.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-28/secret-fed-loans-undisclosed-to-congress-gave-banks-13-billion-in-income.html
   51. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:18 AM (#4356387)
I just counted 205 staffers who are likely to be both full-time and based in D.C., and I'm guessing that list isn't comprehensive.


LOL, so now partners, scouts and "Florida Operations" employees are based in DC?

And "you guess" the list isn't comprehensive? So now you want to collect Peanut vendors who work less than 81 days a year, while ignoring that from my list there is a thousand+ full time lower level workers reporting to the hundreds of managers at a mall?

Add in 25 players who make an average of $3.4 million and spend 6-7 months or more in D.C., and I'm guessing the Nationals' payroll dwarfs that of the best shopping mall in the D.C. area.


None of whom have to live in or spend a dime in DC, so it's probably lucky to see 10% of their salaries.

You can stop guessing. It's been researched, and unbiased economists (ie. the ones not paid by teams) have found that a single Nordstrom generates more economic value than an MLB franchise.

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=K-OuDxhiXkoC&rdid=book-K-OuDxhiXkoC&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_read
   52. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:26 AM (#4356388)
Well, no, you couldn't. TARP has been fully repaid. That you don't know that tells us you're not looking at the evidence, then coming to judgment, but rather coming to judgment then throwing stuff out there that you want to believe supports it, but in fact doesn't.

The WSJ article was, of course, only the tip of the iceberg. The idea that people routinely invest their own money wisely is frankly absurd (no offense, truly. I've seen far, far too many preposterous choices to believe you're correct here). Most people are clueless when it comes to economic choices. Private enterprise is also extraordinarily wasteful. Think of all the failed companies that go into making one successful one. Think of the dozen failed restaurants standing behind every restaurant that lasts a decade. Voters rarely tolerate that level of inefficiency in government; at least, not for long. There's oversight in government spending that doesn't exist for private investment, and so on.

It's clear enough that government tends to tread a middle road, which makes it look wasteful if you only look at the extremely efficient businesses that survive. If you look at everything, though, the picture is very different. The US government didn't try dozens of schemes before arriving at social security, for example, but rather plodded down the middle lane in establishing the program. Compare that with the incredible amount of money people have lost saving for retirement since the beginning of social security. That figure alone puts paid to your thesis.
   53. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:27 AM (#4356389)
LOL, so now partners, scouts and "Florida Operations" employees are based in DC?

I didn't count any of those, as I explicitly said.

And "you guess" the list isn't comprehensive? So now you want to collect Peanut vendors who work less than 81 days a year, while ignoring that from my list there is a thousand+ full time lower level workers reporting to the hundreds of managers at a mall?

When did I say anything about part-time peanut vendors?

You can stop guessing. It's been researched, and unbiased economists (ie. the ones not paid by teams) have found that a single Nordstrom generates more economic value than an MLB franchise.

Ludicrous. MLB's 30 teams generated over $7.5 billion in revenue last year; Nordstrom's 230 stores generated $8.5 billion.
   54. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:28 AM (#4356390)
TARP is on track to lose $24B, so not totally repaid. TARP was a massive bailout of poor investment decisions, i.e. a subsidy of reckless investors so they could keep their companies and equity instead of being forced to refinance or reorganize in bankruptcy. Then execs at the bailed out banks paid themselves billions in bonuses made possible only by the TARP handouts.


No idea how you're missing that this entirely proves my point--PRIVATE investment all but destroyed the world's economy. Government stepped in and for a very small fraction of the total, saved the day. How is that not an incredibly strong argument for the efficiency of government over private enterprise?



   55. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:32 AM (#4356391)
LOL. One minute the anti-stadium people are arguing that a sports team is in competition with all other forms of entertainment in an area, and that such sports teams simply cannibalize other entertainment spending. The next minute, that same sports team is a monopoly with an iron grip on its fans' dollars.


Really, the concept is THAT difficult for you?

Let's assume you lived in a remote town with a single commercial airline serving it's small airport. Is that airline a monopoly or not? Obviously it's a monopoly on air travel for anyone in that town, just like the Nats are a monopoly on live MLB baseball in the DC area.

But it's not a monopoly on "travel" any more than the Nats are a monopoly on "DC area entertainment". In your small town citizens have choices. They can drive, they can probably take a bus, they might even be able to take a train to some locations. But if they want someone to fly them out of town, they have no choice, just as if someone wants to see MLB baseball in DC has no choice.

So if the town suddenly decides to eliminate it's 10% tax on airfares, is the airline going to cut fares? Only if it is very sure higher volumes will lead to higher profits, so probably not, after all why take the risk when there is no competitor who can force it to alter pricing or pass the windfall to customers. Of course it may still try lower fares if it's already losing money or not making much and needs the higher volumes to try to make the business work.

But if your town suddenly decides to eliminate a 10% surtax on hotel rooms, and your town has a dozen hotels. If 11 hold firm and try to trap the windfall, their plan is foiled by a single hotel slashing it's rates and increasing it's profits by minimizing it's vacancies. Once one lowers prices the rest of the dominos fall. If all 12 meet in secret and agree to hold the line, they can't stop the canny local businessman from building a new hotel on that empty lot to take advantage of the now much higher profits the hotel business offers in your town, and he'll likely undercut their rates to build his business, forcing the dominos down anyways.

Market wide cost reductions in competitive markets are almost always passed on to consumers. Competitive markets have easy, or relatively easy entrants. Whatever the "right" level of profitability is in order to provide the service or product from a sustainable business is, once everyones costs drop the same amount, the losers aren't going to sit tight and accept lower profits than the winners, they'l fight for market share and higher profits by cutting prices. And outsiders who may not have entered the market at it's previous profitability levels are quickly drawn in by the newer, higher profits, unless the current market operators reduce prices accordingly.
   56. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:34 AM (#4356393)
Ludicrous. MLB's 30 teams generated over $7.5 billion in revenue last year; Nordstrom's 230 stores generated $8.5 billion


Almost all of Nordstom's stores revenues were local.

Little MLB revenue is. TV money is over half of their revenues. Owners, players, GMs, scouts, the highest paid employees rarely live in the town.

Read the report and try to rebut it. It's solid.
   57. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:40 AM (#4356395)
No idea how you're missing that this entirely proves my point--PRIVATE investment all but destroyed the world's economy. Government stepped in and for a very small fraction of the total, saved the day. How is that not an incredibly strong argument for the efficiency of government over private enterprise?


The Federal Government guaranteed trillions in mortgage debt and encouraged, (in some cases forced under equal lending law "interpretations"), the writing of loans that were patently bad. The Feds opened a casino where banks could gamble with taxpayer money and keep all the winnings, and stick the taxpayers with most of the losses.

Just like the Nats and the Marlines getting local governments to take all the risk and heavily subsidize the cost of their stadiums and businesses.

The Feds also forced US car makers to make more of the most unprofitable cars in their lineups or face massive fines (CAFE) for decades until they finally went under.

Then instead of taking AIG, GM and the other bad actors through bankruptcy or a similar process that would have forced the gamblers to give up all of their ill gotten gains, they kept them afloat by printing massive amounts of new money, and then let them pay themselves massive bonuses as rewards for their ineptitude.

So where is private investment decisions in all of this?
   58. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:42 AM (#4356396)
But if your town suddenly decides to eliminate a 10% surtax on hotel rooms, and your town has a dozen hotels. If 11 hold firm and try to trap the windfall, their plan is foiled by a single hotel slashing it's rates and increasing it's profits by minimizing it's vacancies. Once one lowers prices the rest of the dominos fall. If all 12 meet in secret and agree to hold the line, they can't stop the canny local businessman from building a new hotel on that empty lot to take advantage of the now much higher profits the hotel business offers in your town, and he'll likely undercut their rates to build his business, forcing the dominos down anyways.

If the hotel tax is 10 percent, the most the rates can be cut is 10 percent without cutting further into the previous profit margin. Ten percent hardly constitutes "slashing" prices, and it's not the type of margin that sends developers scurrying to build additional hotels.

Almost all of Nordstom's stores revenues were local.

Little MLB revenue is. TV money is over half of their revenues. Owners, players, GMs, scouts, the highest paid employees rarely live in the town.

Little MLB revenue is local? GMs don't live in the team's city?

As for Nordstrom, they sell products that are made elsewhere and then send most of the profits back to Seattle. The guy who manages the Nationals' clubhouse almost assuredly makes more money than any Nordstrom store manager in the country, and probably more than any Nordstrom regional manager. (And he probably ranks no better than 50th on the Nationals' hierarchy.)
   59. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:53 AM (#4356399)
Well, no, you couldn't. TARP has been fully repaid. That you don't know that tells us you're not looking at the evidence, then coming to judgment, but rather coming to judgment then throwing stuff out there that you want to believe supports it, but in fact doesn't.


Maybe you should update their wiki page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubled_Asset_Relief_Program

By October 11, 2012, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated that total disbursements would be $431 billion and estimated the total cost, including grants for mortgage programs that have not yet been made, would be $24 billion.

The WSJ article was, of course, only the tip of the iceberg. The idea that people routinely invest their own money wisely is frankly absurd (no offense, truly. I've seen far, far too many preposterous choices to believe you're correct here). Most people are clueless when it comes to economic choices. Private enterprise is also extraordinarily wasteful. Think of all the failed companies that go into making one successful one. Think of the dozen failed restaurants standing behind every restaurant that lasts a decade. Voters rarely tolerate that level of inefficiency in government; at least, not for long. There's oversight in government spending that doesn't exist for private investment, and so on.


Your confusing individuals making personal investment decisions with their own money, with business investment decisions. In the latter case, there is much more money invested and much more due diligence done, even at the sole proprietor level.

"failure" is a word that's thrown around too liberally. If there was truly 12 failed restaurants for every 1, no one would ever start a restaurant. If you start a restaurant and it's not as profitable as you like, you may sell it to someone else or simply close it to focus on your other restaurants. That''s not a failure, but you didn't last 10 years.

And the fact that many businesses fail doesn't make the process wasteful, capitalism is a constant exploration to find better products and business models, what if Steve Jobs had stopped when the Lisa failed? Many VC firms have made huge returns for their investors, despite having most of their investments fail.

Thanks for point out how tough it is for a government agency to deal with the publicity of making investment mistakes, which is another reason they should get out of the business of picking winners like they did Solyndra (a clever example of a VC using government handouts to reduce his own risk, all for the low cost of some campaign contributions). But if a government agency can't handle making the number of mistakes a typical VC firm does, who is going to take those risks?

You seem to argue that the Intel execs who gave Steve Jobs a few hundred thousand to turn Apple into a real company should have instead bought a minor league baseball team and had Cupertino build them a subsidized stadium. I'm sure that would have worked out the same way for Silicon Valley.
   60. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:58 AM (#4356401)
If the hotel tax is 10 percent, the most the rates can be cut is 10 percent without cutting further into the previous profit margin. Ten percent hardly constitutes "slashing" prices, and it's not the type of margin that sends developers scurrying to build additional hotels.


Do you really think hotels make even a 10% profit margin? Last I looked Marriott was under 5%. Dropping another 10% to the bottom line at least doubles profits, if not triples them. So yes, it will send developers scurrying.
   61. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:00 AM (#4356402)
Little MLB revenue is local? GMs don't live in the team's city?


Mine is in Africa on a safari right now, and rumour is still lives in San Diego.

As for Nordstrom, they sell products that are made elsewhere and then send most of the profits back to Seattle. The guy who manages the Nationals' clubhouse almost assuredly makes more money than any Nordstrom store manager in the country, and probably more than any Nordstrom regional manager. (And he probably ranks no better than 50th on the Nationals' hierarchy.)


And all the people above him live elsewhere. Rebut the report. You can guess all you want, but real economists wrote it without being paid to reach a predetermined conclusion. Whether you agree or not, you should get value from reading it, cause you dont' know much about business now, that's for sure.
   62. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:07 AM (#4356404)
Do you really think hotels make even a 10% profit margin? Last I looked Marriott was under 5%. Dropping another 10% to the bottom line at least doubles profits, if not triples them. So yes, it will send developers scurrying.

So the hotels' profit margins are under 10 percent, but you believe that if a 10 percent hotel tax is eliminated — a tax that millions upon millions of travelers have been paying for years, often without even noticing — the hotels' first move will be to lower prices? Not buying it. (And I'm certainly not buying it under the current conditions, with hotel occupancy rates at or near all-time highs in many markets.)

Mine is in Africa on a safari right now, and rumour is still lives in San Diego.

Going on vacation now constitutes "not living in the team's city"? That's rich. And he might still own a home in San Diego, but I doubt he's an absentee GM. The only one of those I can think of in the last decade is J.P. Ricciardi, who lived in Massachusetts while GM of the Jays.

And all the people above him live elsewhere. Rebut the report. You can guess all you want, but real economists wrote it without being paid to reach a predetermined conclusion. Whether you agree or not, you should get value from reading it, cause you dont' know much about business now, that's for sure.

"All the people above him live elsewhere"? Are you kidding? Do you really believe MLB front offices are staffed by a bunch of minimum-wage secretaries and interns while the top 50 people in the hierarchy all live elsewhere?
   63. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4356437)

What is this 1T you mention? TARP was around 450b and has been repaid...


The $1T we were discussing is the stimulus, which is 100% gone (and not coming back) and largely wasted.

The Federal Government guaranteed trillions in mortgage debt and encouraged, (in some cases forced under equal lending law "interpretations"), the writing of loans that were patently bad. The Feds opened a casino where banks could gamble with taxpayer money and keep all the winnings, and stick the taxpayers with most of the losses.

Just like the Nats and the Marlines getting local governments to take all the risk and heavily subsidize the cost of their stadiums and businesses.

The Feds also forced US car makers to make more of the most unprofitable cars in their lineups or face massive fines (CAFE) for decades until they finally went under.

Then instead of taking AIG, GM and the other bad actors through bankruptcy or a similar process that would have forced the gamblers to give up all of their ill gotten gains, they kept them afloat by printing massive amounts of new money, and then let them pay themselves massive bonuses as rewards for their ineptitude.


Exactly. It is a sin that Hank Greenberg and James Gorman and Lloyd Blankfein still have tens of millions of dollars of stock in their companies after the taxpayers had to bail them out.

The whole bailout fiasco was the absolute worst kind of crony capitalism, rewarding rich political donors at taxpayer expense.
   64. McCoy Posted: January 28, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4356449)
Right now in the city of DC we are going through a hotel building boom with thousands and thousands of additional rooms getting built within the next 5 years and virtually none of that has to do with the Nationals ballpark. In fact the proposed hotel next to the park hasn't been built yet and I'll believe they'll have one when I see it. The various F&B and tourist taxes definitely do hinder business. Hidden costs might not mean a lot to some average joe booking a room for a night but it most certainly factors into what businesses will and won't do. Corporations and businesses have budgets and they aren't fooled by hidden costs. If a corporation has a $100,000 to spend they'll spend $100,000 in total not spend on $100,000 before tax and then pay the tax.

SEcondly the hidden costs aren't really hidden anymore. When you book a room online you get the total cost of the room and your stay before you finalize your purchase so hotels don't get to avoid the sticker shock as much as they used too.
   65. BDC Posted: January 28, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4356488)
live elsewhere

The Rangers' website reports that Rick George (COO) lives in Colleyville; Jon Daniels (GM) lives in Southlake; John Blake (VP for communications) lives in Grapevine (all upscale suburbs near DFW airport, typical commutes to Arlington). Nolan Ryan has several Texas homes, one of them in Fort Worth. Other Rangers brass with noted addresses live in Southlake or Dallas. I don't know why they'd live anywhere else. There are tons of affluent suburbs around most major-league cities, and even if you're making low six figures, that's not really a private-jet-commute kind of income.
   66. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4356544)
Add in 25 players who make an average of $3.4 million


That's the real benefit. Having a professional sports franchise allows a state or local government to tax income of highly paid athletes which is something they wouldn't get to do without the sports franchise. They're essentially turning national television advertising dollars into local taxes. Those ad dollars would otherwise go to reality television shows in Hollywood.
   67. McCoy Posted: January 28, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4356560)
Yes, what a wonderful benefit that is when compared to the costs.
   68. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4356587)
what a wonderful benefit that is when compared to the costs


It does depend on the costs. I was looking over the MN Vikings stadium debate and it's clear the state made money on Metrodome and will probably break even on the next NFL stadium despite $700M of subsidy. The $$ are that big.
   69. McCoy Posted: January 28, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4356597)
The Metrodome was used for pro baseball, football, basketball, and soccer as well as college football and basketball plus a Super Bowl. It was also built on the cheap and at a time before the Feds restructured bonds to try and dissuade state and local government from building these things.
   70. McCoy Posted: January 28, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4356603)
From what I can find the Metrodome was built for 55 million dollars with 33 million dollars coming from public money and the state spent another 70 million in infrastructure around the stadium. So the public spent 102 million dollars on the project and according to the Vikings the government has gotten back 320 million in taxes over that time. 102 million in 1979 is something like 325 to 350 million in today's dollars. I have no idea who has to pay for repairs or how much it cost or how much revenue was pulled from other areas of the county but it certainly looks like through it all the people either barely made any money or lost money on the deal. It's up to each individual to decide whether or not the cost was worth it for the entertainment provided.
   71. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4356642)
Metrodome also brought in a Super Bowl, Final Fours, numerous other events and 20+ years of Twins baseball. The Vikings paid for it but the rest brought in the profit.
   72. Tripon Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4356664)
That's the real benefit. Having a professional sports franchise allows a state or local government to tax income of highly paid athletes which is something they wouldn't get to do without the sports franchise. They're essentially turning national television advertising dollars into local taxes. Those ad dollars would otherwise go to reality television shows in Hollywood.


Florida doesn't have income tax.
   73. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4356672)

So the public spent 102 million dollars on the project and according to the Vikings the government has gotten back 320 million in taxes over that time. 102 million in 1979 is something like 325 to 350 million in today's dollars.

Not to wade into the debate, but did they only get the $320 million taxes in 2012? I assume those are nominal dollars over a 30+ year period that also are worth more in today's terms.
   74. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4356699)
Florida doesn't have income tax.


Yeah, that makes it a bad idea.
   75. McCoy Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4356752)
They got something like 20 million in 2011 according to the Vikings and got 11 million in 2001. So something like half of all the tax revenue has come in the last decade.

The people had to pay interest on that 102 million and that isn't included either. Really no matter how you slice it the people aren't really coming out ahead in terms of dollars.

Metrodome also brought in a Super Bowl, Final Fours, numerous other events and 20+ years of Twins baseball. The Vikings paid for it but the rest brought in the profit.


Almost all of the revenue came from Minnesota so I'm not sure what the people really gained by spending all that money. Were people going to sit on that money forever or go to Wisconsin for fun?
   76. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4356785)
The marginal revenue from taxing athlete income is really the only income generated by having professional sports and is the only income I'd consider in determining economic payback. You're right that the other entertainment dollars would be spent elsewhere. Beyond that I'd be in favor of publicly subsidizing facilities to the extent any athletic facilities are subsidized in a parks budget. Subsidize just enough to cover the public benefit (high school championships, etc).
   77. BDC Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4356805)
Anecdotal, and I've noted this on BBTF before, but: the building of Cowboys Stadium was followed in short order by the opening of several new restaurants downtown in Arlington TX, and many new retail and residential initiatives downtown as well, plus expansion and renovation of old ones. Downtown is a couple of miles from the Stadium (the area right around the Stadium is still fairly sketchy), but the renewal cannot have been a coincidence: the city's downtown had languished forever till the Stadium opened. (By contrast the Ballpark never seemed to have any impact whatsoever on development.)

There's a large irrational factor at work. I don't really know why the restaurants opened. They serve a lot of alumni on college-football game days, but that's a couple of afternoons a year. It's probably more that the opening of the Stadium said to local business types that Arlington might be a place worth both visiting and investing in. After long cynicism about stadium financing, I'm less dogmatic about the issue now. I'd probably still vote against the next stadium tax that comes along, but the right one can make some difference in the livability of a city.
   78. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4356815)
the right one can make some difference in the livability of a city


I would guess it would be much cheaper for the city to renovate the restaurants without building the stadium.
   79. McCoy Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4356822)
re 77: But that is simply shifting money around from one geographic spot (zip code?) to another. People in Arlington weren't not eating. They simply ate elsewhere and now maybe they eat in area Y instead of X. So X winds down or has to innovate while Y possibly grows.
   80. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4358131)
Almost all of the "taxpayer money" being spent on this is coming from hotel taxes


I started wondering "hey, this is interesting", until I saw who wrote it: one of the rare people whose arguments are almost completely detached from reality.
   81. BDC Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4358159)
much cheaper for the city to renovate the restaurants without building the stadium

Yes, but at some point one has to start attracting private development. A stadium may seem like overkill, but it can be a catalyst for that private development. Cities don't usually get into the business of running restaurants (maybe they should?) If you wait for smaller private enterprises like restaurants to move gradually into rezoned or rehabilitated areas, you may wait forever. A stadium, whatever its disadvantages, brings attention and a fair number of people into an area and kick-starts activity.

People in Arlington weren't not eating. They simply ate elsewhere and now maybe they eat in area Y instead of X

That's a good point, most relevant to large metro areas with lots of independent municipalities. Arlington got a stadium and Irving lost one. Though Irving, over the lifetime of Texas Stadium, gained substantial upscale corporate/retail/residential development which is now self-sustaining – again, probably not a coincidence.

If it's a matter of a single large city just shuffling entertainment around within its own limits, that's somewhat different.
   82. McCoy Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4358170)
Yes, but at some point one has to start attracting private development. A stadium may seem like overkill, but it can be a catalyst for that private development. Cities don't usually get into the business of running restaurants (maybe they should?) If you wait for smaller private enterprises like restaurants to move gradually into rezoned or rehabilitated areas, you may wait forever. A stadium, whatever its disadvantages, brings attention and a fair number of people into an area and kick-starts activity.

I'd rather a city built a museum, research lab, or college than some stadium that will sit empty the vast majority of the time.


That's a good point, most relevant to large metro areas with lots of independent municipalities. Arlington got a stadium and Irving lost one. Though Irving, over the lifetime of Texas Stadium, gained substantial upscale corporate/retail/residential development which is now self-sustaining – again, probably not a coincidence.



The only way anything is self sustaining is if they offer something other places cannot. For most places that means either cheap land or low taxes or both. If Irving gets too expensive people will leave, if place Y offers better incentives companies will leave place X. So for me at the end of the day if my government is going to throw hundreds of millions of dollars out the window I'd rather they built something we could all benefit from and or use. Thins like a road system, mass transit, school system, energy grid, so on and so on and not build some place that stays vacant 340 days of the year.

Though Irving, over the lifetime of Texas Stadium, gained substantial upscale corporate/retail/residential development which is now self-sustaining – again, probably not a coincidence.

Well, it probably was.

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