The Miami City Commission can keep holding off on making a decision about the Marlins' stadium for the next five years as far as I'm concerned.
The Miami-Dade County Commission was on deck to consider the proposal but never met. The Marlins had hoped for final approval of plans calling for a stadium projected to open in 2012 that would cost $515 million, with the public paying $361 million.I'm an unabashed baseball fan, and since I've lived in south Florida, I've become a casual fan of the Marlins, but even if I were hardcore, I'd still oppose what's put in the bold above.
It's simple, really. Public financing of sports arenas is a sucker's bet, because the public never gets out of it what they've put in. I mean, if the city were going to get the lion's share of revenue from the stadium, after footing the bill for more than half the cost of construction (not to mention the increased burden on local infrastructure), and the Marlins were in essence renting the stadium, then maybe I'd be less opposed. But this deal is just like every other deal in Major League cities with publicly financed stadiums. The city or state puts up the money, the team owns, for all practical purposes, the stadium, and the city gets back, ummm, some vague promise of revenues based on job creation numbers that never seem to pan out as good as the team claimed they would. No thanks.
Look, people who own major league baseball teams aren't stupid. They know that, while they can make tons of money by financing their own stadiums--just ask Peter Magowan how his pocketbook looked for the first few years after opening his stadium in downtown San Francisco, without any taxpayer funding--they can make even more if they don't have to come out of pocket with the cash. It's Bush-economics all over again--socialize the costs, privatize the profits.
I have no problem with capitalism as an economic theory, or even in practice, so long as it's regulated to protect the rights of individuals and workers. But this isn't capitalism, because capitalism involves risk, and the team owners aren't taking any risks when they get a city to sign off on a deal like this. Their profits are guaranteed--they've gotten the public to add value to their product without having to take any chances whatsoever (because if they try to sell the team later, the stadium is included in the valuation). It's corporate welfare, plain and simple. And while I don't mind giving money to people who might otherwise starve without it, I have a problem giving it to corporations who are only looking to further enrich themselves at public expense.