"Socialize the risk, privatize the profit"

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The New York Press' Matt Taibbi is one of those hit-or-miss columnists for me, but this rant against Mayor Bloomberg's obscene sports welfare may be his biggest Hit yet. The cartoon's good, too.

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  1. Matt,
    How do you style that wild hair, man? Good article this month by the way, on playing Journalist.

  2. It’s hard to get excited about NYC’s foray into sports welfare, when across the river in Newark, they approved a $250 million arena for a team and a sport no one cares about. (This is coming from one of the few people that actually roots for the team – the NJ Devils, for those who don’t know). At least people actually want to see the Jets and at least it’s somewhat plausible (although highly unlikely) that the money generated by the Super Bowl and the Olympics may justify the costs of the West Side stadium.

  3. Outstanding column!

    It’s too bad that even though most people would probably agree with it, the pols will do what they please anyway.

  4. “But for the most part, the state role in pro sports is the same as it is everywhere else in major industry in this country: socialize the risk, privatize the profit.”

    Taibbi at his best. That review of Thomas Friedman’s new book a week or two ago that was posted here was outstanding and hilarious as well.

  5. I kind of skimmed the article, but I didn’t see him mention what to me is the most galling aspect of this: the city turned down better offers for the property to sell it to the Jets.

    It was supposed to be an auction. At least one bidder (cablevision), and maybe a second bidder, offered the city 700-800 million in private cash (I haven’t followed the story closely of late, so I’m going from memory). As opposed to the Jets bid which consisted of about 200 million in private cash and the other 600 million in public dollars.

    It was no contest. The two bids were each substantially — scratch that — by a MILE – better than the Jets’ offer.

    So who won the “auction”? The worst bid, naturally.

    I realize that expressing the very concept that government ought to act in the public’s best interest is enough to get me thrown in jail under the Sedition Act (Bush has revived that one, hasn’t he? Oooops, best not give ’em any idears), but i will ask for about the billionth time in my life: how the FUCK can this go on in plain sight? How come hardly anybody cares about this?

    I will give the writer props for one thing in his article: he was dead on when he said a pol would be crucified from coast to coast if he agreed to fund a middle school that paid 10,000 per copy of its library books; but lauded as a hero for giving away 100’s of millions of taxpayer dollars to people who already have 100’s of millions of dollars of their own when there’s a pro sports franchise involved.

  6. “Socialize the risk, privatize the profit”

    That was my motto back when I owned a sports team!

  7. Great article!

    And why don’t people care about this? Because of bread and circuses. But I’m optimistic that with the growth of the internet that people will become organized and change the government eventually.

  8. Thirty or forty years from now, our grandchildren will be reading about this period in complete disbelief. In a time of economic uncertainty, with ballooning deficits, looming inflation and crises in public services, we actually allowed our elected officials to cut sweetheart deals with multi-billionaires to construct huge sports edifices with public money, in order for said plutocrats to run them for their private enrichment.

    The Roman Emperor Vespasian may have built the Colisseum, but at least the revenues from the gladitorial bouts went into the Imperial Exchequer. There’s no such excuse for 21st Century America – this crap needs to stop now.

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