Headless government chickens running again

Headless government chickens running again

Las Vegas and Nevada taxpayers should be advised to hold onto their wallets: A government molestation is about to occur, on behalf of Major League Baseball (MLB). Again.

As The Wall Street Journal reports it, the Oakland A’s – erstwhile of Philadelphia and Kansas City but in California since 1968 –are purchasing a 49-acre tract of land in Vegas, will put up about $1 billion in private money but want another half-billion from taxpayers to build a new edifice – a new baseball stadium — to yet another baron of sport.

The Journal notes that while the A’s long have been known for personalities, colorful uniforms and throwing lots of money at some athletes over the years, “What it has mostly lacked, however, is what the team feels is the combination of fan and government support that would make it a business success, too.”

Well, isn’t that special?

Of course, news of the A’s impending departure from Oakland has created all manner of headless chicken panic in California. If only the A’s had not been so intemperate and allowed Oakland “leaders” to throw an acceptable amount of tax dollars the franchise’s way, well, all would be swell.

Said franchise president Dave Kaval to The Journal:

“(W)e can’t keep playing in the current venue any longer. We just don’t generate much revenue in Oakland. We don’t generate a lot of revenue in the current building. … (T)here’s a limit … and with increased spending across the league, we have seen ourselves at an increasing disadvantage and that’s made it even more imperative that we get this ballpark situation solved.”

But it’s certainly not any kind of business problem for taxpayers to help “solve.” It’s for the A’s – and for long five-fingering-encouraging Major League Baseball.

The taxpayers have absolutely no business being turned into venture capitalists, ever, and certainly, when it comes to professional sports, not for the umpteenth time.

The A’s and MLB clearly have the financial wherewithal to build the franchise’s new field of dreams and, in the process, avoid the public’s screams.

It’s what a responsible team and league would do. Sadly, that neither will exhibit such responsibility is a given.

As was the case with Pittsburgh’s Pirates, Steelers and Penguins when majority-public dollars were used to help build their playgrounds. And as will be the case when the respective franchises’ current leases are up and they expect even more taxpayer help.

As long as the greedy keep demanding,  government chickens, their heads stitched back on backwards, will keep delivering – and for what the preponderance of scholarly research long has shown to be woefully little, if anything, in the way of a public “return” on its commandeered “investment.”

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).