Incentives, losers, vices & virtues

Incentives, losers, vices & virtues

General Motors, which closed and sold its Lordstown, Ohio, car assembly plant last year to an electric truck manufacturer, wants taxpayer help again.

The Detroit Free Press reports that GM has a purchase agreement to buy 158 acres of vacant land next door to its old Lordstown Complex – a hop, skip and a turnpike drive from Pittsburgh – to build a battery factory.

GM once owned the parcel but lost it in its 2009 bankruptcy reorganization.

But GM, according to the report, “is also in discussions with Village of Lordstown leaders on incentives to build there … .”

Incentives? Really?

Again, this is the same corporate behemoth that taxpayers bailed out.

It’s the same auto-making titan that made $20 million on the sale of the former car-making complex.

And it’s the same GM that has made available a $40 million loan to the buyers of its off-loaded car factory.

And GM wants a public “incentive”?

Sorry, GM, it’s past time to pay your own way.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is snapping its braces in announcing that gambling revenue climbed 4.5 percent in 2019 over 2018 – to more than $3.4 billion.

Of course, we are forced yet again to remind that such money is derived not from anything that was made but from billions of dollars that gamblers lost.

At the same time, “The State” continues to crack down on those who have the audacity to attempt to cut into the commonwealth gambling cartel.

Police now have been given court approval to once again begin seizing cash-paying video machines. But these aren’t those storied video poker machines found in bars and clubs and social halls all over the commonwealth. No, now there’s a new twist.

At issue, according to The Associated Press, are machines known as “Pennsylvania Skill,” video machines that pay prize money based not on gambling chance but on intellectual wherewithal.

State Police say there are upwards of 20,000 such machines in the Keystone State these days. The administration of Gov. Tom Wolf says the machines have, as the AP puts it, “siphoned more than $200 million in revenue last year from the Pennsylvania Lottery.”

Ah, yes, gambling is a dastardly vice. But if “The State” sanctions it, produces slick TV commercials to advertise it, then, of course, skims money off the top for its tribute, it’s suddenly a virtue, eh?

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