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October 27, 2009
Stossel gets stadium swindle half-right
Libertarian commentator John Stossel has a bit of a fact-challenged record, but he mostly gets it right in a blog post for Fox Business on the new New York Yankees stadium fiasco, noting that federal taxpayers (including Red Sox fans) helped pay for it, and the often-overlooked opportunity cost of what else could have been done with the tax money. That is, until he gets up to this part:
Years ago, when I did a TV special called "Freeloaders," Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said I shouldn't blame him for taking the handout:
"You mean, if somebody walks up to you and hands you money, you shouldn't take it? The fact is — I was offered this stadium by elected officials."
Bingo. It's like Robin Hood in reverse.
What Stossel didn't ask Reinsdorf: Does it still count as an "offer" when it comes after you threatened to move the team to Tampa Bay if you didn't get the cash? As Reinsdorf later explained, "A savvy negotiator creates leverage. People had to think we were going to leave Chicago."
But then, you'd kind of expect that Stossel would pin the blame on wasteful government rather than greedy sports team owners, given that this is a guy who's on the record as saying that greed is good.
But wait.... If government creates greed, and greed is good, then....
Stossel's head explodes.
Right. We in Chicago and Illinois are absolutely POWERLESS...the city & state are ridiculously corrupt and there is little to nothing that we the people can do about it...so we get a 2016 Olympics bid that Daley and private backers shoved down our throats (Thank GOD we "lost" to Rio) and that taxpayers would have almost certainly been on the hook for...Reinsdorf is part of the power structure and Chicago, and at taxpayer backing he secured an ugly new White Sox stadium and a new Bulls stadium...
Well, you are kind of unfair. From Stossel's interview:
Reinsdorf: If we had to pay for this stadium, we could not have been able to stay in Chicago. It's a very marginal operation.
Stossel: You could have raised the money privately.
Reinsdorf: No, I couldn't have. You have to pay it back.
S: You couldn't have paid it back? You couldn't have made enough money here?
R: No. I didn't realise this was going to be a debate, or I wouldn't have agreed to the interview, but if you want it to be a debate, we can continue doing it that way.
S: Let's have a debate. You're a freeloader. You are taking money from poor taxpayers to make you a rich guy richer. . . .
Jerry Reinsdorf is a freeloader. If he didn't get his way with the White Sox in Chicago, I am pretty sure that we would be dealing with the Tampa White Sox right now and their push to get a new stadium while I am sure that the Bulls would have won their championships as the Tampa Bay Bulls. Just remember that The United Center followed Comiskey Park II aka the Cell by three and a half years. In addition to him being a freeloader, I am sure that the city of Chicago 'just loved' the shakedown.
Dan, I wouldn't count out Chicago for the 2016 games yet. Once the IOC gets a chance to pull the 2016 games from Rio, let the shakedown to end all shakedowns to begin.
I just don't get the "threat". Why would you be loyal to a team that wants to leave anyway?
If you just like baseball, there's at least one other major league team already in Chicago, plus, I'm sure, plenty of minor league action in the surrounding areas.
I guess I'm not enough of a sports fan to understand.
Greed is good, its just that when the politicians step in and their greed is for their personal well being, not the well being of the citizens they represent, that we get the problems.
FYI, the United Center was built with private $$$ between Bill Wirtz and Reinsdorf, which makes John Thompson (The IL gov at the time of Comiskey II) one of the biggest suckers of all time.