Ye be a noble king; give the peasants bread and circuses and they will never revolt! So goeth the life of a mighty yet benevolent ruler; until spenteth ye last six-pence on meade and fuzzy hats.. and finally alas the royal trove of silver and gold is no more! Quite a quandry indeed; shall ye come clean and reveal thou squandering of the public treasury? Certainly the commoners will become restless without food and entertainment. So you seek council from your wisemen – who all tell thee thou art screwed. So you summon the dark sorcerer in hopes of preserving thy throne. The sorcerer combines two frogs eyes, the head of a bat and a lock of unicorn hair and drops them in his bubbling caldron, stirring and stirring until he has a vision. “Your Highness,” he grumbles. “You will tax your subjects unmercifully, use half of the revenue on food allowances and stadiums, and giveth to me the remaining plunder – for which I will place a spell that maketh them forget basic math.”
Not quite the fairy tale ending for that kingdom. Fantasy and magic do play an integral part in our economy; which would explain why this recipe is repeated over and over ad naseum right here in modern America! In fact, 90% of sports stadiums in the U.S. have been replaced since 1990; that’s twice the rate of replacements for schools and bridges. Furthermore, one has to sniff no further than our own governor Terry McAullife or Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms for the scent of bubbling bat brains.
McAullife is making it a pet project of his to enhance the wealth of billionaire owner Dan Snyder through a second gimme taxpayer-funded boondoggle. Terry wants to spend our money to cement his legacy as the man who brought the Redskins to Virginia, despite the fact that survey after survey show the tax payers don’t want to fund it. Richmond has spent three times of what it has taken in through ‘sports tourism’ wrought by that plush training facility it so graciously fleeced its citizens for. The cheers of fans applauding those preseason practices must totally drown out the sucking sound of jobs and investments moving to Henrico County.
In other madness the Virginia Beach city council just yesterday lengthened the already mile-long leash on the company promising a new arena via a shady Chinese loan provider. Given the shady loan was not guaranteed in the states, USM asked for more time to find funding for a project voters have already rejected. The practice of securing sweet deals for well connected developers is common place in Virginia’s largest city, so nothing to see here. Oh, except the fact that we don’t have a team to play there, an underutilized 200,000 SF convention center is next door and a study was done showing traffic would be a royal nightmare.
In the city of Oakland taxpayers have 200 million reasons to not cave into the Raiders demands for new luxury digs. Poor Mark Davis and his millionaire friends (nor the groveling city council groupies) will be able to sit in their snake skin heated leather seats in their private booths. In Houston a decaying Astrodome serves as a reminder to the commitment of mega structures. Citizens there recently voted down a proposal to overhaul the venue with millions in tax payer funding.
Whatever the outcome, it is high time we stand up and remind the government it is not their purview to tax and fundraise for our amusement. Hopefully we’ve moved past the days of antiquity.