The Freeman's Burden:

To defend the principles of human liberty; to educate; to be vigilant against the ever expanding power of the state.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Public financing of private interests

As anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, I am bugged when private companies ask you and me to flip the bill for their expansion. So it is with major league baseball. I love baseball. I played baseball for 14 years. I can even hit a curveball. But that does not mean that I think it is a good idea for owners to come hat in hand to city officials with specious sales pitches like, "Build it and they will come," in order to get tax payers to pay for their stadiums, parking lots and perks. A Cato Institute analysis of the recent fleecing of D.C. voters so they would have an awful team to complain about is evidence that financing these kinds of projects is not in the public interest and not a constructive way for the public and private sectors to interact. Check out the report here.
On a somewhat related note, a recent Cato investigation reveals that "No Child Left Behind" is, in fact, an unmitigated disaster. This is of course what us systems theorists have said since it was proposed. If you promise rewards or threaten consequences in a public system, people in that system will quickly figure out that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line and they will do whatever is most expedient to meet the expectation with the least amount of personal risk or sacrifice. That's the nature of the beast whether the system is designed by George Bush or Karl Marx. Why it is that people in public policy-making positions can't figure this out is one of the "big questions" that baffles me on a daily basis.


Blogger Mark said...

The city of D.C. got the worst stadium deal I think ever made. Mayor Williams, I think that's his name, must be getting some kind of great deal out of it to allow his city to be taken so badly.

In some cities public financing can work. I don't mean full public financing, but partial financing. And in no case should you ever make a deal with a team who doesn't have an owner which was the case in D.C.

This is a rare case when you get Ralph Nader, Michelle Malkin, and the Cato institute to agree.

12:30 AM  

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