By Ronald C. Tobin
Over the past several years here in North America, another group of wealthy corporations has been deemed worthy of receiving funds extorted from the citizens -- professional sports teams. Every hockey and basketball team wants its own arena, every baseball and football team wants its own stadium. Heaven forbid that they should have to share a facility, something that was once the norm. I would have no problems with these desires, if these teams would just go out and obtain private funding for ALL of the costs involved. Some private money is going begging -- here in Arizona, various Native American tribes have offered to build a football stadium for the pro team here. The NFL rejects this, saying that to take gambling money (all the tribes offering have casinos) would make it appear that they condone betting!
Anyway, what I object to is that these teams -- and the leagues that they form a part of -- INSIST that the cities/counties that they locate in go out and impose taxes for public financing, which is a euphemism for corporate welfare. This insidious levy -- usually put in as a part of a sales extortion fee (better known as a sales tax) or a car rental fee -- generally pays for up to half the costs of building/maintaining these facilities. Further, it never really ends. Once a facility reaches a certain age, it is no longer considered 'state of the art,' and those teams will be back, looking for more extorted public funds. They look at this as some sort of entitlement program, and the municipalities generally just keep playing along, trying to undercut each other to gain these somehow 'coveted' teams.
Like all individuals, like all companies, sports teams need to be told to simply pay their own way. The only certain way to bring this extortion racket to a permanent conclusion is to abolish formal government. If there is no taxing authority, then there is no 'public money' is give out. In the meantime, encourage people to 'just say no' to all of this. Refuse to attend games of teams that stole from the public to build their arena/stadium. Tell these wealthy sports teams to keep their hands out of your pockets! Corporate welfare is insidious, it feeds on itself and snowballs. No matter what the industry being discussed, it must be ended.
Bottom line -- until the State is abolished, it is paramount to insist on a complete separation of Economy and State. What the sports teams are doing now is just a symptom of the mixed mercantilist economy that we live in. The 'aboveground' economy is NOT a free market in any valid sense of the term. So, just understand this, if you will -- I am not trying to pick on sports teams in general, nor am I simply criticizing corporate welfare. What I am calling for is obvious -- the end of ALL State welfare!
[Article originally appeared in the January/February 2000 issue of THE THOUGHT.]