Stossel: Super Bowl of Welfare

Stossel: Super Bowl of Welfare


This is our moment. Our Super Bowl moment. Sunday brings us America’s most-watched sporting event. Atlanta’s politicians are excited that: The world’s best come to the world’s greatest stage to give us what they’ve got. And what will Atlanta give? We’ll turn on the lights and put on a show. And pay for part of that show with their taxpayers’ money, hundreds of millions of dollars which they gave to billionaire Arthur Blank, owner of Atlanta’s football team, to get him to build this stadium. A showplace that Atlanta’s former mayor called, “simply the best facility in the world.” Do the people of Atlanta at least get a cut of the restaurant and merchandising revenue? No, Falcons control all the money from parking, restaurants, and merchandising. Sweet deals like that are not unusual. Twelve teams have actually turned a profit on stadium subsidies alone. Yes, they received more money than it cost to build their facilities. So taxpayers, most of whom never attend a game, subsidize billionaires. Seems like a scam to me. I don’t fault Arthur Blank for grabbing the money. I even like the guy. Blank improved our lives by founding Home Depot. We’re both stutterers. Here we are posing with actress Emily Blunt at a stuttering charity event. If politicians are giving money away, Blank’s partners would consider him irresponsible not to take it. The problem is the politicians giving away your money. I get why they do it. They like going to games, like telling voters, “I brought a team to our town.” Here’s the mayor of Las Vegas. We are so ready for major league sports in this town. She and her political buddies funneled 700 million tax dollars to the owners of the Oakland Raiders to get them to move the Raiders to Vegas. Watch the politicians applaud themselves while the governor signs the bills. I’m glad this reporter put this question to the mayor: Why should there be one cent of public money when you have two guys who could pay for this themselves? I think it really is a benefit to us that really could spill over into something. Spill over into something? Politicians always claim giving taxpayer money to rich team owners will spill over to everybody. And yes, the well-connected people who pose with the shovels at ground breaking ceremonies do collect some of what spills, but the way they justify the cost to taxpayers is bunk. This was a terrific investment. They always call stadium subsidies good investments, but it’s not a good investment. It’s a bad one. Politicians, teams, and stadium promoters all highlight this extra business activity that occurs when the football team plays at home. But this happens fewer than a dozen days a year. The stadium is also used for some concerts and soccer games, but most days, not much happens here. Economists who study stadium subsidies say little or none of the money makes it back to taxpayers. The problem is the seen versus the unseen. We see the people at the games and extra customers at some businesses on game days. Stadium promoters show us this. But looking at this means we miss the unseen cost. The unseen cost is that those people would otherwise be spending their money elsewhere in the local communities. At the local bar there’s one less bartender. There was one less waitress hired at another restaurant. A movie theater that had one less theater full. Right, a thousand little cuts. But those ordinary businesses don’t have the clout that the big boys have. Welcome to Super Bowl 53. So, Sunday, when Atlanta politicians brag about their stadium: We are Atlanta. And clueless media claim this created jobs. 4000 thousand jobs created to do this. Let’s also remember all the jobs they destroyed and the taxpayer money they squandered.

100 thoughts on “Stossel: Super Bowl of Welfare

  1. And now the NFL is no better than the WWE, where outcomes are predetermined. Did you ever ask yourself how the rule 'No reviews in the last 2 minutes of a game' came about. And why the worst bad calls are in those two minutes.
    Wake up. I've been a Colts fan since Johnny U. I quit watching 10 years ago, when it became too much like the WWE.

  2. Sorry John, but the owners are equally guilty as the politicians. You letting the owners off the hook cheapens the value of your statement. All parties involved are guilty.

  3. Look at the cities that no longer have NFL teams that are now stuck with these huge stadiums. St. Louis, San Diego. San Antonio is the only city I recall saying no, even though Jerry Jones probably had something to do with that.

  4. Remember when the owners of the oilers and the browns wanted public funds for a new stadium. The public said NO! So, the owners moved to cities that would.Then, what did the citizens of Houston and Cleveland do? Please, please give us a team. We will build you a new stadium.

  5. The merc stadium is a flawed engineer project.
    The roof will never open and close by itself. You have to MANUALLY open the dome. It takes about a day.

  6. I love how he makes several good points….and then goes ahead and shits his pants when he starts stretching to cover for robber barons…”I can’t blame them because their peers would think they were stupid not to take advantage”. He sounds like a lawyer for the manson family!

  7. Is right wing John Stossel a fellow socialist now? Props to him for this piece. Standing up to billionaires on tv takes is notable. Keep it up John. Now go after egotistical Donald and Howard Schultz

  8. Let's talk about the real winners here. I lived in the neighborhood next to the stadium last summer and for every scoccer game, Elliott Street Pub, a Bar that can usually hold 15-20 people, was bombarded with about 300 customers overflowing out into the street trying to get beer.

  9. If the Atlanta people paid for the new statium then they all own it. So they should receive a profit check every quarter.

  10. This has always annoyed me. The only way I could see this benefitting tax payers is if the government get a cut of the profits, or gets the income from any non sports related events. Which in the long run might lower taxes. Unfortunately this is probably just wishful thinking.

  11. Hey if I payed for it I want in for free. Business’s are simply an animal that will take advantage of opportunities the problem is government is giving them this handout.

  12. John, I usually agree with you.  However, what the state of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Raiders is doing is pure genius.  Yes there is a tax to be paid for the stadium.  Paid by visitors using the hotels.  Hotels that are in casinos, with restaurants, stores, and other entertainment venues.  The Raiders have put up or borrowed $1.2 billion to put into the stadium and the HQ in Henderson, NV.  On top of that, the stadium is going to be used by the Running Rebels of UNLV.  They've already scheduled concerts there beginning in 2020.  This is also an opening for a MLS franchise to be brought to the city and the NFL has also scheduled a draft to be held in Las Vegas in 2020 alone.  You're talking about $10 billion in revenue to the city and state for one three day event!  Now, assume you're a fan of a team, but are only planning on travelling to one to three games a season?  Well we could go to the Green Bay game or Jacksonville or even San Francisco, right?  Or we could make an event of our trip and spend 4 days in Las Vegas!  Buffets, slot machines, strip clubs, shows, dance clubs, shopping at the Miracle Mile or Container Park?  That or you can freeze your ass off in Wisconsin or Buffalo or get shot trying to go to a game in Baltimore or Washington DC.No, this was an investment that will more than pay for itself, luring tourist to the city and state and they're funding the stadium, increasing the economy, creating jobs and getting on of the crown jewels in American sports for free.  You'll note I am a Raiders fan, just check out the name.  But I refuse to travel to broken down Oakland for a game.  Where I am located I attend games in Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans or Charlotte.  I have already planned to come watch my beloved Raiders play in Las Vegas with a friend who lives there and bought a PSL of four seats.  We're planning on staying a whole week!  I am guessing we'll spend upwards of $5-$7K that week (we're a family, no boobs or slots for us) but we'll have fun just the same and we'll feel safe doing it.

  13. How many times have Mayors and governors given away money but never get anything back? If professional teams want to come to Vegas let them on their own tab. Or if not then the teams get the ticket sales money and the city gets everything else. Do not give teams everything and get nothing in return.

  14. there is a public company, that instead of paying for market analysis on which metropolitan areas will grow faster, just invest new development in cities with NFL teams, figuring those cities will grow faster than other cities.

  15. Public funds being used to build private playgrounds for millionaires and billionaires. We just had the same experience in Minneapolis.

  16. If these stadiums didn't get these subsidies, they would build elsewhere.. Or not at all.. Even if they could afford to build the whole stadium on their own..

  17. I couldn't agree more, I dont want my money paying for a billionaire's stadium. They have billionaire friends, they can raise the money on their own!

  18. Taxation is theft, I dont want to give money for some stadium, government bullshit or schools, leave people to decide who to give money

  19. Boycott.. Sporting events & Hollywood..
    To much is to much.. Government taking control of everything..
    … SHUT THEM DOWN…

  20. Green Bay Packers are OWNED by the city and its citizens. They will never move, and the have a REAL Football Stadium, Lambeau Field, where you play in the Rain and the Snow.

  21. Why are we forced to pay for vanity projects? I'm sorry, but if a private business can't survive without government subsidies, it should be allowed to die! There's NO REASON we should be forced to foot the bill for sports we don't attend!

  22. I completely agree with this notion and understand the outrage about the topic at hand, but I don’t think Las Vegas took any taxpayer money to build their arena. They added a $1.30 charge on hotel rooms per night in all of Vegas and that money went towards the arena. So, essentially, it was paid for by tourists. Besides, Nevada does not have a state income tax.

  23. This is when the libertarian stopped clock is right twice a day. I’d say corporate welfare is far more damaging to society than individuals welfare.

  24. 2:22 it’s hilarious as stossell doesn’t seem to realize that this “spill over” crap is the same idea as trickle down economics.

  25. Stossel, unless you live in Georgia it's one of your business what Georgia taxpayers do with their money. If you do live in Georgia, you voted for the wrong people.

  26. No. This argument is not informed. Ticket sales are taxed and that is the return to taxpayers. New economic development is necessary to attract more business (more tax revenue) so trophy projects on a grand scale are needed. Cities compete on ALL projects by offering incentives to attract investments. Atl only offered it because other cities would offer it as well. That's called free mkt capitalism

  27. "I think it really is a benefit to us that really could spill over into something."  What a beautiful cluster of weasel words and gauzy qualifiers!  It's almost impressive.

  28. This is as bad as politicians’ corporate welfare for Amazon and such. NFL doesn’t understand logistics. I live in Jersey; we got screwed by SB48. They wanted to do a “Transit Super Bowl” but would not allow any trains to arrive until the doors opened, when almost all people wanted to arrive early, which created a huge logjam that the NFL was responsible for but New Jersey got blamed for, even if our state has huge shortcomings. The NFL and media will throw anyone under the bus for stuff they didn’t commit and create fake crime scenes. It isn’t to be believed.

  29. The NFL season is incredibly short. The NHL for example has 4 times more games. 4 times more chance for profits… The Stanley Cup is much better.

  30. I love stossel but he conveniently glossed over the tax revenue gained from the players and staff living in the area when a team arrives.
    When an nfl team moves like st louis rams did to la recently. That means that la and california are gaining what 40, 50 millionaires who are going to pay millions of dollars in taxes every year to the state and municipal level which otherwise would have been paid in another state and city. So that is a long term net benefit and thus a good investment

  31. they just "inducted" owner of the Broncos Pat Bowlen into the Hall of Fame just for being a rich anus, like he was some kind of hero. Since the taxes we pay are going for "important" projects, like building stadiums, how about we stop paying taxes? Didnt the USA become a country because of "Taxation Without Representation"? Why are my taxes going to pay for something to make a rich man richer? Why am I, a poor person, financially responsible for a wealthy man? Let the rich hang themselves.

  32. We need to stop wasting money on stadiums and start putting that money into infrastructure , law enforcement, housing, fire protection or maybe even public transportation. How about public schools.

  33. So the NFL cannot afford new stadiums? Are you serious?

    That amount of money could do quite to improve a city. This is disgusting.

  34. You can never listen to them when they say “x amount jobs created” they’ll lump just about everyone in that category. The construction workers who after making it went on to something else, the cleanup crews who only work there like a couple weeks out of the year, and the concessions workers who make practically nothing.

  35. I am not a sports fan. I have never understood why one cent of my tax money is used to construct stadiums. The stadiums do not only not benefit me, they don't benefit anyone other than the fat cats. The fans still have to pay high admission prices and eat $6 hot dogs! The whole game attendance thing is priced out of the reach of the normal family. And each game monopolizes hundreds of cops (city employees) directing traffic. Disgusting!

  36. The son of the the mayor of las vegas, Eric Goodman, had me imprisoned for 10 months all for exercising my rights in his court, and allowed for me getting beat up by jail staff!

  37. If a stadium were a 'good investment', then you would have no trouble finding individuals willing to loan money for a stadium to be built.
    It's like the when merchants used to finance private roads (turnpikes) so goods and customers could reach their shops.
    People are too used to suckling at the teat of Big Guv to do this for themselves any more.

  38. We’re suckers, period. Taxpayers fund these things, but it’s not like the tickets are cheap and accessible to the public at large. Loans should be repaid, not just pocketed by the franchise owners. It’s called bread and circus, and it’s essential to mask the loss of freedom, the corruption of the government and the cultural decadence.

  39. Hitler and Mussolini were socialists, national socialists. Actually Mussolini was at first a full blown communist before adopting a different more nationalistic political agenda.

  40. Oh I remember studying this in college in my sports history course. It was then I saw the insidious nature of this stuff. Yet we continue to vote and allow it's subsidization.

  41. Literally everything about Americans just isn't great but one big joke . Bummed would be an understatement , I'm surprised any of you have an intact rectum .. to call you sheep would be an insult to sheep .

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