Cobb County, Republican and Tea Party through and through, votes to give a $300 million in county-owned real estate and taxpayer-funded cash - a handout (corporate welfare) to a pro baseball team whose private, for-profit parent company is worth billions and could easily afford to build the stadium itself, and yet these same elected leaders will keep saying over and over how they need to get government out of our lives, how government budgets must be reduced, cut, pulled back, who say they can't afford to keep funding public schools at current levels, how Food Stamps for hungry citizens must be cut to the bone or eliminated, while at the very same time making deals like this turning over county-owned land and taxpayer funds to companies like the Braves' owner which is worth billions... A pox on all of them and on their phony Republican conservative, Tea Party principles.Who could ever believe a word they say after this insanely flagrant corporate welfare payout to the rich?
I always remember with disgust Ronald Reagan talking about a "welfare queen" he knew using food stamps at the grocery store to buy steaks while her red Cadillac was parked outside. There was no such person. But those of us who heard Reagan say it will never forgot it.
And now we have two welfare kings with their hands out asking for taxpayer funded welfare: the two corporate majority shareholders, one of the Braves' parent company and the other of the Falcons' parent company - two billionaires not with red Cadillacs but with homes worth tens of millions and wealth beyond imagining. And they are now getting hundreds of millions, or rather at least a half-billion in taxpayer funded welfare. Where are Reagan's Republican - Tea Party political heirs on this issue? Nowhere to be found.
Another prediction: the Braves are not going to move to Cobb. We are being played. This is a carefully constructed, secretly planned scenario to actually pave the way for keeping the Braves in Atlanta and giving the Braves' owners pretty much everything they have asked for without triggering the firestorm of opposition that would erupt if Mayor Reed just caved at the outset. Giving the Braves a $200 million-plus corporate welfare subsidy on the heels of the $200 million-plus (and it's a really big plus) corporate welfare gift Reed engineered for Arthur Blank and Falcons, would be moving beyond the pale.
So here is a scenario they concocted: Mayor Reed claims he was blindsided by the Braves audacious financial demands for access to Atlanta's public funds and property and rejects them out of hand. The Braves announce they are going moving to Cobb (a fact by the way that no one seems to have known much about?). Atlanta fans are in an uproar about losing our "beloved Braves." Petitions are signed to "keep the Braves in Atlanta." Lo and behold, all of the sudden, honest brokers, neutral intermediaries, powerful figures not directly involved, say Governor Deal, US Representative John Lewis, former Mayor Andrew Young, US Senator Johnny Isakson emerge, negotiate a new deal to keep the Braves in Atlanta (and pretty much give the Braves everything they want.) Mayor Reed is off the hook! The new Cobb Braves stadium idea fades into the background. Everybody is happy!
Except this: another billionaire professional sports team owner has successfully conned a local government out of hundreds of millions worth of taxpayer funds and property using the tried-and-true "give us the taxpayer funds we want or we will move" extortion strategy and it worked. The Braves' billion dollar corporate owner gets its hundred millions in corporate welfare subsidies - public funds and property - while hungry low income Atlanta citizens are getting their food stamps cut.
Representative Earl Ehrhart:( the Atlanta Braves) is " a corporate citizen that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year in economic development..." Wrong. Wrong. And wrong again. Economic and academic research proves just the opposite:
"Should Cities Pay for Sports Facilities," by Adam Zaretsky, Federal Reserve Board of St. Louis, April, 2001. Answer: NO!
"The Economics of Sports Facilities and Their Communities," by Professor John Siegfreid and Professor Andrew Zimbalist, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer, 2000
Quote: "Yet there is virtually no evidence of any perceptible economic development benefits from sports teams or stadiums."
"Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: Are New Stadiums Worth the Cost?" by Andrew Zimbalist and Roger G. Nall Brookings Institute, Summer 1997 Answer: NO!
This economic development rationale for using taxpayer funds to support building or rehabbing sports stadiums owned by for-profit private professional sports team corporations and their billionaire owners (like Arthur Blank) is always trotted out to justify this brand of welfare for billionaires and their corporations. They love to say "subsidies.'' But it's really "welfare for the already wealthy."
And, when necessary, they will commission phony "economic studies" to determine the value of this "economic development" for the local city or community. Usually these studies are performed by entities carefully chosen by the chamber of commerce, the elected officials pushing for the welfare subsidy, and/or the sports team owners themselves. Don't believe it! Follow the money. this is all about using taxpayer funds to make billionaires and fabulously wealthy corporations even more wealthy than they already are. This is nothing more than a legalized heist of hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds for the few, the wealthy, the powerful, funds that could have been used to really benefit communities and their citizens. But, no, for Erhart, Reed, and so many other elected officials, the billionaires and their wealthy, incredibly profitable private corporations come first. Everyone else? Too bad.
Cobb County is going to use taxpayer funds to help build a new Braves stadium??? More welfare for the billionaires! Someone should do a through study on how many US professional sports team owners have financially benefitted from the receipt of billions of dollars of taxpayer funds in order the build new stadiums for their teams or rehabilitate existing stadiums. And the total amounts they were paid across the country. It indeed would be in the billions. It is indeed pure, unadulterated welfare for the already super-wealthy owners and their super-rich sports team corporations. Thousands of news articles and editorials proliferate about cutting food stamps for the poor. Hardly any coverage of this blatant form of taxpayer-funded welfare for billionaire professional sports team owners. Why is that?
The focus should be more on what Mr. Cardinale - The Atlanta Progressive News - asked candidate Christian Enterkin and how she responded. The fact is, she did not respond at all to most of The Atlanta Progressive News' perfectly valid and appropriate questions. Even assuming for the sake of argument that Mr. Cardinale is somehow biased in favor of Ms. Archibong (a point I do not concede), why wouldn't Ms. Enterkin first answer all of Mr. Cardinale's appropriate questions about the issues. If she HAD answered the questions and THEN proceeded to raise her concerns about whether Mr. Cardinale is biased, one might take her more seriously. As it stands, instead of addressing all of the valid questions Mr. Cardinale raises, Ms. Enterkin attacks him and his online news service.
I have grave concerns about Ms. Entrekin's motives for running for this city council seat. She works for a company over which the city has direct regulatory and environmental jurisdiction. This indeed raises questions about conflicts which she needs to answer. But hasn't. In fact, Ms. Enterkin has neatly sidestepped most of the questions raised by Mr. Cardinale that still need to be answered. I urge Mr. Cardinale to keep pursuing this inquiry about the candidate's possible conflicts.
Among the very good reasons already cited for supporting Felicia Moore, for me her opposition to providing City of Atlanta tax funds to billionaire Arthur Blank for his new Falcons stadium is especially compelling. It takes guts to face off against this powerful mayor and billionaire businessman and the array of powerful business interests behind them. But Felicia Moore has done so courageously. Ditto for her opposition to AHA's Renee Glover's attempt to tear down desperately needed affordable public housing without any overview from local government. Council member Moore fought to shine a light on that process even though opposed by the mayor and the powerful business interests who benefited financially from removing in-place affordable housing for the poor and replacing it with middle class housing for the better off. The very fact that Mayor Reed and the influential business players behind him want Felicia Moore out is the very reason she needs to be re-elected.
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