On a CBS Sport Minute this morning, Boomer Esiason, the former NFL Quarterback, noted that a prime example of the government mortgaging our future could be found with the financing of a private business by Miami-Dade County. In this case, the owners of the Miami Marlins convinced the County to kick in $400m of the cost of the stadium needed to build a brand new baseball park. On the surface this is a dumb deal given that all of the economic reports ever written seem to indicate that the opportunity cost of using this money would do more for the region then dumping it into a stadium where the profits are made private. This is corporate cronyism at its finest. Socializing costs on the backs of tax payers and privatizing the gains.
Before we light torches and go after the owners of the Marlins we need to consider a few things. Yes, they are taking advantage of the public, but who wouldn’t under the same circumstances? They, in essence, were able to convince public officials that this was a worthy cause and that moving the team would have a huge ripple effect on the greater economy. Given that the Marlins have one of the lowest payrolls in the MLB and a equally low attendance record, I think the Marlins are overplaying the economic horrors that could potentially befoul the region.
If the money is going to be put on the table so freely, though, they might as well take it. Taxpayers should hold these officials accountable. They should be protesting in the streets. They should be demanding resignations. Show them, the county officials, that this type of behavior is not acceptable. Will they? No. Miami-Dade votes, consistently, for the same tired politicians. They vote for the same tired party. They vote for the status quo, get the same crap results, and then have the audacity to rant-and-rave about their troubles.
This is your fault, taxpayers and voters of Miami-Dade County. Grow a pair and start voting for people of sound mind that won’t cave to the allure of professional sports teams. Tell these “decision makers” that if they screw over the county both in the short and long terms, they will be out of a job. It’s the only way to solve these problems. Wake. Up.
The icing on the cake though? Miami-Dade had no money to actually contribute to the project. They had to raise huge amounts of debt to have even a shot at getting this deal done. Better yet, they just decided to defer repayment on a large portion of that debt for 10 years. Wouldn’t it be great if the average taxpayer could do this? Sorry, don’t have the money to pay my mortgage, I’ll just make this someone’s problem in 10 years. This is criminal in my opinion and these officials should be booted out of office. How big of a deal is this? Well, that original $400m in bonds will cost the Miami-Dade taxpayers $1.2B if the current repayment schedule holds out. What do you think the Miami-Dade public school system (one of the worst in the country) could do with $1.2B?