Every independent economist presents incontrovertible proof of one simple truth: Sports franchises are simply a reallocation of local disposable income already slated for entertainment of one form or another. The entertainment dollar not spent on a local baseball franchise, will, in fact be spent elsewhere, locally: a restaurant, a play, a movie theater.
The Principles opposing this "investment" are strikingly straightforward:
A. State Government Has No Place Subsidizing Private Enterprise
B. Rhode Island Must Cease Being The ATM For The Wealthy/Powerful
C. I-195 Space Was Freed For Open Space & Economic Opportunity
It is not the role of government to subsidize/eliminate investment risk for private enterprise. Government should not pick winners or losers in what passes for the free market. Corporate Insiders have made their life's work connecting the dots between cronies in Rhode Island government & the marketplace. It is clearly their mission to socialize risk and privatize success. Because of their efforts, Rhode Island is a poorer place, on an economic, as well as a philosophical level. Clearly, this current "investment", and I use the term loosely, will not be supported by the private equity market. The owners are unwilling to invest their own capital, without some sort of long term guarantee underwritten by the government, and, as a result, the taxpayer. It is time for Rhode Island to stop being held hostage, in the literal sense, by the Crony Corporatists of the world.
The taxpayer dollars diverted to this folly instead should be spent on our crumbling infrastructure, providing tax relief to a nearly obliterated middle class, broadening the academic scope of our state's universities, or any of a host of pressing issues that will impact the lives of everyday Rhode Islanders.
As a member of the elite, you speak of the Providence PawSox experience in the same glowing terms that your brethren speak of a dinner on Federal Hill, an afternoon at Bonnet Shores, or a jazz brunch in Newport.
For many of us, those are a dream. Debilitating health care costs, private/parochial tuitions to pay for an education that we are already taxed to death for, long term under or - worse yet - unemployment are our day to day realities.
If, hypothetically, you are a columnist for a fading urban newspaper, who might see the advertising binge of a casino, or a newly relocated professional baseball team as a potential savior, you might feel differently.
Real leadership? Addressing the realities of the "Rhode Island Condition", not dismissing them as the whinings of a citizenry for whom "The Lively Experiment" has been a crushing failure. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity, on The Coalition Talk Radio, to ask a simple question. "What do you say to politician who say our negativity is to blame, and not the incompetence that preceded that negativity?
My own answer, the same which, sadly, I must direct to you is this soubriquet: "How Can We Miss You If You Won't Go Away?"