The Chargers Should Build a New Stadium
It’s rare that I disagree with the new U-T San Diego editorial board, but it is dead wrong on a tax-payer funded football stadium. This is just a classic example of a wealth transfer and, on moral grounds, I oppose this sort of rent-seeking.
The U-T editorial board argues that Qualcomm (former Jack Murphy) stadium is really old. It argues that former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue threatened San Diego with the loss of the Super Bowl unless a new venue was built. It argues that City Hall is losing tax revenue from unseen losses due to an outdated stadium.
I stipulate each point of the argument, but reply “So What?”
Buildings get old and sometimes become functionally obsolete; one only needs to look at the San Diego Sports Arena as an example. But the Sports Arena still seems to find a way to make a profit by serving up concerts, swap marts, and other events. If the ownership of the Arena saw a potential for greater revenue, it would be refurbished in less than 24 months — that’s how the free market works.
he NFL commissioner can threaten San Diego County taxpayers all he wants but the simple fact is this — the Super Bowl ain’t that “super” when it comes to impacting the local economy. NASCAR had a greater economic impact on Phoenix than the two Super Bowls they hosted. By that logic, a world-class NASCAR track should be funded by the taxpayers rather than a football stadium (I don’t approve of that, either).
City Hall is losing revenue? Spending county taxpayers’ money, for the purpose of generating city taxpayer revenues, is just a classic example of Bastiat’s Broken Window Fallacy; it ignores the unseen. If the boondoggle costs $900 million to build, that’s encumbering each and every County resident to the tune of about $300 over the next 30 years. That’s twice the “estimated lost revenue” to the City of San Diego. It would be cheaper to just have each County resident send $5/year in to the City (and NO, I also don’t support THAT).
That ten bucks a year is each County resident’s money — neither the Board of Supervisors, the Spanos family, the U-T editorial board, nor the voters of San Diego County have a “claim” on those individual’s money. Building a private business like a stadium, or an office building, or a store, simply isn’t the proper role of government.
What if we flipped the tables? What if a ballot initiative demanded that the Spanos family build a stadium from their own funds or move out of the County? What would happen?
The Spanos family would be gone. Why?
Because it doesn’t make economic sense to build a new stadium and the voters would be trying to steal the Spanos’ money.
The U-T editorial board knows this too. Four to five years ago, as daily print media were losing revenue, an idea for publicly-funded newspapers was floated. Nobody bought into it and newspapers had to retool or perish. The ones which perished were great acquisition targets for bold entrepreneurs, like Messrs. Manchester & Lynch, and have thrived since the right ownership took over. THAT is how the free market works.
This whole idea is just one more rotarian socialist scheme and it’s wrong. The U-T plans to publish a series of articles to argue for this and I’ll refute each one of them here. They may have a bigger reach than we do at Rostra but, by the time this thing hits the ballot, I’ll win. Why?
I’m making a moral argument while the U-T is advocating for theft. In the end, the moral argument wins.