Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wrong-Headed Stadium Analysis From (Where Else) ProFootballTalk

I know I'm beating a particularly dead, spectacularly dumb horse here, but every time Mike Florio tries to weigh in on the economics of football, I'm just struck by how wrongheaded his assumptions are.

His central thesis, never explicitly said, but constantly implied, when it comes to the Vikings Stadium issue, is "Minnesota fans are a bunch of whiny ass titty-babies for not jumping at the chance to give $650 million to their team's ownership."

The post from this afternoon is no different.

Consider this sentence, from the opening paragraph:  "With the timetable for a team to move to Los Angeles potentially accelerating, the folks elected to lead — and not merely to bend to the will of those who are inclined to complain about something/anything/everything — are beginning to actually lead, and not pander to others or protect themselves."

I'd love to follow up on that point about the timetable to Los Angeles "potentially accelerating" (funny how one word can render a sentence essentially meaningless, but Florio doesn't provide a link, even an internal one to explain where that came from. This is the same guy who cited his own so-called analysis of the QBR, even after Deadspin destroyed it.

So without PFT's evidence that things are accelerating, I'll simply counterpoint with actual facts found in Field of Scheme's post from yesterday that strongly suggests that, if anything, things in LA are slowing down.

Now, I know we here in the Blogosphere (we're still calling it that, right?) are allowed to inject opinion and all that good stuff, but what the hell is Florio on about in that second part of the sentence? Am I to understand that putting an unwanted tax through to fund a billionaire's crazy dream of a stadium is now Profiles of Courage worthy?

And talk about a dickish way to describe people who are opposed to the stadium money grab--"those who are inclined to complain about something/anything/everything." According to the polls, that is how you are apparently choosing to describe a large majority of Minnesotans?

I know I have damn valid reasons for not liking a private company taking $350,000,000 from my county. Here's something I wouldn't complain about--raise that same tax, and be able to give every kid in the Ramsey School system a free laptop, for the next FIVE YEARS*. That's just one way you could improve the county in a real way. You could improve the roads, you could provide more unemployment services; you could help out the over 16% of the people living in the county who live below the poverty line (who would be paying into that tax every time bought a needed staple of living, by the by). That number, by my math, would be about 81,000 people. You could do something meaningful, really meaningful, just by handing out all those people $4,500 checks.

Not to mention that Ramsey County isn't going to be able to just hand over $350 million and call it a day--it's going to be paying that money back for a long time (2042!)  at a total cost of that $350 million actually being $675 million. But what's a couple of hundred millions between friends/hostages?

So, whilst I'm trying to avoid using profanity in posts these days--Fuck You, Florio, and your willfully ignorant assumptions about people who are against a regressive tax to fund a stadium. You dick.

And that's not including the $300 million that's supposed to be coming from the State of Minnesota, which could be used in ways that actually benefit Minnesotans on a day-to-day basis.

I, like many Minnesotans, would have no problem voting for 1/2 cent increase in sales tax. But maybe let us, the "citizens a chance to shout it down from behind the curtain of a voting booth" (which sounds awfully ominous for what is a totally typical tax referendum..we do it for schools all the time, for example). Also, let the great unwashed rabble have a couple of choices on where that money should be spent. And it will be clear, even to the most dunderheaded, sports-centric columnist(s) in the nation that the citizens of Ramsey County aren't necessarily against taxes just because (though some are, surely), it is just that we have a different idea of what is important (did I mention the 16% poverty rate in the county that this thing is supposed to be imposed on? I think I did.)  Oh, and I don't have to just opine that Ramsey County voters approve taxes without proof--Here's an example!

In the long run, investing that $650,000,000 in the education of Minnesotans would pay far greater dividends than a stadium. That's not me being overly poetical--that's a hard economic truism, proven over and over again (here's one local instance).

*Check my math! According to the State of Minnesota, roughly 84,400 students in Ramsey County. That's, according to my calculator, that's $4146 per student, and I'm putting a laptop (and a pretty nice one) at $800--That's five laptops per student, which seems unnecessary. So you could fund a laptop for students program for years and years with the money the Vikings want for their stadium, if you were so inclined.

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