Spend a few nights listening to the news on TV, and you will quickly discover the one of the bedrock logical fallacies of political discourse:
If it's good, the government should subsidize it. If it's bad, the government should ban it. If outcomes are in any way perceived by any group to be sub-optimal, then the government should regulate it. Anyone who opposes these bans, subsidies, and regulations must therefore be a supporter of bad outcomes, hate poor people, want people to get sick and die, etc.
Just last night, I was watching the local news (something I almost never do) and saw a story of one of those kids' bouncy houses that blew out of someone's backyard into a road. There was a girl inside who was scared but unhurt (after all, she was surrounded on six sides by giant airbags). Of course the conclusion of the story was a call for more government regulation of tie downs for private backyard bouncy houses. And those of us who think it's absurd for the government to micro-regulate such things, particularly after a single freak accident when no one was hurt -- we just want to see children die, of course.
Which brings me to this little gem in a local blog, which reflects a feeling held by many area sports fans. Remember that I have supported the Goldwater Institute in their opposition to the city of Glendale giving a rich guy $200 million to buy our NHL ice hockey team and keep it here. My (and I presume Goldwater's) motivation has been opposition to a huge government subsidy that equates to nearly $1000 for every man, woman, and child in Glendale. This subsidy appears illegal under the Arizona Constitution. But that is not how political discourse works. We are not defending the Constitution, we just hate hockey (emphasis added)
If you believe Canadian newspapers, tonight's game against the Detroit Red Wings will be the Phoenix Coyotes last game in the desert.
Canadians like hockey. Judging by attendance at Coyotes games, Phoenicians don't (at least not enough to drive to west side), which is why Canadians are so optimistic that their beloved Winnipeg Jets will be returning to our overly polite neighbors to the north.
The Coyotes ended the season with the second worst attendance in the NHL. That, coupled with the Goldwater Institute's crusade to drive the team out of the Valley, is not helping the city of Glendale's attempt to keep the team.
A few facts to remember:
- As the article states, local residents have already voted with their feet, since the team has nearly the lowest attendance in the league despite going to the playoffs both last year and this year. They have trouble selling out playoff games.
- The team has lost money every year it has been here. It lost something like $40 million this year
- The team is worth $100 million here in Phoenix. That is the going rate for warm-market teams. The buyer is willing to pay $100 million of his own money for the team. So why is a subsidy needed? The NHL insists on selling the team for $200 million or more. Though it piously claims to want to keep hockey in Arizona, it is selling the team for price than can only be paid by buyers who want to move the team.
- The City of Glendale appears to have lied outright in selling this deal to the public. In particular, it claimed the $100 million was not a giveaway, but a payment for the team's rights to charge for parking. But many insiders say the City always retained this right, and it strains credulity that while losing money for seven years, the team would not have exercised this right if it really owned it.
- Glendale has only itself to blame, confounding an already difficult marketing task (ice hockey in the desert) by putting the stadium on the far end of a sprawling city. The location is roughly the equivalent in terms of distance and relationship to the metropolitan area of moving the Chicago Blackhawks or Bulls stadium to Gary, Indiana. The stadium ended up in Glendale because neither Tempe, Scottsdale, nor Phoenix was willing to make a $200 million, 30-year taxpayer-funded bet on the profitability of ice hockey.