Photo credit: Flickr/Jason Paris
We’ve all heard about Detroit’s bankruptcy as bleeding-heart “economists” plead for a bailout from Uncle Sam. Yet, the city of Detroit intends to move forward with its contribution to the Redwings’ new hockey arena.
According to CNN, the city plans to spend $444 million of Michigan taxpayers’ money on the facility, despite hour-long police delays and shutting off 40 percent of its street lights to save money. To borrow from The Simpsons character Mr. Burns, Detroit plans to use taxpayer funds to help a billionaire build a private playground for millionaires. Team owner Mike Ilitch is only worth $2.4 billion these days, so the city clearly needs to finance his every need during this tough time.
Let’s not forget that the average hockey fan is rather well off, either. According to CNBC, hockey fans have a higher average household income than any other major sport at $104,000. That’s about twice the national average of under $53,000. Combine that with Detroit’s blight and economic woes and chances are slim the average Redwings fan lives within city limits.
While proponents argue this investment is necessary, let’s call it what it is: corporate welfare. The tired “we need jobs” argument doesn’t pan out, as the construction needs will be temporary and the existing stadium already provides jobs. The move is little more than padding a billionaire’s wallet so he and his millionaire players can make more money off entertaining upper middle-class suburbanites.
So, America’s most liberal city intends to keep spending recklessly, making the Obama Administration’s current stance all the more important. The Administration’s decision not to bail the city out may very well be the best of its second term. Let’s hope it sticks with it.