Saturday, February 19, 2011

Feb. 19 again: Two scams are still on with The Moncton Times

Two scams have been pushed by TheMoncton Times for the past year or two. Both are designed to extract more money from everybody to give it to rich people. It's the newspapers arguing again in favour of a welfare state - a welfare state for the rich. The two scams are the search for a CFL team, and the search for taxpayer funding for hockey arena/convention centre.

Professional sport is a business. It's business exactly like buildiing cars or computers, or making paper or distributing oil. We live in what is referred to as a capitalist society. Under capitalism, investors are supposed to pay the cost of operating their own businesses; and, if they expand their businesses or open new ones, they are supposed do it out of their own profits. If they lose, they are expected to pay the price for losing. Of course, it never really has worked that way.

The men who built the CPR had little of their own money in it. What they had was enormous land grants from the Canadian government, carefully selected by the railway owners for mineral wealth. They had millions of dollars in Canadian government loans and outright cash grants. To top it all, they raised money by borrowing it on the British market in the form of bonds. The bonds sold well, and at a low rate of interest, because the Canadian government (i.e. the taxpayers) guaranteed the CPR bonds would be paid back, with full interest, if the railway couldn't pay. So, if the railway went broke, Lord Strathcona and friends would have remained very rich - but Canadian taxpayers would be in serious trouble.

That happened many times in Canadian history. It still happens, even in New Brunswick. And professional sport has become a great way to sucker us into bankrolling extra profits for the rich, while we take the risks.

It happens all over Canada and the US. People with influence get public money to build the infrastructure for their hockey or football team. Then they generously offer to rent it for part of the year, usually insisting on a low rent plus other perks like lower taxes for their businesses.

Even if the business is profitable, the taxpayer still gets hit with high taxes for the long-term debt as well as the cost of maintenance. And if the business isn't profitable? Why, then the public loses a still bigger bite from its paycheques.

The CFL team and the hockey arena are both absurd financial investments for tax-payers. So the people trying to sell the idea push the nonsense that a stadium would revive downtown Moncton. (In fact, it would destroy it.) And if a city like Hamilton (and perhaps Ottawa) cannot afford a CFL team, it's hard to see how Moncton (including its vast and heavily populated metro area) could do so.

But the Time and Transcript has been pushing this nonsense for years. They speak of the people clamouring for a hockey rink and a football team. (Where do they find all these clamouring people?)  Today, it was the lead editorial -again. We can't afford to maintain our schools but, sure, 84 million for a hockey rink. Right. Top priority. And the great cities of the whole world will sit up and recognize Moncton as a great city among them. Yes.

Look. If New Brunswick capitalists want to set up a couple of new businesses in Moncton, let them do it the capitalist way. Let them risk their own money and pay their own bills. The province has surely had enough of being a corporate welfare state.

And it has surely had enough of newspapers that are nothing but shills for these scams.

1 comment:

  1. I have not been able to understand why...if a hockey rink (aka events centre) is such a wonderful addition to downtown MOncton (and SOOO needed by the Wildcats hockey team) that the owners of that very same hockey team ( just one guess as to who that is) don't build the darn thing. Oh...right...big shots like the Irvins do NOT use their OWN money such things, do they?