I love sports statistics, don’t you? I love to hear about batting averages and home runs, how many touchdowns, etc.
But some of the stats are not so groovy. I’m thinking of numbers reported by the National Taxpayers Union.
According to a recent NTU study by Paul Gessing, when you tally up all the taxpayer-subsidized funding of stadium construction over the last decade, the taxpayer strikes out to the tune of $7.5 billion. That’s not an inspiring statistic.
And it’s not as if teams are struggling. Between 1990 and 2000, the average Major League Baseball player’s salary jumped 243 percent. The average National Football League player’s salary increased 143 percent. Meanwhile, taxpayers often have to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars for just one stadium in a big city.
Of course, what owners pay the players is their business. And of course, these tax dollars are our business. Something’s not quite kosher here. Don’t we already pay for tickets to get into the game? And if we watch our sports on television, don’t we already have to put up with the commercials that pay for the airtime?
It seems to me that if team owners want our support, they should ask us to give that support voluntarily, not demand that Uncle Sam extract it from our paychecks. As Gessing points out, the latter doesn’t seem quite sporting.
In recent years governments have made a small start getting the poorest of us off welfare. Now maybe it’s time to end welfare for the wealthiest.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.