Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

A Wall of Separation

cronyism, pork, stadium, Tom Hanks, ballot initiative, welfare

Whatever you think of Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, wherein he celebrated the First Amendment for “building a wall of separation between Church & State,” let’s agree that it would have been nice had he penned another letter — to the Waterbury Methodists or someone — urging a wall of separation between Sports and State.

Last week, actor Tom Hanks became another brick in my hoped-for wall. “It’s a billion-dollar industry,” Hanks said of the National Football League.

[T]hey have billion-dollar TV contracts. All the owners are billionaires. And yet when they want to build a stadium they’re going to use for 10 weeks out of the year, they expect the city taxpayers to buy the building.

Hanks is livid. The recent “deal” that lured his beloved Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas included $750 million in public funds to build a $1.9 billion stadium. The Raiders are planning to stay in Oakland for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, while that new stadium is built. “When the Raiders leave,” the beloved star declared, “I am going on an NFL moratorium for two years.”

Unfortunately, Hanks appears more angry that his team is leaving (eventually), than with the principle that taxpayers ought not be ripped off.

Subsidizing businesses is cronyism, not capitalism. It’s even more outrageous when the poor must pay for the rich.

But how to stop it? In every city where citizens can propose ballot initiatives, let’s petition and pass measures requiring a public vote before any such subsidy.

It may not be the great wall I’d prefer, but it’s a high hurdle providing taxpayers some important protection.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


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By: CS Admin


  1. doug anderson says:

    The depth of the absurdity of subsidizing billionaires is beyond any Libertarians ability to do much more than go AARGH! Unfortunately non-libertarians (like Hanks) tend to only care when it’s their ox. Perhaps Libertarians can make a little hay by suggesting that LA be vindictive in the departure period from the stadium. You know turn off the showers to “save water” in the locker rooms and the bathrooms by the pressbox. Just saying!

  2. John F Brennan says:

    Build the wall!  The initiative has to be to limit the government to core functions ONLY, and financing or subsidizing stadia for professional sports teams is not one of them so it must be made absolutely unavailable. I am surprised you would consider such actions even on the passage by “the majority”. It is still improper and unnecessary redistribution, essentially theft. 
    As for Mr Hanks, he should be happy the parasitic recipients of the subsidy are leaving his environs to suck out others’ assets.  It is no big deal, as he can subscribe to the NFL network and watch all of the games of his wandering favorite team, and it is probably cheaper than a suite. 

    • Daniel says:

      A popular majority will far more readily support a measure that moves power to the hands of a popular majority than they will a measure that denies the power to all.

      • JFB says:

        Yes indeed, which is why the US was set up as a republic.
        In pure democracies, the majority is given tyrannical power because the majority, which approves of that concept believes they will always be in the majority. The dream is to have power over all others and freedom yourself, a delusion at best, for it is only that by having no, or the least power, over others that you too can be free.

  3. Dan Fitzgerald says:

    How about we use GoFunMe? I’m not feeling well-served by voters decisding what to do with my paycheck.

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