Dodging the Stadium Bullet
Think of those times when you ignored your parents’ warnings about some behavior (smoking, staying out too late, etc.) because, well, it came from your parents. But when the same admonitions came from someone else, you heeded their advice. This is one of those times.
Show-Me Institute analysts have written at length about the now-failed Rams stadium deal. (A recent post by Joseph Miller takes a look back at the whole ugly process.) The bottom line is that the proposed billion-dollar deal simply never made fiscal sense for the city or the state. Keeping the Rams in Saint Louis would have been a winner’s curse. Even so, until the last minute, ardent Rams supporters and many public officials dismissed this position: such arguments simply were against the public good.
So along comes Joe Nocera, a highly-regarded columnist for the New York Times. Consider him one of the “other” adults in the room. The title of his recent article says it all: “In Losing the Rams, St. Louis Wins.”
The gist of Nocera’s argument aligns closely with the analysis and advice proposed in past Show-Me writings (and by others as well). Here’s a small, though representative, sampling:
“But the economics underpinning the recent deal St. Louis and the State of Missouri tried to put together to keep the Rams would have been financially ruinous…[St. Louis] simply couldn’t afford to help finance the $1 billion stadium.”
“The contortions St. Louis and the State of Missouri put themselves through to keep the Rams would be comical if they weren’t so sad.”
And in response to a prominent St. Louis political leader’s post-announcement blog post that he now has “no real interest in the NFL,” Nocera intones “Better late than never.”
Next time public officials start a campaign to throw public money at a billionaire’s pet project in the name of the public good, just remember what Mr. Nocera said.