Just say No to the twenty-something billionaires

Finally, something we can all agree on. Liberals and conservatives, pro-government and anti-tax activists alike are climbing all over each other to say “Hell No” to the Trail Blazers’ call for a public bailout.

Everyone points to Paul Allen’s wealth as their reason to deny his troubled NBA basketball team any public funding. “He’s got plenty of money.” “It’s his poor management of the team that’s at fault.” “The Blazers offer a poor product (lousy games).”

We may be on to something here. Paul Allen doesn’t deserve any of our money because he’s worth around $20 billion and he’s delivering a poor product. Let him either spend some of his own money to fix things, move or sell the team.

Applying this argument to another twenty-something billionaire yields this:

Oregon doesn’t deserve any more of our money. It spends over $20 billion every single year in its all funds budget and it delivers poor services, especially a poor school system for our children. Let the state improve the schools with the resources it already has, or give families the freedom to take the money misspent on their children now and use it to buy a better education somewhere else.

Paul Allen’s wealth aside, basketball is not a proper function of government. But we do owe him a debt of gratitude for opening our eyes to what’s been going on around here. Next time a twenty-something billionaire asks for public money, just show him the door. In Oregon’s case, show it the school house door and demand that door be flung open wide so families can make better choices with the money the government is already spending on their children.

Who ever dreamed that a basketball team’s troubles would teach us all such an important public lesson?

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Posted by at 07:04 | Posted in Measure 37 | 5 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Fantastic point!

  • Bob Seixas

    Great point, great example! I hope the people of Oregon soon realize this and make them accountable. Individual responsibility applies to those in government too.


  • Can we also agree that your headline is a little misleading? At first I thought you were talking about age and “b”illionaires are still a relatively rarity in this world (Paul Allen IS one, but he’s over 50).

    But comparing his net (*worth*) with what Oregon (*spends*) is even more ludicrous.

    Conservatives always seem to think the answer to any public spending issue is to simply turn off the spigot. This is as stupid as liberals suggesting you can simply throw more money at the problem…neither approach will solve anything.

    Unless you’re a libertarian (or an anarchist), you accept there should be a government and the government will be spending some money. The issue then becomes one of management…

    Individuals with a high net worth either inherit their money (think Paris Hilton, who, for some reason Republicans don’t want to pay estate taxes!) or else create it via some bold business management.

    But I can also think of plenty of bad management around (Enron, for starters) around who ripped off the private sector. Government is hardly the only bastion of bad financial management.

    Fact is, the Enrons of this world (and other, seemingly benign corporations who came to Oregon looking for a handout) have cost you and me a LOT more over time. Until conservatives start casting the same critical eye towards bad (*business*) practices, nothing will change. 😉

  • Steve Plunk

    Even libertarians accept the notion that some government is needed. They are just at the end of the spectrum toward smaller government with strict controls. Hardly similar to anarchists.

    While there are some bad businesses out there it is incorrect to compare the private sector’s aberations like Enron to everyday government waste and inefficiency.

    While Enron may have cost us some money the rest of the private sector is where we make all of our money. Even the public sector must first collect taxes on the private sector to employ it’s own workers. I have yet to see the government generate it’s own source of income unless it’s from something taken from the private sector.

    Investors in the private sector acknowledge risk in investing. Should we acknowledge risk in paying our taxes? Should we just accept that our tax dollars will be mismanaged? Perhaps we should do as we are and ask for accountability.

    The management of Enron is facing justice in the courts for misleading investors and regulators, when will we do the same with our political leaders? When will put ODOT on trial for wasting money? When will children services case workers be put in jail for allowing children to be abused?

    I can choose not to invest in companies such as Enron but I cannot choose to withhold my money from the state. When you mix private interests with governement you effectively double the problem. The sports team owners should get a simple no when it comes to public subsidies of any kind.

  • Sherman

    Expand the Pearl District subsidies to Seattle to cover Paul Allen, that way the Portland Councilors can say they didn’t technically give otu a tax break when they actually did.

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