Apparently, the issue in the case was whether the deal was constitutional, since a deal on a public project is verboten if it primarily benefits a private party. Well, this seems like a no-brainer to me. The Bears franchise will more than double in value to $800 million. They get luxury boxes, concession profits and so on, all on the taxpayer’s dime. As an excellent investigative story in the Tribune last Sunday pointed out, the Bears aren’t even paying as much out of pocket as they’ve been letting on.
Ultimately, I don’t know whether this decision was right on the law, but it’s just another example of the kind of sports pork I can’t stand. The studies put out to show that communities benefit from stadium deals are a huge scam. Taxpayers fund fancy new stadiums and sports owners get the profits. This kind of subsidization of private business discourages sports owners from reforming some severely dysfunctional league economics.
The whole thing’s pretty disgusting. The McCaskeys can take the Bears to the suburbs or to Caracas as far as I’m concerned. I like football, though I’ve never been to Soldier Field, but what about the millions of people who live in Illinois who don’t care about the Bears or don’t even watch football? Why should they pay to build a stadium that will make the Bears owners even richer than they already are?
Folks talk about Republicans being the friends of big business as over and against the little guy, but here we have a bipartisan deal struck to help out a wealthy family at the expense of the average taxpayer. In the end, both parties are susceptible to the influence of powerful chasing after pork. Which is why government shouldn’t dole it out in the first place, as a rule.