Sports Craze & False Choice

Redistribution based on income inequality is a false choice. The reasoning goes something like this:

  • There are wealthy people and poor people.
  • Ignore why they are that way. Like many poor people are just kids starting out and many wealthy people have worked hard and saved their whole lives.
  • Poor people place a higher value on an extra dollar than a rich person who already has plenty.
  • Ignore that the behavior of rich people and poor people do not support this claim, otherwise poor people may be more interested in doing things that can earn and save them more dollars.
  • Therefore, we should redistribute more dollars from the wealthy to the poor.
  • Ignore the already high rate at which this is done.

Why do we only focus on wealthy people in our redistribution schemes?

In my opinion, things mustn’t be too bad if we can afford to support a host of marginal men’s and women’s sports programs from grade school through college, where most people who participate — especially at the higher levels — have few prospects for continuing in those sports after they get past those supported programs, except maybe to teach the next generation of youth to take advantage of those programs or to tell their glory day stories in the break room.

How many poor people could have been helped with the taxpayer money that has been put into all sorts of sports projects? Locally, we have taxpayer-funded pro sports stadiums and amateur sports facilities. Apparently playing soccer on grass is just too hard. Spending millions on fake grass fields for pre-teens to hone their soccer skills is the new norm.

Why don’t we look at more of such things and say if we really take external approaches to helping those in poverty seriously, why don’t we cut out all this other stuff?

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8 thoughts on “Sports Craze & False Choice

  1. Isn’t a false choice when someone presents you with two or more options while concealing or ignoring other possible options?

    I’m neither disagreeing or agreeing with your arguments… I’m just confused why you’ve described wealth redistribution as a false choice.

    • Hi Wally — I described it as a false choice because there are more options to helping the poor than taking money from wealthy people (which is already being done to a large extent) and nobody discusses those options.

      I presented one such additional option. Apparently, ‘we’ve’ decided that it’s more important that our children play little league in multi-million, state-of-the-art sports facilities than it is to help the poor.

      • Seth –

        The discussion around public funding of professional sporting stadiums/arenas is always pretty lively around here in Portland, OR. There are plenty of folks who argue that the funding should go to education, fire departments, prisons… whatever. There are plenty of folks that argue that there should be any new tax levies or diversion of current funds and there are plenty of people who argue that professional sports will bring in more tax revenue/business.

        When you talk about stadiums for kids are you talking about sporting facilities attached to schools or something else?

        – Wally (not Adam). πŸ™‚

        • Hi Wally (not Adam) — My mistake on the name. It’s fixed now. Sorry.

          I’m talking about any youth sports facility — school district or otherwise. My own small burb spent $12 million on baseball/softball complex on the outskirts of town that is inconvenient to get to.

          About 5 minutes to the south, another burb spent $10 million on a similar project.

          One city in my area spent $35 million on a youth soccer facility and within 20 minutes of that one, there are several other $10 – $12 million complexes.

          These were all built on the hopes that they would attract tournaments, in addition to hosting local activities, and generate enough money to help fund other parks projects. Ours’ has never generated the tournament business that was hoped for and has turned into a money pit that has distracted the parks department from maintaining the in-town facilities.

          • So you’re saying the balance between “bread and circuses” is off? Too many circuses, not enough bread?

            Or maybe Thomas Sowell’s analogy involving the department that builds statues of Benedict Arnold is appropriate. Pay no attention to the $Millions spent on sporting venues, children are starving and something must be done!!! Hey, that guy has more than me… let’s get him!

          • Seth –

            No worries about the name confusion. πŸ™‚

            I suspect that there are some very happy consultants in your area who have made some sweet commissions on selling so many sporting complexes to so many municipalities. Doubtless they’ll come around in 5 years or so and try and convince the powers that be that they could really use a new convention center because see, if you just build a convention center with public money all these people will come pouring into your town and fill your coffers…

  2. The argument as you presented it is the lefty economist’s argument. The politician’s argument usually involves the phrase: “It’s not fair”. My kids have managed to give me a severe allergic reaction to that phrase, so when I hear it from politicians quoted by a fawning media, I can be certain that they have no legitimate argument and are falling back on grade-school whining.

    “It’s not fair that CEO’s make so much more than those on the production line…” The statement is meaningless on its face since no objective measure of parity is justified that overwhelms the economic self-interest of the board that hired the CEO in the first place.

    It’s a political argument intended to buy votes with promises of other people’s money. Lefty economists who attempt to justify it are religious true believers, and their faith makes them blind to any objective argument.

    • Hahaha…I just heard the “that’s not fair” from the kids in practice this week. That is the simpler rationale for redistribution and can also be applied sports. Is it fair that some kids get to play on multi-million sports facilities while others are starving?

      Good video. Penn & Teller maybe should have shown Teller baking the pie to start with.

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