Wednesday, April 10

Wednesday High-Speed Olio

• Our Betters, by which I mean The Republican Party in Indiana, has decided to hand Colts owner Jim Irsay two new skyboxes, wholly at taxpayer expense, because he asked nicely. The billion-dollar stadium we built for him five years ago is now insufficient. (Personally, I won't be surprised if we wind up jacking the thing up and rotating it 118º at his whim.)

This was accomplished by the Tax and Spend and Never Face the Voters subsidiary, the Capital Improvement Board, which found it had a little loose change at the bottom of the bag and decided to spend it now, while prices are low. This is the same CIB taxpayers had to bail out a couple years ago so they could continue bailing out wealthy sports franchise owners, and let the NFL host a Super Bowl without paying any taxes, which is, for some reason, how the NFL likes it.

The best thing about it is that the CIB sent its mouthpiece out to explain that taxpayers footing the bill "settles" a "dispute" over "leasing agreements". Which means that the Colts, who play in a stadium they paid nothing for, which replaced--defined as "adding skyboxes to the exact same number of seats for average people"--the early one they slunk off to in the dead of night and paid nothing for (replaced at their insistence, after they threatened to break a lease and leave town otherwise), found some language in the contract which allowed them to object to paying their half of the costs of operating concessions, when their "half" of the profits is roughly "100% of the first billion-dollars generated at every Barn event, whether or not it involves the Colts." I fully expect that when the time comes to explain why we're buying them four more (or six; forgive me, I got my information from local news) they're gonna be reduced to saying "Fuck you."

• Meanwhile, Mike Pence has been found. He put the Temporary Ki-bosh on a deal that was going to hand Mainstreet Properties, a real estate development firm run by the son of Indiana House Speaker Pro-Tem Eric Turner, something between $350 and $500K to move from the north of Republican Hamilton county to the tonier outskirts of Carmel. Again, apologies that I can't be more specific, but the information comes from local media. Everybody seems to be reporting the $300K figure, but if I heard correctly, the local public radio people said there was an additional $200K in incentives involved. The company has, on its part, promised to hire "as many as" 25 new employees, provided the goddam media will ignore the story from here on out and let them get back to work.

Like Rutgers, Pence acted not when this happened, or when anyone got wind of it, but when the info got published. And Turner came through like a champ. He explained that he had described himself as the firm's "president" on papers filed with the General Assembly because he was a "sizable investor", but that his son runs the business, and he knew nothing, nothing of the state's largesse.

"Fuck you" woulda been quicker.

And, look, I'm no economist, but unless Indiana takes a page from Georgia, don't we pretty much have all the land we're going to get, aside from what's evaporating from Lake Michigan? Why are we paying a minimum of $13,000 per virtual phone-answering job for someone to churn profits from what we already have?

By the way, Mike: you've got that Inspector General Mitch Daniels created to help root our corruption in previous administrations, right? In fact, the same guy? How 'bout turning him loose on this one? Or the I-69 land deals?

• Dear Lord, I don't know which is more insulting: the "I'm not a Wingnut" Weigel, or the one who can't help putting the lie to it:
American conservatives viewed Thatcher as a saint, and as an example. By the late 1970s, they saw the United Kingdom as a cautionary tale of what happened when socialism came to a market economy—and when both parties went along with it. In 1976, the Labour government went “cap in hand to the IMF” for a bailout. In 1977, American Spectator editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrell published The Future That Doesn’t Work, a collection of essays about the obvious decline of Great Britain. After Thatcher won, as Charles Krauthammer told Politico, “her example in a much more far-left country and an even more sclerotic economy really sent a message that it can be done.” 
That’s why American conservatives have largely won the argument about Thatcher. 
Yeah. Mags was a goddam economic genius, all right, provided you were one of the bankers who benefited from her selling off everyone else's property, and not one of the thousands condemned to permanent unemployment thereafter.

But, fuck, "American 'conservatives' have largely won the argument"? What argument is that? Since when does convincing yourself of what you already believe constitute a victory?


R. Porrofatto said...

Some version of this sentence (cribbed from a 2011 piece by Bruce Bartlett in the Times) is making the rounds:
Weigel: ...[Thatcher] made her tax cuts add up. Those 1979 cuts [to upper-income individuals] were paid for by a near-doubling of the sales tax, from 8 percent to 15 percent.

"paid for" Isn't that cute?

Anonymous said...

I know college educated kids who did EVERYTHING right and still because of the, "Break their kneecaps because we can squeeze one more dime out of them." mentality of St. Reagan/Bush/St. Daniels (that one is good for a laugh)/etc., they are barely making progress and THEY DID EVERYTHING RIGHT. Whatever happened to caring for your neighbor or even the guy across town? Oh yes, that would make me one of those horrible socialists!

And one last comment. My vision of a welfare queen is not what Reagan painted but rather an old, rich white guy with some shrill blonde bimbo on his arm who gets "tax credits" because he is a "job creator."

BruceJ said...

The conservatives won because it's the goddamn DEM in office who's about to bend over and kiss the third rail for the GOP's benefit.

When a Democratic president (who, according to the GOP, is a socialist who makes Vladimir Illyich Lenin look like a city councilman in the reddest of states) is running to the RIGHT of Ronnie Ray Gun, damn straight the Iron Bitch and her ilk won, no matter that she's earned her own personal spit to turn on for eternity...

Anonymous said...

Please remove the scary pictures on the margins.

Victor said...

While we can console ourselves that "The Iron Lady" is finally dead, and can do more personal damage, we need to remember, that her kind of "rust, never sleeps."

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that when Thatcher became PM, five percent of UK residents could not afford to heat their homes in winter.

The figure now is 29%, IIRC.