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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Money down the Loo: From Countires to Cities to Individuals

Today's post will be sports-themed.. sorta..

In order to find information that is relevant in some way yet fall through the cracks, we end up reading a lot of online newspapers whether they be city papers, national like NY Times or international

The other day we were reading the Philadelphia Inquirer, which like the vast majority of newspapers around the nation is a shell of its former glory..

Like the majority of city papers we read, the vast majority of 'news' in the Inquirer was regurgitation of AP and Reuters headlines one can read anywhere with paid writers focusing on trivial gossip and slanted social agenda articles mixed in to appease the city's political and racial demographics..
However on the day we were reading, there were two local sports related blurbs which caught our eye and wish we felt were worth a comment or three on broader themes..

The first blurb was a story that the Philadelphia 76ers, a most wretched NBA team currently reached agreement with Camden, NJ to build a practice facility for the team and they would receive in exchange $85 million in tax credits..

And it struck us..

This is the same Camden we've written about three times since our inception four years ago...
~ This man calls himself 'Mayor' of the tent city in Camden; pic taken this yr.

The same drug and violence ridden city with the #1 murder rate in the entire US

The same downtrodden city that is so financially broke, it can not afford to maintain its own independent police and fire departments or school system or libraries**

** The state runs the police and school system, the county runs its libraries and neighboring counties share in sending first responders to tackle emergencies

And this same decrepit city with only 42% of its population employed and a graduation rate of 48% (way below NJ state average of 86%) is giving away $85 million in tax credits...
To a professional NBA team..

To a piece of scum Wall Street billionaire owner named Josh Harris who makes his fortune exactly the same way Mitt Romney did with Bain Capital-- buying distressed companies, gutting them then turning over for quick profit..

All so a dozen or so rich pampered multimillionaires in shorts and tank tops can privately practice grabbing and holding each other while putting those brown balls into hoops

If the man is wealthy enough to buy not only an NBA team but own an NHL franchise (New Jersey Devils) you'd think the SOB would have the money to build his own practice facility then pay taxes on it like any other business person..

$85 million pays 1700 city employees for a year based on $50k ea..  2,125 employees based on $40k
And the newspaper never once bothers to connects the dots..

Unwilling or uninterested..  The article was of course written as a positive..

Its all so common now.. professional sports owners and corporations getting benefits, deductions and/or outright freebies to locate their businesses into one area vs another and the locality with the winning bid always is the one the economically suffer..

Here's a dirty little secret no one really talks about...

Do you want to know what was a major factor in expediting the downfall of the Greek economy by the mid-late 2000's?

It begins with an 'O'...
Athens held the 2004 Summer Games had an initial budget of $6.2 billion which to give perspective was 50% higher than the most recent London games with the UK being a major economy while Greece is not..

By the time Games were completed, the cost to Greece was over $9 billion and ultimately the sport event generated a Loss of between $14-15 Billion dollars!

And now today Greece is still the EU and IMF's bitch dog and doesn't have the guts or spine to forfeit on the crippling loans, leave the EU and go back to their drachma as currency..

That's how sports work on a grand scale... pride, ego, vanity or some other moronic concept compels a city or country to divest precious tax resources which should be used for the public good for instead pomp, pageantry, parties and practice facilities..
~ Yep.. this ought to generate Camden revenue..

The second sports blurb...

There's a Philadelphia Eagle player named Lane Johnson - offensive lineman who took a bunch of his teammates out to dinner to a nice restaurant in the city and he tweeted the check which came to somewhere over $17,000

What the guy does with his money is his own business but when the website took the time to break down the tab it really peeved us for a few reasons:
For one, when you look at all the alcohol ordered-- 19 glasses of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac for a total of $4,525, two bottles of Harlan Estate cabernet for $2,990, one bottle of Shafer cabernet for $2,650 and one bottle of Screaming Eagle cabernet for $3,495..

And then count the Crown Royals and all the beer consumed, you realize most if not all these guys are serious drunks who obviously think their alcoholism is manly and/or manageable...

And we can only assume all NFL teams have similar players..

It also peeved us because of the price gouging of these GD restaurants..
While most people would never order a 32oz longbone ribeye for $89 or spend $40 for an 8oz filet, it is very common for people to order soda with their meal..

The restaurant the Eagles' players ate at charged $4 for a coke!

Beer was $5.50 .. Each

27 16oz bottles of Voss water was also ordered.. Its imported from Norway..  Its something that you can buy at your local supermarket in the water aisle for about $1.99 each... (28 bottles of local spring water is usually around $4)

The restaurant the Eagles' players attended charged $6.92 a piece
27 bottles x $6.92 = $187.55 for water

Don't know which makes us the more furious..  Restaurants charging such BS prices or people genuinely stupid and unconcerned enough to willingly pay

The actual food gouging came to $15,470...

Then the state got its undeserved 6% sales tax which came to $1,535

And of course no way a super-expensive restaurant shares any of its profit with the people who serve the food so an auto-gratuity of $472 was charged
Makes us wish more restaurants went out of business permanently..

We pretty much stopped going to sit-down restaurants a long time ago because of price gouging similar..

Everything is going up and up..  And so few are willing on their own to 'fight back' and modulate their lifestyle to fit into their budgets..  

The only people who ever seem to cut back and fight the excessive price gouging experienced everywhere from restaurants to movies to sporting events to travel, are those financially forced to because the savings and credit card spigots are all tapped out..

Everyone else still goes out of their way for their morning $4 grande latte frappe whatever its called, their $6 pack of cigs and their $75 polo shirt that would really be $10 if not for that fucking sewn in China horsey..
~ "If you can't tell I am wearing a horsey, I'll find a shirt with an even larger logo.."

Money is not valued and the act of saving not respected..

If when that football player tears his ACL and MCL and is out of football in a couple years, we'll see if he thought it was worth it to spend the price of a Toyota Corolla on a bunch of worthless multi-millionaire teammate 'friends' to engorge themselves on his dime..

As for us..  OK, we do wish we had been invited to the NFL players' pig-out

We'd have come home with the Biggest doggy bag one ever did see..