Corporatism at its worst: the Miami Marlins

Just one week after the election, Jeffrey Loria (owner of the Miami Marlins) reminded us all just how much big government is actually local government.

Loria convinced the City of Miami and County of Miami-Dade to cough up over half a billion dollars (to be exact, $509 million – Miami Herald) for a brand new ballpark, which opened earlier this year. The Marlins had to pay less than 20% of the stadium cost.

So, once Loria was able to offload his capital cost on the taxpayers of Miami-Dade, he engaged in a massive fire sale, which reached its pinnacle overnight when he sent most of the team’s talent to the Toronto Blue Jays (Miami Herald). It is now considered “the first step in Jeffrey Loria’s exit strategy, the first step toward him selling the team” (Fox Sports).

Just to be clear, when a corporation owner feels he needs to cut costs to preserve profitability, he is doing what he is supposed to do.

It’s the part where he and the politicians agree to aid the corporation’s bottom line by transferring half a billion in cost to the taxpayers that should enrage South Floridians (and the rest of us, for that matter).

This is corporatism at its very worst – and an excellent example of how local government can create an economic and political disaster via market intervention, with the President and Washington Republicans nowhere in sight.

The team may be the Marlins, but its the taxpayers who are on the hook for this.

If the Republican Party is serious about deep soul-searching in the quest for renewal, it will make it clear that it no longer considers any taxpayer funded stadiums acceptable. At the federal level, this is pure (but necessary) symbolism; at the state and local level, it could be the difference between frugal, accountable governments and taxpayers by government-blessed corporations laughing all the way to the bailed-out bank.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal