Vail Valley Voices: An unlevel ﬁeld
Vail, CO, Colorado
Have you ever watched a football game that is played on a slope, and, according to the rules, one team is allowed to play downhill, while the other is relegated to always going uphill?
Have you ever watched a basketball game where one team is allowed at its end of the court to have a larger hoop to shoot at, and the other team gets a hoop that is smaller than the diameter of a basketball? Have you ever watched a hockey game where one team is allowed to have a goalie, and the other is not?
To a free-market advocate and one who appreciates fair play and a level field, there is something skewed in favor of one team over the other in the above scenarios.
Now, the rules of the game are conjured and fomented by an authority (such as the government) and then are disseminated to the players of the various teams in the league. If those rules are skewed in favor of one team or a few teams over the others, there is less incentive to play the game at all by those teams under a rigged handicap. Ergo, the game is rigged from the start.
Based upon a past pattern of business operations (go to http://www.nobailout4red.com), RED has been rather successful at selling its brand of rules to a few governmental forums, e.g., securing loans, bonds, grants, etc., from the public to fund its projects.
It accomplishes this by promoting various enticements to a community, such as more local employment, more local “competition” to influence prices for the consumer and increasing the tax base to enhance the governmental coffers.
These enticements are an illusion and have proven so in past RED projects elsewhere. RED’s so-called credit rating is apparently insufficient to fund the Eagle project from private sources – those same sources that the rest of the Eagle businesses must rely upon to fund their operations, e.g., bank loans, stockholder loans, stock or bond offerings, from retained earnings (savings) or from Mom and Dad.
RED has come to Eagle to play its game and to procure the downhill rules from the town of Eagle. If it is successful in this endeavor, then it’s all uphill for the rest of the businesses in this league.
The term “bailout” has come to be commonly known as a downhill rule for a corporation that is connected with a governmental authority whether that be the Federal Reserve or the town of Eagle. And this bailout rule is applied at the beginning of the game as well as at its end, what with the tax-deferred incentives, impact waivers, etc., and then a direct governmental loan at the end in order to assure the financial survival (“win”) of the enterprise (RED). The rest of the teams in the league that play on this uneven field can only hope to survive to play another game or lose entirely.
Setting the rules in favor of one player over another is simply the destruction of the free market. A political scientist would call this activity “fascism.”
Fredric Butler is an Eagle resident.
A survey showed a good bit of support for local government action to bolster workforce housing in town. For now though, that support stops at supporting a new tax for funding.