A Flood of Tax Dollars

Do sports teams benefit cities enough to justify the tax dollars spent on them? Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards seems to think so as he rolls out a $450 million plan to renovate the Superdome that comes with a 15 year extension for the Saints to stay in New Orleans.

Of course the Saints and officials with the Superdome itself will tell you that these upgrades are needed for the the dome to be competitive. There is always the lingering threat that some other city will build the Saints a new stadium and lure the team away with something nice and shiny.

Roger Noll, a Stanford economist, calls this idea hogwash. With infrequent use, the tax dollars generated by these stadiums will never justify the money spent on them. To Noll, “[a]renas are used more often”.

But it is difficult to take Noll’s words as the gospel in New Orleans. Other stadiums may only be used for 10 games a year. The dome is used year round. Concerts, Mardi Gras balls, monster truck shows, and many other events make use of the Superdome. When the Rolling Stones finally performed in New Orleans, they used the Superdome as their venue. It was a great show.

I also have some questions that I do not feel get answered by economists when discussing these issues. Let’s say the Saints don’t extend the deal with the state because we said that Louisiana’s portion of the plan could be better spent other places (ignoring for a second that the Saints are putting up about a third of the money and the rest is going to come from bonds). If the Saints go away and the season ticket holders are now holding extra money to spend, who is to say that money will be spent here in New Orleans? What if those people decide that they will take an extra trip to Disney World instead. Perhaps they will take a cruise. At least with the Saints here, the locals will spend money to support their beloved team. Without the Saints, money could very well leave the state.

With the Saints picking up $150 million of the cost and $210 million raised via a bond issue, I assume the other $90 million would be provided by the Louisiana itself. This would mean that in order to justify the amount of money raised with bonds the Saints would have to generate $14 million plus bond interest each year for 15 years to pay off the bond. If they are able to generate that amount, then the bond is clearly worth it.

What if the amount of money generated doesn’t equal $14 million plus interest. Is it worth it to see the team go? There are some immeasurable factors that come with having a team in general, let alone one like the Saints. New Orleans has always loved the Saints. Even in the bad years, we supported our team. The rebirth of the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina came hand in hand with the reopening of the Superdome. On a national stage, via the Saints, New Orleans announced “we are back”. It didn’t matter that we won or lost (of course the fact that we beat the Falcons made it that much more sweet). What mattered is that we were not going to give up.

New Orleans has a lot of pressing issues that still need to be resoled. Recent flooding issues being the biggest of them all. Unnamed rain storms flood areas that Katrina never touched. Our pumps are aged and failing. We absolutely need help in getting those fixed. We did get some of that this year from the Louisiana legislative session. We all know that we need more. But what would New Orleans be without the Saints? They kept us afloat during the hard times, it is difficult to justify letting them go now. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. When we need something to hope for, why let our best shot at redemption go down the drain?

There is one more thing to consider. Governor Edwards faces a potentially difficult reelection bid for a second term in a state where he probably shouldn’t have won a first term. Only by making the runoff with David “serious sins” Vitter did Edwards manage to pull off a first term. In the same election, a Republican won the Lt. Governor’s seat by a similar margin. Twelve percent of Louisiana voters felt that Edwards was just conservative enough to support over the former Senator who admitted to serious sins involving prostitutes.

Governor Edwards repaid those Conservatives by signing a redundant abortion ban following the wave of “heartbeat bills” that passed in the South. Louisiana already had an abortion ban that would trigger if Roe v Wade was overturned, so his signing this new law was merely a symbolic gesture.

Now that Edwards tossed a bone to the extremist Conservatives, he may need to throw everyone else a bone as well. That could very well be the reason he is supporting the new renovations to the dome. If voters in the New Orleans area knew that Edwards simply let the Saints go, his grim changes of reelection could vanish. By seeing a commitment to the area, perhaps enough voters will keep his campaign afloat.

Liberal Dan Radio 04/06/2016: New Orleans Taxi and Uber Drivers

On the April 6, 2016 episode of Liberal Dan Radio I will be discussing various issues including:

Election 2016 coverage after the Wisconsin Primary.

The passage of a new Mississippi law meant to allow discrimination of persons who are gay.

The Supreme Court ruling regarding one person/one vote.

And at the bottom half of the hour I will be inviting Jason Coleman from Pro Line Management, Inc. He will be giving us the Taxi Driver side of the lawsuit by some Taxi Drivers against some Uber Drivers and the implication.

Those issues and more at 8pm Central on Liberal Dan Radio, Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Liberal Dan Radio 09/02/2015: Rising Tide Recap and more

On the September 2, 2015 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

I review some of the great things at Rising Tide X including the awesome speech given by Deray Mckesson of #blacklivesmatter. I will also talk about some of the other issues pertainting to #blacklivesmatter. I will discuss other topics as well, time permitting.

Those issues, tweet of the week, headlines, and more Wednesday at 8pm Central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Remember, I am still holding the fundraiser at the Liberal Dan Radio GoFundMe page.

Liberal Dan Radio 8/29/2015: New Orleans 10 years after the storm

On a special Saturday edition of Liberal Dan Radio I will be broadcasting live from Rising Tide X at Xavier University at 10 am Central. I will have an open mic to join in the conversation live or you can call in as usual. All topics relevant to Katrina are on the table. From the good, to the bad, to the ugly everything should be on the table. It is my opinion that while some people may have Katrina fatigue that we never allow anyone forget what happened to us in New Orleans and the Gulf South.

If you see me at the convention I will half the reward levels from the Liberal Dan Radio GoFundMe for t-shirts and bumper stickers.

Liberal Dan Radio 8/19/2015: POTUS 2016, Participation Trophies, and author Gary Rivlin

On the August 19, 2015 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Are participation trophies good for children or do they promote a sense of “entitlement”. NFL players James Harrison took away participation trophies that had been given to his children and the internet has applauded. But are they right? Are such trophies bad for kids? Or are opponents of these trophies just manufacturing arguments with no proof to back them up?

The race for election is getting more hectic every day. Now some people are trying to be Ted Cruz birthers. Most of their arguments are false. However, I will go into one argument that could actually be problematic if true.

Then in the bottom half of the hour I will be discussin the book Katrina: After The Flood with author Gary Riviln. Praised by such people as Michael Eric Dyson and John Barry, the book is an important read to see how race and racial issues revealed themselves in the early days prior to the storm.

Those topics, headlines, tweet of the week, and more this Wednesday at 8pm Central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Remember to support the show and help it grow you can contribute at the Liberal Dan Radio GoFundMe page.

Liberal Dan Radio 2/19/2015: Mardi Gras the good, the bad, and the ugly

On the November 19, 2015 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Mardi Gras took place this past week in New Orleans and I will review some of my personal experiences as well as some of the other events that took place. Some have even sggested that this was one of the rudest Mardi Gras in recent history. Is it tourists? Locals? Students?

But before that I will discuss several other issues that have been going on in the news recently.

Marie Harf made a ruckus because of comments she made about terrorism and poverty. While I do not necessarilly agree with her assessment completely I also question the legitimacy of the arguments made by those who are attacking her for making what they call “stupid” arguments. Some point to the lack of criticism of President Bush when he pretty much said the same thing previously. However, there is another reason why we shouldn’t take such folks seriously.

Finally, the City of New Orleans passed a smoking ordinance that I feel goes way to far in some areas and completely misses the boat in other areas. I will go over why the ban should pretty much be flipped from what it currently is using my mardi gras experiences as an example.

Those stories, headlines, tweet of the week and more this week on Liberal Dan Radio, Talk From the Left That’s Right. Thursdays at 8pm Central on Blog Talk Radio.

Remember, the Liberal Dan Go Fund Me page is still up and running. Please consider supporting the show.

Liberal Dan Radio 10/29/2014: Lee Dugas LA01

In the final #RetakeCongress segment of this election cycle, Liberal Dan Radio will be returning to the point where I first entered into the political realm. Ten years ago, in 2004, I tossed my hat in the ring for Louisiana’s first congressional district. This year, one of the candidates seeking to represent the district in Congress is Lee Dugas.

This veteran of Desert Storm seeks to combat the GOP in its war on women and also fight their budget cuts that hurt the veterans they claim to support, Listen in to the show to learn more or you can call in to ask questions.

The show starts at 8pm Central so for more talk from the left that’s right, make sure to tune in.

Liberal Dan Radio 9/3/2014: Victim blaming and backwards thinking

On the September 3, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Several celebrities have had nudes of them released that were obtained by people hacking their accounts. Some people are suggesting that keeping your pictures in “the cloud” is not a safe way to store such pictures and that such people are just “asking for it”. Others suggest that taking such pictures altogether are them asking for it. Others see hypocrisy in the treatment of female celebrities and male celebrities. I will cut through the hype and give my feelings on why some scenarios are different than the others and also explain why some of this blame being placed on the persons who took those pictures is just another example of victim blaming. Victim blaming just victimizes the victim.

More victim blaming comes at the hands of Cee Lo Green. After being accused of raping a person who was drugged, he had the gaul to suggest that sex with an unconcious person is not rape. Seriously. Forget you…

Another example where a victim is again victimized is the case of Nick Olivas, a male in Arizona who at 15 had non consensual (read rape) sexual relations with a 20 year old woman. As a 15 year old he could not consent to sex with the 20 year old but yet he is financially responsible for it? That makes zero sense.

Finally, I will discuss the ruling in Louisiana today that upheld the Louisiana ban on same sex marriage. Again, Louisiana bucks national trends to the detrement of its citizenry. Louisiana will eventually be forced to recognize marriage equality, but it will be dragged there kicking and screaming.

Those topics, headlines, tweet of the week and more at 8pm central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Should printing companies be held responsible for political mailers?

Richard Perque is running for traffic court judge in New Orleans. A lot of my friends are supporting him. I voted for him. Oh,and there is something else unrelated to his qualifications for Judge: he is openly gay. Yes, he shares the fact on his campaign website. But in reality it has nothing to do with his qualifications.

Other people disagree. For some reason they believe that because he is openly gay he would have some problem determining if someone was speeding or not. A hate piece has just been mailed out suggesting that people should think “long and hard” about this candidate.

The flyer was mailed out by the “Committee for Common Decency”. While such hatred is all to common in Louisiana, I find nothing decent about it. According to the above article, there is no such committee in the State of Louisiana. There are laws in Louisiana that require certain reporting for paid political activities (especially this close to an election). I doubt this mailer was reported to the state. And that leads me to the question posed in the title of this post.

If a printing company is creating a political flyer, shouldn’t it be required to affirm that the information on the flyer is factual (at least the required information about who paid for it)? If they are not, then you wind up with anonymous hate flyers like this mailed out. If the law doesn’t require printing companies to verify this information, it should.

 

 

 

Congressman Scalise promotes garbage GOP healthcare bill

Back during the healthcare debates of 2009 the GOP promoted a healthcare bill that was their “compromise bill” to the Affordable Care Act. (And when I say compromise I mean the bill that they wanted the Democrats to pass as a compromise to the ACA, some compromise). That bill was garbage. It seems that this bill resurrects all the bad from that bill while throwing out all the good that the ACA has to offer.

So, you ask, where can you read this horrible bill? Well right here.

So, what makes it so bad? Well, first of all it starts by repealing every single provision of the ACA as well as the “fixer” law that amended the ACA after its passage. What does this mean to you? Well, even Fox News lays out some reasons why Americans will love “Obamacare”. So you lose all that.

I have searched the bill that Scalise and other GOP members are supporting for the term “rescission”. It does not exist. So this means that insurers, under the GOP bill, would be allowed to cancel your policy if you are sick. Insurers should be required to insure you through your sickness. If they can just drop your policy if you are sick, it stops being insurance.

I searched the bill for the word “maximum”. See, the ACA prohibits annual and lifetime maximums. With this bill, that ban goes away. So an insurer can decide “hey, you have cost us too much money, go pay for the rest of your treatment by yourself”.

I searched for “existing” to see how the law deals with preexisting conditions. This bill would push individuals with preexisting conditions into high risk pools. This forces high risk insureds on the state without allowing the state to benefit from the pooling effect that comes with the inclusion of lower risk individuals. This plan would bankrupt the states. Anybody living in Louisiana should know how horrible high risk pools are. Congressman Scalise should be familiar with Citizens insurance. This was the property insurance of last resort for homeowners in Louisiana. It would be made available to those businesses that didn’t want to write business in certain areas of Louisiana. It was expensive and it was broken. Citizens did not get to offset its high risk policies with lower risk ones. It was automatically doomed to fail. Yet he wants to do the same thing with health insurance? That is not how insurance is supposed to work. In insurance you create large pools so that the losses from certain people are offset by the lack of losses from other people.

The previous bill allowed insurers to select a home, or primary, state where the insurer will be based. By selecting this home state the GOP sponsored bill would allow a company operating in state A to circumvent the laws of state B if it sells policies in state B. This is a violation of the 10th amendment. A state should absolutely be able to dictate regulations on the insurance products sold within its borders. This idea stems from the lie that Conservatives often repeat that a company should be able to “sell insurance across state lines”. I work for an insurer. I have written code specifically to handle insurance that the company sold in a state other than the state we are based. The only requirement is that the policies sold in other states needed to follow the laws of that other state. This is reasonable. The GOP suggestion is not.

The bill contains the following language:

CLARIFY USE OF DRUGS IN PREVENTIVE CARE.—Subparagraph (C) of section 223(c)(2) is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘‘Preventive care shall include prescription and over-the-counter drugs and medicines which have the primary purpose of preventing the onset of, further deterioration from, or complications associated with chronic conditions, illnesses, or diseases

This is clearly written to eliminate the idea that oral contraceptives should be considered to be preventive care. It is considered preventive care under the ACA. The GOP hates oral contraception (even though it prevents abortion). Go figure. This is just stupidity.

The bill imposes medical malpractice limits. For some reason the GOP thinks that reducing the possible money that one can get from a medical malpractice case will some how help insurance rates. It doesn’t and it also winds up hurting patients harmed by malpractice. Watch one example of how medical malpractice caps hurt people.

And of course, to make sure the bill doesn’t pass, the GOP included abortion language. Because nobody knows the body of a woman and its needs better than Congressman Steve Scalise.

This bill could very well pass the House. There is no way it passes the Senate. So why propose this garbage? Well, just to waste time I guess because the GOP in the House of Representatives are not doing anything else meaningful at the moment. So why not introduce a terrible bill to boot.