Patches Perry wrote:We're treading kind of politically here, but there are two answers for me. The over-arching question is should anything be subsidized by tax payers? The answer to that question is the same as the answer to the stadium question. No, people shouldn't be forced to pay for anything through force. It's ridiculous that people who don't even follow sports have to pay for other people's hobbies and a billionaire's ambition. This applies to any and every tax out there. But, yes, our current system is set up to where if the majority of people want to impose a tax on everyone to fund something in particular, then that's just the system operating the way it always does. I don't see why a stadium is any different.
This isn't the main question for me, not even particularly relevant to my mind. I think every city should have libraries, tech access, and park systems, regardless of whether or not every single individual likes reading, computers, or playing sports. Those things are public goods and, while they happen to cost money to build and maintain and staff, they're owned and run by the city as a whole, and they're used/enjoyed and funded by the city's residents. They wouldn't really exist if the city didn't provide them, or they'd at least be far more restrictive places with limited access. (I think it's super naive (if philosophically interesting) to think that libertarian aliternatives would basically replace those systems and be just as good for an overall city).
On the other hand, while a team may be good for the city's culture and add to overall quality of life, paying for their stadium means paying to one particular person who owns the team. It would be one thing if pro teams were just inherent money losers that needed public funds to sustain themselves--but teams are extremely valuable commodities and folks are lining up to pay crazy prices for any team that goes up for sale. Just doesn't make sense for a city to give away its limited and valuable resources to pay more money to someone that's already extremely satisfied with what they have (and if they aren't, someone else would be happy to take it over for them).
I guess for me, there is no moral
difference between "public goods" produced by taxes paid to the state and goods produced by taxes paid to a private party. But that's not really the biggest issue. Since this is phrased as a moral question (keyword in the title: should), I think it's necessary to answer the question from a moral standpoint and not a pragmatic one. I won't get into whether the private sector can handle everything that the state currently does, because that's a matter of pragmatism. The question is whether it ought to be that way, and whether the end justifies the means. Why is it okay for me to be taxed for a (public) library that I won't use? So 51% of people are happy? I'm not some super dogmatic libertarian, but we do need to be very careful when we start putting the good of the collective over the good of the individual, because I don't think the end always justifies the means. I'm honestly not sure it ever does.
To the stadium question - no it's not right to force everybody to pay for something that not everybody will use. But my original point was that the legal question of whether the collective gets to decide for the individual is already settled (ironically, by the collective). They do. So the justification for forcing tax payers to pay for a stadium is the same as it is for building a library. I don't see much difference morally.