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Archive for February 14, 2019

Feb. 14, 2019 — A counter-movement against billionaires?

Earlier this week, it was announced that Larry Hogan, the governor of Maryland, had broken off negotiations with the NFL’s Washington Redskins to build a new stadium to replace the current FedEx Field, which was built in Landover in 1997 — only about 20 years ago.

Today, it was announced that Amazon would not be building a segment of its headquarters — codenamed HQ2, in Long Island City, N.Y. after local opposition led in part by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Time was, billionaires such as Daniel Snyder and Jeff Bezos could approach governments and demand all kinds of incentives — tax abatements, land giveaways, and such — and get them.

But infrastructure has become pricier ever since the original study on this subject by Andrew Zimbalist and Roger Noll. Indeed, entire societies have been lured by the promise of economic development, and have found themselves, for lack of a better word, fleeced.

Brazil, which held the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, now has a raft of sports stadiums which sit empty. It’s the latest country which saw its people shift its wealth to line the pockets of members of FIFA and the IOC’s cronies.

I’m so glad that Gov. Hogan and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez have shown courage and leadership against billionaire owners. I’m hoping this is just the start.