In Dallas and in Texas, we’ve pretty much agreed that we don’t want our goverments spending our tax dollars for social programs. So we have put up with the public school funding mess that has plagued the city and state for the last decade or so, put up with Texas ranking at or near the bottom on state spending for health care, chidren’s services and the like, and put up with libraries that don’t have enought books and parks that don’t have enought programs or equipment.

I mention this not to start a shouting match, but to pose a question. If we don’t want to spend our tax dollars to pay for health insurance for children, why are we seriously considering spending our tax dollars to pay for a place of business for a fabulously wealthy man?

I’m talking of course, about Jerry Jones and his quest to get us to pay for his new stadium – or, as the Cowboys like to refer to it, “a year-round destination that will provide an immediate boost to our economy, create thousands of new jobs and have an impact worth billions.”

Sometime in the next couple of months, the fabulously wealthy Jones and his fleet of lawyers, accountants and other assorted schemers will wring a deal out of Dallas County that will allow taxpayers the privilege of paying for two-thirds of the estimated $600 million project. There will be a lot of hype and obfuscation and smiling teeth about how it won’t really cost us anything, but that will be nothing but hype, obfuscation and smiling teeth to get us to approve the deal in a referendum next fall.

They’ll claim that:

The tax to pay for the stadium won’t affect us directly, since it will be charged on hotel rooms and car rentals. Fine. (And ignore for the moment that additional car and hotel taxes could scare away the convention business this boondoggle is supposed to attract.) If this tax is such a good idea, why haven’t we used it to pay for more cops?

The stadium will be a grandiose, epic development, with shops and restaurants and parks. Sure it will. Just like the grandiose, epic developments in Arlington and at the American Airlines Center, with all the shops and restaurants and parks that Tom Hicks and Perot II promised and never built.

It will generate jobs. Just like it did in Arlington and at the American Airlines Center, in all those shops and restaurants and parks. What fine jobs, too – minimum wage, entry level with nary a benefit in sight.

In short, the deal will be nothing less than welfare for Jones – someone whose franchise, according to estimates by Forbes magazine, is worth almost $1 billion, which is more than the Rangers and Mavericks combined.

If some dastardly welfare mother were trying to con us out of a couple of thousand dollars, there would be uproar from every talk show in town. But because it’s the fabulously wealthy Jones and the Cowboys, nary a complaint will be heard, even though the Cowboys could well afford to pay for this without any help from us. Consider that the team receives some $125 million annually just for the network and satellite TV rights to their games.

And that’s more than wrong – that’s hypocrisy of the highest order. We let children go hungry because we don’t believe in government, but we’re going to give this guy $400 million so he can become even more wealthy?

Given that, anyone who can vote for the stadium has a better stomach than I do.


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