Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mayor Ballard is a Coward!

Yes, Your Honor. I'm calling you out. By name. You are a coward with a logic deficit.

In the most insane example of having your cake and eating it, too, you had the audacity to glamour shot your way into Luke Kenley's press conference about the CIB bail out proposal only to offer the following, which comes from today's Indianapolis Star:

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who joined Kenley at a news conference Wednesday at which the plan was outlined, wouldn't say he endorsed the details but said he supported the need to preserve the convention and entertainment business in Downtown Indianapolis.


If you're not there to endorse THIS deal, what deal are you there endorsing? We don't know. Because you won't say. And you won't say because you're a coward. You KNOW you came into office on a platform of lower taxes, and here you are, ready to stick it to us already to make sure we take care of billionaires who pay millionaires to play a game.

Let me be fair, you also said the following:

"This is not about any individual teams or anything. This is about Downtown Indianapolis. This is about the convention business. This is about $3.5 billion worth of convention business, 66,000 jobs in Central Indiana related to hospitality -- that's what this is about," Ballard said. "We must maintain this economic engine."
That's the illogical part. We COULD make up the entire deficit by raising admission per ticket at Conseco events. You know why we won't do that? We're told it would be too costly. People will stop going to Pacer games. But isn't this Republican Party orthodoxy? Raise taxes, lose voters? Raise prices, lose customers? And yet, here sits a Republican Mayor saying that by RAISING hospitality taxes to one of the highest IN THE NATION, somehow we're going to save our convention employees. (In fairness to the Mayor, his non-approach benefits millionaires primarily at the expense of average folk who will take the hit on these regressive tax increases, so that part is consistent with Republican philosophy).

NO convention group books here because they want to go to a Pacer game. They book because we have a lot of low-cost but nice hotel space, nice restaurants and nightlife to enjoy, proximity between hotel and convention space, and a clean and interesting cityscape (a/k/a "ambiance").

But, Mayor, you let Luke Kenley take the largest competitive arrow out of your quiver and break it over his knee before your very eyes. (Seriously, if you're currently in high school taking your first economics class, can you PLEASE call the Mayor's Office?)

You see, Mr. Mayor, in economics we have a notion called "competition." If person A can get something CHEAPER from city B than from City I (for incompetent), they will. This means And the 66,000 people you claim to protect are all laid off because NOBODY is coming here.

Here are two other concepts you might find "neat." Demand for a good can be "elastic" or "inelastic." If demand is "inelastic," people will buy even if the prices rise insanely. Medical care is a great example. Most people like to live, so they'll sell their second-born to finance a life-saving surgery, even if you double the cost. But if demand is "elastic," an increase in price means people won't buy the good or service anymore even with a slight increase. You know what makes demand "elastic?" Having options to do other things.

So, say for instance I'm already thinking about not eating out anymore because things are tight, and NOW I'm going to have to pay even MORE, not only in downtown but everywhere in Marion County. Guess what I'll do? Eat out less. So NOW your expected new tax money never shows up, and all you've done in the mean time is hurt the very restaurants you claim you're trying to help by keeping the Pacers downtown.

See what you've done? You've stood silent while the most powerful Republican at the Statehouse save Mitch Daniels constructed a fix on a shaky foundation. But the truth is, this is what Kenley and you wanted to do all along. You'll put this ill-thought out bailout into play, SAY "Mission Accomplished," and you'll pray that President Obama gets the economy moving. Then if it happens, you act like you're geniuses. If it doesn't, you'll blame Obama for the "sluggish national economy," though we'll all know the truth. Whatever protection of, or growth of, our "hospitality economy" you could have afforded RIGHT NOW was stagnated because one of your top advisors runs in a millionaire boys club. How grand. How Bob Grand.



Paul K. Ogden said...

I think I've mentioned this before, but you are my hero. All the other D's out there won't address the specifics of the CIB bailout plans and only want to address Ballard's lack of leadership. While the lack of leadership is without question, there is obviously a problem with the idea of taking hard earned taxpayer money and give it to billionaire sports owners. Yet other D bloggers refuse to criticize the actual bailout, which is because they actually support corporate welfare for the Simons and others. You though don't ran away from the actual issues. For that I commend you.

iPOPA said...

Thanks for your comments, Paul.

While I'm reluctant to turn down
hero status, I cannot say I'm always opposed to tax increases. For example, I voted for the IPS bond issue in the last election. Now, maybe later on if the implementation is not done properly, I'll be saying shame on me in the same way members of Congress are speaking about themselves on the bailout. But I couldn't figure out how else to get air conditioning into the schools, and I don't know how any kid or teacher can be comfortable in an 80-degree room (and I've been in a few at IPS schools). Ideally, the school would become more efficient and redirect funds elsewhere, but I'm not going to support kids and teachers suffering in crappy buildings because of finances they can't control. In that instance, it was almost a moral decision for me. I said I would commit my (and obviously your) tax dollars regardless of whether it improves educational outcomes (though I think it will) because I want teachers and kids to be able to tolerate their work environment.

Here? It's a pure economic argument. Nobody is saying to me we need the Pacers to keep up city morale, or that we have a moral duty. Instead, we're being told we must keep the team, or we hurt our local economy and finances. But, except for the alcohol tax, everything they are to do will backfire. Then what? Even HIGHER taxes?

And understand, I don't harbor any ill will toward the Simons. They are reportedly some of the nicest people alive, they do many wonderful philanthropic things, and they have been some of the most generous donors to my party. But for me, being a Democrat stamds for many things, two of which are:

(1) being anti-aristocracy; and

(2) not hitting average people with higher taxes burdens to ensure people who are very wealthy (even billionaire Democrats) get to perpetuate that aristocracy.

From a PR perspective, the Simons walked in it when they said they can't keep losing money every year with the Pacers because they are thinking about their heirs. Even conservatively, the value of their initial investment in the Pacers has risen 30% per year since they've been here, so operating loss is different than net worth loss. But even if the Pacers were bleeding to zero value, the Simons' net worth is over 1.5 billion, as I recall.

That's not enough? Isn't that homes plus private school and Ivy League college tuition for every Simon grandchild and great grandchild? Yes, some of them will have to work hard like Herb and Mel before they get multiple homes and private jets. But I'm sure they'll adjust to working life just like the rest of us.

varangianguard said...

Nice post, IPOPA.

But, a little nitpick on your reply to Paul.

Democrats have an aristocracy of our very own. Sure, we don't call it an elitist society, separated from the common ruck, but it's there. The main difference from the Republican one is that the Democratic one isn't quite as difficult to join.

Rank and filers just don't get to see it very often (except in People Magazine or on TV).