Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How the Rays are like Big Oil

Last year, I wrote how the Rays were like Pensacola Beach after the BP oil spill.

Now, I think I can draw comparisons between the Rays and BP itself.

This week, many Democrats scoffed at Republicans' refusal to drop subsidies to BP and other big oil companies. Meanwhile, all the arguing over whether the Rays should get a new stadium has to do with how much the public would have to subsidize.

I don't think many Americans would honestly want the big oil companies to fail (or banks, auto-makers, etc.). Thus, there's support for subsidies to keep their products affordable.

Similarly, most Tampa Bay residents support subsidies (tax breaks, interest-free loans, etc) for businesses that help out the region. That's why the public pays for the stadium that allows the Rays to turn a profit.

The big debate, however, is always over how big is too big of a subsidy? While Democrats argue oil companies are too profitable for subsidies, it's often Republicans making the case that team owners are too rich for stadium subsidies.

There's no right answer, but it's why many sports teams invest in lobbyists to push their political agenda.

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