The Greek debt crisis has everything to do with Cleveland sports

by Cleveland Frowns on August 5, 2015

The New York Times recently published a column by Michael Powell titled “Sports Owners Dip Into the Public’s Purse, Despite Their Billions in the Bank.” The piece focused on Cleveland and last year’s county-wide ballot issue on the “sin tax,” in which the local pro sports owners, with the help of their corporate sponsors, spent $3 million on campaign advertising to secure some $300 million in tax dollars to fund their privately owned franchises. The owners’ campaign slogan was “Keep Cleveland Strong,” a not-so-subtle and not-at-all-credible threat that one or more of the Browns, Cavaliers, or Indians would leave Cleveland if they didn’t receive the subsidy.

Dolan Haslam Gilbert

Powell’s column freshly raises familiar questions about why a struggling county would spend so much public money to subsidize hugely profitable businesses owned by billionaires. It also raises questions about why the Times would care to focus on the Cleveland sin tax fight so long after the fact, with the subsidy now stuck on Cuyahoga County taxpayer’s bill until 2035. But it’s an issue that keeps coming up across the US, most recently in Milwaukee with the NBA’s Bucks, and with St. Louis, Oakland, and San Diego’s respective NFL teams threatening to move to LA. And more generally speaking, billionaires sticking it to civilians with unsustainable debt loads is a hot topic worldwide.

Powell gets to the heart of the matter in pointing out that:

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  • Chris Mc

    The same thing is going on in Puerto Rico right now. Wall Street and the IMF is in the middle of gutting an entire society / territory. How f***ing bonkers is this?

    “According to a new investigation,
    many of those same billionaires demanding payment from Puerto Rico have
    also profited from the debt crises in Greece, Argentina, and Detroit.”

    They’re demanding that schools are closed, teachers are fired, and minimum wage is dropped so they can get paid.

    • Cleveland Frowns
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  • actovegin1armstrong

    “What Cuyahoga County needed more than anything was a reminder that public debt is just paper and policy choices.” Well written! The trials and tribulations in Greece are not only a sad political parody to Cleveland, they could be a dilemma in kind.
    Terrific stuff Mr. Pattakos.

  • Cleveland Frowns

    Related, via MSNBC: Cleveland’s billionaire sports owners who ‘need your money’ —

    • Chris Mc

      Keep up the great work, Frowns. I wish we could make people understand that we’re better off dropping $260m out of an airplane flying over the city than giving it to these carpetbagging assholes that we’re dealing with.

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