Do Subsidies Ever Stop?

The government has been subsidizing Amtrak for ages. Jumping in the wayback machine, as of 1997, they had received $13 billion since 1972. It’s undoubtedly much higher by now.

Charlotte has given the green light to more than one hundred thousand dollars in incentives for a company who is moving across town. This isn’t an isolated case.

USAirways is amazingly still afloat, even after billions in losses and two bankruptcies. To be fair, they aren’t alone. Maybe it’s time we created a reasonable policy for the bailing out of businesses.

There’s nothing wrong with lending a helping hand. But to continually support businesses that apparently couldn’t otherwise support themselves? That makes no sense whatsoever.

While I realize that a free market is not the one and only solution, I do think that it could be used a whole lot more than it is today. That team wants a new arena costing a few hundred million? No problem – let the fans pay for it. If they want it badly enough, surely they’ll pony up, right? Wrong. So they go to the government and threaten to move – or perhaps not even come at all. And then everyone pays. This is a good thing?

Update: Lest you think this is just about government, check out this article that tells us that the Charlotte Symphony‘s free summer concert series (four concerts on consecutive Sunday nights) will start charging for adults this year. I see no problem with this. They provide a service, and while people have received it for free, and expect that to continue, perhaps it just isn’t economically feasible. So charge. Why not do the same thing with all these other projects?

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