Saturday, June 16, 2007

Oregonian hypocrisy

The Oregonian's business section is so often laugh-out-loud funny because it puts on display for all to see their complete ignorance of and hostility to the private sector.

Like the day a few months ago when the global stock markets were down sharply - the biggest one day drop in years - and the across the page, above the fold headline on the business page shouted that the metro area real-estate listing database now indicated which houses had "green" features!

Well, Friday we were treated to another typical Oregonian business story. The paper took aim at one of Oregon's few recent economic success stories, and tried hard to find something negative about it - Bandon Dunes.

Bandon Dunes is the world class golf resort that a Chicago businessman Mike Keiser built on the southern Oregon coast. It is truly a marvel. People travel from all over the world to play these courses, that have rocketed into the top ten lists of great courses.

Keiser took undeveloped coastal property in a remote, economically depressed area and turned it into a world-class resort that people literally travel from every area of the globe to come to. He singlehandedly revived the economy of the southern Oregon coast.

The Oregonian's take: "Subsidies underpin Bandon golf resort."

The article goes to great length to identify ways in which Bandon is being subsidized by the taxpayer. What is funny is that right up front, they acknowledge that the entire construction phase was done with no subsidy whatsoever. The subsidy they find is all for infrastructure that the local area wants to create to handle the crush of visitors that want to come to the resort!

So the airport upgrades, which is paid for by a tax on commercial flights and by lottery bonds, is mentioned. But the funniest part - where they are REALLY showing their vigilance as tax-subsidy hawks - is where they try to impute the tax treatment subsidy of corporate jets that fly to Bandon and pin that on the resort as a subsidy!

Huh? Ok here's their argument, as far as I can understand it. Corporate titans who get flown by their Gulfstream to Bandon don't have to pay their companies back for the cost of the travel. Rather, the value of the trip is added to their compensation. The Oregonian claims that results in a $12 million subsidy from taxpayers, which, presumably results from essentially being able to pay for the trip with before-tax dollars.

That is really scraping the bottom of the barrell to make a case that the resort is highly subsidized. That is like saying we subsidize Office Max because when I drive there to buy office supplies, I can deduct my mileage cost.

What makes it even more laughable is that I've never seen a similar article by the Oregonian scrutinizing the subsidy on other developments where the subsidy might be just a little more direct. For instance: South Waterfront!

Bandon Dunes was built with no subsidy at all and is a fantastically successful enterprise that has created jobs, opportunity and economic vitality in a depressed area of the state.

South Waterfront is being built at huge public expense, and has already failed with regards to its central economic premise - attracting a biotech industry to Portland. Yet the Oregonian never once writes an article scrutinizing the billions in public subsidy thrown down the rathole to feed Homer-The-Rat.



Anonymous said...

Whatever our thoughts on the value of examiming how hidden subsidies effect the economy, the Oregonian did not report the article.

The article was from that morning's New York Times, which also ran at its web page a second article about a Bandon guy fighting not to have his land condemned and a video piece.

Anonymous said...

Did the Oregon cut out some of the story?
The Times ran a bunch of pictures about how beautiful it is.

Jack Bog said...

What about the "reward" subsidies that were slathered on (and continue to be) after the development was already finished?

What about the guy who's having his property condemned and handed over to Mr. Golf Course?

Don't bother with the Oregonian chop-up -- read the real thing (including the sidebar) here.

Rob Kremer said...

I'll got read teh NYT version - but really, my point was not whether or not Bandon deserves subsidy - I'm generally against corporate subsidy.

My point was that the Oregonian ran this story, when they have been totally silent (correct that - they have cheerled) for the South Waterfront subsidies that are completely indefensible.

The Oregonion said...

Get this ... in a recent article about price controls on loans, The Oregonian called "Our Oregon" - you know, the political campaign and lobbying organization led by SEIU Local 503 and the OEA - a "nonprofit consumer group." Hah!

"Angela Martin, a lobbyist who has been pushing the bill for the nonprofit consumer group Our Oregon, said it is not intended to put high-risk lenders out of business." ("Ride gets rough as lending bill heads to vote, June 4, by Dylan Rivera")

Face it. The Oregonian is published by those seeking to profit from collectivism for an audience of government union members and PERS beneficiaries. And why not? We're the #1 state in the nation for government unions.

If you are not one of "them" you really should not be reading The Oregonian any more than you should be reading The Labor Press.

It is no accident that Oregon stands out among the states by NOT taxing either federal or state government pensions.

Anonymous said...

You have to be a moron to think there's no liberal bias in the media.

This article loves to bash evil corporate execs for writing off travel and entertainment expenses (just like everyone who owns a business does) because they're a majority, conservative white men. But, those smart growth, sustainability fat-cat developers always get a pass because they're good enviro-liberals.

Also not mentioned are the cranberry farmers who want Scott Cooks water as well.

And Bojack's favorite whipping boy, Lars Larson just had Mr. Cook on the radio trying to help him out.

What an uncaring jerk that Lars Larson is.

Anonymous said...

The NYT article says that the executives do not just write off business expenses like everyone else, as Chris says.

They get a subsidy from taxpayers and shareholders for PERSONAL expenses under some law about personal use of company jets -- that Congress gives the executives a deal that makes their trips almost free compared to what they cost.

The guy who owns the place pays full cost for his own plane because he is a private business and only executives with traded stock get this deal, the article said.
It was very clear that the article was about personal, not business, use of the jets and even the guy who owns Bandon Dunes seems to agree there is a subsidy and maybe Congress should take it away.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:52,

That's all old news. Almost every millionaire owned sports franchise in the country is subsidized by the public. Those subsidies go directly to the millionaire's bottom line.

And don't make me go into how the public is forced to subsidized corporate agriculture -- the sugar industry being the most egregious example.

The bigger issue is when are we going to wake up and revert back to a more open-market system?

No matter your political stripe, you should be outraged at the fleecing we're taking.

Anonymous said...

June 29, Bill Graves referred to the SEIU Local 503 / Oregon Education Association political campaign unit called "Our Oregon" - as "a progressive nonprofit coalition."

"The judge's ruling today made it really clear he is taking the legislative intent to protect Oregon consumers very seriously," said Angela Martin, economic fairness director for Our Oregon, a progressive nonprofit coalition that lobbied for the law.

Anonymous said...

Now the AP is getting in the act. The gov't union campaign group is "an advocacy group" interested in "economic fairness." Good grief.

"There are different regulatory approaches for those institutions," said Angela Martin, director of Economic Fairness Coalition of Our Oregon, an advocacy group. - AP story, June 30

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