That’s what we thought about the editorial and op-ed pages of the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) which hit our mailbox this week. Three of the four columns presented refer to the use of funds in the public arena.
Reading from left to right, the first is an editorial supporting the subsidy of the Indianapolis Motor speedway (IMS) with tax dollars. We have no information about, nor any question of the need for, extensive and expensive updating of the Speedway facilities. We would simply point out the inconsistency of the next-to-last paragraph.
"The outrage over the seemingly endless line of businesses marching to the doors of government demanding handouts is understandable. But many of those have little or no track record on which to base their requests."
We fail to recall any opposition by the IBJ to the millions of dollars of subsidy for downtown sports franchise owners who annually go to the CIB with outstretched palms - and no financial records supporting claims of impending poverty.
The next item to the right is slightly different. It reports the willingness of the IBJ publisher to repeat financial support of an Illinois congressional candidate who is an ex-convict.
While we admire the "second chance" attitude, we wonder about the judgment of the donor. The man in question, at one time "bright and eloquent" according to this column, was one of the mob of people (or people of the mob?) who was pardoned by Clinton as he left the White House. One of his crimes? Failure to report campaign contributions!
Well, while the current popular liberal activity is to throw money away, at least these are private funds.
Then we jump across to the Op-ed page where half the page is devoted to the thoughts of a 22-year-old lady about the mass transit boondoggle.
Once again we are told about the necessity of meeting the demands of the "young professional" if the city is not to fall into bankruptcy and chaos.
We find ourselves puzzled on two points. Millions of dollars are being spent, with huge public assistance, on downtown construction and promotion as we are told about the demand for downtown housing by "young professionals" who want to be where the "action" is. But this young lady chooses to live in Carmel and work downtown. Who is really speaking for the "young professional?"
She also cites some statistics about a 15 percent loss of downtown jobs between 2000 and 2010. We’ve been under the impression that, as a result of brilliant public economic policies, downtown is in the best shape it has been for at least decades.
How can that be with such problems as major job losses and municipal budget crises, to say nothing of occasional gang fights on the night-time streets while public safety dollars are handed to the CIB?
One final point. We read recently a reference to the intra-city bus system as a "crutch" for the people who cannot afford private transportation. We would suggest that an expenditure of public funds on a "crutch" for those who need it, is incomparably more reasonable and desirable than an expenditure for luxury transportation for those who think they are entitled to it.