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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/9195/good-riddance/

Good Riddance

January 5, 2009 by

Longtime Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad died today. Major League Baseball’s official website has a loving tribute:

The son of a poor family during the Great Depression, Pohlad rose from humble beginnings to head a family-owned network of banking, bottling, real estate and other companies. Forbes magazine wrote in September that Pohlad was worth around $3.6 billion, ranking him No. 102 on the magazine’s list of America’s wealthiest people.

[ . . . ]

Over the nearly quarter-century he presided over the Twins, Pohlad and his family donated millions of dollars and devoted countless hours to the community through the Twins Community Fund and the Carl and Eloise Pohlad Family Foundation. The Twins’ annual award for community service is also named after the owner.

Pohlad kept hold on the franchise and watched as it was revitalized earlier this decade with the Twins winning division titles in four of the past seven seasons. The club also saw its future in Minnesota assured for the near future as it will open its new ballpark, Target Field, in 2010 — a testament to Pohlad’s persistence of keeping baseball alive in the Twin Cities.

MLB.com is too polite to say this, but “Pohlad’s persistence” meant robbing the taxpayers of Hennepin County at gunpoint. Pohlad refused to pay more than one-third of Target Field’s cost himself, so the state and county imposed a $392 million sales tax increase. Normally such tax hikes require voter approval, but the Minnesota legislature bypassed the voters entirely because it would inconvenience the Pohlad’s schedule. And just to add insult to injury, Hennepin County used eminent domain to steal the land for the stadium site.

Pohlad was the true embodiment of the term “robber baron”; he used his personal wealth as moral sanction to justify theft from others. Free market champions already face a difficult task in challenging the prevailing evils of socialism and statism. Criminals like Pohlad only add to that burden, and for that he richly deserves eternal scorn.

{ 8 comments }

Brent January 5, 2009 at 10:18 pm

No doubt. He was a tireless advocate for himself. He may have gave millions, but he also stole at least a half billion when all is said and done.

charleydan January 6, 2009 at 9:15 am

Sorry, to me giving is getting nothing in return, except what your gift was intended to do. Except I guess we know their true intentions. When they ask for their name or worst something else in return for the gift.

I call it the will of the will? I will if you will? Transaction not giving.

Minnesota is so in love with their Twins that asking/voting is not required. Then we wonder where are liberty went?

Kermit January 6, 2009 at 9:22 am

I thought this was an intelligent economics forum. How exactly did Pohlad “rob” the taxpayers? It was his team, wasn’t it? The State and City had the option of keeping the team or letting it go. Isn’t it the politicians who are doing the robbing?

Who said this? “Politics is the art of taking money from one group and giving it to another.”

Pohlad was simply being a businessman.

Miss. Piggy January 6, 2009 at 10:08 am

Kermit,

The idea is that he used his political influence to sway the legislator into stealing for him. He did not directly raise the taxes but his actions swayed legislators to do his dirty work for him. Legislators have the power to strong arm citizens into giving up their wealth. What he did amounts to a mob boss telling someone he will break their knees if they dont get him his money. So the legislators caved, and stole from the people of the city!

James R January 6, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Pohlad robbed no one.

A majority of the people of Minnesota were willing to subsidize Pohlad’s costs—to some degree—in exchange for Pohlad agreeing to keep the team in Minnesota.

By using the State as a proxy, the majority forced its will upon the minority.

Pohlad did exactly what we would expect any capitalist to do: he reduced his costs and thus increased his profits. Would an Austrian economist expect him to do any different?

The question at the root of this issue is whether it is an offense to liberty for any group (majority or no) to empower the State to take another person’s wealth, regardless of the purpose.

Libertarianism says no. But clearly, the majority of Minnesotans are not Libertarians.

Kermit January 7, 2009 at 8:20 am

Miss. Piggy,

So, Pohlad did the equivalent of telling the legislators that he would “break their knees if they don’t give him his money.” By “break their knees” I assume you meant hurt their chances for re-election. And by hurting their chances for re-election, I assume that means getting the majority of voters to vote against them. Have you really thought through what you are saying?

BTW, I have always been against using tax money for sports teams. Why should I be forced to pay for something I care nothing about? But blaming Pohlad for being a businessman is a pretty weak argument, and I find it particularly amusing on this forum.

Kermit January 7, 2009 at 8:26 am

Miss. Piggy,

I typed a reply, but it was not allowed. It was civil and at least I thought it intelligent.

I do find it amusing to see the above logic used particularly on this forum.

I assume “break their knees” means try to see that they are not elected again?

Hank Miller January 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm

If you look close you will note that most legislators from out state (areas where there would be no tax) voted for this, and the city legislators voted against it. What it really comes down to is the out state people don’t care so long as we (we because I live outside of the county in question) don’t have to pay for it. There was strong reason to believe that if state money was used for the team some legislators would not be re-elected.

Note that there were several votes on this. I’m not sure how the final vote came up (perhaps more city legislators voted for it?).

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