Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"Stop sports Arenas Subsidies" bill introduced by Booker (D-NJ) and Langford(R-OK) in Senate


Two Senators have introduced legislation to stop federal government subsidies from support sports arenas. 

Two senators, Corey Booker, D-NJ and Frank Langford, R-OK want to stop sports team giveaways.They have introduced Senate Bill SB. 1342

Wealthy team owners don’t need federal tax breaks to build new stadiums, U.S. Senator Cory Booker said in support of the measure.

ESPN had the original, breaking coverage.

Here is the Brookings Report covering the waste of taxpayer subsidies going to billionaires.  

Another article from Vice Sports has lots of links on the issue.

To show how hard it is to get rid of these subsidies. Check out this story on Sen. Moynihan, who introduced legislation in 1996 to stop similar subsidies. The bill was S.1880.

And NPR in 2011 also had a good summary of the issues.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Some programs at the University of Phoenix have a 11% job placement rate for $60K tuition


The University of Phoenix looks like a scam

We were recently reviewing entrepreneurship programs at colleges in the US. We came across a program at the University of Phoenix which grants a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in small business and entrepreneurship.  The program costs almost $60,000 and has an 11% job placement rate.

Gainful employment statement.
Another link.


The Gainful Employment Statement is the result rules created by the Obama administration in 2015 because of low performing for-profit schools.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

LeBron-O-nomics


The value of LeBron to the city of Cleveland is making head line news.  The owner of Quicken Arena in downtown Cleveland has asked for a $180 subsidy from the city and county to renovate the area. We want to look more closely at the economic impact Lebron and the Q Arena have on the city of Cleveland.

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Cleveland.Com discusses the value of LeBron's return in 2015.  The estimate was $500 million in the story. However, the article covers reason why that figure might not be reliable. Basically, very little new revenue is generated in northeast Ohio from outside the region, instead the money simply flows from other spending in the region like movies and restaurants. (Hey, I am going to skip Starbucks this week to see LeBron).

An older article from 2010 tracks the details of "How much is LeBron worth to northeast Ohio?" They breakdown LeBron value to the local businesses, City, Region and the Cavaliers.

The authors also call LeBron "priceless" in the story. The statement captures how difficult it is for a city to strike a fair deal with owners regarding arenas and superstars.  There is always an implied threat they will move away. And you can't negotiate with a monopoly.

We do want to note: There is some value in bringing together a diverse set of fans including those from the suburbs to downtown Cleveland. Also, LeBron and the Cavaliers enhance the image of the city of Cleveland nationally and internationally.

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A new paper from American Enterprise Institute economists attempts to quantify the effect.
The paper called "Taking My Talents to South Beach (and Back)" looks at the natural experiment of LeBron James leaving Cleveland in 2010, moving to Miami (winning two championships) and then returning to Cleveland in 2014.

The researchers found that LeBron James increased the number of restaurants and bars by about 13% and employment by 24% in the local area.  The effect is most notable with in a one mile radius of the arena. There is was no effect past seven mile away

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In related but separate news, one of the key papers in the sports subsidy field, "Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Subsidiesfor Sports Franchises, Stadiums, and Mega-Events?" by Dennis Coates and Brad R. Humphreys, summarizes the opinions of economists related to supports subsidies.

Here is another link.

A majority of economists surveyed at the American Economics Association convention find no benefit to sports subsidies.  There is no market failure requiring a subsidies, instead the subsidies enrich monopoly owners. Basically subsidies are a waste of money and team owners are playing off cities against each other.

Here is a great quote from the paper...

"We have seen that economists in general, as represented by Whaples’s survey (2006), oppose sports subsidies. Economists reach the nearly unanimous conclusion that “tangible” economic benefits generated by professional sports facilities and franchises are very small; clearly far smaller than stadium advocates suggest and smaller than the size of the subsidies. The fact that sports subsidies continue to be granted, despite the overwhelming preponderance of evidence that no tangible economic benefits are generated by these heavily subsidized professional sports facilities, remains a puzzle."

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Brookings Institute has the often quoted article from 1997, Sports, Jobs, & Taxes: Are New Stadiums Worth the Cost? by Noll and Zimbalist which discusses tactics cities can fight back against sports subsidies. Not a lot can be done but have active citizens and politicians can force monopoly sports owners to cut a better deal.

FANG and Google content sites

When we got up this morning, we did the usual.  We handled out business(we made coffee, people!) and used Google search to see what was going on. Google had a small ad at the bottom of the screen promoting an internal web site. Google sites are known to have some great content, so we clicked and got:



The sites are loaded with images and discussions. Lots of details and suggestions for further research. Just great, engaging material.

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Then we thought about it for second.  FANG - Facebook, Amazon, NetFlix and Google - earn most of their profits from the content, creation, and products of others. The create almost zero, original content. Google let's you find other peoples web pages and watch youtube videos. Netflix lets you watch movies created by others. Amazon sell other peoples stuff. And Facebook, the worst of all, is 100% user created. FB has nothing original.  

To be fair, Amazon has opened distribution centers and Netflix has created some original content. 

What these companies have in common is that they are "natural" monopolies created by the internet.  They distribute the hard work of others for a fee, while making enormous profits.

Some of our richest and most successful companies, effectively "steal" content from people and then charge for accessing that content.  This hustle sends society the wrong message about how to be successful. People are no longer interested in putting in the hard work.  Instead, they are looking for a "get-rich quick" scheme like Facebook where they can skim off a little from the top.  That's the message these big companies are sending. 

We seem to be rewarding the wrong people in this process. We have created a business culture where there is little long-term innovation, rather everyone is looking for a quick payday. 

We have to find a way to reward our real innovators and our artists rather than IT people who move electrons around. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Interesting Stories for June 2nd, 2017- What we are reading

This site has a list of eleven Black Business Directories and apps. Eleven Buy Black Mobile Apps are featured here. From the Black Economic Development web-site.

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CityLab from the Atlantic Magazine discusses "The 100 year old penalty for being Black". The article looks at a paper describing "What would the US look like, if Black economic progress since 1880 occurred level as Whites." The paper also supports Black repartions in a wide set of areas.

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Vox has a story of uninsured minorities being over charged at the hospital emergency room.

Emergency rooms over charge the poor.

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Bloomberg has a great story on the US being unable to execute infrastructure projects. "The US has forgotten how to do Infrastructure,"  The story looks at over-priced infrastructure projects and how they undermine public support.  It's all about productivity.

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Japan housing construction workers are more productive than US workers: FT Alphaville.  The blog says we don't need more workers just higher productivity.

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A piece in VOX by Brian Resnick discusses research showing that people who are "science curious" are more willing to listen to opposing points of view.

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Women are still lagging in pay for some STEM jobs according to Bloomberg

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Quartz has a story about white collar unemployment.  The trend may be due to corporations no longer providing employee training. The Quartz story on white collar unemployment is here.




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