Sunday, September 16, 2007

Feds pay for Cobb Field

I just ran across a news release that Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus put out last week boasting that they had fended off an amendment to cut $500,000 in federal funding for Cobb Field.

In his shocking floor remarks, Sen. Baucus disclosed that "Field of Dreams" is one of his favorite movies, suggesting that he should perhaps see more movies. Sen. Tester said the new park would a "major economic boost" and an "asset to the entire region."

This will baffle some readers here who are convinced beyond all evidence that I'm a liberal, but I'm having a hard time seeing how it is a federal responsibility to build baseball parks. Maybe if times were flush it would be different, but not when the federal government already is running massive deficits and spending a couple of billion dollars a week on a war that looks endless.

Congressmen come and go, but the pork never stops.


Shane C. Mason said...

I don't understand that either, and wrote about it on Montana Netroots. I don't think that this was the best use of federal dollars, and I don't understand how this will spur growth in Billings, but I am not an economist. However, there were a lot of other points to that transportation bill that I do agree with. Since I do pay a lot of federal taxes each year, I expect that some of it be brought back so that I can pretend that none of my money was spent on the war.

Now, I would ask what being a liberal has to do with fiscal irresponsibility? The only blanced budget of my lifetime came under Bill Clinton. I think that 'conservatives' have long forfeited their rights to the title of fiscally responsible.

Chuck Rightmire said...

I agree with the above. I also agree with David that federal money spent on Cobb Field is pork. But I only accept the Cobb Field costs now because the city voted for the Public Safety and School levies in their respective elections. But I also remind you that the money that comes to my hometown is not pork; it is money well spent. Pork is money spent in the other guy's state. That is why Congress may have a lower rating than the President, but the individual senators and representatives will usually get re-elected.

Dave Rye said...

You guys will be horrified to learn that I agree with you.

I love the Billings baseball tradition. I love baseball itself. Hey, David, I was even AT Field of Dreams outside Dyersville, Iowa this past summer. (Sorry, but it's one of MY favorite movies, too.) However, it escapes me how Max can draw a parallel between Field of Dreams and federal funding for Cobb Field. The Kevin Costner character was going bankrupt because he was using his OWN money to build his quirky ballfield.

We in Billings would resent it if federal dollars went for building local ballparks in other communities, and rightly so. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is right on target in his quixotic attempt to keep federal money from being on projects which have only local benefits.

Pete Hansen said...

I've often wondered about the mentality of anyone who believes that "Federal money" comes from someplace like Mars rather than out of every taxpayer's own pockets.

As to Cobb Field, I voted against it and observe with growing concern, the anticipated costs beyond the 12.5 million that was supposed to cover everything.

And, while some costs may have caused some increases, now we've got "add ons" that were not revealed or included in the pleas for a yes vote. Besides, everytime they show a games in progress on the news on TV, there are a hell of a lot of empty seats.

It will interesting to watch how many other "events" are allowed to take place once this palace is completed. If the Reds can afford to pay individual players multi millions to play, why couldn't they have contributed a few bucks?

Dave said...

Ideally, Congresscritters would represent their districts interests as a part of the business of working for the benefit of the whole country. Sadly, our elected officials have (to a great degree) foregone these ideals in favor of what gets them votes back home through such localized gimme projects as the Cobb Field money.
I think we can some consolation in the fact that it was a 'mere' half-million, instead of the now-famous Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere.

Anonymous said...

Wouldnt it be amusing if the Reds moved the team to Colorado...