The Hoppe and Hammer writing tandem always reminded me of Bob & Tom's Mr. Obvious bit in which a person, let's call him "idiot," can't make the obvious connection between two things.
Neither Hoppe or Hammer have ever made the connection between the corporate welfare schemes they consistently support and less tax revenue for public services. In short, Hoppe and Hammer would be the idiots in the Mr. Obvious bit.
But then again, maybe I'm the idiot because keep reading Hoppe's column thinking he will eventually oppose a corporate welfare scheme as a drain on revenue that the City could use for basic services. This week I was sure that day had finally arrived. Hoppe had penned a column about the Market Square Development in which the City is giving a private, politically developer property and a subsidy of over $23 million (over $40 million if you count interest on the money being borrowed), in order to build luxury apartments and retail.
I just knew this time would be different, that Hoppe would have to write about the land being given away, the $23 million subsidy, and the fact that the city has much more pressing priorities when it came to the tax dollars that would flow to the private developer. But once again I was proven wrong. Hoppe managed to write a whole column on the development without ever mentioning the huge taxpayer subsidy. Instead he spent the whole article complaining that the proposed structure is "boring" and that the City lost an opportunity "to make a major cultural statement."
I am working on this Mr. Obvious bit starring David Hoppe:
HOPPE: The Market Square development is boring. And what about culture? This city needs more culture.
MR. OBVIOUS: Aren't you in the least bit concerned that taxpayers are shelling out a $23 million subsidy to a private developer to build luxury apartments?
HOPPE: Culture...culture...culture. I like that word. I try to say it as much as I can.
MR. OBVIOUS: We don't have enough tax revenue for basic services, things like parks and public safety.
HOPPE: That's why I want to raise taxes.
MR. OBVIOUS: But if we stopped giving away tax revenue to every politically-connected developer in town, we would have plenty of revenue to fund city services.
MR. OBVIOUS: By giving $23 million to a private company to develop the Market Square apartments, that means we have $23 million less to spend on city services.
HOPPE: What? Are you saying that if the City gives money away, that means the City has less money?
MR. OBVIOUS: Yes.
HOPPE: Huh, I never made the connection. Thank you, Mr. Obvious.