Political conservatives like to talk about how government ought to be run like a business. They talk about it so much that it’s odd, then, that they never actually do it.
Part of it has to do with language. They use words that appear to mean the same thing when, in fact, they actually have two distinctly different meanings.
Danny Williams is a good example of how that peculiar breed of politician. The Old Man talks about the public money his buddies on city council gave to his hockey team as an investment. As a businessman, though, Williams means something different when he talks about investing his own money.
If Williams invests a dollar in something, he expects to get the dollar back plus more money besides. That’s what people like Williams mean when they speak about a return on investment, abbreviated ROI.
But when Williams talks about a public investment of cash, like say the $700,000 he’s going to get, then the concept is different. VOCM reported that Williams said that “the IceCaps pump in about $26-million a year to the economy, and that's not counting what comes into the region through intangibles such as publicity.”
CBC had a bit more detail in their quote from Ole Twitchy:
To me, the City of St. John's, Mile One, has made an outstanding investment by exchanging $350,000 for $25.5 million plus tourism benefits. It's really a no-brainer ... It's a great business opportunity for everybody.
Williams actually used a different word – “exchange” – rather than investment, but the idea is still the same: the public money goes to people like Williams. They also get the $26 million. The taxpayers actually don’t even get their $700,000 back at all, let alone an additional return on their supposed investment.
Just for a laugh, someone should go ask Danny for $350,000 to do whatever you want with it. tell Williams that he won’t get any of his money back but his “investment” will allow you to go on a holiday, pay your mortgage or whatever you plan to do it. Multiply the benefits or claim you will contribute to sustaining a chunk of the local economy. Tell Danny it’s a no-brainer for a publicly minded guy like him to give you the cash.
See how long far you get into your story before Danny tells Liz to call Steve Marshall to kick you out of his office.
Pretty well all of Williams’ argument is built on the idea that without the public cash, the project wouldn’t happen. That’s not true. It’s just the bullshit argument Danny cooked up. Williams had plenty of ways to come up with the extra $1.5 million the Jets wanted in exchange for leaving the team in St. John’s an extra year. The money from taxpayers wasn’t essential to the success or failure of the business itself. The public cash was just the simplest way that Williams could make more money for himself and make sure that someone else is out of pocket in the process.
People are pissed off with Williams, mostly because of the full metal douchey way he’s been acting the past couple of days. If they actually thought about what Williams did while in power, though, they’d understand that screwing taxpayers was his policy when he was a politician. The fact he is a whine-bag is the smallest reason to be ticked at him. Muskrat Falls is built on exactly the same kind of give-away as this hockey deal. Taxpayers foot the bill, plus profit. Discount or even free electricity goes to multi-million dollar businesses in Nova Scotia or in Labrador. Williams expropriation scam seized hydro plants and, in the process, stuck local taxpayers with the cost of the environmental clean-up.
Williams also covered payments to workers and in the process relieved the company of tens of millions in liabilities. Before that he was offering the company all sorts of cash subsidies. Then there’s the Hebron give aways and the gifts of free cash to companies like Rolls Royce. Williams came to office promising there’d be no more give-aways. Instead, he’s been all about using public cash to benefit private companies. This latest deal to benefit himself and the Winnipeg Jets is just par for the course. Figuring it out is a no brainer.