Why do our politicians let the entertainment industry and individuals like Donald Trump bilk taxpayers, hijack public policy and hurt economic investment?
It is widely believed, that a city in possession of a fortune must be in want of a partner who will drive economic development and thus be worth a substantial dowry of tax abatements, subsidies, and grants. These partners always prove faithless, though, especially when it comes to the entertainment industry. Never date an actor, as they say.
From stadiums and movie productions to casinos and mega-malls to convention centers and hotels, cities and states have paid out billions of dollars to the world's corporate titans in an attempt to boost their economies, create new and better jobs, and lure well-known events such as the Olympics and the Super Bowl to within their borders, not to mention give officials a chance to have their pictures taken with celebrities. That Big Entertainment drives bigger economies is a myth, however, one that has nonetheless permeated every facet of policy making despite the overwhelming evidence that it results in a raw deal for the taxpaying public.
In The Billionaire Boondoggle, Garofalo takes readers on a tour of publically-subsidized corporate America to explain how that myth came to be, how much money America's elected officials throw away, and why courting Big Entertainment just courts disaster.
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Pat Garofalo is the managing editor for TalkPoverty.org at the Center for American Progress. He was previously an assistant managing editor for opinion at U.S. News & World Report and economic policy editor at ThinkProgress. Garofalo’s writing on economic policy has appeared in a host of top publications, including The Atlantic, The Week, NBC News Think, The Nation, and The Guardian, and he has appeared on NPR, MSNBC, and ABC News, among others. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife.