Notes From Babel

Meaningless Jobs Are Not Worth Saving or Creating

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I stumbled upon this February 2007 article by Thomas Sowell describing how taxpayer money was used to pay for golf courses. Not because of rich old white guys in plaid pants. If there were more of them, no subsidies would have been needed. No, it was because the lower class workers at the courses needed to keep their jobs.

If you put San Francisco’s golf courses on the open market, in a city with a serious housing shortage and sky high housing prices, chances are good that the land occupied by golf courses would quickly be bid away by those who would build some much-needed housing.

Of course, this would make the city’s municipal golf course workers unhappy. And unhappy municipal workers can be a big problem for a politician, especially if these are union workers.

How have San Francisco’s golf courses been kept going when they cost more to maintain than they are receiving in fees from the golfers who use them? Recent renovations alone cost more than $23 million.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “the city closed the gap with $16.6 million from state bond funds meant for recreation and park projects in underserved and economically disadvantaged areas.” In other words, the poor have once again been used as human shields, this time to protect golfers.

From the sounds of things, instead of moving away from this absurd model, we’ve turned directly at it and stepped on the accelerator. No one seems to care if all the jobs the government is creating or saving are worth anything to anyone beyond the folks who will get a paycheck and something to keep them occupied on the weekdays.


Written by Tim Kowal

April 25, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Posted in Economics, Politics

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