The Austin Chronicle

Welfare Queens?

RECEIVED Fri., Dec. 21, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Were y'all as stunned as I was by the bald-faced admission that the Circuit of the Americas is a welfare queen? At least that's what I took away from the “Quote of the Week” [Dec. 21] ascribed to Richard Suttle, in seeking state funding for events at COTA: "Without some sort of public assistance, these events don't work." So I'm now waiting to hear if Rick Perry will go on record that everyone connected with COTA must pass a drug test before they can get any more welfare payments. As if. Really, why doesn't Perry just drop all pretenses and go ahead and put on a clown suit?
    Now the apologists for corporate welfare will tell us, "But these events bring so much revenue to the community because people who come into town for them spend lots of money here!" But if that's a legitimate argument for such welfare payments, then doesn't that apply equally well to what these folks would no doubt think is "welfare" – various forms of assistance to the not-so-well-off? Isn't pretty much all of that money also spent in the communities where the recipients are located, boosting their economies? And don't such payments benefit society in ways at least as beneficial as what really comes down to nothing but luxury entertainment?
    But no, that just doesn't seem to compute to the corporatists that hold the reins of power in this state and country. Welfare, it seems, is assistance given to people they like to look down upon. Assistance to the well-connected and well-off is an "incentive.” But if that's the case, how then to make sense of what Suttle said? How can it be an incentive if COTA can't get by without it? An "incentive" to locate here so that we can keep on giving them more and more "incentives" so they can continue to subsist? Sure sounds like welfare to me. And given how COTA types strut around in their high-dollar vehicles – yes, some of them perhaps Cadillacs – doesn't that make them the very definition of welfare queens?
Best regards,
David Venhuizen

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