The N.Y. Times` 9/11 scam
The New York Times—unrelenting
champion of the
underprivileged, mighty battler against all
corporate evils, and vehement opponent of
Republican tax cuts for the “rich and powerful”—lives
by a far more self-serving motto:
All the corporate welfare that`s
fit to collect.
You won`t see it reported on the
Times` front page, so here`s the scoop: The Gray
Lady is a greedy leech, siphoning off millions of
dollars in state taxpayer subsidies for private real
estate development disguised as a public good. Now, the
company stands to benefit from a federal tax-exempt bond
program intended to help businesses devastated by the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
This week, it was revealed that
the Times Company`s development partner for the
headquarters project has asked city officials for $400
million in federally-financed
“Liberty Bonds.” The federal program was meant
for rebuilding in New York City`s
Sept. 11 disaster zone, not for subsidizing a
long-planned palatial ambitions.
The background: While small
business owners near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan
struggled to pick up the pieces after the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks, all the midtown Manhattan fatcats at
the Times had to do was throw a tantrum to obtain
public funding for a new building. After the newspaper`s
executives threatened to move their workers out of town,
city and state officials coughed up a vast tract of land
on the edge of Times Square for a shiny, new 52-story
One minor glitch: The land that
government authorities proposed to give away—and the 11
buildings and 30 businesses located on it—wasn`t theirs
for the taking. No matter. The corporate welfare
conspirators invoked two magic words: eminent domain.
Eminent domain powers were
originally intended only for “public use” projects, such
as highways or bridges. But with the wave of a pen, the
Empire State Development Corporation, a
“public benefit corporation” [PDF] condemned the
coveted private property on Eight Avenue between 40th
and 41st Streets for the Times` new digs. Opposed
to special tax breaks for everyone else, the Times`
project comes lined with a handy $26.1 million in
sales-tax exemptions on equipment and materials used for
construction, a waiver of the mortage-recording tax, and
a discount on electricity rates.
Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (you know,
that pesky old piece of paper that Times
editorial writers only seem to rediscover when it`s
needed to justify a right to
sodomy or abortion or
downloading porn on the Internet) bars the use of
eminent domain without “just compensation,” the Times
is only required to pay $85.6 million for the land.
That`s at least a 25 percent discount, according to
Massachusetts Institute of Technology real estate
professor W. Tod McGrath.
In addition, the Washington,
Institute for Justice noted in a recent
report on eminent domain abuse, the Times and
its developer will recoup any cost of acquisition that
exceeds $84.94 million in rent concessions, a figure the
Times itself estimates may come to $29 million.
Buried in the 99-year lease agreement is an option
provision stating that after 29 years, the Times may buy
the site in exchange for one dollar.
This cozy arrangement is “legalized
theft,” plain and simple, as New York Libertarian Party
official Richard Cooper has noted from the beginning
stages of what he and the
party have dubbed
It`s also an example of the
Times` sky-scraping editorial hypocrisy.
The paper`s opinion pages have been
filled for the past two years with liberal rants from
the likes of Nicholas Kristof and Paul Krugman decrying
corporate welfare schemes and accusing President Bush
and Republicans of “crony capitalism.” Kristof called a
Texas Rangers baseball stadium land grab supported by
“avaricious bruising of the public interest.”
Krugman carps about
subsidies to the energy industry. The Times`
editorial board lambastes government loan guarantees to
special corporate interests as “pork-barrel politics”
that have no honest economic justification.
All have been silent on their own
employer`s avaricious feasting at the public trough. Who
wants to oppose “crony capitalism,” after all, when a
corner office with windows in the new publicly-financed
headquarters may be at stake?
Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of
Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores.
here for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click
here for Michelle Malkin`s website.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.