You knew that TARP would lead to public shaming and Congressional indifference to contracts, right?
U.S. Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Ted Poe are urging the Obama administration to demand that Citigroup drop its $400 million, 20-year naming rights deal for Citi Field, the New York Mets’ new stadium scheduled to open in April, because of $45 billion the bank received in government aid.
“At Citigroup, 50,000 people will lose their jobs. Yet in the boardroom of Citigroup, spending $400 million to put a name on stadium seems like a good idea,” said Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat.
Citigroup and the New York Mets signed a contract. Now, because it’s not a populist expenditure, it’s invalid and Congress thinks it can tell the two parties that the contract is worthless. Surely demonstrating that contracts can’t be relied upon will strengthen the long-term economy.
However, notice how Rep. Kucinich refers to Citigroup spending $400 million. That is spread across 20 years. Are Reps. Kucinich and Poe suggesting that the economy will be bad for the next 20 years? Are they suggesting that the banks will be under Congressional control for the next 20 years? I know the answer to the latter, but I want to know if they’re invoking the politicians favorite power grab, the permanent crisis. That’s the safe assumption.
I also wonder if Reps. Kucinich and Poe have evidence to support their implicit assumption that naming rights do not work as a marketing tool. Being seen on television at least 81 times per year, as well as every sports highlight show after those 81 home games, are valued at less than $20 million per year? Based on what evidence?