Bernie Sanders loves baseball. He loves it so much, that when he learned of Major League Baseball’s decision to phase out 42 of their 160 minor league teams, he called for the government to pressure the MLB to keep the teams, protecting the jobs of minor league players while raising their annual salaries.
He has suggested using the government subsidies to professional sports stadiums to compel the League to submit to his demands. But his goal is not to reduce corporate welfare (is it ever?) — he merely wants a business to maintain its unprofitable branches.
It should be absurd enough — even to people who subscribe to Sanders’s socialist ideas — to say that the government needs to protect the jobs of people who play games for a living. Sports entertainment is certainly a valid economic good, but the most faithful apostles of state omnipotence should be able to recognize that salaried professionals for games is a remarkable luxury that few people can realistically expect to enjoy in any economy. Sanders also cites the community value of minor league baseball teams — romantically referencing his own personal memories — failing to realize that profits from attendance are the signal of how much a community values the franchise. It is as if Sanders is a better judge of what communities value than the citizens themselves.