In accordance with this blog's recent sports-theme, here's a photo of the latest from New Orleans: the reopening of the Superdome for tonight's game. It hasn't been cheap:
The $185 million job included a new roof, thousands of new seats, new video and sound systems and new concession stands. It was all preceded by an enormous cleaning and gutting job after as many as 30,000 storm victims who took shelter there had been taken out of the city.
I haven't yet been able to track down how much of this is public money, except that there's at least $45 million from restructuring some existing state bonds. But sports arenas are heavily subsidized, and there's little reason to think this is any exception.
Are these expenditures of public funds justified:
(1) Because of economic externalities such as increased tourism?
(2) Because of intrinsic value of the game (like saving the redwoods or the Mona Lisa)?
(3) Because of the social cohension provided to the city? Is the value of this increased in a post-disaster situation?
(4) None of the above?