Chalets And Charlatans

Speaking of who actually built stuff, Dennis G over at Balloon Juice takes apart Mitt3PO and the myth of Galtian supermen building great things with their bare hands without the accursed federal gubmint lending a hand (or a ducat):

Earlier this year, Mitt held a gathering of his high end donors ($50,000 plus givers) and GOP/wingnut potentates at another estate in Deer Valley. The slush fund party was held at the home of Scott Keller of Keller Investment Properties—a real estate developer who made a fortune off land/development deals in Summit County and around Park City. As these ‘masters of their galtian universe’ gathered to celebrate Mittens, they could look over Deer Valley and think that all the wealth generated in this corner of Utah (and all over the world) was because of them and their brilliance. I suspect that they all (especially Mitt) thought “look what we have built with our own hands—and without the help of anybody else, especially the God Damn government!”

Sure they thought that, but like with most things they think—it was wrong.

In the recent past, say 10-12 years ago, the 2002 Winter Olympics were going to be held in Utah. By 1998 the effort was swamped by a bid rigging scandal.  Folks in control of the Games were pushed out. New grifters were brought in and they brought in Mitt. He hired a team of lobbyists. And for slightly less than a $4 Million investment, these lobbyist convinced a GOP controlled Congress and the Bush Administration to bail out the Olympics with $1.5 Billion picked from the pockets of US taxpayers. Most of that money went to road construction projects around Northern Utah. Of the 10 major infrastructure projects that taxpayers paid for, four were near Deer Valley and Romney’s old home. Taxpayers spent about $70 Million for new infrastructure that increased the property values around Summit County. Deer Valley (and Mitt’s house) was in the middle of the profit zone. By the start of the 2002 Games the development boom was in full swing.

Romney’s patrons could imagine that their property values increased because of their hard work, but without the $1.5 Billion taxpayer bailout to build out the infrastructure in Northern Utah, their land would still be isolated, remote and not worth that much.

Dennis goes on to reveal that even back in the day, suckling at the government teat was the Randian modus operandi:

Turns out that Mitt bought his plot of land in Deer Valley back in 1995. He bought his 9.880 acres from Blue Ledge Corporation, a part of the United Park City Mines CO. Funny story. United Park City Mines CO used to be in the mining business, but then the mines around Park City played out. By 1960 the area was isolated and economically depressed. Still, there were mountains and snow. The folks running the failing mine owned a lot of surrounding real estate. They ditched mining and went into the development business. They decided to build a tourist destination focused on skiing and winter sports. Their problem: they had no cash, no capital and nobody in the private sector would fund their scheme.

Their solution: a $1.2 Million loan (in 1963 dollars) from US taxpayers to fund a gondola, base and summit lodges, a chairlift, a J-bar, and a nine-hole golf course and other elements that would become Treasure Mountain.  It was a success and fueled Billions of dollars of wealth in Utah over the next 50 plus years. But it never would have happened without the Federal Government.

Same as it ever was – feed at the trough for me but not for thee…

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