Robbing Peter to pay Good Sam
by Mark Luedtke
Dayton is in a general state of decline as the people struggle to overcome the looting done to them by government at all levels. Even the Oregon District, despite the city shutting down competitive bars all over town, does significantly less business than it did five years ago. The state smoking ban is one big reason for that, but from my observation, business seems worse this year than last year, too. The downward trend in the city is a result of business after business and individuals going bankrupt or leaving town for a lower tax location, putting people out of work. It’s been happening for 60 years, and it’s getting worse.
But the neighborhoods surrounding Miami Valley Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital, both Premier Health Partner (PHP) facilities – one of southwest Ohio’s biggest employers – defy the trend. Those hospitals are growing because the general health of the people of Dayton is getting worse as they grow older and poorer. While our rulers celebrate and promote the growing hospital business, increasingly poor health is not good for the city. It also doesn’t explain why the surrounding neighborhoods are being improved.
A few years ago I heard some government insiders laughing about things called Genesis and Phoenix. When I asked what those things were, the people clammed up. I asked other government insiders about them a few other times, but I never got an answer. They wouldn’t give me any information, not even enough to find them in an Internet search. Whatever they were, the insiders didn’t want outsiders in on the secret. I recently discovered what they were talking about. It turns out the Genesis and the Phoenix Projects are programs that steal money from Dayton taxpayers to enrich those PHP hospital owners by dramatically increasing their property values.
City government hides how much it steals from taxpayers and spends on these projects by funneling money through a non-profit organization called CityWide Development. The motto of CityWide listed on its website is “Moving Dayton Forward for 40 Years.” The history of Dayton in the last 40 years is undeniably one of decline – over 100,000 people have abandoned the city since 1970, nearly half the city’s peak, mid-1960s population – so at best, CityWide is an abject failure at improving Dayton. Yet, it continues to exist, funded by our tax dollars.
But economist Robert Higgs explained there are no failed policies: “People label a policy as a failure because it does not bring about its declared objective. For example, drug policies do not reduce drug use; educational policies do not educate children better; national-security policies do not make Americans more secure; and so forth. The mistake is to take seriously the announced policy objectives, to forget that virtually everything the government does is a fraud. The best way to document the government’s nearly unblemished record of policy success is to follow the money.” In this case, the money enriches the owners of PHP hospitals. The neighborhoods around the hospitals improve. The rest of the city declines.
More fundamentally, CityWide doesn’t exist to benefit the people of Dayton. Like all government and pseudo-government organizations, CityWide exists to enrich our rulers – the plutocrats, politicians and bureaucrats – at our expense. This explains CityWide’s slogan. Forward has long been a socialist code-word. The first line of CityWide’s description of itself reads: “For over 40 years, CityWide Development has been moving Dayton forward.” That sentence screams socialism. CityWide exists to advance our rulers’ interests at our expense. It’s been terribly successful for 40 years. That’s what our rulers want. That’s why it still exists.
The Phoenix Project surrounds Good Sam while Genesis abuts Miami Valley. Here’s how CityWide described the Phoenix Project: “The Phoenix Project is a public-private partnership that is investing millions of dollars for redevelopment activities in the neighborhoods surrounding Good Samaritan Hospital. Primary partners are CityWide, the City of Dayton, Good Samaritan Hospital and the four surrounding neighborhoods.”
But the City of Dayton is also the primary partner in CityWide. That means the city is funneling our tax dollars into this plutocrat enrichment project twice. Sure, the people who happen to live in the neighborhood benefit from the stolen funds, too, probably many are hospital employees, but the rest of us are being robbed.
Nobody seems to know why Salem Avenue went into decline two decades ago, but here’s a theory: Around that time, Good Sam’s managers approached city government with a plan to buy a bunch of surrounding property. City government obliged by cutting services like road repair and police coverage, driving down property values. The hospital bought the properties it wanted at reduced prices, then city government initiated the Phoenix Project to re-inflate the value of the hospital’s property. Same for Miami Valley and Genesis. It’s genius. It’s perfectly legal. Tennyson Avenue is near Good Sam, but outside the Phoenix Project. Its horrific state of disrepair can only be intentional, which provides evidence for the theory.
This is why government as we know it exists and why we should get rid of it.
The views and opinions expressed in Conspiracy Theorist are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes only.