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Monday, December 29, 2008

Snyder County refuses Boscov's Bailout

Officials in Snyder County are refusing to back a loan as part of the Boscov's Bailout - even though Pennsylvania officials are pressuring them to do so, arguing that the loan would be "risk free" and guaranteed to revitalize Boscov's and the local economy. 

All of the comments following the story applaud the county's decision, though the point made is only half right.  The question should be "If it is so risk free, why doesn't the private sector put up the loan?"  Investors are always looking for a no-risk, guaranteed return. 

However, state (and federal and local) governments might be assessing the level of risk a little differently - since they are "investing" other people's money.


karlub said...

Sorry, team, have to diverge with you here.

Conservatism is the enemy of ideology, including free market ideology. Al Boscov is a local operation, employing many people at stores that anchor commercial centers that depend on him. He is also a good economic citizen, spreading his advertising money around as lavishly as he can afford. And true, he knows how to donate to Fast Eddie.

Regional self-sufficiency is important, and his stores are a part of that. Bailouts are like taxes to me: The more local they are, the more I am OK with them. Wall St. can go to hell, and Michigan can bail out their own auto manufacturers.

How best to help Al out is a matter of debate, sure. But we should help, unless we like the idea of Pennsylvania becoming like Brazil, with rich people in little gated islands swimming in a sea of lower middle-class discontent, with the resulting per capital income average representing a middle class that doesn't actually exist.

Nathan Benefield said...

So "Conservative" (which you won't find in our mission statement) means ignoring the laws of economics to do things that "feel good", even though they are unlikely to help Boscov's, taxpayers, or the local economy?

If you want to "help" Al Boscov, feel free to do so - with your money. But stating that "we should help" Al Boscov doesn't justify allowing you (or Gov. Rendell) to forcibly take funds from everyone else to support a bailout plan that even you think is still "a matter of debate".

bobguzzardi said...

Man Bites Dog! "risk free"? and the check is in the mail. Wait, Karl, if it is risk free, then you could take the loan.and karlug, shop at Boscov's with your money, not mine. Good store but there are others that are local and that did not go bankrupt. Reward failure and punish those who did what they were supposed to, punish the productive? It does not seem to be helpful or fair.

Anonymous said...

Why should Boscov's get a bailout when they have failed in the market place. How is that fair to companies like JCPenny and Sears/KMart, who have not failed and are still able to attract private capital? Kohls is so well-positioned that they are even expanding next year.

See you later Boscov's, I'll take my business elsewhere.

Valerie said...

Kiudo's snyder county officials! As a former Boscov's employee, I wish Schuylkill County would do the same. Boscov's has been sinking for years, their corporate team sucks, their management team sucks and they compensate the workers so poorly it's actually kind of hard to blame them for not giving a crap about their jobs and doing as little as possible. They can't keep anyone worth their salt in that company so of course customers notice that and decide to shop elsewhere.

Now my tax dollars are expected to fund their shoddy operation?!?! If I had the spare change to invest in the retail market, I would invest and in a much better run operation. Al Boscov has no right to expect me to fund his misadventures.

Anonymous said...

I am a very good freind to one of the Snyder County Commissioners and I know he weighed this decision very carefully. He has explained to me how the information coming from the state has been very slow and there has been a lot of mis-communication on the state's part.
The Commissioner's were told to make a quick decision because they were the last ones to do so and then when they voted, they were told they were the first ones to vote and could jepardize the whole project.
The Governor signed legislation to fund the District Attorneys' salaries in 2005 and to date the state has not paid one red cent. This was a law and now the Governor expects the Commissioners to take his word that there is no risk. I know the Commissioners have received overwhelming support for their decision and the vast majority of the public in Snyder County has been very happy with their decision. We actually feel as though our elected Commissioners are listening to us for a change. Too bad the other County Commissioners involved don't have the same guts to stand up for what is right.