Thwarted markets in everything

Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Wall Street billionaire, was prepared to cut a $25 million check to the high school he attended here in the 1960s, to help it pay for a huge renovation project.

He wanted only a few things in return.

For starters, the public school should be renamed in his honor. A portrait of him should be displayed prominently in the building. Spaces at the school should be named for his twin brothers. He should have the right to review the project’s contractors and to sign off on a new school logo.

The school district’s officials accepted the deal.

So it was that this Philadelphia bedroom community of 55,000, not normally a hotbed of civic unrest, exploded into a populist fury.

That is from Kate Kelly at the NYT.

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Should we ever allow any public building/street/etc to be named for a human? Just ban that and this controversy goes away.

Human nature being what it is, not being able to name stuff after the donor would reduce donations. That would be a large cost to pay for such an intangible benefit.

That's perhaps true, but it's also unfortunate that so many would-be donors are such self-important dicks. (Not just them, too - thing of the agency heads who want to re-design logos, coins, etc. to aggrandize themselves.) But, I'm not certain that a norm against this would hurt too much - people could just compete in other ways - showing off by picking different sorts of (non-living) people to name things after, for example.

Not to worry! Recalcitrant would-be donors can simply be arrested and their assets confiscated. It would certainly clarify things for the rest of them. We'll have this human nature thing licked in no time!

Incredible! Are these people stupid? Some self made millionaire wants to pay to build a school for their children and simply asks that the building be named after him and they look down their nose at the gift. Incredible!

"simply asking"

A stunning number of people today seem to have no problem spouting provably false statements.

Since he had no way to force them, what else is it?

He “asked” for much more than naming rights

And? You say that like you have a point coming.

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Of course, the school district made a mistake in not putting the naming rights out for bid. There might have been other donors that wouldn't have made so many esoteric demands, like rights to review contractors. By holding an open naming auction, the school could ensure that the terms of the final agreement were (tautologically) standard market terms.

Of course, many activists object to selling naming rights at all. But, the school has to be named something, in this case Abington Senior High School. So, objecting to selling naming rights is really demanding naming rights for oneself to name the school Abington Sr High School, while forcing taxpayers to pay for those rights. If naming rights are not sold, then taxpayers need to pay $25M more in taxes than they would otherwise to fund the school. It doesn't seem right for activists to force taxpayers to pay $25M just so the activists can name the school what they want.

Proponents of higher taxes often claim that we need those taxes to pay for essential government services. However, it doesn't seem like government has completely realized full value of all of its assets, like naming rights to buildings, bridges, roads, etc. Why unnecessarily threaten people with prison to coerce them into funding services --- that's what taxes are --- when we have non-coercive alternatives available?

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Public schools are not "owned" by parents, they are "owned" by their communities (ignoring the inevitable state and federal oversight). Schools are obviously not value free, the school board seems to be confused about what issues they should represent the community with, and when they should not presume to speak for their community as far as what signals the school system should be sending. I don't see the issue here - bureaucrats can be relied on to overreach, especially since they often seem to be working without much community (as contrasted with parental) feedback. Too bad none were wise enough to understand their limitations (or perhaps they simply got greedy and decided to take the risk, who knows).

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I think Ron Chernov wrote about this phenomena in one of his books, about how the socialization of credit took over after the Gilded Age passed in the USA. Nowadays taxpayers have gotten rich enough, freeriding off the efforts of countless innovators and wealth creators who have gone largely unrewarded, that they can do things like this, and not suffer the consequences.

Bonus trivia: adjusted for inflation John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie dwarf today's billionaires.

Quote from a random 2017 article I googled;

"John D. Rockefeller is often called the richest American ever, since he was the first billionaire. His fortune was estimated at $1.5 billion in 1918, which in inflation-adjusted terms would be about $24 billion today."

$24bn is not to be sneezed at, but it's much less than Bezos today or Gates at his peak.

That's one way of measuring, but you can also use percent of GDP (or of total national wealth), and John D. will rank much higher.

Scott Sumner recently pointed out how silly it is to compare wealth that way. Wealth is material goods and possessions, not the relatives shares of whatever a particular population might have at any one time. A poor person doesn't become rich just because he is the least poor in his group.

The reason that percent of GDP is used as an alternate measure by economic historians is that the standard price deflator is wrong for the rich, and especially the very rich who consume more positional goods and human labor. The standard deflator looks at a typical bundle of goods. But if you look at the ability to hire lots of specialized human capital and build something like the Biltmore Estate with its surrounding 127,000 acres of land, it would probably take way more than a few billion dollars today if at all possible. And it was a lesser Vanderbilt who built that, not Rockefeller or Cornelius V.

That's a bad comparison. Some things got cheaper some got more expensive. It could well be cheaper to build it today to the standards of last century. I just don't see what's the point of using share of gdp comparison.

And if you take such a thing as making a few antibiotics (was it Rockefeller's son who died of blister?), it was not possible at that time at all.

So because some measure is wrong, we should use a measure that's even worse?

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"Nowadays taxpayers have gotten rich enough, freeriding off the efforts of countless innovators and wealth creators who have gone largely unrewarded . . . ." Ray Lopez either has a wonderful sense of humor or is delusional. Among other words of wisdom, Schwarzman compared the proposal to tax "carried interest" to Hitler's invasion of Poland. When he endorsed candidate Trump, Schwarzman said we need a "cohesive, healing presidency, not one that's lurching either to the right or to the left". Ray Lopez makes the usual American mistake of equating wealth with wisdom; thus, America gets Trump as president. My proposal: name that school for Trump, or if Trump prefers, the "Trump-Schwarzman School", and give Trump and Schwarzan all the authority he/they want over the school, and in return Trump resigns as president and Schwarzman keeps his words of wisdom to himself. No more freeriding by wealth creators off the efforts of hardworking taxpayers.

@rayward - I was referring to how inventors, engineers, and pie-enlargers, rather than gatekeepers like Schwarzman, get about less than 5% of the value add of their work (said one study, sounds about right). That said, finance (what Schwarzman does) is important, as evidenced by the fact loan sharks are so common in the developing world (lack of finance or micro-finance).

Bonus trivia: "Schwarz + Man" in German means "Blackman".

The "great man" innovation myth skips entirely over the actual process of innovation. The people we view as innovators are actually commercializers. They are good at exploiting the commercial potential of other people's innovations. Edison & Tesla being a prime example.

Few people know the names of the early internet innovators for example. There's a reason for this: it's a different mindset and personality. I believe the characteristics may be mutually exclusive in fact. Because the true innovators possess and value characteristics that would be considered socialistic in our modern categorizations - sharing of information rather than hoarding it being chief among them. But also a love of solving big problems (no matter how long or how many dead ends it takes), rather than grinding out ways to dumb the invention down, commoditize it, and get paid more than it cost to build.

From Ray’s posting history and his focus on patents, I think he is well aware that the front man doesn’t do all of the innovation.

Thank you, mine was a "me to" post. I didn't invent those either.

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Indulging his vanity with his name and portrait and even the design and contractors is fine by me, but granting him so much influence over the curriculum is a bridge too far.

Yeah. Because the Rightful, Proper Authorities, the ones with all those pretty degrees from Ivy League colleges, the ones giving their students classes in women pegging each other, are doing such a stand up job of running everything we should defer to them on every issue.

"I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."

SMFS doesn't like public schools so he thinks random rich guys should determine the curriculum, rather than officials elected by the public, including the parents of the students.

Also, are you referring to the school board with the Ivy League degrees and pegging stuff?

I am impressed you can divine my views of public schools from such a short and rather ironic comment. For the record, I have nothing against public schools in Japan. They do their job. So do (or did) public schools in Finland more or less.

The officials elected by the parents did make a decision. Other parents did not like it.

Given the sterling job the various authorities in charge of education are doing across most of the West, I think it is time we tried the random names from the phone book approach - very democratic it would be too. Failing that I don't see why the occasional plutocrat would not do as well.

Just because most public schools in the U.S. are substandard does not mean that allowing a random guy who attended Harvard and Yale with a big ego to micromanage a part of the curriculum is a good idea any more than micromanagement by the federal government is.

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I missed that in the article. Quote?

It's not in the NYT article, but it is in others: "The agreement also said Abington would provide Chromebooks to all high school students and require them to enroll in coding or computer literacy courses by 2022... to keep their benefactor up to date on the curriculum, the district would have been required to provide semi-annual progress reports on the teaching of coding and other computer skills, and hold semi-annual in-person meetings with Schwarzman’s representatives on reaching computer literacy goals, the agreement says. After 2022, reports and meetings would be annual." link

Reading the agreement he wouldn’t have much control. He wanted the kids to get computer training, gave the school a payment schedule and if he didn’t like the progress he would stop payment.

What, exactly, is the issue?

This is my school district and my two kids will be in the senior high in the next few years. The issue is that the School Boatd never told the community about the name change until they voted on it at a school board meeting. The written agreement wasn’t made public until after the decision was reversed at the next school board meeting. Also, the Times article implies this is a very democratic area based on the 2016 election but historically it has always been a swing district.

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I wonder how many of those people protesting actually had or will have kids at the school. I would be pretty mad if I were a parent and a small minority of egotists messed up a nice deal for my kids.

Your logic is, imho, flawed. A public school should (imho) have as its priorities: socialization (peer-to-peer and other types of individual-to-individual, individual-to-group, and group-to-group socialization), education (for future economic and life/health benefits), and values training. The board was just plain stupid in assuming they could unilaterally decide on whether such obviously 'social messaging' conditions were within their purview.

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You could say, not on of Mr. Schwarzman's smartest investments.

0.2% of his net worth. Noise.

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Some polities, among them major countries, have the wise rule of never naming a public object after a living person under the principle that a living person still has a biography to fill out, whether with achievements or bad deeds, and we have no idea what these might be, thus creating potential embarrassments. Or, put more simply: we don't name a building after someone who has not yet murdered his or her spouse. The US practice of allowing living members of congress to get facilities named after themselves is a particularly questionable one.

Actually, in certain areas, this has been a change in my life time. This area, for example - 'The naming of United States Navy vessels for living people was common in early decades of American history, but by World War II, the Navy had firmly established a practice of naming ships for people only after they had died.[1] In 1969, a Navy panel decreed that warships would no longer be named after living persons.[1] That lasted until 1974, when President Richard Nixon announced the naming of an aircraft carrier after United States Representative Carl Vinson. Since then, ships such as the Arleigh Burke, Henry M. Jackson, Bob Hope, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Gabrielle Giffords have been named for people still alive at the time. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._military_vessels_named_after_living_Americans

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Yes, the late (and longest serving senator) Sen. Robert Byrd aka the "King of Pork" managed to get more than 50 public buildings named after himself or his wife while still alive.

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Great idea until this guy is found guilty of something extremely regrettable. Everyone is scandalized, all the portraits and gilded busts of the great benefactor have to be removed and the students are shamed by their athletic rivals.

So, whatever happened to Enron Field?

Or Wachovia Center?

Don't worry, the ability to cover up the past is at least as developed as the ability to honor it. Enron Field gets scrubbed - while a Robert E. Lee statue in VA attracts torch light paraders chanting Nazi slogans.

Just luck of the draw which way that turns out, apparently.

Go Rebels. Fairfax High School probably doesn't get made fun of much, actually. Though it has been thirty years since Johnny Reb was the official mascot. 'The previous mascot of Fairfax High School was a caricature of a Confederate soldier known as "Johnny Reb" (see picture at left). Due to complaints from students and parents, and at the suggestion of the school's Minority Achievement Task Force, the principal (Harry Holsinger) removed the Johnny Reb symbol in 1985. Student protests, rallies, and a lawsuit followed, which challenged the principal's actions as violating the First Amendment guarantees of free speech. In Crosby v. Holsinger, 852 F.2d 801 (4th Cir. 1988), the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the federal district court decision in favor of the principal. After Johnny Reb was removed, the mascot was a set of crossed swords, and an unusual mascot, that resembled a ball of lint, called the Rebel Rouser. Though the school maintains its nickname of the Rebels, the mascot for Fairfax High is now a lion.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairfax_High_School_%28Fairfax,_Virginia%29#Johnny_Reb_Controversy

"Student protests, rallies, and a lawsuit followed"

Good for them. Too bad the day of students fighting for non PC ideas has past.

A lawsuit that they lost, because really, the idea that the Johnny Reb was somehow a figure of respect died in 1865. At least if one considers Robert E. Lee the sort of man to respect in such discussions. 'Lee wrote, "Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring [your children] up to be Americans."' - https://www.virginiahistory.org/collections-and-resources/virginia-history-explorer/robert-e-lee-after-war

And just to be honest, as a native Virginian born in Alexandria, this is truly the Robert E. Lee I was taught worthy of respect - a man who fought for his state, and after the Civil War was over, a man who tried his best to educate his students to be Americans

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I am looking forward to Yale dropping the name - Elihu Yale was, after all, a slave trader, a colonial oppressor who was a little too free with the whip and noose, and a drug dealer.

And I am looking forward to you denouncing the sort of rampant Christian hypocrisy that led to such a turn of events - 'Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the "Collegiate School" was established by clergy in Saybrook Colony to educate Congregational ministers. It moved to New Haven in 1716 and shortly after was renamed Yale College in recognition of a gift from British East India Company governor Elihu Yale.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yale_University

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Harvard as well, started in order to train clergy. Dirty Christians.

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How is this a thwarted market? It's just a market. In which one proposed transaction is being thwarted for ordinary reasons.

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How about thwarted markets in integrated public housing: "After [World War II], veterans desperately needed lodging, so President Truman proposed new projects. Congressional conservatives, deeming public housing socialistic, resolved to defeat Truman’s 1949 legislation with a poison pill amendment banning racial discrimination in public housing. They expected that Northern liberal support would ensure its passage, and planned to subsequently ally with Southern Democrats to defeat the amended legislation. Liberals mobilized against the integration amendment. Paul Douglas, a leading liberal senator from Illinois, urged: “I should like to point out to my Negro friends what a large amount of housing they will get under this act. … I am ready to appeal to history and to time that it is in the best interests of the Negro race that we carry through the housing program as planned, rather than put in the bill an amendment which will inevitably defeat it.” Douglas succeeded in persuading his Northern Democratic colleagues, the amendment was defeated, and the Housing Act passed, including permission to discriminate." https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/books/review/high-risers-ben-austen.html

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It's not a news item, it's an opinion piece, as demonstrated by the passage: There was no mention that Mr. Schwarzman’s name would be plastered all over the school.

Also the mention that Dr. Sichel, the superintendent who approached him about the donation, is "one of the highest paid" administrators in Penn which is completely gratuitous. And the use of the term "naming rights frenzy".
Kate Kelly used to work for CNBC which swoons over tycoons like Schwarzman. Many years ago I worked for the NYT-the kind of crap she's cranking out today would never have gotten past our editors in those days.
Mr. Schwarzman and I are partners -Blackstone is a limited partnership-he's made billions, I've made a few thousands. I don't care about his politics or ego but I do care about the perversion of journalism that is the present day NYT,

+1

Thread winner.

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Many school districts name buildings after retired administrators and nobody raises a peep.

It is the obvious difference of being honored after the fact for your service versus being compensated in advance as quid pro quo for your payment.

What service? It was the guy's job. It's cronyism.

How is this cronyism, naming a building after a guy, AFTER he has retired?

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Yeah, cronyism isn't the right word. But it's still a stupid practice. "Fred was a good guy. Let's name a building after him."

Well, if it's stupid at least it isn't criminal

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The re-naming is a red herring.

The real issue is (or ought to be) that he wants to "review" the projects contractors. In other words he wants to interfere in the process of selecting the final contractor to whom the award will be made. This is not right. Public contracting should be a fair and transparent process, even if donated funds are used to pay for the project.

Funniest comment in the thread. Maybe he just want to make sure that the funds aren't going to some connected union bosses. How dare someone interfere with the backroom deals that go on inside the school district! This is OUR slush fund, you money-grubbing dick!

+1

LAUSD iPad scandal is probably why he wants to review

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Connected union bosses.

Did someone put this thread in a time machine?

My thought as well.
So 1950's.

Yeah, it is, after all 2018. All that corruption stuff, that was eliminated, 100%, since the Obama years. Power no longer corrupts. And back-room deals, as well as insider trading, and abuse of market power are all things of the past. It is a new era in human nature. All hail Donald! (I mean, how else can you explain it?)

Li, Please identify any corruption in the Obama years. Any criminal or civil charges, not just fantasies.

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Actually, Hazel, he made a good point. Is a construction contractor any different than a union boss, if such person exists today. The point is, Hazel, he makes a valid point, without getting into who gets what. What matters is that he gets around public bidding, oversight, and gets the value of the existing asset, and its goodwill.

Public contracts are frequently awarded before the designs are even completed. No one can know what the actual cost can be.

Give me an example with a link. Otherwise, you have no information that supports your claim.

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Unfortunately, public sector unions dominate government education, and it is not unreasonable to think that they will try to ensure that a unionized firm gets the contract.

The main reasons for public bidding is to prevent corruption and to keep costs down, but there isn't much reason to care if he's footing the bill rather than taxpayers.

Logically, that doesn't make sense. You acknowledge public bidding and yet claim they will seek to ensure that a unionized firm gets the contract.. What follows after that is the market the market determining. Give me an example of where a unionized firm in public education was given a preference where there was competitive bidding.

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Actually it is unreasonable to think that.

The spending decisions and procurement are done by presumably nonunion school boards and management staff, and possibly also under state rules established by state government.

1) And which groups have a direct interest in who becomes a member of the school board? The unions that represent government employees like the execrable NEA and AFT, which is why they dump so much money into those elections.
2) PA is governed by the corrupt and outdated union-supported regulation of prevailing wage, which is modeled after the abominable Davis-Bacon Act (named after the PA senator at the time). If he can manage a way to undercut those regulations, he deserves a very large portrait of himself in the school lobby.

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He said he wanted to personally review the contracts. Not that nobody else should have any input and there should be no public bidding, etc.
Does he want to have veto power over the final selection? Maybe. But so what. Maybe the final selection turns out to be some politically connected insiders. Even in an ostensibly "public" process, few taxpayers are paying attention to what's actually going on. Shit like this is exactly where all the corruption happens. Who is paying attention to bidding processes for local school construction contracts? Nobody. Nobody except the guy donating millions of dollars that is.

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Democracy is too important to be left to the voters.

The point of decentralization is to allow localities their respective experiments in self-rule within the limits of their charters. Not everybody has the same preferences.

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I think we should auction off our national monuments.

Put Charles Koch's head on Lincoln's statue. Rename the Obelisk after a Russian billionaire who wins top bid. And of course re-carve Mount Rushmore with the faces of Zuckerberg, Bezos, Jobs, and Page.

Where should we open the bidding?

Yes, high school signage is the same as a national monument.
Do you need to get up from your fainting couch?

Is there some magic line on whats okay to auction off and whats not?

Please point it out

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Schwarzman offered the school $25 million of his own money, which he was presumably free to spend in any way he liked, with no element of compulsion whatsoever, and there was an outpouring of rage over putting his name on the school.

Yet if the local Congressman had arranged for a $25 million grant, with every penny coming out of the taxpayer's pocket, I'm sure that there would've been nothing but praise for him, and not a word of objection to putting his name on the building.

The difference is between a the surrender of democratic process to a private person versus an elected official using public process and established systems of accountability.

And again, the naming is one thing, the turning it into a personal vanity project is another.

And besides, after tax benefit, the public will indeed be paying for up to half of the donated amount. Just without the credit or accountability.

Maybe you should attend the school when its complete.

The difference is between a the surrender of democratic process ...

OK, drama queen.

"And besides, after tax benefit, the public will indeed be paying for up to half of the donated amount"

No they won't. They will forgo taxes, not the same thing at all unless you believe all money is the government's, except what they allow you to keep. OK, you probably do believe that. Also, he'll get the same tax benefit if he invests it somewhere or donates to some other cause.

Nonsense from you. Whether or not it is dramatic does not affect that it is correct.

The taxpayers will be subsidizing the building to the extent of tax deduction taken. Period. It is money the government would otherwise receive under tax law.

That the donor might donate it somewhere nonsensical as well.

So your objection now is that the project will be subsidized by taxpayers outside the district. Also, the project would be subsided to some degree if it were funded in a traditional manner, as tax reform limited but did not eliminate the property tax deduction.

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"Whether or not it is dramatic does not affect that it is correct."

True, that fact that it's false affects whether it's correct.

Also, this guy is donating money all over the place, if the school doesn't get, someone else will, and it will be a write off.

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Too late—I've already attended high school, at which I learned the difference between "its" and "it's".

Though it's probably unfair of me to point this out, since I don't think that the software here allows us to edit our comments once we've submitted them. It may well be that McMike spotted the error seconds after hitting the "Submit" button, and is cursing that inability to fix our errors.

That, and I probably didn't learn when to use an apostrophe in high school, since mine was more concerned with the performance of the football team than with the students' academic performance.

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The custom here in NY is to name public buildings and infrastructure after Democratic party politicians regardless of what they really contributed to the State -- so the current governor is going to name a new bridge after his father, another bridge is named after Robert Kennedy, who had a very slight connection with this State, and the municipal building is named after one David Dinkins, who is widely regarded as NYC's worst mayor in the last 50 years (though the current mayor may prove competitive for that accolade).

Get a majority of the elected representatives from your party and name an airport after Ronald Reagan.

For people of a certain age, National Airport remains the same place it has always been - a creature of a fickle Congress that does what it wants, regardless of what people want.

People have a habit of calling places by the names they were used to. I know old New Yorkers who still call Kennedy Idelwild.

First, nobody is going to call it 'Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.'

Second, as noted by wikipedia - 'The legislation, passed by Congress in 1998, was drafted against the wishes of MWAA officials and political leaders in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Opponents of the renaming argued that a large federal office building had already been named for Reagan (the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center) and that the airport was already named for a United States President (George Washington). The bill expressly stated that it did not require the expenditure of any funds to accomplish the name change; however, state, regional, and federal authorities were later required to change highway and transit signs at their own additional expense as new signs were made.'

Which illustrates the point of a fickle Congress that cares nothing about what other people think. And how at least some people in the region still use National as a way to express a certain amount of disagreement at such externally forced renaming.

It's also not unusual for people to protest by calling something by a different name. Some folks in Atlanta did this with Turner Fiekd. But most people call it Reagan.

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Schwatzman's gift amounts to over $450 for every resident of Abington, taxpayer or otherwise, which would have to be extorted from those same taxpayers through additional taxes. They should all be sending him thank-you cards.

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I don't think people are understanding the nuanced of the proposed name change.

It's one thing to make a major donation and get the brand new stadium named after you, or even to make a bigger donation and have a new school named after you.

But having the existing school renamed after you, that's a lot more controversial since you're in a sense buying the school and its history instead of creating a new school and history from scratch.

You're screwing with the personal histories of a lot of people since their old high school now bears your name. That's the kind of stuff that people take personally.

Well, I went to the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business but it no longer exists by that name. It's Booth. I never dreamed I would be saying I went to Booth - David Booth was just another student whom I knew - but I'm *very* grateful for the $300 million gift. If I somehow resented this change in my life story, I would be the one with a problem.

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Per Wikipedia: The town's name is likely taken from parishes in England formed over 900 years ago in Northamptonshire or Cambridgeshire.

Why does the school need to carry the same name as some forgettable spot on the enemy's island and its current namesake?

Yes and its about time we renamed New York.

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I think it is amazing that the local population has protested this donation so strongly.

Why would they do that? After all turning down $25 million is not a trivial decision. I know I would take it no matter how big of an asshole the donor was.

There must be something else going on here.

Maybe the locals are standing up for their community and deeply resent this asshole's attempt to take over their high school.

Maybe they think he's done nothing but steal from the middle class and $25 million is small potatoes to forgive his sins.

It is a mystery to me why so many have stood up to this asshole.

More power to them, I say.

Indeed. Could it be there's more to this story than meets the eye?

Perhaps the superintendent and the Board have lost the trust of the community already and this was the last straw. Whiff of corruption maybe.

Maybe this is viewed as a power play, to disrupt local politics, akin to something Koch would do.

One thing seems clear, the guy must be a monumental A-H.

The entire story is that a population of spiteful leftists is choosing arrogance and political aesthetics over the education of their children. And really, your own most charitable explanation, the rejection of a ‘power play’, is exactly that.

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Naming and donations with strings attached are issues in local governments everywhere, and unfortunately few consider rules that might not be regretted later. For instance, most Spanish cities 15 years ago still had major streets named after fascists from the SCW era. A few elections with left leaning governments came with an understandable focus of removal of some of those names: The trick is that instead of replacing them with names that had some future proofing, instead they picked communists from said SCW era: Not any less shameful in the long run.

You'll find many universities in the US named after pretty suspect rich men too: Instead of funding politicians, think tanks and a small subset of universities, like the Kochs do today, a whole lot of universities have Buildings named after John Olin, who decided that buying university administrators was the way to go.

Given how the new brewing batch of industralists are pretty far from traditional conservatism, I wonder if they'll just focus on Africa and education, or some will just decide to do for left wing values the same Olin did for conservatism.

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What is with this f@#$ing education Stockholm Syndrome?

Why would you want to contribute money to your jailers?

School is a prison for children and I was never so happy as when I turned 18 and never had to follow orders ever again outside of the government (which sucks, but the orders are mostly indirect).

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How much does it cost to rebuild a high school? A quick search indicates that rebuilding Gaithersburg High cost Montgomery County, Maryland $103 million. Mr. Schwarzman's donation to his old school would have been generous, but still only a fraction of what the public would spend it through their taxes.

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in America everything is for sale, and everything has been sold. i am glad i live in Europe.

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