Revisionist History

Season 2 has started.

Not my favorite episode. The ship of Theseus thing was kind of a reach, I don't think an apartment coop changes ownership as the apartments gradually change hands either.

Comments

  • I felt the same way. I think starting with "I hate golf" turned me off. I get MG's perspective and I know his general position on things, but he kind of painted all golfers as moustache-twirling robber barons or ponzi-scheme executives.

    I'm a regular, middle-class guy who grew up playing golf with my brother and my dad. I was on the team in high school, so I played five days a week for six months out of the year. I don't have the time or money to play as much as I want, but I make it a priority to get out and spend time on the course with other dudes every six weeks or so.

    I appreciate MG's stance that golf courses should pay more taxes or provide more public good, but demonizing the game of golf really turned me off.
    Andrew Stadler
  • davemcbdavemcb Melbourne
    I agree that the game of golf shouldn't have been demonised but the courses and clubs themselves that should be for not paying relevant taxes to incomes and land values but at the same time if I could use those loopholes on my own property or income I would. I also think MG might take a handout every now and then but not $90M a year type handout.
  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    I like playing Golf but I can say many people that I have played with or around are fucking assholes. I remember one time the course manager flipping out because we stopped to pick up a sandwhich at the turn and it took us 20 minutes to get our food. (Not our fault, a group of 10 old ladies decided to eat lunch at the clubhouse and took their sweet time ordering and we were behind them so our food took a while to come out) naturally that 20 minutes caused a bit of a back log with the groups behind us. I understand the rules of the turn but it wasn't our fault they had 1 waitress serving 14 people. It's not like we wanted to take a 20-30 break and fuck the people behind us. But i can see why some people can get a bad impression of golfers and Golf courses if they have to deal with similar people that we did. This also wasn't a nice course. It was a back woods $20 for 18 holes type course in the middle of bumville illinois. Not even a prestigious course.
    No Half Measures....
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited June 19
    I was actually pretty outraged by this episode (in the way that MG intended), and it's not about golf the game. I don't golf, but I have no ill will towards golfers, and my dad is a die hard and I love what the game gives him. My aunt has Alzheimer's and golf is one of the only remaining things that gets her active because of her connection to the game, even if she doesn't really understand what she is doing on the course anymore she still walks a few holes and puts the ball around and it's very good for her and somehow still brings her joy. Admittedly, I was a little turned off by say the first 15 minutes of the episode, feeling like it was just sour grapes until he got onto the tax issue. I mean, do I think it's a shame that so much land is eaten up by courses in Los Angeles when there could be amazing parks? Yes, but it's not really my business. There are a lot of things in the world that aren't like I wish they would be, and as I said I love golf for the happiness it brings to my dad who is a man who really, really benefits from that escape.

    That stuff, as I see it, is just a little side rant to the greater point. This kind of falls into the same category as mega rich NFL owners holding cities hostage in stadium negotiations. It's the exact point he made himself. These lavish, super exclusionary, definition of classist institutions are getting gigantic tax breaks? They get an exemption and a extremely favorable stance on prop 13 that isn't being questioned? I'm not a lawyer, but it's insanity to me that given the amount of money that they generate, and given the amount of land they consume that this can stand. I guarantee that if this wasn't to the benefit of the state's richest and most powerful people they would find a way to reverse the deal, but it's their club and they value it so fuck fairness and fuck everybody else. I get that people typically don't like to work against their best interest in the name of fairness, but I can't see how they get around paying their fair share. That fact causes me to wonder about all of the amazing, community inclusive things that could be done with that land. What could be done with those tax revenues.

    I'm not blaming the golf courses here, also (they're in a sense doing their job to run their business and take advantage of the rules that they operate under). I'm blaming the people who are in a position to do something about this who aren't. People who are supposed to be working for the benefit of the city and the state who are letting this stand. It's completely outrageous. 

    I really want a Grizzly Bear sidekick, but Daniel Rossen won't return my phone calls.

  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    I loved the episode, and I love playing golf. What he's talking about here is just a blatant abuse of the system, not for any sort of greater good, but to spare the pocketbooks of the incredibly wealthy.

    He's letting you know up front that he hates golf because he should reveal his bias. That doesn't change the fact that executives who prioritize golf over the welfare of their clients and employees or private clubs who essentially steal from public coffers by manipulating laws and regulations shouldn't be brought to heel. Like, this would only actually be outrageous if he just liked hitting a small white ball around the country side? I don't get it.
    TravisAlkaid13
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    It sounds like the voters of California screwed up 40 years ago with Proposition 13 and happened to give a major tax break to golf clubs as a side benefit.  That's not the club's fault.  I don't think his changing hands argument is very good, either.  I don't think the whole apartment building starts to change hands when someone buys an apartment in it.  
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited June 19
    Correct me if I'm wrong (and I very well could be), but in purchased apartments wouldn't the property taxes be paid by the owner of each apartment and thus reassessed within each purchase? If not, would it be the case that the owner of the building that houses the apartments be the "owner" and thus responsible for the taxes with the residents perhaps owning their apartment, but not the building so the taxes would be reassessed with the sale of the encompassing building or when it is passed via the estate? It seems to me that it's not an apples to apples comparison (though again I could be totally wrong). Maybe if in this apartment building, by purchasing an apartment you actually got a stake in the building as a whole, but is it really the case where that happens? Isn't it more so that you are still under the developer or the owner's umbrella it's just that you own the space? 

    Also, I don't blame the clubs themselves either. I do think that we have a right to fix previous mistakes though. I think it's pretty obvious that they're getting away with a treatment that is insanely unfair to the overwhelming majority of the city and the state's residents and that our representatives should be looking at ways to close the loophole. That's an insane amount of lost dollars for something that only benefits a tiny fraction of the people. I'm a little surprised that thinking this is completely nuts is so controversial. 

    I really want a Grizzly Bear sidekick, but Daniel Rossen won't return my phone calls.

  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Yeah, I don't think anyone is advocating running the wealthy club owners into the streets and tarring and feathering them.  Although I don't think they're innocent.  They lobbied hard for the exceptions that they have, but you know, that's not illegal.  I think the sentiment towards the end of the podcast seemed fair.  Either start paying their fair share on property taxes, or take down the barbed wire and let the public have access to the course on weekends and off season times. 

    The place costs a quarter of a million dollars to join.  They can pay the 80ish million dollars a year property tax that they should have been paying.

    Incidentally, I've been a guest several times to Medinah, which last I heard costs just under 100k to join.  The level of opulence and excess at these places cannot be understated.  You are waited on hand and foot like a king of old, the grounds and area are maintained to a ludicrous degree, and rich, powerful, and famous people are all around you. And I imagine this place is about 1/3 as swanky as what Gladwell is describing.  They won't like sharing Olympus with the mortals, I'm sure, but cry me a river.

    Alkaid13TravisFreddy
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    edited June 19
    We should start an annual Baldmove charity golf tournament and donate the proceeds to The First Tee. It should definitely be called the Malcom Gladwell Classic.
    A_Ron_Hubbard
    I just want to be famous enough that a porn parody gets made about me.
  • OldGriswoldOldGriswold Brooklyn
    Golf is like Tennis. "Sport" for the rich.
    Yeah? Well, y'know... that's just like uh... your opinion, man.
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited June 19
    I think you have to make a distinction, at least as far as my understanding via Gladwell goes

    " They lobbied hard for the exceptions that they have"

    -in 1960. For being assessed at a lower rate than the most valuable development on their property.  That's fair game for criticizing cronyism and not paying their share etc, etc and if California voters and politicians wanted to undo their state constitutional carve out, sounds like a good plan.

    - For 1978, it sounds like they just benefited from an oversight or side benefit of a law, proposition 13, that ended up affecting them.  I am not clear that they were lobbying for proposition 13, someone just designed a law that had all kinds of side effects that sound ill considered to me.  That being said, I would not volunteer to pay more taxes if I didn't have to, so I don't think they're on the hook for that one.

    From Wikipedia.
    "Owners of commercial real estate benefited under the original rules of Proposition 13: If a corporation owning commercial property (such as a shopping mall) was sold or merged, but the property stayed technically deeded to the corporation, ownership of the property could effectively have changed without triggering Proposition 13's provisions.[36] Under current law, a change of control or ownership of a legal entity causes a reassessment of its real property as well as the real property of entities that it controls.[37]

    Corporations often avoid reassessment by limiting portion of ownership by purchasing in groups where no single party owns more than 50%. For example: "In 2002 ... wine barons E&J Gallo purchased 1,765 acres of vineyards in Napa and Sonoma from Louis M. Martini. But the deal avoided a reassessment, because 12 Gallo family members individually obtained minority interests."[38]


    TravisFreddy
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited June 19

    " It seems to me that it's not an apples to apples comparison (though again I could be totally wrong). Maybe if in this apartment building, by purchasing an apartment you actually got a stake in the building as a whole, but is it really the case where that happens?"


    Yeah, that's a co-op.  More common in New York City in the US. I believe what you actually buy is a co-op share and you're technically designated to the apartment you own (but you don't actually physically own your actual apartment)   The co-op board decides if they allow you to buy an apartment when you make an offer to the selling owner.  I'm not an expert never having had anything to do with a co-op.  Be that as it may, the controlling entity of the building is clearly not changing when someone buys an individual apartment in the co-op.


    Travis
  • " It seems to me that it's not an apples to apples comparison (though again I could be totally wrong). Maybe if in this apartment building, by purchasing an apartment you actually got a stake in the building as a whole, but is it really the case where that happens?"


    Yeah, that's a co-op.  More common in New York City in the US. I believe what you actually buy is a co-op share and you're technically designated to the apartment you own (but you don't actually physically own your actual apartment)   The co-op board decides if they allow you to buy an apartment when you make an offer to the selling owner.  I'm not an expert never having had anything to do with a co-op.  Be that as it may, the controlling entity of the building is clearly not changing when someone buys an individual apartment in the co-op.


    That does sound kind of familiar, though I've never been a part of one either so I don't know the mechanics. I will give that it does sound like a pretty apt comparison after all. I guess it still doesn't change my fundamental point that even if the argument of their rotating membership doesn't hold up that it's still too much revenue lost on something that does nothing for the vast majority of the populous. I stand by the fact that if this wasn't an entitlement of super rich and powerful people they would have closed this loophole long ago, and it should be closed. I think Gladwell points out a real issue here. Like @A_Ron_Hubbard said, I'm not out to tar and feather anybody here, and I'm not out to shut them all down and turn them into public parks and community centers and what not, but this needs to be addressed. It's not like we're persecuting people who can't handle it here, those clubs can pony up their share and they should have to especially as they operate in such an exclusionary way. These are dollars, and a whole lot of them, that could be going to useful programs to enrich the city and its people. 

    I really want a Grizzly Bear sidekick, but Daniel Rossen won't return my phone calls.

  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited June 19
    @Travis I don't think California voters are going to overturn proposition 13 when all the businesses in California would presumably be lobbying against it because they all benefit from it . The best hope is probably overturning the 1960 assessment rules.
    Travis
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    You can target legislation a heck of a lot narrower than overturning the whole proposition.  They could ammend it to bring just golf courses in line with expectations.  Or, as I suspect, the Golf Clubs are the tip of the iceberg of the impact of this situation, target the things out of line.
    Travis
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited June 20

    You can target legislation a heck of a lot narrower than overturning the whole proposition.  They could ammend it to bring just golf courses in line with expectations.  Or, as I suspect, the Golf Clubs are the tip of the iceberg of the impact of this situation, target the things out of line.

    @Doctor_Nick I agree with you, and I've also seen the real benefits and even fairness of portions of prop 13 on some of our elderly clients who may not be able to pay property taxes on what their homes are actually worth today (not to mention the business interests that you mention), but A.Ron said what I was thinking. I think you can throw out this and I'm sure some other really blatant loopholes of the proposition without killing the whole thing. They amend the tax code all the time to address strategies and exposures that they didn't account for. I don't see how this would be any different.

    I really want a Grizzly Bear sidekick, but Daniel Rossen won't return my phone calls.

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