Stadium Deal -- My Take
I tend to agree with El Gran -- stadiums do not provide net economic benefits to a city (I'm sure SuperNova will make a cogent argument why we're wrong, and I look forward to it). They provide other, intangible benefits, though, such as civic pride in the teams that play in them, and a place for citizens to come together and experience community. To me, it should be enough that the city finds that those benefits are important and worthwhile to spend the money on them.
Ideally, the stadium should be financed as much as possible by private funding. But if that can't be done, then the public money should be raised as much as possible from those who will directly benefit from the stadium, such as the fans who go to the games and the team(s) that use it. My review of this deal seems to accomplish that, in that a good portion of the money is raised from taxes on tickets, concessions, and activity directly related to the use of the stadium. The only component that is not is the tax on large businesses, which apparently was cut back a bit today. That also does not seem unreasonable to me. In the end, I think the D.C. stadium deal is a very reasonable and fair approach to the solving the problem.
Arguing that the stadium will create economic benefits is to me a case of wanting to have it all. Like initiation of recycling programs 15 years ago, many locales said the recycling would pay for itself or make money based on the reuse of materials like paper, aluminum, etc. The reality is that it is a net cost to the locale to recycle. But to me, if recycling is the right thing to do, then the community should incur reasonable cost to do it. Why do we always want to have our cake and eat it, too?