Here are 6 more failed things Fitchburg could subsidize next

By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter

FITCHBURG, Wis. — Extra. Extra. Read all about it, Fitchburg residents.

After all, your tax dollars are paying for it.

Fitchburg city officials have reached an agreement with the Unified Newspaper Group to spend close to $36,000 in taxpayer money this year to revive the printed version of the Fitchburg Star, a community newspaper that ceased publication in 2009 due to financial reasons.

That decision certainly begs the question: What has changed in the past five years that would lead anyone to believe the newspaper could become a cash cow, especially when ad revenue and circulation numbers continue to decline nationwide?

With that logic, here are six other things the Fitchburg Common Council should consider subsidizing:

1. Phone booths

This communications structure has become so obsolete that even Clark Kent didn’t use one to transform into the Man of Steel in last year’s “Superman” film reboot. But if more phone booths lead to less cell phones, maybe companies will see a boost in business. Because, you know, customers waiting in line will no longer be subject to loud and annoying conversations that probably should remain private.

2. Pagers

Even with phone booths erasing the demand for cell phones, you’re still going to need a way for people to get a hold of you when you’re not at home or the office. Enter the stylish pager. But the gadget is not just a fashion statement. Users also could save money because paging costs less than other forms of messaging and communications.

3. Movie rental stores

Blockbuster-Store-ClosingsNothing adds to a community’s quality of life and tax base like new businesses. So, why don’t we give tax incentives to movie rental companies to move into empty buildings that were vacated by Blockbuster? Never mind the fact that services like Netflix and Redbox are more convenient and much cheaper.

4. Road maps

mapsHave you ever found yourself wanting to drive off a bridge because of the grating voice coming from your handy GPS navigation device? Good thing road maps can’t talk. And if you’re in a pinch, they also can be used as a napkin or facial tissue.

5. Floppy disks

floppy disksTired of giving the National Security Agency even more opportunities to view your personal information by losing your tiny flash drives? There’s no way you’re going to misplace any of your bulky and colorful floppy disks. Plus, with all that added plastic, more government workers might be needed at the recycling center.

6. Atari

atari4Some people contend that video games have become so realistic and violent they’re desensitizing our nation’s youth and turning them into killing machines. That will no longer be a problem with the 8-bit awesomeness of “Pong,” “Frogger” and “Pac-Man.” And if kids happen to get bored with those old school games, they might be inclined to go outside and exercise.

Contact Adam Tobias at atobias@watchdog.org or follow him on Twitter @Scoop_Tobias

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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