The Meadowlands Racetrack and other tracks in New Jersey - indeed, racetracks across the nation - are struggling.

Why? Because not enough people go to the track anymore.

It's a shame. But when people stopped going to drive-in movies, the drive-ins closed.

And the argument that New Jersey must allow gambling at the Meadowlands to keep the track alive should be a non-starter. But it's the bad idea that just won't go away.

Last week, North Jersey legislators arranged a hearing before the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee to promote, once again, the idea of putting slot machines at the Meadowlands.

Jeff Gural, the new operator of the Meadowlands, started by talking about the jobs that are going to disappear if the track doesn't get slot machines. "I cannot survive" without gambling, he said.

Then he sweetened the pot by informally agreeing to a tax of 50 percent on track slot revenue, which he said would yield $350 million a year for the state.

But at what cost to the state's - and the private sector's - considerable investment in Atlantic City?

If racetracks can't survive on their own, they deserve to die. That's how capitalism works.

But because of the inexplicable political clout of New Jersey's horse-racing industry, Atlantic City's casinos propped up the tracks for years with tens of millions of dollars in subsidies. Gov. Chris Christie killed those subsidies, and the money now - sensibly - funds the Atlantic City Alliance's marketing efforts. So the push is on once again to "save" the tracks.

Yes, other states have allowed slot machines at racetracks. But those states don't have an Atlantic City, where billions of dollars have been invested to create a destination resort. It makes no sense to abandon Atlantic City, which is what allowing slots at the Meadowlands would amount to.

As Christie has noted, the resort is in the early years of a five-year plan to resurrect itself. Undermining that plan now to prop up a dying racetrack would be foolish.

Furthermore, as Assemblyman Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, told the committee, continuing this debate about slots at the Meadowlands is creating uncertainty in the Atlantic City market and undercutting efforts to attract more investment.

Attempting to prop up a dying industry such as horse racing would be short-sighted under any circumstances. Undermining Atlantic City in order to prop up a dying horse-racing industry would be downright absurd.