Sunday, February 3, 2008

Taxation without contemplation

Well, it’s all over and, to say the least, it didn’t go as expected. Rather than scoring an easy win as everyone predicted, the New England Patriots ended their undefeated season with what was likely the most devastating loss in the history of professional football. The New York Giants won, 17-14. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if the Patriot’s misfortune is going to end anytime soon.

A few days before the Super Bowl, Senator Arlen Specter announced that he would like to reopen the spygate “case.” Of course, being that the evidence has been destroyed, and the only potential witness won’t be testifying for some time, it would seem the Senator could at least postpone what is clearly an excellent use of the government’s time and our money. Now, rest assured, I’m not insinuating that it was Specter’s untimely announcement that cost New England the game. However, the actions of the Pennsylvania Senator, in addition to being completely fatuous, have also managed to bring self-contradiction to inspiring new heights.

Though it may not seem it, Specter’s decision does have some legal merit—if only the smallest of amounts. The antitrust exemptions granted to the NFL mean that the league is not subject to the same laws of competition that most firms must adhere to. As such, Specter would contest that anti-competitive practices that are not technically illegal (e.g. videotaping the opponent’s signals) should be legally monitored to prevent the kind of cutthroat decisions that would be illegal in the business world. True enough, winning translates into money in the NFL and, as such, artificially inhibiting another team’s ability to compete would affect their profitability. An even playing field, Specter believes, is the only way to ensure that the business-end of the NFL remains fair and competitive. When one team videotapes the signals of another, Specter suggests the latter is left with an artificially decreased probability of victory. So, in his brilliant attempt to prevent teams from facing unnecessary difficulties, he promptly went to the media within days of the Super Bowl, therein subjecting the Patriots to yet another storm of negative media attention. Of course, this would seem to contradict the true goal of his investigation—and it does—but we shouldn’t concern ourselves with insignificant luxuries like justification or, for that matter, political competence. We should all rest assured in knowing that, even though officials like Arlen Specter are wasting time and money at speeds that defy comprehension, at least we're all about to get a big rebate check. I think I’ll buy some aspirin.

1 comment:

Jon Gold said...

Uggghhh. Get some for me, too.