Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Uprising over the Income/Wealth Gap? Not While We Have Football!

Credit for pic

Interesting.  That is the word that comes to my scientific and creative mind when I consider the rise of American Football during the epic economic decline of the U.S. middle-class.  Baseball used to be called, "America's Pastime."  Today, baseball is more like, past its time.  We love football!  It's true we do.  We are gifted with the opportunity to watch our favorite sport on television multiple times a week.  Monday: Monday Night Football.  Tuesday: we rest.  Wednesday: we rest.  Thursday: Thursday Night Football.  Friday: College Football.  Saturday: College Football galore, and toward the end of the NFL season, NFL Football too!  Sunday: Duh!  Sunday is game day!  That's a five day viewing feast for the football lover.

Viewership Scores A Touchdown

The rise of football as America's number one sport has been tracked for some time.  Just take a look at television viewership ratings this year and you will see what has been taking place for many years now: football dominates the ratings.  The NFL is not shy about promoting itself as the leading entertainment provider either.  The league knows they have a wonderful, addictive product, the kind that would make any emperor or dictator salivate, but since we live in a democracy, this mob super distraction (best I could come up with to describe it) is best enjoyed by our corporations, wealthy people with a piece of the pie, and government officials.  Check out the trends the past three years in television viewership for the NFL: Unprecedented 3 year trends.  55% of all television shows averaging at least 20 million people watching were owned by the league!

Pic credit

Ticket Prices Score the Two Point Conversion

There is seemingly no stopping the behemoth that is the NFL.  Not even ticket prices.  The average Joe has been steadily squeezed out of the stadium.  With average ticket prices surging every year, fewer and fewer middle-class Americans are able to attend live games.  We are all aware (well, mostly all of us) of the income gap, about the overall tenacity companies have in keeping wages low, and about how few states have participated in increasing the minimum wage in order to entice corporations to conduct business within their boundaries.

We have seen television coverage shift to the few demonstrations across the country showing angry protesters complaining with signs about low wages.  We've seen protests taking place in front of Wal Mart stores.  We've applauded Costco's great compensation plan.  Unlike Costco employees, the majority of workers aren't seeing increasing wages.  Yet...yet...this is not stopping people from hitting the ticket boxes, making deals online in secondary markets, or pleading with scalpers in the parking lots of our beloved coliseums. Check out what it costs on average to get in to see your favorite team:  Expensive seats.

I don't like making accusations or indirect assertions on this blog.  However, there are times when a different perspective is necessary.  I realize that there are so many more things Americans spend their hard earned money on, other than football.  And who am I to judge anyone on what they do with their disposable income?  Nobody.  I'd like to believe that my fellow Americans are not wasting their potential investment dough on football related expenses such as tickets, parking, concessions, all access cable, sportswear, etc.  But alas, I am sure that some people are.  Similarly, I am not trying to dimish the problem (for some but not for others) we have with wages.  Workers may have a rightful claim to be better remunerated under certain circumstances.  So what I'm saying is...

Time Better Spent?

What can Americans do with their valuable time instead of watching football?  They can for starters pay more attention to geo-politics.  Nah!  Russia and Iraq are no match for the pigskin.  Well, what about doing something that can benefit their livelihoods?  Like thinking about a potential money making venture.  You innovating.  Nah!  Too hard to think.  Okay, so how about making a concerted effort to invest in the single biggest and best wealth creation vehicle of all time?  The stock market.  Americans alive today do not trust the stock market.  It says so right here: CBS News/Study.  How can Americans invest in stocks, you may ask, when the average worker is getting paid the same or less in our sluggish economy and having to pay more for certain goods and services?  It is difficult, but not impossible.

What if the time that was lost watching football was put to work?  More people becoming financially literate by virtue of reading or listening to financial audio would do wonders for our economy.  Yes, the barrier of lack of trust must be overcome.  After two major market collapses, most Americans are fed up with stocks.  They don't trust advisors, money managers, computers on Wall Street, and so on and so forth.  Let me tell you something you may not want to hear:  Keep your emotions out of it!

By not being savvy to the policies that have been put in place the past several years by our federal government, you have been made destitute without your knowing.  The stock market has been on a tear for almost six years!  The zero, to near zero rates banks have been getting to lend to other financial institutions and "quantative easing" are the two main reasons.  If you have been on the sidelines (pun intended), placing your disposable cash under a mattress or in a bank account, you have suffered losses you don't even know about!

Stock ownership trends are a concern for me.  I want this country to live and be healthy for a long time.  But how can it, if people who were born here (as opposed to this immigrant from Mexico) are fearful of investing, fearful of their own free market constructs?  

As of 2013, only 52% of Americans owned any stocks.  Down 10 percentage points from the previous year.  Not good.  See: Sotck Ownership.  Meanwhile, the wealth gap continues to widen.

So What?

This is what it boils down to:  You're not making any more money as a worker because raises and minimum wage increases are hard to come by.  You're losing money by a) not investing and b) letting purchasing power be eroded by inflation.  You're possibly spending too much time watching football, hampering your creative outlets, minimizing your money making/problem solving thought processes.  So what?

How's a future filled with instability and chaos suit you?  Too far fetched?  Well, how much longer can things continue to worsen before the mob finally takes notice and sides with middle-class instigators?  Here's someone writing about an American revolution because of the wealth gap: Wealth Gap revolt.

We have our gridiron gladiators to partly thank for our American order and "domestic tranquility."  God save a country with as many guns and problems as we have that does NOT have football.

Until Next Time!  Questions or Comments?  Please Post.  

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