Consider the full set of responsibilities
The word “shutdown” doesn’t really communicate what is at risk. If the American people had been facing a real shutdown, they would have a better appreciation of what the federal government provides
Let’s close the interstates, unlock the prisons, allow free immigration, stop inspecting nuclear power plants, eat uninspected chicken, burn or dump or flush anything we want, close the VA hospitals, stop predicting weather, charge full price for buses and trains, fly without care about other planes, broadcast on any frequency, walk away from the drawbridges and post offices and courthouses and weapons stockpiles, charge any interest rate, quit paying Social Security and Medicare, close the national parks, steal or kill with impunity, pay our own way through college, stop feeding the troops and turn in the keys for the ships and planes and tanks, close the embassies.
Such a shutdown would last only a split-second, because the people would rise up to take back their government. But this showdown has been a political strategy to see if the other side gets more blame than my side. This is a crisis of egos, not finance. We deserve better.
HENRY A. BROMELKAMP, Minneapolis
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SPORTS AND POLITICS
We’re Exhibit A in terms of being had
In the current issue of the Atlantic is an insightful article titled “How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers.” (It is an excerpt from the book “The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America,” out this month.)
Minnesota is featured in the article, complete with color photos of the Vikings owner and the Minnesota governor. Per Gregg Easterbrook (the author), Zygmunt Wilf, with an estimated net worth of $322 million, will make a token annual payment of $13 million to use the stadium, keeping the lion’s share of all NFL ticket, concession, parking and, most important, television revenues. Because of the stadium’s advance, the Vikings’ value rose by $200 million.
After approving the $506 million handout for the stadium, Gov. Mark Dayton was quoted as saying “I’m not one to defend the economics of professional sports. … Any deal you make in that world doesn’t make sense from the way the rest of us look at it.”
Per Easterbrook (an ESPN and NFL Network commentator), even by the standards of political pandering, Dayton’s irresponsibility was breathtaking. The article is resplendent with examples of public giveaways to America’s richest sport team owners.
Shame on us!
LYDIA MACKENZIE, Richmond, Minn.
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Much more trouble than they’re worth
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.