September 25th, 2012
Insiders & the market beg for re-regulation of a multi-billion dollar U.S. business
UPDATED Sept. 27
Insiders — NFL players, game commentators and coaches — join fans — the market — calling for a return to regulation. All want the professional unionized referees to return. Non-union replacements, like shaky substitute teachers, are threatening the quality of the “product.” The rules are complex and the speed of the violent game combine to confuse the newbies. And large-body hulks, the players, can easily bully the know-little refs into doing things they shouldn’t. The NFL Commissioner works for the team owners who locked out the veteran referees because of salary increase demands. But the Monday night game finale between Seattle and Green Bay may compel a solution to the problems caused by the owners’ lockout of the regular referees.
Bryant Gumbel said it best, “Billionaires who pay millionaires to play for them refuse to give a few thousand to the referees responsible for the quality of the game.” Why be cheap? Could the NFL be drinking the anti-union kool-aid that has mesmerized all American business? The fight is over about 1% of all NFL revenue.
I think it’s great that nearly everyone agrees, insiders included, that the control over games is critical for player health as well as the integrity of the game. Control is regulation. Referees are regulators. Industry insiders are begging for a return of the real referees, for re-regulation. A level playing field for competing teams is impossible when substitutes can’t manage the game. Obviously out-of-control football games are an embarrassment. Even Las Vegas sports bookies are upset!
What’s good for the NFL is good for Wall Street. When Glass-Steagall (the law that separated federally insured bank deposits from the risk-taking financial investment businesses) was repealed, banks became investment casinos. Now, the financial sector dominates the U.S. economy and delivers returns only for a small group of overpaid operators. The regulators (SEC and the NY Fed) were either asleep or complicit in the global financial meltdown of 2008. Still the culprits have not been punished. Regulators prefer to partner with the banks, to get out of their way.
Wall Street “regulators” are as feckless as the substitute referees.
Compare the hue and cry over NFL referees to the deafening silence about financial regulators allowing the thieves to raid family retirement savings, push people out of their homes and deny new mortgage terms while making themselves filthy rich.
Regulation is good for the NFL and would work to “unrig” the Wall Street game, if only we would demand it.
Don’t believe me. Let Sheila Bair, former FDIC director, explain what could have been.
On Sept. 27, Washington Post political cartoonist Tom Toles drew the same analogy.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 9:51 am and is filed under Commentary by G. Namie, The New America, Unions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.