Football, Politics, and The Economy

It’s Super Bowl Sunday….A lot will be happening today:

According to Hallmark Cards, Inc., The Super Bowl represents the No. 1 at-home party event of the year. Believe it or not, it’s even bigger than New Year’s Eve. (One wonders when we might see cards celebrating the event not to mention Super Bowl Monday sympathy editions for the losing team’s fans.) Hallmark also figures the average number of people attending a Super Shindig to be 17 so, calculating with reference to per capita beer consumption, hosts should probably buy … a lot.

No matter how much the economy slumps, the week before the ‘Bowl sees a deluge of shoppers that could damn well carry the entire national economy. No fewer than $55 million is expected to be spent on food for The Big Game. After spending an estimated ten million man-hours (give or take a couple of seconds) preparing all that grub, Americans are expected to consume the lot within approximately fifteen minutes, well before the first touchdown is scored.

Yessir, the country will come to a virtual standstill, around 5:30 p.m. Central.

We’ll all watch as our modern-day gladiators meet on the field of battle, reminiscent of the halcyon days of the Roman Coliseum, without the lions. (Especially the ones from Detroit, who never make the Superbowl.)

Americans hold these football heroes in such esteem, I’ll bet one could even run for president.

Asked which NFL playoff quarterback they would choose for president of the United States in the coming election, more than one in four voters go for Tebow, according to the results of a new Reuters/Ipsos poll of likely voters released on Friday.

Tebow’s success on the field in the past few months helped to make him a media sensation as he turned a struggling Denver Broncos team around. His open and oft-professed religious faith gained him huge support in the evangelical community.

But perhaps it is his famous post-touchdown knelt-in-prayer pose – known as “Tebowing” – that has most inspired fans around the world. Many have posted pictures of themselves “Tebowing” on sites such as Tebowing.com.

The online survey of 2,475 people was conducted earlier this week, just ahead of the Super Bowl, the annual championship for America’s most popular sport.

The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

Tebow managed to do something in the poll he could not quite manage on the field – easily beat New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady, who is married to super model Gisele Bundchen, came third, one percentage point behind New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, ironic since they face each other this Sunday in the Super Bowl.

The only other quarterback to start in the playoffs this year who got into double digits in the poll was New Orleans’ Drew Brees, at 15 percent.

Of course, at 24, Tebow is too young by the standards of the U.S. Constitution to be president (you have to be at least 35). There might also be questions over whether he could be disqualified because he was born in the Philippines – his parents were American missionaries.

But this isn’t real life, this is football.

The way this presidential election is shaping up, it’s bearing no resemblance to real life, either.

As we are entering the home stretch, all of the sudden, unemployment percentages are going down….and the economy is, at least according to the Administration’s Propaganda Machine, improving.

Unfortunately, out here in the Heartland, things are still tough all over.  

Americans are looking desperately for work (those who haven’t given up) and scores of small businesses are closing their doors, while other businesses are laying off valued employees, just to keep their doors open.

One-sixth of Americans are still receiving SNAP (food stamps), while other adults have moved back in with their parents, children, pets, and all.

Robert Reich,  a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration, writes:

Our working-age population has grown by nearly 10 million since the recession officially began in December 2007 but many of these people never entered the workforce. Millions of others are still too discouraged to look for work.

The most direct way of measuring the jobs deficit is to look at the share of the working-age population in jobs. Before the recession, 63.3 percent of working-age Americans had jobs. That employment-to-population ratio reached a low last summer of 58.2 percent. Now it’s 58.5 percent. That’s better than it was, but not by much. The trend line here isn’t quite as encouraging.

Given how many people have lost their jobs and how much larger the total working-age population is now, we’ve got a long road ahead. At January’s rate of job gains – 243,000 – the nation wouldn’t return to full employment for another seven years.

No wonder Americans participated in a survey comparing NFL Quarterbacks as president.  At least, they know how to reach a goal (line)…and it doesn’t take them 7 years, either.

Seriously, though, the next president, Scooter, Mittens, or whomever, needs to attack this horrible economy with a vengeance.  The dark clouds of despair are hanging over the shining city on the hill.

Americans deserve better than this.

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