Super Bowl, Soda and Socialism

31 Jan

Did you know the NFL is a socialist organization?  I didn’t. Not until I watched the CBS 60 Minutes interview with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Sunday night.  To hear Commissioner Goodell tell it, in order to be a thriving, for profit capitalist venture, the NFL must follow some smart socialist principles like revenue sharing and government subsidies, otherwise, small markets like  Green Bay, Wisconsin would be shut out of the game. If the League and it’s 32 teams had to be completely self-funded, there’d be no “national” football league, but perhaps smaller regional leagues like the Oil & Gas League of Texas, the Corn & Soy League of Iowa, or the Internet Start-Up League of California.  Foreigners must think we’re all nuts. While our politicians are carpet bombing each other with accusations ranging from elitist to socialist,  our national spectacle, the Super Bowl, the richest single day sporting entertainment event in the world, is erecting statues not just to Brady and Manning, but to Marx.

I’ve never considered taking up Socialism before, but now, emboldened by the renaissance NFL executives, I’m thinking it may be the just the ticket to blocking and tackling another, though less appealing, national obsession, soda.  Ok, after you roll your eyes, take a guess on how much soda the average American drinks in a year.  Spot on. 450 gallons, or the roughly the amount it’d take to fill up a backyard kiddie pool. Now before Sarah Palin’s Smores SWAT team cuffs me, I’m not advocating that we Americans, capitalists and football fans alike, swear off soda, but I am pointing out that we have a big fat problem.

26 million Americans are obese or worse. 8 million of them are children. 30-40% of that population is  Type 2 diabetic or pre-diabetic, a long painful path. Work productivity is suffering, ADD is on the rise in schools, and air travel costs continue to inflate due to longer boarding times and investment in wider seats. Soda, along with other processed food accounts for 75-80% of the Standard American Diet (SAD).  Smack in the middle of the Team SAD’s huddle is the USDA.  Since the 1950’s this MVP has subsidized grain crops, mostly corn and soy, to the point that Team SAD no longer fields Veggies or Fruits.  Short of outfitting 8 million children with full face guard helmets, and with China’s western style appetites driving grain exports to an all time high, it’s about time we shift our farm subsidies to plants that can’t kill us.

Mark Bittman wrote a great Op-Ed piece in the NYTImes on July 23 last year entitled: “Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Vegetables”. Look it up. And then let me know if you’ve joined the team. Hike.


One Response to “Super Bowl, Soda and Socialism”

  1. Joseph Chizek February 1, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Sorry, Suzy, but I can’t join that team, for one specific reason.

    I don;t think soda is the problem. And I really don’t think football has to be socialist to be successful. I believe Mr. Rodger is spewing some quality BS, especially when some of his teams are worth a cool BILLION.

    I do not drink soda regularly, an occasional diet every great once in a while. I am a diabetic, diagnosed with type ll twenty years ago, now insulin dependent. Otherwise I’d probably be drinking soda like any normal person. No Big Gulps, just good old moderate consumption.

    This brings to mind a memory from my childhood. I took free tennis lessons one summer when I was 9 and this progressed to a tournament in which I won my age group Afterward there was a picnic with hot dogs and all the Coke you could drink. Well, I remember specifically drinking an entire six pack of the old large 16 ounce bottles, and almost releasing it back into the world orally.
    Why do I mention this event, you may ask?

    It involves the two larger issues involved here, in my opinion: exercise, or, activity, and moderation of consumption. Yes, a healthy diet is definitely the ultimate goal, but if people are not active, or cannot consume anything moderately, the healthy diet, subsidized or not, is irrelevant.

    Really, I feel that if we need to tax “bad” food and subsidize vegetables, THAT is unnecessary socialism. And when you consider that the federal government already subsidizes farmers who produce mass amounts of corn, which is an ingredient in nearly 80% of the items in the supermarket today, we’re already half way there.

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