September 28, 2013 Revisited

Donald Sterling, the LA Clippers, et al. are still in the news. No shortage of potential multi-billion (with a B) dollar buyers came out of the woodwork when the professional sports team’s sale was instigated. Oprah said 2 billion dollars was her limit. Steve Ballmer must have surpassed that with over $2 billion according to recent accounts. In addition to all the folks wanting to buy the Clippers, Donald himself sued for over a billion dollars saying he is being cheated. Analysis finds it useful to revisit an Advocate op ed letter written by Newark area State Representative Jay Hottinger intended to educate readers of the enormity of these sums.

“No one knows what $1 trillion dollars looks like, let alone 17 times that, so allow me to try to explain it. A trillion dollars is 1,000,000,000,000 — that’s 12 zeros to the left of the decimal point. A billion dollars is a thousand million, a trillion dollars is a thousand billion.” (Nation’s debt problem demands action, 9-28-13, The Newark Advocate)

Even without a calculator, Analysis finds that just this small sum of folks willing and able to purchase and/or own the LA Clippers involves sums of discretionary income that exceeds 1% of a trillion dollars (5 X 2 bil = 1% of a tril). This is just one professional sports team in just one city in just one country (the US). The discretionary nature of the economics of professional sports (and how they in no way reflect a city’s “home team”) can be found in another mega bucks franchise, the LA Dodgers (another $2 billion purchase). Currently, folks in LA who cannot afford the price of admission can only follow the “home team” on, that staple of the 1950’s, the radio. Mr. Hottinger, who currently is actively seeking (re) election as the area’s State Senator (not State Representative) is himself stuck in the 1950’s with outlooks and solutions to economic concerns. Public entities (like the City of Newark) are finding it difficult to obtain the needed funding for overdue public expenditure on infrastructure, etc. “The question still remains: What will be done about it? In August, state Rep. Matt Huffman, a Republican who serves the Lima area, introduced a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to introduce a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I signed on as a co-sponsor, along with 28 other legislators, all Republicans.” (Nation’s debt problem demands action, 9-28-13, The Newark Advocate) Instead of educating folks about how big a trillion is while promoting and endorsing tax breaks, tax credits and subsidies for those within that rarefied upper income atmosphere of discretionary spending ubiquitous throughout the US today, Mr. Hottinger should address “the question” by going where the money is (and it is there) rather than looking to where it is not.


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