We don’t have the money, except when subsidizing the NFL

Oakland - Alameda (County Coliseum. Courtesy of Dilemma-x.net)
Oakland – Alameda County Coliseum) Courtesy of Dilemma-x.net)

Why do we allow ourselves to be tricked into caring about things that don’t benefit us? Why are we indifferent and apathetic about the things that would improve our way of living?

I’m not sure where this idea sparked. I guess it comes from reading a lot of news, listening to people talk and just going about life.

How many of us stop to ask ourselves where we get our values? Are they even ours? More specifically, these questions arose while thinking about the Super Bowl and how much money is spent on creating this event in the middle of an ongoing US recession.

Many politicians, media pundits and newspaper columnist will tell us how we just don’t have the money to do what we used to. We don’t have the money to fix our crumbling infrastructure. We can’t afford to keep our school children fed. And we have to cut $8 billion in food stamps from the lives of 47 million low-income citizens, as was written in the recent farm bill, which will likely clear any congressional hurdles on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014.

The average worker, our school children and our poor are seeing the services and benefits cut, but do you know who we can afford to keep subsidizing? The tax-exempt National Football League and its $9.5 billion dollars in profits for 2012.

According to Bloomberg reporters Darrell Preston and Aaron Kuriloff, the NFL is going about their business as if the rest of the country isn’t either still in or recovering from the Great Recession. They reported,

“Taxpayers have committed $18.6 billion since 1992 to subsidies for the NFL’s 32 teams, counting the expense of building stadiums, forgone real estate taxes, land and infrastructure improvements, and interest costs on public bonds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Eighteen of the teams are owned by billionaires.”

The Huffington Post’s Alissa Scheller, created an infographic to illustrate just how much money taxpayers fork over to the NFL in the completion of their stadiums while seeing little to none of those $9.5 billion in profits.

In Scheller’s graphic, we see that our of the NFL’s 32 teams, 28 of those stadiums have either been partially or wholly funded by the public.

When I hear about how the most profitable and well-off of American institutions are subsidized by the dwindling American middle class in the age of “we can’t afford that anymore,” it makes me wonder where our priorities are as Americans and if our media is doing its job in informing its citizens.

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