Wisconsin Budget Crisis Solved: Sell the Green Bay Packers

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Feb. 21 2011 3:04 PM

Wisconsin Budget Crisis Solved: Sell the Green Bay Packers

Fine, all the civil servants and liberals are in the streets of


, but face it, Wisconsin

has got the votes and he's got the message: times are tough, and nobody's going to get away with dragging everybody else down by clinging to the old ways.

. Liberals lost. It's time to stop whining and get used to how things are now. This is the national mood.

? Take the

, already. Generous retirement plans or health coverage for public employees? Why should they get anything better than what the private sector is willing to pay? The country where you could get paid even if you didn't work, just because you got old and you had worked before—we don't live there anymore.

Regular people do not get to have nice things in America. Nice things are for people who can afford them, and this country is


But even Scott Walker says that his proposal to eliminate most collective bargaining rights for state workers and to cut back their health and pension plans will only take

off a coming $3 billion deficit. Where else can Wisconsin get money?

Walker could start by selling the

. Decades after



dropped out of the football business, Green Bay is still, somehow, in possession of an NFL team. It makes no sense. An outdated system of socialized

has enabled an obscure small city to occupy a place in pro sports that by all economic logic should go to a wealthy metropolis.

The average

is already more than $1 billion, but the sale of the Packers should be worth far, far more than that. They are the league's reigning champion, with a stellar young

. If the team were to be condemned and put on the open market, it would be the object of a bidding war, with would-be buyers unrestricted by location. The sales price might even clear the $1.8 billion estimated value of the Dallas Cowboys—eliminating more than half of Wisconsin's budget shortfall instantly.

A state that can't afford to pay schoolteachers certainly can't afford to sit on that kind of unrealized value. It makes no sense to keep professional football players, members of an immense entertainment conglomerate,

in the middle of nowhere. Wisconsin is not in the luxury business anymore.

is eager to have an NFL team, and the NFL is eager to put one there.

Why shouldn't they? Los Angeles has more

—successful Americans, who can afford seat licenses and premium stadium amenities—than

. More than twice as many. It's long past time to get rid of the last relic of the football welfare state and give a championship team to a place that deserves it. It's fiscally responsible, and it's the American way.

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.



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