There’s something disconcerting about a bunch of industry leaders working hard to change the rules to make it easier to make more money in the coming year. Especially when it’s an accepted truth that those same industry leaders will use every trick they can to circumvent the agreed upon rules to their advantage.
Focus groups. PR buzz words. Vilifying the other side.
It’s all just so frustrating. I just wish they’d put all this bickering aside and drop the puck.
Wait, what did you think I was talking about?
Well, yeah, I guess there are some parallels between the National Hockey League’s lockout and the current election cycle. And it’s more than a little disconcerting.
The 30-plus-day lockout has been a frustrating effort that will end up with only one loser: The little guy. And that’s the same loser that will come from this election cycle – no matter who wins.
You want parallels? Well, here ya go:
The NHL’s initial offer to its players in a new collective bargaining agreement was an immediate roll back of salaries that would put a salary cap at 14 percent less than the previous season. That can be equated with big business owners telling employees that they will likely be laid off if President Obama is re-elected, because you know that both are just looking out for their own bottom line.
The players’ first offer was to keep salaries pretty much where they were, but would increase revenue sharing between the clubs to help cover the teams. Which would be the type of wealth distribution that Republicans are crying about.
And then the NHL decided to turn to Republican strategist Frank “Death Tax” Luntz to figure out a way to spin the message toward the owners’ side. And, after word got out – and the league roundly criticized for doing such market research – the league came back with a 50/50 offer that brought a new optimism to the proceedings. Talk about reinventing oneself.
Meanwhile, while everyone bickers over the fate of (some) millionaires (the players – not all of ’em make over a million, yet) and multi-millionaires (and some billionaires), the people being left out are the fans. Just like the people who will lose in this election.
Obviously, one side will win in both fights. But really, what will be left over to win?
Obama wins, and we’ll have another four years of fighting over who should pay what share and who should benefit the most from any new policies.
And in the parallel hockey lockout world, if the players win, we’ll have more skyrocketing salaries being offset by rising ticket, concession and souvenir prices.
Romney wins and we’ll have someone promising better times with tax cuts for everyone – even though we’ve yet to hear specifics – with the likelihood of the same sort of fighting that has crippled this country over the last four years.
Meanwhile, on the ice, a big owner victory would mean players might be more apt to take their services to Europe for more (tax-free) money, meaning the quality of play going down, and the greater chance of injury to the remaining stars.
It’s all just so frustrating. For all the talk about wanting to help the middle class (or fans), there’s actually never any actual progress or give back.
When the lockout is over, the fans will still have sticker shock when they buy tickets and refreshments. And when the election is over, the two candidates will return to their houses with no legitimate way of helping the people that they say they want to help.
And no matter what euphoria might be gained from the raising of a Stanley Cup Championship banner in LA (and, damn, do I want to see that) or election victory for your candidate, we’re in for more of the same in the NHL and the country.
All we can hope for is that all of this just ends – as quickly as possible. Because for all the posturing, the end result is still going to be picked apart and fought over for years to come.