Re: Broke Olympians

1

What we need are market solutions. Have the whole US gymanistics team live in a house, make some reality TV. No problem!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:32 AM
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Did they come to the olympics to make friends? They did not.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:33 AM
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Find out what happens when Mckayla stops being nice, and starts being real.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:34 AM
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Right? Does any currently existing reality show match olympic gymnastic for fake hugs and dirty looks? I think not.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:35 AM
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I've been calling Mckayla 'Sporty Spice', actually.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:37 AM
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Team Russia would make an even better reality TV show.

Monetize it, socialism, or patronage from rich people: those are your choices for funding any art, including sport. Most countries go for (2) in the Olympics; we do a little of that, but it's mostly a combo of (1) [the NBC contract] and (3).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:43 AM
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Oh my god, I do love Team Russia. Especially the coverage of Aliya Mustafina, where the coach was like "She's such a diva. Some days she'll come up to me and say 'Fuck you, I'm not doing that'." (maybe I'm misremembering.) Anyway, it was a big long thing on what a diva she is, and I'm super curious as to what the real backstory is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:47 AM
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Thinking about this article linked (via Oud) it occured to me that Title IX has actually been a fairly large backdoor olympic subsidy, given the relative proportion of revenue vs. non-revenue sports for women and men and the relative proportion of revenue vs. non-revenue sports in the olympics.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:49 AM
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7: I've been calling her Aliya Lachrymosa in my head (which is lamer than her actual name, really, but oh well). I really want to know if she looks like she's going to burst into tears just all the time in regular life. Like, when she's buying a cup of coffee, is everybody freaked out that she's going to burst into haughty, haughty tears right there in the cafe?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:51 AM
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Oh, I call the little blond one who keeps flubbing everything 'the weepy one'. She's got the long nose and just looks like she needs a big hug, each time she screws up. Komova.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:56 AM
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Monetize it, socialism, or patronage from rich people: those are your choices for funding any art, including sport. Most countries go for (2) in the Olympics; we do a little of that, but it's mostly a combo of (1) [the NBC contract] and (3).

It's odd, I hear all these people at work saying how silly it is that there are backward countries like India that give no-work government jobs to their athletes. But there's no mockery of the concept of having an entire government department of sports, or a government agency that directly funds the sports.

I tried to say that you could just as easily say that after she won the gold medal Shawn Johnson was given a no-work job with Ortega Salsa. Indian Railways or whatever is affiliating itself with the silver-medal-winning trap shooter or whatever to get reflected glory, in the same way.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:58 AM
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3: So excited to see her besides the butter cow! I was there!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 6:59 AM
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Why should we subsidize Olympic sports when the free market system works so well?

Do it the old fashion way: have rich parents or marry a rich spouse.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:03 AM
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6: And (4), it now seems, patronage from non-rich people.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:03 AM
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My inclination is not to subsidize elite level sports. Money spent there would be better spent getting shlubs off the couch to wheeze through a round of frisbee golf than on helping an elite athlete shave a hundredth of a second off her 100m hurdles time. I pretty much feel the same way about subsidies for art, but that's another matter.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:14 AM
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I pretty much feel the same way about subsidies for art, but that's another matter.

Really? How come?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:15 AM
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15:

I agree completely.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:15 AM
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Money spent there would be better spent getting shlubs off the couch to wheeze through a round of frisbee golf than on helping an elite athlete shave a hundredth of a second off her 100m hurdles time.

Also, as long as we're appealing to fungibility of money, money spent invading Iraq could have been better used on pretty much anything.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:16 AM
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10: Mrs. Ego and I have nicknamed her Oye Komova.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:19 AM
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From Heebie: Yes. I want to live in a country where we subsidize arts, science, athletics in areas where they are not profitable.

It doesn't follow from this premise that we should subsidise the Olympics, as opposed to athletics clubs, say.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:25 AM
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As someone whose neutral expression is apparently one of profound displeasure, I


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:28 AM
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That was super weird. Trying again:

As someone whose neutral expression is apparently one of profound displeasure, I


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:28 AM
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It also doesn't follow that you have to pick one or the other. Fund both.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:28 AM
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23 to 20.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:30 AM
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If we don't subsidize it, McDonald's and Coca-Cola will pick up the slack. Because nothing says elite athletics like junk food.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:30 AM
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You sure are stilted, Oudie.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:30 AM
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Oooooh. I can't make the "fake heart" symbol. Duh.

Good christ. Third time's the charm for this not even interesting comment:

As someone whose neutral expression is apparently one of profound displeasure, I heart McKM. (And why should she smile and hug and pageant-wave after falling on her ass? Hmph.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:30 AM
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If I were savvier, I'd start an Oudie Is Not Amused tumblr.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:32 AM
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16: Subsidies for "serious" art play to a pretty small audience, much of which is plenty rich enough to pay for it. Better to put that money to exposing people to art through actually doing it. Subsidize free painting/sculpting/music/etc lessons at community centers instead.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:34 AM
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28: Heh. Well, I'd murder you, but the upside is that HaPu, HoPo, and O would be very happy together.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:36 AM
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Also, buy nice works of art for public places, so that they can be enjoyed by a wide audience.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:36 AM
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I don't get this false dichotomy. Of course community centers should be well-funded and giving tons of cheap or free art lessons.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:36 AM
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Who is Mckayla and why does she gurn?

The British have increased their medal total at this Olympics by a cynical strategy of throwing money at people who were likely to win medals and leaving everybody else to fend for themselves. School sports facilities are closing and being sold off as fast as you can count them, but expensive disciplines where there was an established elite are drowning in moolah. It's worked, but by definition it can't work often, because you run out of elite athletes eventually.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:38 AM
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It also doesn't follow that you have to pick one or the other. Fund both.

In the abstract, no. But in reality there's going to be a limited pot of money available for "athletics subsidy". And if your goal is "subsidising otherwise unprofitable athletics", surely it makes more sense to subsidise grass-roots athletics rather than the most commercialised athletics competition around, which has a habit of leaving a huge amount of white-elephant infrastructure concentrated in one place.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:39 AM
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35

There's an elite athlete born every quarter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:41 AM
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But in reality there's going to be a limited pot of money available for "athletics subsidy".

Sure. But the cost of funding both is truly negligible, government-spending-wise. No, I don't want to fund Olympic athletes at the expense of community centers. I do want to live in a country that funds both.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:44 AM
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If I were savvier, I'd start an Oudie Is Not Amused tumblr.

Looking at Facebook, there is a photo that would be perfect for this. You should totally start the tumblr.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:47 AM
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38

Oh, hang on, I may have misunderstood. I thought you were talking about the games themselves, not the athletes.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:48 AM
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35: Thus the ratio of suckers to elite athletes is 131400:1.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:49 AM
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37: Am I wearing visible garters?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:49 AM
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And why should she smile and hug and pageant-wave after falling on her ass? Hmph.)

Wasnt there a Chicago Quarterback who was ripped bc he didnt seem upset enough after poor play?

People are such assholes.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:50 AM
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40: Yes. It looks very much Not Amused.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:54 AM
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42: Except I won first prize! Boom! (In a Halloween costume contest with a bunch of other people. But it's pretty much the same as the Olympics, really.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:58 AM
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44

Visible garters FTW.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:13 AM
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45

Enforced amateurism is almost always an abomination.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:16 AM
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Enforced amateurism is almost always an abomination.

Really. I was gobsmacked to discover during the recent unpleasantness that the NCAA still adhered to an Avery Brundage line on it. Which century is this? Somebody ought to be shot on the deck of a battleship pour encourager les autres.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:21 AM
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47

Annual US Olympic Committee budget: ~$2 billion
Annual NEA budget: ~$130 million

For less than the tax on a cup of coffee, you could double the amount we spend nationally per capita on supporting the arts.

I got Coach's -- and everyone else's -- attitude-adjusted priorities right here!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:26 AM
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The current US strategy works very well for the US if the goal is medal count in major sports. The funding of course heavily comes largely from commercial TV, and thus ultimately from advertisers, but also from NCAA athletics (itself funded by a combo of commercialism, cartelization, socialism, and charity from the rich).

In a huge rich country that's not a terrible way to subsidize olympic sport -- the US does well, obviously -- but it's not egalitarian and makes it very difficult for people in weird sports, especially non-NCAA ones. I knew a guy who was going for the Olympics in Skeleton and came very close; he had a little bit of training money from the USOC but eventually ran out and gave up on that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:26 AM
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49

Athletics sucks 1/15th as much as art, so that seems about right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:27 AM
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50

49 to 47.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:28 AM
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47 -- the USOC is not a government body; most of that money comes from its share of TV rights, and sponsorship deals.

I view the NCAA as an abomination, but without it the US Olympic program (particularly in track and field) would need to be either massively more commercialized, which may not be possible and would certainly cause other problems, or we'd need more direct state funding of athletes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:32 AM
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52

Shit, okay, I guess that was the USOC budget for the Salt Lake City games. Regular budgets more in the $500 million range. Still.

Anyhow, as I've said before, I think the Olympics should be completely deprofessionalized. What's interesting or meaningful about having a bunch of people segregated out from society so that every 4 years a few of them can do one little activity just a teensy, tiny bit better than the rest of them? The modern Olympics, like the ancient Olympics, were not started with the goal of providing a market for ever-more-accurate stopwatches. At the beginning of the modern Olympics, you had competitors who were Army officers, or physicists, or field hands, coming together and competing, not for the purpose of record-setting, or testing out the friction properties of various petroleum-derivative articles of clothing, but to forge a spirit of international brotherhood and cooperation.

Where are the good stories in today's Olympics? Like that runner in the St. Louis games who lost his money gambling in New Orleans and got to the track with nothing to wear but hard-soled dress shoes, so he ran -- and won -- barefoot? Instead we've got 14 year old girls who weigh 63 pounds and practice for 10 hours a day, completely missing their childhoods, while some old Russian yells at them. Boring and despicable, frankly.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:33 AM
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I was just going to comment about the Indigenous Games -- we went to some of the events at the 2008 Duncan Games -- and I looked up to see what appears to be a Salish war canoe rowing by. I wasn't going to snark, I swear.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:35 AM
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51: USOC is not a government body; most of that money comes from its share of TV rights, and sponsorship deals

Yeah, I'm aware of that, but still, there's the question of national priorities.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:35 AM
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Wasnt there a Chicago Quarterback who was ripped bc he didnt seem upset enough after poor play?

There was this: Jay Cutler criticized for not playing through a knee injury. But maybe there's some other incident, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:39 AM
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I think I'd rather just get rid of the restriction on non-professional status. I like the Olympics, but as a use of taxpayer money I can think of a lot of things I'd rather do with the cash.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:43 AM
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47: If your local shop charges a $130 million tax on a cup of coffee, you should probably switch to Starbucks.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:49 AM
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52.2: They should make a movie like this. Maybe with runners. British runners.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:50 AM
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57: I said "per capita".


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:51 AM
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58: The actual story of all that business seems way more interesting than the movie, though the whole not-rolling-on-shabbos bit fades into the background somewhat.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:53 AM
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Why isnt Cross Fit in the Olympics?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:57 AM
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61: Because he failed to qualify in the trials?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 9:02 AM
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63

||

DeLong's Plan

Don't let the New Keynsians snow ya. Ant plan has to show an increase in real wage share of national income, and a decline in capital's share; and a corresponding real extended and expected rate of wage inflation and a corresponding decrease in the real value of assets, and an expected decline in the real value of assets, equities, land etc. Otherwise you do not get the redistribution that translates to labor political power.

And they half to show how that macro-economy works, and should show their work.

Increase in minimal wage + free education + loose Fed probably adds $3-5 trillion per year in hot money to the economy.

Remember, these are the folks who told us that neo-liberalism would bring down commodity prices and bring in new service jobs and there would be no distribution problems. Thirty years ago.

They have read their Keynes, who recommended nominal wage increases and real wage decreases, i.e., decrease in wage share. Which is exactly what Krugman and Yggles are recommending now.

I don't trust them. Show your work.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 9:34 AM
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52: How could it be possible to implement what you're describing? People are competitive. As long as there competitions, people are going to train obsessively. You'd have to make it illegal to train, which is pretty much unenforceable.


Posted by: sral | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 9:38 AM
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|>

Michal Kalecki did recognize the problem in the 30s and 40s, and did show his work, although I am not sure he got a lot further than "This is really hard." (Kalecki worked for the Polish Soviets 1955-1965, so he thought he had a partial solution) Hyman Minsky said to make it work we would have to socialize investment, as in like 50% of capital belonging to gov't. I'm with Minsky, but I doubt DeLong and Krugman are on board.

As a example, if wage-share is increasing, people have extra money, and investments are deflating, where do they put that money? Ipods? T-Bills?

There are big time consequences here, trillion-dollar ones, and any economist who just says "Tax the rich!" without addressing them is probably bullshitting, running a scam on the workers again.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 9:43 AM
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63: I wasn't very impressed either. First of all, my impression is that the top δ% already own so much of the assets that any changes to income distribution won't have much of an effect for a *long* time, which is what I took to be Bertram's point.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 10:09 AM
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I also don't really believe a consumption tax can ever be very progressive (but of course I haven't run any numbers) without being unstable and gameable. Free education is a good idea, but it will do nothing for inequality (Yes, the highly educated are doing better, but they're still losing ground. Increase their supply ...).
Finally, I still think that while in many situations inflation can be beneficial and not hurt most workers, but we are not currently in such a state. Higher inflation speeds the devaluation of today's nominal contracts. If you think we'll eventually reach a nicer equilibrium, then inflation is your friend. If you think most people have poor bargaining positions and todays agreements will be replaced by worse ones, not so much.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 10:16 AM
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Also, professional sports are anathema, causing people to break their bodies for children's games, and turning the rest of us into lazy spectators. They replace community spirit with soulless city- or statewide commercial entities. But as with most horrible things, there is no solution.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 10:20 AM
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The truth about the Olympics.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 10:34 AM
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Subsidies for "serious" art play to a pretty small audience, much of which is plenty rich enough to pay for it.

I will recommend Arts Inc as a good, readable book which is in favor of public support of the arts but takes that criticism seriously (and also has some reasonable things to say about copyright).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 10:44 AM
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Of course, if I were to suggest we stop funding CERN and just throw all the money at kid's chemistry sets, you'd be well able to point out the flaw there.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 3:20 PM
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The flaw being that enormous private sector companies won't pay hundreds of millions to have their logo on the Higgs boson?
Actually it seems more like the finance industry; government money shovelled at drug addled prima donnas because they. are too important to fail, while the small players get screwed.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 3:54 PM
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I got Coach's -- and everyone else's -- attitude-adjusted priorities right here!

I was hoping that might be Coach McGurk.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 7:56 PM
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72 -- no the flaw being that MoMA, say, does something qualitatively different to your local community arts group.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:11 PM
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||
Speaking of sports, I just did my first CrossFit session and I'm just now, an hour later, starting to feel normal again.

On the plus side, I did my first real pushup ever! And I can do an unassisted chinup!
|>


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:17 PM
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I hate the Lakers.

Other than that it's a surprisingly good trade for everybody, but I can't stand that Lakers could be a championship contender, once again.

Not only that it's just kind of absurd to see yet another Hall Of Fame Center go to the Lakers. This will be, what, their fifth?

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:18 PM
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76: Way to keep the theme.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-12 8:36 PM
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The flaw being that enormous private sector companies won't pay hundreds of millions to have their logo on the Higgs boson?

It's kind of suprising they won't, actually. Just think, we could have the "Coke quark" or the "Loctite gluon". And the International Astronomical Union could fund research by auctioning off moons.



Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 7:03 AM
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