What’s the Difference Between Congress and Figure Skating?

Changing the names to protect the guilty might make it difficult to determine whether the subject was figure skating or U.S. government. Both are run by elected politicians alleged to be human beings too although no DNA evidence is available.

Congressfolk are sworn to uphold the Constitution and do their best for the country; in fact, they ignore the Constitution and do their best for themselves and their party. U.S. Figure Skating top managers are elected on promises to do their best for the sport; in fact, they do their best for themselves. Of course, the same is true of most everyone, though varying degrees of hypocrisy cover it.

Congress speaks fondly of small business, our most active and largest job machine but it also subjects small business to endless regulation and restriction that interfere with its already limited ability to compete with the really big guys who donate so much to the pols. Bit of hypocrisy there, huh?

Figure skating is supposed to be a sport open to all and the managers have a duty to expand it but they get no free trips abroad for that, whereas they do for sending American figure skaters to foreign competitions whether they do well or not. Paying for that travel, housing etc. is expensive; it leaves little for developing the sport at home. And there’s no TV money anymore; skaters’s dues are a very inadequate replacement.

Skating is hard; 90% of beginners disappear before reaching the Novice level. Of the more than 100,000 members of U.S. Figure Skating (including many who don’t skate) I estimate maybe a couple dozen can perform the triple jumps needed to compete internationally. They get lots of attention from the officials who need them for their international teams. That’s .0002 of the membership. Skaters aren’t allowed to compete unless they pass a series of screening tests and they must pass more such to compete at higher levels. The difficulty of tests was recently increased; U.S. Figure Skating basically tries to get rid of as many skaters as it can, as quickly as possible to find a very small number of triple jumpers.

Rink owners have the opposite problem; they have to get as many paying skaters onto the ice at a time as they can to cover their high energy and liability costs and heavy investment. U.S. Figure Skating cares only about quality; the rinks can stay in business only with quantity; the skating officials don’t care and can’t understand why the rink owners prefer hockey. That of course, limits the growth of figure skating.

Federal, state and local government prefer to keep unions happy over provision of a decent education via the public schools along similar lines. And that’s a single example of many.

U.S. Figure Skating could expand the population of skaters just as Congress could sit down and take control of its spending. But both are so heavily invested in the status quo that they’re unwilling to move in those directions. There’s no premium for doing so. As Louis XIV so cogently put it: “Apres moi, le deluge!”

More skaters in the rinks would keep those rinks going and lower the cost per skater. Lowering the governmental burden on the economy would contribute to wealth creation but neither the government of the sport nor the government of the country are interested. You can decide who is left holding the bag in each case… and what, if any, is the difference between Congress and U.S. Figure Skating government.

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
This entry was posted in Congress, Figure Skating, Fiscal/Financial Responsibility and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What’s the Difference Between Congress and Figure Skating?

  1. Argus says:

    Good grief! You sound more like me than I do~!

    A kindred soul, perhaps — methinks I’ll explore your blog a bit more …

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