Figure skating is beautiful, sometimes. And exciting, sometimes. It’s extremely difficult, always and much less available to see than it was a short while ago. It’s managed by elected politicians who have a much more difficult time finding scapegoats for their mismanagement than do those managing governments but otherwise, the two are very similar.
Not long ago, the U.S. was solvent, the E.U. was solvent and figure skating was raking in money selling TV rights. The money was paid to watch skaters but the politicians claimed credit for it and took control of its spending, just as the U.S. and E.U. politicians acted with money that originated in business.
The sport’s politicians spent some of the money on successful skaters, more on their own benefits and still more on programs whose benefits seemed on a par with Congressional earmarks. The U.S. and the E.U. also spent on the enrichment of politicians and the buying of votes with taxpayers’ money, though more directly…the figure skaters’ pols are unpaid volunteers (mostly…).
Everybody was very happy until reality set in, in a manner similar to rigor mortis. The skating pols foolishly tossed the entertainment of skating in favor of more easily judged jump revs, replacing the young athletes with stick-figured children and driving off all but a few of its men. The audience left, TV followed and the sport now has little income. The U.S. and the E.U. foolishly promised voters ever-increasing goodies and the U.S. tried to police the world besides, driving spending beyond income on a huge scale. All three are now broke and engaging in deficit spending to avoid upsetting the existing programs that the existing politicians depend upon for votes. All three are economically unsustainable for that same reason.
Though you will never know from watching its politicians, figure skating is terminal since it depends entirely upon rinks owned by others and government energy policies are driving those rinks out of business. The sport has been allowed to become virtually unaffordable already and that process has only begun. Benefits have done the same to the U.S. and E.U. and their reflexive tax increases will strangle their economies just as energy costs are strangling rinks.
So what does this mean; are running sports and countries the same exercise? Not really, but wherever you find them, elected politicians are pretty much the same and so is what happens to other peoples’ money in their hands. The skating folks have kept electing their same politicians in the hope that some of the goodies would come their way just as U.S. and E.U. voters have done. And in perfect justice, all are receiving the same payoff in the coming end.
Learning a triple jump takes about ten times longer than learning a double, which takes three times longer than learning a single jump. And learning is painful. Skaters however, do learn or at least, a few of them do; most fall by the wayside and disappear. Considering the numbers of times history has taught voters the current lesson, learning the fallacy of something-for-nothing at someone else’s expense must be comparable to learning a quad.
Here we go…again!