NFL Labor Negotiations, Internet Gambling, and Potatoes

NFL Labor Negotiations, Internet Gambling, and Potatoes

Today in the News
May 20, 2011

NFL Lockout

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) decertified itself as a union in order to put NFL teams at a disadvantage.

CEI Vice President Iain Murray explains.

"[B]ecause the NFL is not a single corporate entity, but an alliance of sports teams that come together to form a league, our ridiculously outdated antitrust laws would normally treat it as a cartel. However, there are exemptions to antitrust law in the event of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between multiple employers and a labor union (and the CBA in this case contained a clause that no player would sue the NFL for antitrust breaches). So, in the event of the labor union disappearing, the league automatically becomes a cartel once more, subject to antitrust law in all its terrifying fury. This gave the NFLPA a nuclear option, which it quite happily deployed. On the day the collective bargaining agreement was due to lapse, the union decertified itself. In normal circumstances, a union decertifying indicates that its members have had enough of it and no longer need a go-between. But in this case, the NFLPA continues to exist, and is even handing out strike pay of $65,000 per player. The NFL objected to what it regarded as a sham decertification, and complained to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) about it."

 

Internet Gambling

Felix Salmon argued this week that poker shouldn't be legalized just because "some tiny fraction of the people doing it are very successful at it."

Policy Analyst Brian McGraw responds.

"The argument in support of online gambling (aside from the whole we live in a free society thing, which he casually tosses aside) is that its an activity that a large number of Americans clearly want to participate in. Gambling is a form of entertainment. I haven’t heard of many moviegoers who consistently turn a profit after a night at the cinema, yet we seem to still allow Americans to watch movies (these days you can even watch them online, which is again, something you lose money doing)."

 

Potatoes

The USDA is trying to eliminate potatoes from federally-subsidized school lunches.

Senior Fellow Greg Conko explains why the USDA is making a mistake.

"Naturally, eating too many fries or baked potatoes smothered in butter and sour cream can easily lard a kid’s diet with way too much saturated fat. But the actual potato part of the French fry or baked potato is hugely nutritious food, jam packed with important dietary nutrients. They’re a very good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, as well as the B vitamins Thiamin, Naicin, Roboflavin, Folate, and B6. And, unlike many other vegetables, potatoes contain the full complement of eight essential amino acids (though in that regard, most beans are far better than potatoes). Add a little milk (with vitamins D, A, and B12, plus calcium) to make mashed potatoes, and you’ve got yourself a damn fine meal that most kids love, and one that’s very nearly nutritionally complete. Perhaps just as important, potatoes are relatively cheap, which makes them an ideal source of nutrients and calories for low-income families and school cafeterias."