The United States budget is, simply put, huge. It is based on numbers that are abstract figures with no relevance to everyday life. They are so difficult to understand that not even regular nerds can understand them; that is left to a special breed of ultra nerd who is such a nerd they even have their own classification: policy wonk.
I think it’s important to be able to talk about these numbers in a way that bridges the gap between the average citizen and the policy wonk. In order to do that, let’s get outside the arena of politics, and start breaking some numbers down into smaller portions for easier consumption (yum).
First, let me introduce someone.
That’s Kevin Garnett (aka “KG”), the new Beast of the East and currently the highest paid player in the National Basketball Association.
Kevin is a rich man, by anyone’s standard (well, perhaps not oil company executives). Just his salary for this year checks in at $23.75 million (that’s $23,750,000) and that doesn’t even count his considerable endorsement deals!
As is often (but sadly, not always) the case in professional sports, Kevin makes a lot of money because he is extraordinarily good at what he does. He is a very versatile player; at nearly 7 feet tall, he can still shoot and pass very well and is capable of playing any of the 5 positions on the basketball floor. Really. Any general manager would love to be able to put 5 KG’s out on the floor.
But that would be expensive (and not just the cloning!). And this is where Daddy Warbucks comes in.
Current estimates for the expense of the Iraq war are widely varied. For these purposes, I’m going to use this figure from last year, when a Congressional analysis estimated the weekly cost of the war at $2 billion per week (or about $100 billion / year).
That is on top of our already bloated Department of Defense (Offense?) budget. And boy, if you think professional athletes are overpaid, you should see how much some of those super sick toys cost.
So tomorrow, our public officials are all going to wake up with a seismic shift in their diplomatic priorities : instead of dropping bombs on people’s houses and shooting their children in the face, we’re going to entertain them with a brand new basketball league. And like we did on the bombs and bullets, we’re sparing no expense.
With our $2 billion for this week, we can afford to pay about 84 KGs to come and play in our league for the year. That’s enough to fill 7 teams with KGs (That’s 5 starters and 7 bench players per team). But 7 teams is clearly not enough for a real league, so we’re going to have to either get our KGs to restructure their contracts or we’re going to have to save for a few weeks.
As we all know, saving is un-American (in fact, I heard Duncan Hunter is sponsoring a bill to re-term ‘saving’ as ‘Frenching’ and ‘shopping’ as ‘ass-kicking’). Fortunately, KGs are both gracious and savvy businessmen, so they’ve agreed to getting paid weekly.
Now we’re talking a whole new ballgame! In fact, several new ballgames. Each of our KGs makes about $456,730 per week; with our $2 billion weekly allowance, we can pay 4,378 KGs for our new league and still have enough for a leftover Kobe Bryant!
But wait : the NBA has only 30 teams. That would only require 360 Kevin Garnetts. We have over 12 times that many KGs on our payroll now. We could start 12 new leagues. But that’s going to cause other problems, as we don’t have enough major cities in the United States to support so many teams (and yes, I realize they don’t need to ‘support’ them since they’re being government funded. But hang with me.) Green Bay, Wisconsin is the smallest city (population: 100,353) in the U.S. that currently supports a major sports franchise.
The clear answer is just to give each city in the U.S. with a population over 100,000 their own basketball franchise. That means we’re forming 258 new teams, each one of which comes fully stocked with 12 of the highest paid basketball player in the world. Now if only we could predict who would emerge victorious in matchups such as the Billings Big Tickets and the Killeen Kevins we could make a pretty penny at the sports betting tables (just don’t bet against the local fan favorites, the Vegas Garnetts).
It’s a good thing that the state of Texas loves it’s professional sports, because they just got a junkload of new professional basketball teams.
he smiles because he’s happy, multitudinous, and insanely rich
But wait; we’re currently only using about $1.414 of our $2 billion weekly allowance. We’ve still got about $586 million to spend, and just under 7 days to do it. And we all know who eventually shows up when there are hundreds of millions of dollars being unwisely flung about the place.
there may be no “Rod” in team, but there sure is in giving one the shaft
Having not yet learned that money can’t buy happiness, Alex Rodriguez is seeking a pay raise: He would like to exchange his current annual salary of just under $23 million for a long term deal where he would average about $30 million. It’s not yet clear if any of the Major League teams will pony up, but in trying times like these, we know Uncle Sam will.
Like KG, A-Rod has agreed to take his pay on a weekly basis, which comes out to a sparse $576,923 weekly stipend. Also like KG, he has agreed to be cloned in order to populate this new Patriot Baseball League. I’m sure you can see where this is all going.
With their new $30 million annual deals all in hand, we’ve used the rest of our Iraq War budget to sign up 1,015 A-Rods. Now, baseball squads are a bit bigger than basketball teams; we’ll need 25 A-Rods per team. (Note: baseball actually has a 40-man roster size for pre-season and playoffs, but the A-Rods have lobbied to get rid of playoffs so they don’t have to keep taking crap over them in the media. So we’re going with a 25 man roster and making A-Rods pitch for simplicity’s sake).
We now have just over 40 teams worth of A-Rods raring to go. Like basketball, Major League Baseball also only has 30 teams. So, we’re just going to replace them with our teams full of A-Rods, and expand into the international market with teams in Seoul, Tokyo, Shaghai, Mexico City, Pusan, Yokohama, Santo Domingo, San Juan (PR), Caracas, and Bogota.
And there you have it all spelled out in its fantastic lunacy. Instead of waging war in Iraq, we could give every city in the US with a population over 100k a basketball team stocked with 12 KGs AND have 40 baseball teams stocked with the highest paid sports figure in the history of the known universe.