Why Is This Bad?
Rookie hazing is common to all American professional sports. Normally it amounts to rookies carrying veterans’ bags, being dressed up in women’s clothing for “fashion shoots,” or simply having to buy dinner for the veterans. Well last week Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys was subjected to the latter. Unlike most rookie hazing incidents this caused headline news. Why? Because the bill came out to just under $55,000. That’s a lot of steak.
This has led to all sorts of outrage. I think this nugget from Peter King’s (never-ending) column fairly represents the typical media reaction to the story.
This doesn’t deserve a monumental amount of coverage, but one thing should be said to the Cowboy veterans who delighted in spending about $2,500 per man (one estimate I heard for the 22 to 25 men who attended this dinner) as most of America struggles to pay for weekly groceries: Stop being pigs. It’s disgusting.
This comes from the same column in which Peter King discusses his three-hour meal with Texans running back Arian Foster. People are struggling with the grocery bills and Peter King is out carousing with football players? What a pig.
Anyway, I must share Mr. King’s outrage. Rich people spending lots of money on good and services is a bad thing for the economy.
You see, if the rich just lived like hermits and sat on their wealth that would greatly benefit the American economy. How can that be? Well the collective empathy that would be stirred by such generous action will magically make money appear in the wallets of middle class Americans throughout this great land. Every time a rich person decides to pop a Barron’s pizza in the microwave rather than going out to a Smith & Wollensky it means that some guy with an office job struggling to pay his electric bill will suddenly be flush with the extra cash needed to pay that bill.
It’s called the invisible hand. You see, there is an invisible hand that takes the money saved by the rich guy for not spending a lot on a lavish meal or yacht or car and it just places that money in some lucky schlub’s wallet. It’s really quite amazing.
Now there’s an alternative theory that suggests that when wealthy people buy things that benefits the businesses that they buy the stuff from, and those businesses in turn have more revenue, which will then enable said business to employ more people, thus leading to overall job growth. For instance, the restaurant is now flush with $55,000 more revenue than had the Cowboys players not shown up. On top of that, the wait staff were treated to something on the order of a $10,000 tip. They weren’t thinking of the players as pigs that night, but obviously the wait staff must have consisted of other wealthy men who don’t have to worry about having to pay their grocery bills.
Of course this latter theory is just crazy talk. When the economy is sputtering along the last thing we can afford is a bunch of people spending money. Listen to Peter King – he’s never wrong.
In all seriousness, lest I be accused of defending wanton gluttony, I just get annoyed over such absurd sanctimony. Do you really think it makes a lick of difference to the suburban dad just trying to keep his family afloat whether or not a bunch of football players spend a lot of money on a meal? Furthermore, this is the same attitude that leads people to rail against corporate junkets and any type of business conference set in some lavish location. How do people think the economy is supposed to improve when we discourage others from spending money? Yeah, I do think there are better ways to spend money than thousand dollar shots of cognac – you should at least be drinking scotch whiskey if you’re going to spend that much – but the waiter who’s got a couple of hundred extra bucks in his pocket because of the tip on that shot probably doesn’t mind that much. And the cooks and the other wait staff and the greeters and whoever else is employed at the restaurant also are probably not overly concerned either. In the end, their economic concerns are being eased a lot more by these players’ piggishness than by Peter King’s sanctimony.