Equality of Opportunity, Not Results

04/06/2009 12:01 am EST

Focus: MARKETS

Terry Savage

Author, The Savage Truth on Money

Last week was one of incredible changes in our economy, starting with the President of the United States "removing" Rick Wagoner, chief executive officer of General Motors. There was a time back in the 1950s when GM president Charles Wilson could say: "For years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa."  

So if GM needed some tough parental action this week, maybe Congress also needs a lesson in what makes the American economy work better than any other system in the world-even with all our faults.

America has always been known as the land of opportunity. That's what still brings immigrants to our shores from around the world. Our national promise is equal opportunity. But we've never promised equal results!

I received an interesting e-mail this week that illustrates the confusion over this question. I would give the author due credit, but his or her origins have been lost as the message made its way around the Internet. Still, it's worth a quote-especially if sports metaphors appeal to you!

Here's a shortened, edited version:

The Super Bowl XLIII Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, the only team in the National Football League to win six titles, will soon be losing half of those trophies. After a meeting between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and President Barack Obama, the two have agreed to redistribute half of the Steelers' Super Bowl victories and trophies to less fortunate teams in the league.

"We live everyday in the country that invented the Super Bowl," President Obama said. "We are not about to lose this great American tradition in the wake of these difficult times."

The president's plan calls for the Steelers, one of the NFL's most successful franchises, to give half of their Super Bowl trophies to teams that have not won as many Super Bowl rings as they have.

"The Detroit Lions are just as much a part of the same fiber of the NFL as the Steelers and they should-no, will-be entitled to a Super Bowl Trophy as well," Obama explained in the plan that he reportedly imposed on Goodell and the NFL.

"My plan will not affect 31 of the 32 teams in the league," the president assured football fans. So, more than 95% of the teams in the NFL will not have to worry about losing their Vince Lombardi trophies, he pointed out. "The worst teams in the NFL and the teams that can't seem to get a break and win a championship will no longer have to worry about going without a title."

"In these difficult times, we are all in this together," President Obama concluded. "We must reclaim the NFL Championship dream for every team, for every city and for every fan."

According to the president's plan, the Super Bowl XLIII trophy will be redistributed to the 0-16 Detroit Lions. The Super Bowl XL trophy will go directly to the Steelers' division rival, the Cincinnati Bengals, who have never won a Super Bowl. Finally, one of the two Vince Lombardi trophies the Steelers won for defeating the Dallas Cowboys will go back to the Cowboys. This is a heavy burden for the Steelers, but as the president said, together we can all prosper..

Again, my thanks to this anonymous Swiftian satirist, who has captured the absurdity of our situation in fine style.  Do you agree? Please have your say by posting a comment.

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