Saturday, February 28, 2009

How to Win in the NFL

Here is a general philosophy that seems to work. If you can stop the run and you can run the ball effectively, you will win more games than you lose. The NFL is a passing league, but football at its core is still a simple game that starts up front in the trenches. Control the line of scrimmage and you win. That is how Pittsburgh won, that is how the Giants won, that is how Indy won, and that is how New England won in recent years. You can go back to the Dallas teams of the 1990s, the 49ers and Redskins teams of the 1980s and the Pittsburgh and Dallas teams of the 1970s and you will see that winning requires controlling the lines of scrimmage.

The second thing that works is drafting well and developing home-grown talent. Dallas and Danny Boy's Redskins have tried to build winners by buying top players at premium prices. It hasn't worked. The problem is quite simple. There is a hard salary cap so while you hear about the splashy free agents these teams lavish money on, they still pay the same overall payrolls as every other team in the NFL. The Cowgirls and Deadskins have some high priced talent (many who underperform) but then must backfill their roster with a lot of guys who get paid the league minimums because they cannot afford any better.

The Redskins seemed to have been committed to rebuilding their team through the draft and last year I thought the team made some progress. But, Danny Boy couldn't resist being a "playa" and yet again blew up his budget to create marketing buzz around the big contracts. When the team goes 8-8 again this year it will all be for naught.

Friday, February 27, 2009

GDP falls 6.2 percent

That is a horribly bad number for the 4th quarter. So, it just further shows how bad the Bush economic plan was.

That said, this is now Obama's economy. I like the stimulus package, but like I said yesterday, I would like to see some cuts in government programs to reflect the economic condition of the country. There are structural issues that prevent major cuts to many programs, but Obama is going to have to expend political capital to change entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare.

As a starting point, I like the discussion right now about reworking Bush's horribly bad Medicare Part D program. That added literally hundreds of billions of dollars of wasteful spending in a complex way that was a giveaway to the drug companies. Making just slight, sensible changes to that program will still allow seniors to get their drugs but can save $40 billion over the next decade by negotiating lower drug costs through economies of scale and ending all of the complex drug plans that no one can understand anyway.

Haynesworth gets $100M from Danny Boy

Actually, it is $41M guaranteed over 7 years, with another possible $15M in possible bonuses. Hall got his $50+ million ($23M guaranteed also).

This is Danny Boy making a big splash in free agency. But here is what is going to happen - they are going to have to cut/restructure a couple of players to make this work and then they still have plenty of other needs.

I expect Springs will get cut today to clear his $8M salary for the coming year (I'm not sure how much savings it will be because of dead cap requirements), then the 'Skins will have to make a couple of other restructurings just to sign some O-linemen. Fortunately for them, they only have 4 draft picks to sign this year.

Hayneworth is a great player and I'd love to see him on the Bears - but there is no way I would pay that much money for him. He has never played through an entire season and now that he is getting paid I can see his production falling off.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama's First Budget

$3.55 trillion.

Let me say that I am somewhat disappointed. I would have liked to have seen a real cut in spending. The fiscal condition of the country is horrible, and I would like to see a more austere proposal.

That said, I am for stimulus spending and a new national health care program. What I would have liked to have seen was a more aggressive cut in military spending (primarily a faster withdrawal from Iraq) and cuts to many other departments. The savings from those changes should have been applied to new spending priorities.

The deficit for this year will be about 12 percent of GDP - this is due to Bush. By year 4, according to Obama, the annual budget deficit will fall to about 3 percent of GDP. If that happens, he will be reelected in a landslide and things will be looking good.

Like I said before, I would take a more aggressive stand on government spending, but he's the boss and its his neck on the line. If it works out - and I certainly hope it does - then he will be able to take all of the credit.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Idiot Republican

I heard some dude on C-Span calling in and saying that the entire financial collapse was due to "ACORN" and that Obama had rewarded ACORN with $2 billion in the new stimulus package.

This is the kind of ignorant Republican who listens to Rush Limbaugh and actually thinks he tells the truth. The sad part is the guy thought he was actually on to something.

ACORN is a community based organization that helps low income people find housing. You would think they are devil-worshipping terrorists Hell-bent on bringing down the U.S. by the way some right-wing nut jobs talk about them. There is no $2 billion for ACORN in the package and the idea that ACORN is responsible for the global economic meltdown is laughable.

Obama's Presidential Address

Obama hit it out of the part tonight. He struck the perfect tone of seriousness and optimism that the country needs. He explained what he is doing and why. That is why his approval rating stands at 60 percent

Bushie created one Hell of a mess that Obama is addressing in a careful way. In 35 days, he has delivered tax cuts that helps the majority of Americans. He is investing in roads, bridges, energy infrastructure, and schools. He signed into law SCHIP that gives health insurance to 11 million kids and looks to be working to a national health care plan. He is actually doing things.

Let me say something about Bobby Jindal's "response" tonight. Quite simply, it was ridiculous. It was as if the last 8 years hadn't happened and Obama hadn't just given a tremendously effective speech. Jindal pretty much just parroted standard Republican fare - tax cuts for the wealthy and more defense spending. It was truly bizarre. The Republican Party has to come up with a new script.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bailout/Stimulus Thoughts

I've been extremely busy over the last couple of months, but now want to get back into the routine of blogging.

The single biggest issue facing the nation is the nosediving economy. There can be no question that the Bush economic policy was an utter failure. As I have discussed many times, Bush came to office with a huge budget surplus (a record $237 billion) and left behind a record $1 trillion deficit for this year. The national debt exploded and we got nothing for all of the wasted money.

Here is what we need to do now. With unemployment rising so rapidly - we are now losing over 500,000 jobs per month - we need to have the government spend money on infrastructure projects. The advantages are clear - we get better roads, bridges, schools, energy grid, etc. which help over a long term and we get immediate job creation in the struggling contruction/manufacturing industries.

Outside of some middle class tax relief for households making less than about $60K, we should not have any more tax cuts. The government should not spend more and cut taxes - it will just lead to bigger and bigger deficits. We just came off 8 years of this nonsense which is why our country is now bankrupt. Doing more of the same won't help. Under Bush, we had more than $1 trillion in tax cuts and we also have a doubling of government spending. It didn't work and anyone who thinks we can tax cut our way out of this mess is fooling him/herself.

Frankly, the Republicans are just pushing for more tax cuts. They either do not understand the nature of our economic crisis, or they do not care. If I were Obama, I would stop trying to placate the Republicans and I would force through the stimulus package without the upper income tax cuts that Republicans want. He tried working with them, but they just want to be obstructionists. Let them sit in the corner and pout, just do the work without them.