Give-and-Take Crucial in Debt, NFL Disputes

Eugene Kane, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist, highlights similarities between the NFL and debt-ceiling talks.

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In his column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Eugene Kane argues that the debt-ceiling talks and the now-resolved NFL players' lockout demonstrate the need for participants to learn the art of compromise. 

After all the back-and-forth bickering, it's hard to believe two parties so intent on getting their own way could actually come to an agreement.

Yes, I'm talking about National Football League owners and players.

I'm also talking about Republicans and Democrats debating whether to raise the debt ceiling.

Both situations are important to ordinary Americans who are both fans of professional football and conscientious voters who care about the stability of the U.S. government.

Both issues also vividly demonstrate what's often sorely lacking these days: the art of compromise.

The opposing parties in the NFL negotiations reportedly came to agreement Monday to begin the season after a lockout by owners.

Many people saw the lockout as an in-your-face move to change working conditions and salaries that had become out of whack in previous decades. Others noted that nobody forced the owners to pay such exorbitant salaries to players, who are the ones who get the concussions, torn ligaments and broken bones playing a violent game. And some saw the NFL battle as simply a fight between millionaire players and billionaire owners.

However you see it, the owners own all the hardware -- the equipment, the arenas and the TV contracts -- so in order to play the 2011 season, it was time to get serious at the bargaining table. Both sides gave a bit, and the deal got done ...

The debate in Congress over raising the debt ceiling is much more serious for most Americans than the football season, even if many don't totally understand exactly what the debate is about.

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