Quick HitsVia Angry Bear I learned that John Kerry won the NFL major markets 22-8 and that Bush won the country at a higher rate than he won in Dallas.
Going on about the NFL, the new TV deals with Fox and CBS should increase the salary cap in 2006 by roughly 3 million dollars above the current baseline, and the deal with Direct TV will add another 1.5 million in player salaries and benefits per year. Once the ESPN and Monday Night football contracts are negoatiated, I expect the 2006 cap to be by a total of 7-8 million dollars compared to the baseline.
Now this means a couple of different things. First, the Collective Bargaining Agreement extension is most likely close to being done because the NFL tries to be able to guarantee labor peace when it signs the TV contracts (that is one of the major attractions of the league for broadcasters, they know the games will be played). Secondly, it will allow for signing bonus prorations to be carried out over a longer time period once the CBA is signed which should reduce the number of rookie holdouts next year. Thirdly, this gives the Patriots some options.
Right now it seems that the Pats will have to make some extremely significant roster moves no later than the end of the 2005 regular season by getting rid of through free agency, retirement or cuts, several significant, but expensive older veterans if they are to have a chance in hell to sign the new talent that has exlcusively developped under Belicheck. Mike Vrabel, Troy Brown, Willie McGuinest, Roman Phifer, are all under contract for at least one more year past this year, but are getting to be very expensive. At the same time, Tom Brady, Richard Seymour, David Givens, Eugene Wilson and others will be looking for contract extensions in the next two years and these extensions will most likely have significant salary cap impact. An increase of 6 million dollars in the cap will ease the pain of these decisions.
Next, via Brad DeLong I see Vox Baby, a somewhat conservative economist from Dartmouth, lay out a damm good case for Social Security reform that acknowledges reality; private accounts are not a panacea, but just an interesting option. Vox is arguing that Social Security could be made whole if we indexed the normal retirement age with average life expectency changes so that the percentage of ones' life that one spends collecting benefits would stay constant over time. If we are moving to a society of longer living, and better living in old age, which I believe we are, then this is a damm good idea that can be implemented cheaply (my normal retirement age, for instance would be pushed back by 4.5 to 5 years, which I don't care about either way at this stage in my life. I assume that I'll be working or at least earning money until I am senile.) The only legitimate argument that private accounts make sense in is the political argument that the courts are more responsible than Congress in protecting those funds from being diverted for general spending. I agree with this argument, but it does not lead directly to private accounts as a similiar system of dedicated investment could be made by cannibalizing the Federal governments' employee thrift savings plans as the shared collective investment vehicle. This would reduce the administrative headache and costs of running individual accounts, thereby increasing the probability of making future retirees whole when their diverted payroll taxes into investments and normal DB OASI benefits are collected.