John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Creating Jobs and Olympic Gold

Posted on February 18, 2010

While I am not exactly addicted to the Winter Olympics, I have been catching snippets of NBC’s coverage at least a little bit every day.

I have been most fascinated by the diversity of the Olympics.  Not the racial diversity, but the diversity in sporting events.  You have curling, snowboarding, ice skate racing, figure skating.  You have the long tracks, short tracks, the moguls, the aerials, the jumpers, and every thing else under the sun.

Many of these events can hardly be called real sporting contents, but hey, what the heck?  If it makes these kids famous, why not?

Shaun White is now a certifiable super-star.  From what I can tell, he spends most of his time doing on the snow what kids at the local skate-board park do on the concrete.  He screws around in cool ways.

Yes, it is entertaining, but I find it hard to believe that this is what the Greeks had in mind when they starting running around buck-naked on Mount Olympia a few thousand years ago.

On the other hand, I can’t help but think about the jobs that Shaun White and his sport creates.  He need a publicist, so that is one job.  He needs a hair stylist to make him look like Carrot-top, so that is another job.  Of course, the folks who serves as judges have to get paid, so those are some other jobs.  He wears and endorses the Shaun White clothing line, so those are some more jobs.

Shaun White is a veritable job machine, all because he is exceptionally good at screwing around in the snow.

Tomorrow, Tiger Woods will apologize for screwing around too much outside the game he plays, which is golf.  But a lot of jobs depend on Tiger Woods playing that game, so he will haul himself before a few wire services, say that he is really sorry, and then get back to the job of playing golf and creating jobs for the folks who rely on him for their livelihoods.  When you create a billion dollars in economic activity just because you are a damn good golfer, you know that you are kind of a big deal.

On the one-year anniversary of his so-called stimulus bill, the President has tried to make the dubious case that his program was good for the country.  If by good he means that it is good to be deeper in debt to China and it is good to have the unemployment rate close to 10 percent, then he is doing fine.

But the multiplier effect of the money spent on the stimulus is negligible, far below the multiplier effect of Shawn White or Tiger Woods.

Maybe the President should take the rest of the money, and spend it on obscure and upcoming sports.  How about beer-pong?  Or Wii Tennis?  Or reality Dungeons and Dragons?

Maybe one of those sports will create the next Shaun White.  Think of the job potential.