Friday, January 30, 2015

Why all Americans should hate the Superbowl

One of the things The Frau loved about being in Switzerland was forgetting all about huge American sporting obsessions like the Superbowl. Unless of course, she checked Facebook, where American friends were posting obsessively about it.

Now that she’s back in the U.S., she can’t avoid certain American sporting pastimes, but she is doing her hardest to try—at least when it comes to the NFL. This has less to do with not caring about sports and more to do with the overall inequality in the country these days.

Is The Frau crazy? What does American football have to do with American inequality? Well, actually a lot. See, the National Football League is classified as a non-profit organization.

Yes. You heard The Frau right. The NFL…which pays players millions and charges a devoted fan thousands of dollars for one Superbowl ticket…they are tax exempt in the eyes of the American government.

Which brings us to Americans abroad. Who are not tax exempt in the eyes of the American government, even though they must also pay tax to the country they are living in and have no representation in the U.S. despite their tax liabilities.

Does any of this make any sense?

No. The United States not a lot of sense these days makes. And the Superbowl pretty much represents everything that’s wrong about the U.S. these days: rich getting a tax break while the rest of us pay.

Anyone else refusing to watch on Sunday?


Hattie said...

I'm with you 1000 per cent on this one.

Kimberly said...

Expat taxation - now you've hit my hot button! Did not know that about the NFL - Grrrr....

Anonymous said...

I dislike big sports league games, MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, too much like the plebeian masses flocking to the coliseum in Roman times.

I disagree about taxation without representation, since we can cast absentee ballots.

The NFL as an umbrella organization may be nonprofit, but with the exception of the Green Bay Packers, none of the individual NFL teams is a nonprofit entity.

I see taxation "at source" as the most sensible approach, though in the case of citizens abroad I do not think that it is too much to ask for citizens to pay tax on income above the threshold, since we still have rights/benefits of citizenship. (There are people working and living in Zürich but still "registered" and paying tax in lower-tax municipalities in Ticino, or working and living in Geneva but still "registered" and paying tax in low-tax municipalities in Fribourg. How much sense does that make?) Whether one chooses to exercise those rights is another matter. One is not forced to keep his/her American citizenship if living abroad and with another option, but consider yourself fortunate that you are in no danger of losing yours, that it is your choice to make.

Chantal said...

The NFL has $10 billion in annual revenue. And they're a non-profit? Luckily someone is trying to do something. Not that it will happen since the NFL pays lobbyists millions...

Also, Americans abroad have no representative per se. There is no person in Congress or the House representing interests specifically for American expats. Does my senator from Virginia care about expat issues? Then again, does any American politician actually care about anyone besides themselves?

Paul said...

You are right about both things: NFL and tax situation.

Chantal said...

Merci vielmal, Paul.

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