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January, 2009:

Recession-proof? Ha!

Waxpaperbeercup points us to an item in Ed Sherman’s blog, in which Cubs director of sales and promotions Matt Wszolek shows no understanding of the world around him. You should read both the original material and wpbc’s post, because the arrogance coming from the Cubs is staggering.

Consider how the NBA attendance is sagging. Or how ad sales for the Super Bowl are flagging. FedEx balked at the $3 million price tag for a 30-second spot, calling such a purchase irresponsible in the face of the economy.  The NFL even laid off 150 full-time staffers before Christmas.

Sports isn’t recession proof, and if anything, you’ll find sports fans flocking away from expensive events like Major League Baseball at $100/head and go for less expensive entertainment, such as high school and college sports. I’m watching the 19th ranked team in the country play Loyola tomorrow. I’m sitting in the front row, on the floor, and paying only $30 for that.  How does that compare to the $150 100-level seats at the United Center to snooze through the Bulls?

Wszolek claims that big Cubs fans won’t walk away, and in some ways he’s right. I’ll follow the Cubs (and seriously, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger Cubs fan than I).  I won’t blindly throw cash at tickets, etc., unlike those of whom P.T. Barnum spoke.

Wszolek must not have been paying attention to Bank of America dialing down its investment with MLB. Or DHL (the official delivery service of MLB) spending November terminating its agreements with each of the 30 clubs. Or Citibank being mocked by Congress for putting its name on the Mets’ stadium. Or the Tribune Company being upbraided for trying to work out a deal with Gov. Blagojevich over Wrigley Field (whether or not they considered firing any editorial writers).

Oh, and Wszolek expects Chevy to be a big sponsor in 2009. Maybe. But we’ll see how long GM can afford spending the big sponsorship bucks.

Permanent Campaign Mode?

It’s good to know that the guy who promised “change” in the way politics is done has amped up his campaign operation before he’s been sworn in for his first term.

News item: Geithner owes back taxes

Now comes news out of New York that Timothy Geithner owed more than $34,000 in back taxes due to what Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs termed an “honest mistake.”

I’m inclined to give Geithner the benefit of the doubt here. Still, Geithner is regarded as one of the United States’ foremost economic and financial experts.  The federal tax code is so complex that not even he is immune from errors.

Who benefits from our tax system?