February 2, 2011

Perhaps This Is Not The Best Prize

A homeless couple in Green Bay won an all-expense paid trip to the Super Bowl. Where it's only marginally warmer and less snowy than in Wisconsin right now. They are, apparently, big fans of the Packers (as should be all right-thinking Americans, including not only Chicago lawyers but also the guy who makes Pittsburgh's Terrible Towels). So they'll get flown down to Dallas, have a nice weekend in a nice hotel and some good food, and flown home. It would be an experience of a lifetime for a Packer fan, to see the team play in the Super Bowl.

But at the end of their adventure, they're still going to be homeless. Tickets, flights, food -- how much is all that worth? $10,000 or so? The median price on a house in Green Bay is $109,000. That same ten grand could go to for a 5% down payment on a median-level house in their own home town and closing costs, some basic furniture, a couple of new suits for job interviews, and finding some leads on suitable employment. Wouldn't that be better?

I'm a fan of the Packers and I'm excited about the game. But as much fun as it's going to be for those of us who can afford the luxury of indulging in its frivolity, it is still just a game. Watching the Packers play in the Super Bowl in person would be a big thrill, yes, but if I were homeless and unemployed, I would much rather watch them play on TV -- from the comfort of my own new house.

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