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« Steyn - As Only Steyn Can Be | Main | Read My Lips... »

Frederic Bastiat, NFL GM

What does the NFL draft have to do with Frederic Bastiat?

Bastiat might have liked George Allen, senator and governor very much. His father, George Allen, Mr. "The Future Is Now," not so much. George Allen pere decided to trade away the team's draft for the next century in order to turn the Redskins into the Ramskins, and bring his Over-the-Hill Gang to Washington. Almost immediatley they got to a Super Bowl. They were much-beloved, these Redskins of my youth. But the team didn't win another playoff game until the Super Bowl year of 1982.

Years later, the Minnesota Vikings were to make the same mistake, trading away their first and second round draft picks for three years, for the rights to one running back, Herschel Walker.

Why do teams do this?

Bastiat would have understood. He spent a career arguing that economic policies that are popular in the short term are almost ruinous in the long term. And that what makes such catastrophe possible is the difference between the seen and the unseen.
You can always point to the guy who gets laid off when someone moves a manufacturing operation to Asia because of NAFTA. (Yes, oh humorless ones, that's a joke.) But with rare exceptions, you can't point to the guy who has a job because his boss is spending half as much on office supplies as he used to.

George Allen was the perfect football administration for DC. He could immediately point to the Super Bowl appearance, and to the terrific players he had brought with him. And nobody could point with certainty to the talent the Redskins didn't draft, because B.K. (before Kiper) nobody could say with certainty where they would have picked, and who would have been available.

The Over-the-Hill Gang was seen; the players who went to Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Oakland were unseen. Except on some very big Sundays in January.

David Sirota, Barack Obama in his current incarnation, Hillary Clinton trying to catch up with them, are George Allen. They'll trade the unseen for the seen, and make people happy for the moment. The free-traders are the dynasty-builders. They'll trade the seen, with the assurance that the unseen will materialize.

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