Should the federal government really be putting the Packers on TV?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…
So says the Declaration of Independence, this country’s founding document. But, for some, securing those rights isn’t the only reason we institute governments among ourselves. They also exist to dictate that we can watch our favorite sports team on TV.
This is the purpose of the bizarre ‘Go Pack Go Act’ which Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin is trying to get through Congress. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
Currently, 13 Wisconsin counties are assigned to an out-of-state team based on their broadcast media markets.
Burnett, Washburn, Polk, Barron, St. Croix, Dunn and Pierce counties are part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul media market. Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron and Sawyer counties are in the Duluth, Minnesota, media market. Florence County is in the Marquette, Michigan, market.
The poor folks in these areas are forced to watch Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions games whenever those teams play at the same time as the Packers.
The Go Pack Go Act would require cable, satellite and other TV providers to give customers in Wisconsin access to programming within their home state.
Of course, the federal government has grown far beyond the scope the Founding Fathers intended for it. It now does all sorts of things for which it has, at best, only a spurious authority granted to it in the Constitution. In some cases, there is no basis at all. But Sen. Baldwin’s attempt to use federal government power to force TV companies to broadcast Aaron Rodgers might be the most egregious abuse of federal power yet.
John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.