It turns out that the taxpayer subsidy to Jim Harbaugh is equal to an awful lot of food stamps, which are a useful reference point here, since Republicans have tried to vilify the program. If we assume that Harbuagh's salary is made up by $7 million in tax-deductible contributions by rich people, then taxpayers will effectively be paying $2.8 million to subsidize his coaching job. This is equivalent to 20,000 months of food stamps. People who get upset over someone getting food stamps from the government should be very upset about a football coach getting a taxpayer subsidy equal to 20,000 months of food stamps. To be clear, I have nothing against Harbaugh or the University of Michigan, but it is certainly reasonable to ask about the size of the salaries at nonprofits that are being subsidized with our tax dollars.
Black Monday in the NFL saw four more franchises fire their head coaches along with two general managers. Clearly there are situations where a head coach may have lost the ability to motivate his team or lost control of how to fix a losing situation and a change is needed. History shows however that stability at the coaching level is a key to success.
How can it be that the head coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines is paid the same as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers? The 49ers, after all, have yearly revenue in excess of $300 million. The Wolverines' revenue is closer to $90 million. Can the coach's incremental value really be similar in the two cases? No.
It's time for all of us all to act, and to demand much more from those in positions of leadership in the NFL. I also hope that President Obama and Members of Congress voice their views, not to score political blood-score points, but as human beings who are fathers and mothers, who want America to be a place where their daughters don't live in fear.