On a day when the Packers and Steelers face off in the big game, the residents of the Rust Belt are left to watch representatives of two once vibrant industries fight for a title that seems like a mere consolation prize compared to the promise of continued employment.
Just as the Steelers and the Packers match up well with their strong defenses and trusted quarterbacks, the steel and packing industries have followed similar paths. Both were economic pillars of the Midwest during the time of the industrial revolution, and both are suffering today.
The steel industry has received somewhat of a boost thanks to the new railroads ordered in the stimulus package, but skyscrapers and new rail lines haven’t been popping up like they used to. And the new batch of Republican governors could delay the boost to steelers by forcing new plans to be made in different states.
Of course even if every last cent of the stimulus money made it to its intended destination, it would still be nothing compared to the subsidy the Steelers received when their quarterback escaped rape charges (again) earlier in the season.
The Packers, once sponsored by a meat packing company, may have it even worse. Many major stockyards have closed their doors over the last few decades. Much of the industry moved down to Texas and other Southwestern states where cattle ranches are closer and labor comes cheaper.
The Green Bay fans wearing large, plastic hunks of cheese on their head have it a little better. Sure, dairy farms have been struggling as well, but a government subsidy that allowed Domino’s to double the amount of cheese on its pizza has really helped them out.
So while Michelle Obama continues her crusade against junk food, cheese-producing Wisconsin farmers will be sharing in the profits with Domino’s as it delivers thousands of especially unhealthy pizzas to Superbowl parties nationwide.