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Baseball and politics

June 3, 2011
Marshall Independent

To the editor:

I have read over and over this spring how the legislators and the Governor need to compromise to "solve" this budget shortfall. And, since the Governor has already come "half way," it is the legislature's responsibility to at least come part of the way toward the Governor's position in order to make "progress."

On the other hand, I would suggest that they could adopt the method used by Major League Baseball to resolve salary arbitration.

In MLB both the team and the player submit what they feel to be a fair and reasonable proposal, and stick with that proposal which is sent to an arbitrator. Of course there is a chance for negotiation, as both sides prefer to avoid the risk of arbitration, but once submitted, the arbitrator can only choose one or the other position, but cannot pick a number in between.

Now, your first response may well be as mine was when I first heard of MLB's process; "That's dumb!".

But now consider the wisdom of MLB's process.

Each side knows that if they submit an unreasonable proposal, they stand little chance of winning, and will thus have to succumb totally to the other's proposal.

Now consider the folly of compromise for its own sake.

If each side knows that compromise will result with something "in the middle," then each side has every incentive to submit the most extreme proposal it can devise. So the owner puts up the Major League minimum, and for the player, the sky's the limit. Is that productive?

So, I respectfully submit that each side should quite reasonably put forth their best reasonable effort and let the arbitrator decide.

Who, you may reasonably ask, is the arbitrator?

Why, that would be the voter.

Brad Hennen




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