It says a lot about the state of our country when Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has done more since Inauguration Day for American small business owners suffering from the economic strains of COVID-19 restrictions than President Joe Biden and his sleepy crew of puppeteers.
For one, it tells me that regardless of which of our two toxic political parties holds the power in Washington D.C., the same old swamp creatures will do their best to do swampy things.
They always win and we always pay for it.
It’s that simple.
Still, despite real world proof that actions speaks louder than words, Biden apologists, Donald Trump haters, and hardcore left and right voters will continue to ignore the obvious truth – we need sweeping change in our nations’ capitol if we are ever going to right this ship.
It’s a travesty that while members of the U.S. Congress have been busy holding impeachment hearings to start 2021, millions of individuals and thousands of business owners have watched another two months without relief.
And it is no fault of their own.
For the last year federal and state government officials and the Grand Poo-Bah himself, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that it can’t be business as usual (14 days to slow the spread, remember) and that we must all sacrifice for the cause.
Everyday people have sacrificed. Workers have been laid off and some small businesses have been shuttered forever. Thousands have found themselves homeless.
And where have our government benefactors been this whole time? Visiting salons when we can’t and taking trips to Cancun when we are told to forgo holidays with our families.
Oh sure, the feds threw everyone a bone or two along the way in the form of stimulus checks for some and business loans for others.
But it hasn’t been enough to stem the bleeding.
Meanwhile, one guy - Portnoy - has managed to raise more than $36 million through his non-profit Barstool Fund, soliciting donations to help struggling businesses across the country.
In two months he has managed to get more than 218,000 people to donate money to the fund and at last count more than 283 businesses have received much needed cash injections.
Of course, you don’t hear a lot about Portnoy’s successful efforts or see any stories on the television news about the mom-and-pop shop owners who have benefited from his fund because he only gets press and credit for his efforts from certain media outlets.
The reason for that is obvious: A lot of people don’t like Portnoy. He’s rough around the edges and usually spits the truth as he sees it in an unpolished, everyman sort of way. Politically incorrect snippets don’t play well on the pages of the New York Times.
The other thing that grates on the delicate nerves of the bun wearing, sensitive types who will no doubt skewer this column behind the safety of their tiny iPhone keyboards, is he has made a fortune celebrating the type of lifestyle that offends so many these days.
The cornerstone of his multi-media empire is Barstool Sports, which is advertised as a sports and pop culture blog and is everything the image of a group of friends sitting on barstools talking, laughing, and enjoying an apology free good time, conjures up.
Some of the content on his website is off-color and borders on offensive. One will find everything from blogs and random videos to more controversial (in some circles) content like, “Barstool Local Smoke Show of the Day,” which promotes Internet models dressed in tiny swimsuits or less.
He also recently put on a pay-per-view that featured a boxing match between washed up baseball player Jose Conseco and a Barstool employee named Will that lasted all of 12 seconds when the former steroid abusing baseball player took a dive and cashed in a check for $1 million.
Think Vince McMahon meets Howard Stern, and you have a rough idea the theme Portnoy is going for.
However, despite what some might think of Portnoy and his antics, at least we can count on one thing with him: What you see is what you get.
There is no double talk or hidden agendas.
That is the opposite of what we see from career politicians who often say one thing in front of the camera while doing another when the spotlights are off.
And while Portnoy is putting other people’s money (and some of his, of course,) where his mouth is in an attempt to help his fellow Americans – and he certainly has no reason to do so other than wanting to do good things – congress and Biden are planning on spending at least $1.9 trillion of other people’s money (your tax dollars) on a stimulus package that has spawned funding requests for a number of pet projects unrelated to COVID-19.
It’s all done under the guise of helping struggling Americans make ends meet.
Well, some Americans more than others.
For example, Forbes Magazine took a closer look at the Democratic party-controlled House version of “The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” and found an interesting tidbit on page 305 under the title “Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund.”
It’s a $570 million account exclusively for federal workers that would be good through Sept. 30 and would allow federal employees “caring for a son or daughter” to qualify for paid leave specifically “if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, if the school of such son or daughter requires or makes optional a virtual learning instruction model or requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning instruction models, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to Covid-19 precautions;”
Under the bill as currently drafted, full-time federal employees can take up to 600 hours in paid leave until September 30, up to $35 an hour and $1,400 a week. That’s 15 weeks for a 40-hour employee. Part-time and “seasonal” employees are eligible, too.
Not a federal employee and facing the same situation? Tough luck, pal.
If we really want to rescue America, we vote all of these bums out and start over from scratch.
Maybe Dave Portnoy will run for President. At least he gets stuff done.