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Old 09-06-2010, 12:54 PM   #1
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Default Final Cuts: the Players Union

If anyone has any doubts about the destructiveness of Unions, then every September when the NFL draft teams make their final cuts, should be a good model to show how destructive Unions can be. There is nothing wrong for workers to assemble and petition management about their demands and grievances. The issue is when the Unions starts to demand minimum pay.

There is no other reason NFL teams have 53 members on the team other than the players union's convoluted pay scale. Teams could carry 60, 70, 80 players like colleges do, on their roster, but because of the salary cap and minimum pay policy, they can't afford too. So what happens? Some players, who are on the bubble, have their dreams of playing in the NFL burst.

Some of you may say, well if they didn't pay the stars tens of millions of dollars then they could redistribute the wealth amongst more players. This is also a fallacy. The union restricts how many players can play football each year 32X53 = 1696 + practice squad = 256 for a total of = 1952 players. That may seem like a lot. But it isn't. The average NFL career is 3 years. So that means every year there are 650 players leaving the game for one reason or another.

That means that 10 teams would disappear each year if there were no draft. Also, it means that after 3 years, the NFL would not exist. The NFL needs players consistently. The more the merrier would be ideal. However the Union restricts the number players and hurts the game.

It is time to cut the Players union.
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: Final Cuts: the Players Union

Practice Squad rules. These are silly.

Players are eligible for an NFL practice squad position if they have less than a cumulative eight games of NFL experience on a 53-man active roster. Players may only be eligible for a single team’s practice squad for up to three seasons.
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Final Cuts: the Players Union

Ummm... have you thought about what you're writing at all? Who do you think demands the salary cap in every negotiation? Labor or management? Who demands a body cap? Why would the union want a salary cap for their members? Why would they want fewer members making money (and then paying dues on that money)?

You clearly have an opinion on unions which taints your view of anything remotely involving a union. Demanding a minimum is bad? Huh? Rethink, dude... rethink.

Just because the union has signed off on a contract does not mean they wrote the provisions in it. Both sides make concessions. The players get high pay, decent pensions and effective arbitration of disputes, and in exchange they put up with the body cap, the salary cap and all sorts of other cost restrictions.
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Old 09-06-2010, 02:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Final Cuts: the Players Union

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Ummm... have you thought about what you're writing at all? Who do you think demands the salary cap in every negotiation? Labor or management? Who demands a body cap? Why would the union want a salary cap for their members? Why would they want fewer members making money (and then paying dues on that money)?
It's a combination of both. The salary cap, I would imagine, is promoted by the owners to even the competition. The body cap is a combination of the salary cap and league minimum. If the league minimum was less, teams would be able to hire more players under the salary cap, thus they would probably have larger rosters.

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You clearly have an opinion on unions which taints your view of anything remotely involving a union. Demanding a minimum is bad? Huh? Rethink, dude... rethink.
Minimum salaries are good for some, bad for others. Just like minimum wage, a minimum salary alters business decisions, namely businesses don't hire as many workers. So a minimum salary helps the workers who get the job, but hurt other workers who are unemployed as a result.

Since minimum salaries alter the labor vs capital balance from its optimum, it ends up increasing the cost of production as well, which hurts consumers as well as the economy at large.

Should workers get paid more? The answer is always going to be yes. But when we dictate a minimum salary, it's important to understand the full economic consequences. When we force a business to pay more for labor, the business will react by investing more in capital and less in labor since labor is more expensive.
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Old 09-06-2010, 05:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Final Cuts: the Players Union

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It's a combination of both. The salary cap, I would imagine, is promoted by the owners to even the competition. The body cap is a combination of the salary cap and league minimum. If the league minimum was less, teams would be able to hire more players under the salary cap, thus they would probably have larger rosters.

Minimum salaries are good for some, bad for others. Just like minimum wage, a minimum salary alters business decisions, namely businesses don't hire as many workers. So a minimum salary helps the workers who get the job, but hurt other workers who are unemployed as a result.

Since minimum salaries alter the labor vs capital balance from its optimum, it ends up increasing the cost of production as well, which hurts consumers as well as the economy at large.

Should workers get paid more? The answer is always going to be yes. But when we dictate a minimum salary, it's important to understand the full economic consequences. When we force a business to pay more for labor, the business will react by investing more in capital and less in labor since labor is more expensive.
You're repeating standard business school propaganda, from the people who brought you our current national meltdown, and those of the past as well.

The "optimum balance" as you put it was determined centuries ago by status quo douchebags like David Ricardo. These are monsters who felt that subsistence wages were not only humane, but desirable and necessary for a healthy economy. I don't know what to tell you about that. Take a look at the world, use your own eyes and your brain and decide whether or not anything these mafiosi have to say has any merit.

Are consumers better off, or are they hurt by the improvements in player salaries and workplace conditions in the NFL? What about the auto industry? Did Henry Ford's living wage not improve the industry as a whole, and also the product consumers received? The higher the workers' wage, the better the car, without exception. That's why our cars used to be the best, but are now a distant third or even lower to Japan, Germany maybe a couple of others.

I don't know if perhaps what you are arguing is that professional football is over-valued in our society, and thus over-compensated. I would tend to agree. However, we are talking about a group of people who have to make all of the money they can in an average 3-1/2 year career. Considering the physical downsides, I say pay them what they want.
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Old 09-06-2010, 05:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Final Cuts: the Players Union

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Practice Squad rules. These are silly.

Players are eligible for an NFL practice squad position if they have less than a cumulative eight games of NFL experience on a 53-man active roster. Players may only be eligible for a single team’s practice squad for up to three seasons.
And you know that the union supports this rule how, exactly? And why is it silly? What does it matter in the long run? Adding games to the season matters. Redistributing cap money matters. Pension amounts matter. Brain research funding matters... Why would a three-year max on one team's PS matter? So you play three for the Steelers, then another three for the Titans or whoever... so what?
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Final Cuts: the Players Union

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You're repeating standard business school propaganda, from the people who brought you our current national meltdown, and those of the past as well.
This is a different debate for a different day. Suffice it to say that unions had little to with the sub-prime melt down, but did contribute greatly to the failure of Chrysler and GM.

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The "optimum balance" as you put it was determined centuries ago by status quo douchebags like David Ricardo. These are monsters who felt that subsistence wages were not only humane, but desirable and necessary for a healthy economy.
The "optimum balance" was not determined centuries ago, nor was it determined by David Ricardo. Fact is, businesses determine the most efficient way to produce something. Producing anything is a balance of capital investments and labor. If labor becomes artificially more expensive as the result of a union or government mandate, businesses are only going to invest a higher percentage in capital and a lower percentage in labor. In other words, they're going to hire less.

This has nothing to do with being "humane". Supply and demand determine a worker's salary. It's a combination of how much money a business can make from a worker, and how many workers a willing to do the job.

Unions don't really change as much as people think. Supply and demand and business needs still rule. What if the UAW demanded the minimum salary the Player's Union does? They would be laughed at. The reason why NFL players make more than autoworkers, isn't because the Player's Union has more clout than the UAW, it's because football players are worth more. And that's exactly why we get paid more today than in the past.

Despite the misconceptions, we don't make more today than a century ago because of unions or minimum wage standards. We make more today because of various technological advances which makes our labor more productive. I don't know the exact figures and I don't feel like looking them up, but I would guess workers are on average 20 times more productive now than 100 years ago. So it follows, we make 20 times more.

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Are consumers better off, or are they hurt by the improvements in player salaries and workplace conditions in the NFL? What about the auto industry?
I was speaking generally when I made the comment about consumers being better off. Since there's a salary cap in the NFL, teams don't actually spend more with a higher minimum salary, they only hire less. This only hurts players cut who would normally make the team.

The Player's Union helps the players who make the team, no doubt, because those players make more. This is very little consolation to the players who are cut.

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Did Henry Ford's living wage not improve the industry as a whole, and also the product consumers received? The higher the workers' wage, the better the car, without exception. That's why our cars used to be the best, but are now a distant third or even lower to Japan, Germany maybe a couple of others.
I'm pretty sure the UAW demands a higher wage for its employees than any other car manufacturer, so I'm really not following you here. Ford, GM, and Chrysler pay their employees more than any other car manufacturer, yet they can't hold a candle to Toyota, Honda, or Volkswagen.

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I don't know if perhaps what you are arguing is that professional football is over-valued in our society, and thus over-compensated. I would tend to agree. However, we are talking about a group of people who have to make all of the money they can in an average 3-1/2 year career. Considering the physical downsides, I say pay them what they want.
No, that's not what I'm debating at all. If the league minimum wasn't so high, thus restricting the number of roster spots each team has, then players would have longer careers. Joe Burnett offers a perfect example. Let's say the league minimum was just a little bit less, which allowed NFL teams to have 54-man rosters, Joe Burnett probably makes the team. I highly doubt he'll be like, "well sorry Dan Rooney, I'm not playing for just a little bit less, I'll retire." Absolutely not. He'll play, and his career length doubled because the league minimum was reduced. This same scenario will play out for 31 other players in the NFL as well.

The Player's Union is forcing players to get paid at least a certain amount, not allowing to play for less even though they may be more than willing, and this prevents some players from making the team.

So I say, I agree with you. We should "pay them what they want", and get the Player's Union out of the way, allowing players to choose to play for what they want instead of the league minimum.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Final Cuts: the Players Union

Where do we start?
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Suffice it to say that unions had little to with the sub-prime melt down, but did contribute greatly to the failure of Chrysler and GM.
They did? Then why are German and Japanese companies still afloat? They're more highly unionized than our auto makers are. Either unions drive everyone under, or there is some other force at work, like institutionalized graft at the top.

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Unions don't really change as much as people think. Supply and demand and business needs still rule.
You're right. Blue-collar union members make over 45% more than their non-union counterparts. So unions don't make as much difference as people think... they make much, much more of a difference.

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Despite the misconceptions, we don't make more today than a century ago because of unions or minimum wage standards. We make more today because of various technological advances which makes our labor more productive.
But that would have to apply around the globe, wherever you find automation. Of course, that's not what you find at all. Automation is everywhere (except maybe Haiti) while wages are up or down regardless. But where there are unions, wages go up. Period.

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Since there's a salary cap in the NFL, teams don't actually spend more with a higher minimum salary, they only hire less.
The cap is, more or less, $127 million this year, and the minimum salary for 10-year+ veterans (top of the pay schedule, in other words) is $860,000. Let's suppose every single member of the team is a 10-year veteran. You could have a roster of 147 players making that money and still be under the cap. That's paying at the very top end for every single player. The union would find that dreamy, of course, tripling their membership for the same total cost.

It's the owners who object, and the owners who institute the 53-man roster. Among other reasons, owners love big money superstar contracts, which make them look like geniuses when they work out (and make the players look bad when they don't). The owners are insisting on a rookie cap, and the union is telling them - correctly - that there already is a cap, and if you want to keep rookie money under control, control yourselves; all you have to do is show some discipline and don't pay Heyward-Bey $100 billion to do nothing.

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I'm pretty sure the UAW demands a higher wage for its employees than any other car manufacturer, so I'm really not following you here. Ford, GM, and Chrysler pay their employees more than any other car manufacturer, yet they can't hold a candle to Toyota, Honda, or Volkswagen.
First of all, take a look at a list of countries ranked by union membership. Notice how closely that list corresponds to quality-of-life indices. Notice also that almost everyone in the 1st World is above us - whereas we used to be at or near the top in this regard. And of course, that includes Germany and Japan, our main automotive competitors.

Secondly, even non-union Japanese plants are now paying higher than UAW plants from the Big Three. Unionized plants back home in Japan are even higher. Don't forget that we are now to Japan what Mexico is to us.

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Joe Burnett offers a perfect example. Let's say the league minimum was just a little bit less, which allowed NFL teams to have 54-man rosters, Joe Burnett probably makes the team.
That's a bogus argument. There would be a Joe Burnett even with the afore-mentioned 147-man roster. If there's a salary cap, then there is effectively a body cap as well; you can only hire so many people. The salary cap (just like the roster limit) was done at the insistence of the owners, not the union. It's therefore untrue and unfair to say that the union's mere existence cost Joe Burnett his job.

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The Player's Union is forcing players to get paid at least a certain amount, not allowing to play for less even though they may be more than willing, and this prevents some players from making the team.
How dare they??? Of course, given the number of homeless people in this country, you could easily fill every NFL roster paying the Federal minimum wage. But that would hurt consumers with a profoundly inferior product, as per your previous argument. Professional football would cease to exist within a decade or so. This is precisely why Art Sr. (a lifelong Republican, mind you) insisted upon a union within the NFL. He saw it for what it was: a guarantor of product quality and labor stability, both of which have made the NFL the creme de la creme of US sport.

What you could and should be arguing is whether or not the owners would say "No, I won't take 5% less in earnings... I'm outta here!" Why don't you invert your formula, and ask why the owners couldn't accept less? Who's "forcing" them to make their millions? Would they take a little less so Burnett can keep his job? But no one ever asks those question, because profiteering is sacrosanct in this country.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Final Cuts: the Players Union

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You're right. Blue-collar union members make over 45% more than their non-union counterparts. So unions don't make as much difference as people think... they make much, much more of a difference.
Unfortunately, unions cannot change the laws of supply and demand. If union workers make 45% more than their market value, it's only because the union has forced its company to reduce its labor by 45%. In other words, a union cannot force a company to pay more in total for labor, but can only dictate the company pay more per worker. Companies will react accordingly.

Every outside force, like a union, taxes, regulations, or a minimum wage, has unintended consequences. It's the whole invisible hand thing that Adam Smith talked about. Businesses will change their actions to deal with the "rising cost of doing business", almost automatically. This isn't to say those outside forces are necessarily bad, but we have to keep these unintended consequences in mind to make the best decision, instead of pretending we can have our cake and eat it too.

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The cap is, more or less, $127 million this year, and the minimum salary for 10-year+ veterans (top of the pay schedule, in other words) is $860,000. Let's suppose every single member of the team is a 10-year veteran. You could have a roster of 147 players making that money and still be under the cap. That's paying at the very top end for every single player. The union would find that dreamy, of course, tripling their membership for the same total cost.
Big Ben will make $100 million anyway, because he is worth $100 million. He probably makes the Pittsburgh Steelers $300 million+ in profit over the same time period. The stars on any team will get paid more than backups, because they are like a gazillion times more valuable.. Considering the stars are always going to get paid that much, teams are going to have to limit the amount of backups and special teams players they have, in part, because of the union's minimum salary requirements.

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That's a bogus argument. There would be a Joe Burnett even with the afore-mentioned 147-man roster.
I understand that there's always going to be players cut. The roster isn't going have a size of infinity. What I'm arguing is that, without the union's involvement in requiring minimum salaries, Joe Burnett makes the team. Without a minimum salary, more players will make the team.

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If there's a salary cap, then there is effectively a body cap as well; you can only hire so many people.
Even without any outside forces at all, even with no salary cap or minimum salary, teams would still limit their rosters. We're arguing about how the union, with its minimum salary requirement, changes the roster size NFL teams would have on their own. It's obviously smaller, which invariably shortens players careers.

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The salary cap (just like the roster limit) was done at the insistence of the owners, not the union. It's therefore untrue and unfair to say that the union's mere existence cost Joe Burnett his job.
The salary cap really isn't the point of discussion. I agree that the salary cap is set up by the owners to help competition. We don't want to run into a Yankees-Pirates discrepancy in the NFL, which would definitely be a bad thing for the league in general. MLB is no better off because only a handful of the same teams are competitive each year. This ends up actually helping the players make more in the end, because maintaining competition helps keep the NFL successful.

The discussion is about the effects of the Union on players careers. Pointing the finger at owners for setting up a salary cap does not change the fact that the Union also contributes.

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How dare they??? Of course, given the number of homeless people in this country, you could easily fill every NFL roster paying the Federal minimum wage. But that would hurt consumers with a profoundly inferior product, as per your previous argument. Professional football would cease to exist within a decade or so. This is precisely why Art Sr. (a lifelong Republican, mind you) insisted upon a union within the NFL. He saw it for what it was: a guarantor of product quality and labor stability, both of which have made the NFL the creme de la creme of US sport.
I would have to disagree with Art here. The owners can guarantee a quality product themselves, without the help of a union. With or without a union, players will still want to play football and get paid very well to do so - only more players will get a shot. And I can guarantee no team will ever hire a bum, because they aren't very good at football.

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What you could and should be arguing is whether or not the owners would say "No, I won't take 5% less in earnings... I'm outta here!" Why don't you invert your formula, and ask why the owners couldn't accept less? Who's "forcing" them to make their millions? Would they take a little less so Burnett can keep his job? But no one ever asks those question, because profiteering is sacrosanct in this country.
I'm not the one inverting arguments around here. We can have this discussion if you want, but it does not belong in this thread. The point of the thread is about the union, not how much the owners make.

But, from a business perspective, just like every successful businessman, owners will try to make as much as possible. This is exactly why the NFL is such a good league.

Owners could take less of a profit and hire a Joe Burnett out of the goodness of their hearts. For that matter, they could hire every dang person on the planet, but they won't - if they did, the NFL wouldn't even exist. Owners aren't running a salvation army, they're running a business, and a successful one at that. They put a quality product on the field for us all to enjoy on Sundays, and they do this out of their selfish desire for profit, not out of their love for humanity.
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Old 09-08-2010, 04:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Final Cuts: the Players Union

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In other words, a union cannot force a company to pay more in total for labor, but can only dictate the company pay more per worker. Companies will react accordingly.
Yes and no. The amount of profits isn't set in stone, nor are the bonuses and other executive compensation. The minimum pay upon which the union insisted actually has almost nothing to do with what you are talking about. Profit-sharing, the cap and the roster limit - all done at the insistence of the owners - are what decide what happens to Joe Burnett. If it were up to the union, there would simply be a minimum salary and arbitration. And yet, you have made up your mind: the union is keeping people from working. Period. Intellectual discipline at its finest.

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The owners can guarantee a quality product themselves, without the help of a union.
Wrong. The union is just the players, and the owners have squat without players. Although I'd like nothing more than to see Al Davis getting flattened out on the field, that would be for reasons outside of the artistry and sport that is professional football.

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Big Ben will make $100 million anyway, because he is worth $100 million. He probably makes the Pittsburgh Steelers $300 million+ in profit over the same time period. The stars on any team will get paid more than backups, because they are like a gazillion times more valuable.. Considering the stars are always going to get paid that much, teams are going to have to limit the amount of backups and special teams players they have, in part, because of the union's minimum salary requirements.
Ben is great, but he's nothing without the team around him. Dallas and Oakland are very good examples of star-system teams. These owners are not cheap; they are consistently in the top third of team salary lists, shelling out boatloads. However, they shell it out to a few stars, rather than paying generously across the board, the way that the Steelers do it. And, they lose... a lot.

The Packers do it without any Big Ben-style contracts year-in and year-out, always at or near the bottom of the league in total salary. Yet they also spread the money they do spend around fairly well... and they get results.

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We're arguing about how the union, with its minimum salary requirement, changes the roster size NFL teams would have on their own. It's obviously smaller, which invariably shortens players careers.
Injuries and new talent shorten players' careers. If money were the primary issue, the high-end earners would be the first, rather than the last to get cut. With Ben's money you could have ten or twenty players.

Let's go over this one more time: The owners have insisted upon a salary cap. The owners have insisted on a roster limit. The players' union would benefit from having neither. And yet your contention is that the union hurts players because of the inevitable casualties of the salary cap and roster limit.

You'll forgive me for calling your argument what it is: not even wrong. It doesn't even meet the most basic level of logical consistency where one could say "You're wrong" or "You did the math wrong." You clearly have an opinion of labor unions which taints your view of anything remotely involving a labor union.

This case is no exception. In your mind the things which are completely optional (like paying the superstars superstar money) are obligatory, while the necessities are superfluous impediments to progress... like the league minimum. To call that bizarre is missing the point. It's not even bizarre.

I'm going to agree with Art Sr. on this one. The union has more than held up its end of the bargain, both with regards to the NFL and with their own members.
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