This post reminded me about something I have been meaning to write about for several weeks. Rush Limbaugh just renewed his contract for his radio program and is getting an “obscene” $440,000,000 for the new contract.
I have heard the words obscene and excessive thrown around a lot in regards to his and other celebrities' salaries and think that a couple of points need to be made to put this in perspective.
First, this isn't a socialist country where wages are regulated to keep everyone on the same level. Democrats would like to move in that direction by taxing the “rich” so they can fund social welfare programs for the “poor”. But all in all, we live in a country where people are free to ask for as much as they want for a salary and as long as someone is willing to pay them, get what they ask for.
Second, the only people I hear talking about Rush's “obscene” salary are those who make less money. I don't hear any football players, Tiger Woods or George Strait complaining about Rush's salary. What it really comes down to is simple envy.
The other problem with this mentality is the unspoken notion that “Somebody should DO something about this!” I mean, if it isn't fair for someone to make so much money, isn't it for the best that the government passes a law to keep things fair? If you think that is far fetched, just listen to the congressional hearings every time the oil companies are dragged in. Or better yet, listen to our presidential candidates talk about windfall taxes or the loony notion presented by Cynthia McKinney that the oil industry should be nationalized. Businesses don't seem terribly bothered when this happens because it is the oil companies and they are in the unfortunate position of being needed and vilified at the same time. Just remember that if the government can seize oil company assets because the profits are “obscene” they have a precedent for seizing assets and can much more easily come up with reasons in the future. What if the government decides that your Catholic store is making too much money when compared to other religious stores in the area? If they can seize profits already, why not pass a law to make things fair by seizing your profits and giving them to another store or better yet, to your local Homosexual and Lesbian group that seems to be underfunded?
There are very few times where government interference in business matters is a good thing. Just remember that next time you think that someone is making too much money, because it won't be long before the bar for “too much” gets lowered to include you.