Protect and Defend

Welcome to my blog, Protect and Defend. You don’t have to understand me. You only have to agree with me. I can live with losing the good fight, but I can not live with not fighting that good fight at all. - Publius

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Daily Rant

We have luxury taxes on items like alcohol, cigarettes, and luxury homes and automobiles so why not have a luxury tax on those who make exorbitant incomes for doing “entertainment” jobs? I am not a proponent of either an across the board raising or lowering of taxes, in fact I think some people are taxed too much and some not enough. But, the idea of creating a luxury tax on entertainers and more specifically on athletes, came to mind while I was reading this week’s Sports Illustrated, no not the Swimsuit Issue but the one with Hines Ward on the cover.
After Denver Nuggets coach George Karl was suspended for two games for criticizing the officials after a game in November, according to Sports Illustrated, this suspension cost Karl $80,000 in lost wages. Antonio Davis lost $630,000 for a five game suspension for going into the stands during a game. And Kobe Bryant lost $289,000 for a two-game suspension for throwing an elbow at Memphis guard Mike Miller. Amusingly, Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, who was not suspended, but received a $17,000 fine for spitting in the face of Tampa running back Michael Pittman during a playoff game. I bring these matters up not as they relay to the behavior of the players and coach, all of which with the exception of Karl’s are deplorable, but because of the monetary fines that these actions led to for these individuals. Kobe Bryant makes $289,000 for playing basketball for two games, and $144,500 for just one game. The Lakers could pay me $144,500 for one season and I would consider myself lucky. No, I wouldn’t score 81 points in a game, but I bet I could score at least a couple against the Raptors defense.
The point is, is that we pay athletes too much, and I do mean we. Yes, it is the owners who sign the paychecks, but the bank accounts those paychecks come from were filled from ticket sales, merchandise, stadium vendors and television deals. In reality, athletes work for us, and I say it is time they did something for us too, other than wine and complain that they can’t feed their family on nine million dollars a year ala Latrell Sprewell. These people are talented, don’t get me wrong, I can not dunk like Kobe, hit a t-shot like Tiger, throw a pass like Payton, hit a fastball like A-Rod, or drive like Jr., but tell me if any of these activities are more important than what any teacher, cop, fire fighter, or soldier does on any given day, and yet look at their pay. I doubt you could find a firefighter who could dunk a basketball like Kobe but I also doubt that Kobe could run into a burning building to save the life of someone he doesn’t even know. I don’t believe this “athlete luxury” tax should be used for more government pork but instead it could be earmarked to pay for higher wages for those who perform the most vital of occupations for this country. That we value the job an individual does playing a game four hours a day, sixteen times a year, over the work that police, firefighter, soldiers, and teachers do for forty hours a week and fifty-two weeks a year is wrong and politicians have an easy out to correct it without raising taxes on the workingman. Call it a luxury tax, or an athlete tax, or an overpaid performer tax, call it whatever, but as long as those who contribute so little make so much while those who contribute so much make so little, we and the government are performing a disservice to those who do these jobs with little reward and little fanfare, and we do a disservice to ourselves.
I believe politicians should raise taxes on these self-appointed demigods. I am sure these athletes can all live with one less Bentley and feed their children on a mere 8 million a year, while helping guarantee that those who perform vital and necessary jobs actually can feed their families.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outstanding. I couldn't agree more. I'd love to see a tax system that wasn't designed to keep lower income families from getting ahead, and maybe improving their financial outlook. While the upper class get alot of breaks, and some deservedly so, there are a lot of hardworking people out there who get hammered every year on taxes, and then get hammered again come April. I'd say let's go with a flat tax for everyone, but I know that it just couldn't work.

Thu Feb 16, 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, one more thing, you couldn't score on the Raptors. You got no game!

Thu Feb 16, 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

I am actually against an across the board taxing of the "rich" more, and I can use one easy example and that is Bill Gates to justify this position. I would rather he not be forced to give money to the government that is only going to be wasted when he can instead donate billions to worthy causes. There are the few and far between athletes like Warrick Dunn of the Falcons who actually use their wealth to help others, and that is why I propose a tax increase on these lucky, overpaid, and undeserving athletes who only expect more money than they are worth so that they can collect as many toys as possible. Too many athletes only use their godlike wealth to purchase more houses, more cars, and have a bigger posse than to use it to show their appreciation for their position in life that was only provided by the little guy who pays their salaries.

Thu Feb 16, 11:16:00 AM  

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