20 October, 2009

$399,999.99... not a penny more!

It's time for another money rant. I never tire of these, and there is never a shortage of subjects to rant about. I think there is a serious problem with the distribution of wealth in this country when a golfer is now reported to be a billionaire, while, at the same time, millions of his fellow citizens couldn't afford to pay the green fee for a round of golf if their life depended on it. Green fees are also known as greens fees. I guess if due to your lack of funds you are able to buy just one hole, though that's not likely possible, then the singular term would be appropriate.

Ah, picking on professional athletes again, eh? Yes I am. What is bigger than sports in this country? When a family of four can go to a major sports event for a fifty dollar bill I'll shut up. Even that figure is higher than I'd like it to be, but if it includes parking, tickets, snacks, and souvenirs I can live with it.

I am reasonably sure that in my best earnings year, whenever that was, my total income―from salary and investments—was well below $50,000. So it's a little hard for me to get my head around figures that are in the tens of millions, up to more than a hundred million dollars—the reported annual earnings by Tiger Woods from endorsements alone. Gosh, if happiness is relatively proportional to how much money we make, and with me already extremely happy bringing home the mere pittance I have earned, my constitution could not stand the rigor of earning a hundred million or more! It's like "Stop me please, before I kill myself with happiness!" But of course, quite fortunately, happiness is not dependent on pursuit of the almighty buck, although many people seem to feel differently. Maybe it's fame rather than fortune they are seeking, though it seems pretty hard to have one without the other. I did hear of a recent poll that said about 30% of Americans want to be famous. Don't quit your day job is probably the best advice we can give them.

For years I've favored a $100,000 earnings cap, but I'm willing to kick that up since the President earns a mean $400,000, and he has teams of flunkies who do all the work for him. Let's make that cap at $399,999.99—for everyone, not just pro athletes as could be implied from this discussion so far. No one can earn as much as The Prez, who allegedly has the most important job in the country, the fact that teams of flunkies do all the work for him notwithstanding. It's pretty bad, and I know lots of politicians use them, when you can't even share your own original thoughts—you have to hire speech writers to tell you what to say! Oops, I digress.

There is a lot of territory between a minimum wage income, which currently, for a full time employee, could be as much as $15,000 a year and earnings of $399,999.99. So hard work and good performance can be distinctively rewarded under my plan, as they should be.

Of course what should be never seems to become what is. Nevertheless, it is important to share our thoughts. We're all a product of things we've read, heard, and observed throughout our lives. Diversity of opinion is important, even when quietly shared in a blog such as this. You never know who might be listening. It's only when we fail to share our opinions that they are guaranteed to have no clout.

You're thinking that salaries can be regulated, but what if investment income pushes someone over the $399,999.99 cap? Any excess is paid in taxes, but the money goes for the construction of a viable passenger rail system like other countries have, the repair of existing roads and bridges, upgrading schools, alternative energy projects such as wind power, and other beneficial works—not for things like the manufacture of more weaponry and funding wars that should never have been started in the first place. And certainly not for more welfare programs, or pumping up the salaries of congressmen, who have the vision of balmy, buggy, blindfolded bats.

~PITTSBURGH starts with PITT!~

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