Sports

Sports vs. Social Justice

Does Derek Jeter really deserve to earn millions of dollars?

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Last weekend Derek Jeter made baseball history when he became only the 28th MLB player to reach 3,000 hits. He's the only player to do it wearing the Yankees uniform.

For diehard Yankees fans, Jeter may be worth all the money on Earth. But many less ardent enthusiasts probably wonder whether even someone as good as Jeter should be raking in his kind of dough: $51 million for the current three-year contract, plus millions more in endorsement money. Jeter recently paid $7 million to have a house built—a 31,000-square-foot house. That's about the size of a typical Barnes & Noble.

We are talking here about a grown man who earns his living by hitting a little white ball thrown at him by another grown man. Jeter didn't cure cancer. He doesn't even teach high school biology. The average teacher makes something like three-tenths of 1 percent of Jeter's base salary. Is there any possible way to justify his being paid that much?

Actually, yes. There are a couple of ways.

Patrick Rishe, who blogs on the business of sports for Forbes magazine, provides one by asking if the Yankees organization is getting its money's worth.

He finds that the Yankees generated about $3.85 billion from 1996 to 2010. Divide that by the team's 1,460 wins and you get about $2.638 million per win. Jeter's wins-above-replacement data suggest he personally added 70 wins to the Yankees record during that same period. (In other words, if the team had replaced Jeter with some random schmo, then it would have lost 70 more games than it did.)

Rishe calculates that, at $2.638 million per win, Jeter alone made about $185 million for the organization during the past 15 years. His aggregate salary was $205 million. So he earned 90 percent of his keep in wins alone. His marquee value to the franchise might make up the rest.

Rishe concludes by noting that Jeter's latest contract might overestimate his performance value. We'll see. For now it appears Jeter is worth pretty much what his bosses pay him.

But what about the rest of us? Jeter's millions might be a good deal for the Yankees, but don't they stray from what is often called "social justice"? What does it say about a society that pays a teacher thousands and a shortstop millions?

At this point it helps to consider Wilt Chamberlain, who was once to basketball what Jeter is to baseball today. In what has become known as the Wilt Chamberlain Hypothetical, the late philosopher Robert Nozick invites us to consider whether Chamberlain is entitled to the fruits of his game-playing labor.

Suppose, Nozick said, that there is a society in which wealth has been distributed ideally, however you want to define "ideal." (In this case, let's say everyone has exactly the same amount of money.) Now suppose Chamberlain signs a contract that entitles him to 25 cents out of every admission ticket sale. In the course of a season, 1 million people attend the games to watch him play. At season's end Chamberlain ends up $250,000 richer than anyone else.

Is this unjust? If so, why?

Since the wealth was fairly distributed before the season, Nozick says, and there is nothing unjust about people freely choosing to spend their money on entertainment, then no injustice has occurred, so how can we say Chamberlain's additional resources are unjust?

Of course in the real world, the initial distribution of wealth might not be just. Still, people are not forced to pay Chamberlain or Jeter to play games with balls, are they? If they freely choose to do so, then how can we complain about the results?

Some more considerations: Unlike Jeter, whose exploits entertain millions, the typical schoolteacher has an audience of a couple hundred at most. If Jeter gets just 10 cents apiece from 10 million fans, each of whom would pay 10 bucks for the privilege of watching him play, then Jeter might be getting the short end of the deal, even though he earns $1 million. But a teacher earning $50,000 who teaches 100 children in the course of a year is, in effect, charging each of them 500 bucks. Do they find the instruction worth the money? Since they have to attend school and the teacher's salary is set by someone else, it's hard to say.

What's more, just about anyone can teach, in the same sense that just about anyone can play baseball. But most people won't pay even a buck to watch a next-door neighbor swing a bat. Very few individuals can play ball like Jeter can, and probably very few teachers teach as well as Jeter plays. So maybe we should compare the average teacher salary with the average salary in a minor-league club. (A triple-A rookie makes about $26,000.) Or, for that matter, with the average newspaper scribbler. How much does Glenn Beck make again?

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. how much are entertainers worth? say gaga…

    1. around $15 per 45mins, if they’re actually any good.

      1. They can afford big salaries when one considers taxpayers foot billion-dollar bills for stadiums, in both capital and ongoing expenses.

      2. Found elsewhere in the comments are those much alike to what Appalachian Australian expresses.


        They can afford big salaries when one considers taxpayers foot billion-dollar bills for stadiums,
        ~ Appalachian Australian


        Depending upon where you reside, you may very well be forced to pay their salaries.

        For example, if you live in Cincinatti, you would know that the Great American ballpark was largely financed by taxpayers. If the owners do not have to pay for the stadia in which their costumed labor perform, you are in effect subsidizing their labor costs.
        ~ Libertymike


        Of course they rarely pay for themselves in tax revenue and the prestige argument is typically political cover for egregious rent seeking.
        ~ 35N4P2BYY


        Yes, when they play in tax financed stadiums [ people are forced to pay]
        ~ cmace

        Of course, the subsidy argument is tenuous. For anyone can make the same claim that all who engage in commerce are rent-seeking when they agitate for roads to get paved, traffic lights to get installed, potable water to get circulated, sewage to get vacated, and the like.

        What never seems to get broached is the mollifying effect on crime of having pro sports presence in an urban setting. In short, what would be the added annual expenses incurred to pacify the city savages if they lacked a cohesion-inducing force like rallying around a sports team.

        And never brought forth in the debate is what are the taxable-event enhancing aspects of added social interaction owing to persons gathering in local pubs and eateries as well as throwing house parties in support of the local team, as well as all of the team-supporting merchandise bought locally.

        Tax-funded Stadium Projects make for an easy target in the Politics of Jealousy as such structures are huge, stationary, appeal more to males than females by a great degree. Thus, all kinds of meddlesome, do-gooding groups use such monolithic targets as foils for their own political entrepreneurship.

        All too often the politically jealous meddlesome do-gooders portray sports as the unworthy activities of testosterone poisoned, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal males. Yet, if only the same money were spent on aquariums, museums, staged-play theaters, hospitals and schools, society would be better off. The typical groups behind such anti-sports rhetoric are organized homosexuals and feminists who would stand most to gain if such alternative taxpayers’ funded structures would get built.

        And yes, city managers seem to mismanage their stadium projects as they never seem to charge enough rent from their tenants to break even.

        One would think city managers would require operating licenses of professional sports teams. They seem to demand licensure for every other act.

        In a Full Libertarian World, every undertaking would have a private owner, all built on privately-owned land acquired through voluntary exchange. Alas, we’re not there, yet.

        1. This defense of the subsidy is completely idiotic.

          You are essentially arguing that the existence of roads (public roads all may access) means that it wouldn’t be a subsidy to seize a large amount of land by eminent domain, build a mall on it, and then rent that mall at a deliberate loss to politically connected retailers.

          Nope, not a subsidy at all.

          BTW: Unless sports leagues are going to abandon entire regions, the entire bit about cohesion and social interaction is pretty silly too. They don’t have an NFL team in Hartford. But you know what? People still socially cohere to root for the Patriots. Or the Giants. Or (if they are real losers) the Jets.

          They have no major professional sports teams at all in Nebraska. So people socially cohere around the frickin college football team instead.

          Don’t worry about social cohesion and it will take care of itself nicely.

        2. You amuse Fluffy. You have hallucinated, reading words that do not appear in my commentary. No where can you find any advocacy for eminent domain takings.

          And for the good people of this board, show us, exactly where you have scientifically studied and can show statistically no correlation exists between social cohesion and less crime.

          Yet, it seems it is time to school you. A municipality is an incorporated entity established in perpetuity. The founders of that incorporated entity drafted bylaws by which the participants agreed to adhere.

          When someone buys property (the right of ownership) to land or improved land within the municipality, they agree tacitly to accept the bylaws and method of decision-making within the already agreed to jurisdiction of the municipality.

          Existing roads come into existence because of past action of past municipal participants, all of whom engaged in voluntary action.

          Yet, to put forth the wrong-headed argument that stadiums amount to subsidy but somehow the entire infrastructure of roads, sidewalks, potable water and sewage in the city does not amount to subsidy of the local pub, porno shop or any other retailer or firm is laughable.

          Always, arguments against stadiums amount to nothing more than the Politics of Jealousy, most often engaged in by organized Ph.Duh eggheads, homosexuals and feminists who prefer different municipal structures to those they perceive as pro-male.

          These are nothing more than internal fights of expressed power within the voluntarily established and perpetuated municipality.

          Any adult is free to pick up his or her feet and move elsewhere, where municipalities do not exist and where internal wrangling for municipal projects do not happen.

          No one has a right to move within the confines of a municipality and then demand its dissolution because he or she doesn’t like the internal politics and subsequent outcomes. And every authentic libertarian knows this.

          Keep amusing though.

          1. I didn’t even attempt to address your entirely specious and pulled out of your ass claim that major league sports teams decrease crime by increasing social cohesion.

            I merely asserted that areas without their own inside-the-municipality major league sports teams develop social cohesion anyway.

            This is pretty well attested by the evidence. The Nebraska example is duplicated all over the midwest and south. And the New England Patriots play in Foxboro, but somehow people in Lowell are still able to socially cohere anyway (not to mention people in Maine, and New Hampshire, and other areas as far afield).

            The justification given for a sports stadium subsidy in one municipality is that the absence of that subsidy will induce the team to move to another municipality. But if people in Hartford, or Maine (or even in Anaheim, for pete’s sake) can socially cohere around the Boston Red Sox, that argument has no force. Because that means that social cohesion can take place around teams outside the borders of the municipality.

            No one has a right to move within the confines of a municipality and then demand its dissolution because he or she doesn’t like the internal politics and subsequent outcomes. And every authentic libertarian knows this.

            More idiocy. I have the right to demand liberty and equality wherever I stand. If I move, I get to demand it in my new location, previous arrangements to the contrary be damned. Not to Godwin the thread or anything, but if I build myself a time machine and go to Nazi Germany, no one there gets to say, “Hey, you don’t get to demand that we change our internal politics and subsequent outcomes!”

            1. “Always, arguments against stadiums amount to nothing more than the Politics of Jealousy, most often engaged in by organized Ph.Duh eggheads, homosexuals and feminists who prefer different municipal structures to those they perceive as pro-male.”

              F@##$#@ HUGE list of Citations Needed, asshole.

              1. “Always, arguments against stadiums amount to nothing more than the Politics of Jealousy, most often engaged in by organized Ph.Duh eggheads, homosexuals and feminists who prefer different municipal structures to those they perceive as pro-male.”

                Stereotyping prejudiced bigot much, punk? That’s one of the most offensive statements I’ve ever read on these comment boards, and that’s saying something.

                1. And go ahead and criticize me for calling you names, Al, because YOU just insulted a whole bunch of people with that ridiculous, unsubstantiated, hate speech.

                2. Cry more

            2. Mere words have triggered you into psychotic rage, Matt. Look at you go!

          2. You are a retard. I’m gay, love watching professional sports, and STILL think it’s wrong and stupid as fuck to shovel millions of dollars for unnecessary new stadiums every fucking decade. Why can’t teams learn to make do with the stadiums they already have? Privately financed stadiums have worked just fine in the world’s most popular and most moneymaking sport ever, soccer.

            1. You amuse, no name.

              Because you lack reading comprehension skills, it seems that it is you alone whose IQ should be questioned as approaching the level of retardation.

              After you learn reading comprehension skills, you might want to learn what a municipality is.

              No where in my writing have I made an argument in favor of taxpayers funding sports stadiums.

              1. Fuck, you amuse easily. And you know what they say about the easily amused…

          3. More idiocy. I have the right to demand liberty and equality wherever I stand. ~ Fluffy

            Thanks, Fluffy. It’s enjoyable, always, to see someone’s subconscious rat himself or herself out. Prefacing your rant with “more idiocy” tells me everything I need to know about you.

            A man is right to his self-sovereignty, that is in his freedom.

            No one is right to demand super-sovereignty. If you step into someone else’s house, you agree to adhere to his or her rules.

            When you buy a condominium, you do so agreeing to the covenants of condominium complex.

            When you move to a municipality, which is an incorporated entity formed in perpetuity to manage a bounded region, it is the same as if you have stepped into the municipality’s house and have agreed to its rules.

            The stadium as subsidy for sports firms argument is no stronger than roads, sewers, and potable water systems as subsidy for other firms argument.

            To argue against one is to argue against the other. Yet, all municipalities have been formed voluntarily and no one is forced either to move to one nor to remain in one.

            As it is anti-libertarian to argue that people at large or even one shareholder of IBM stock have a right to force IBM c-level executives what to do in the running of IBM, as IBM is an incorporated entity, so to is it anti-libertarian to argue that people at large or even one deed holder in any municipality, as any municipality is an incorporated entity, have a right to force the executives of the municipality what to do in the running of that municipality.

            Fluffy, you fail to get what libertarianism is all about. You have conflated the concept of a country-wide government (as revealed in your idiotic example about NAZI Germany) and a municipality.

            Because you conflate anarchism with libertarianism, you reveal yourself to be nothing but a progressive, pragmatist liberal, whining about demanding to assert “rights”, which are merely privileges doled by Officialdom.

            If you want to make a case for anything, you ought to fight against county governments attempting to act like municipalities. For if men are going to have Freedom — each man’s realm where he is self-sovereign — separate from Officialdom — the realm where men dole privileges to racists (organized groups racing for spoils) — then there must be places where Freedom can exist separately from Officialdom.

            1. Al,

              Your snobbery is not amusing.

              You demand scientific studies and statistical analysis for the support of others’ claims, but provide nothing of the sort.

              You also commit the equivalent of the Broken Glass Fallacy with every arguement given for the subsidies in question.

              Incorporated entities are bound by certain structural requirements, but there is not one all encompassing method by which all corporations treat their members and owners with respect to decision making. Your analogy was poorly thought out. If the analogy doeas work it works this way: board members can be tossed out via the next boards election if performing poorly.

              Perhaps the most striking example of your tyrant worship is the idea that the principles of libertarianism apply only at the federal level and cannot be considered at the local level. This is absurd. If anything libertarianism demands more scrutiny at the local level since local government policy typically has a more direct impact on personal liberties.

            2. You amuse cato123.

              Your retorts are poorly thought out. Why do you worship tyrants?

              Your own words convict you. You don’t get at all what the Broken Window Fallacy is.

              The Broken Window Fallacy holds that something like Hurricane Katrina is good for an economy because it spurs on new construction to repair damage.

              It fails to account for the destruction of wealth.

              1. You amuse Al Wayswright.

                The rest of us find you boring and wish you would learn when to use a comma.

          4. What never seems to get broached is the mollifying effect on crime of having pro sports presence in an urban setting. In short, what would be the added annual expenses incurred to pacify the city savages if they lacked a cohesion-inducing force like rallying around a sports team.

            LOL, my favorite: pompous, wordy, AND completely full of shit. There’s this great thing now called Wikipedia, which will show you a ranking of U.S. cities by crime rate. You’ll see immediately that the overwhelming majority of the cities with the highest crime rates have pro sports teams. BZZZT! But thanks for playing. I’d say “correlation is not causation,” but hell, dude, you’re not even to correlation yet.

            And never brought forth in the debate is what are the taxable-event enhancing aspects of added social interaction owing to persons gathering in local pubs and eateries as well as throwing house parties in support of the local team, as well as all of the team-supporting merchandise bought locally?

            Which could never happen, of course, if the stadium were funded by the professional sports corporations that use it. Lord knows you wouldn’t have anybody gettin’ together at the pubs that orbit the stadium, and nobody would ever again host a Super Bowl party in their home, if the government hadn’t forced the public to subsidize a facility for privately-owned sports teams to make fat stacks of money.

            Not that the government even has a mandate to “promote social interaction” with my money anyhow.

          5. Interesting stereotyping of the anti-stadium folks.

            A true libertarian would not support the use of public funds to build workplaces for professional althletes.

            At least in some cities with pofessional sports teams and stadiums to house them, the taxing authority is a “capital improvements board” consisting of appointed, unelected people who are untouchable by the electoral process. Isn’t this “undemocratic” and outside of the control of the electorate?

            Yes, I suppose one could reason that such taxing authorities are under the indirect control of elected officials. But such boards are fairly well insulated from direct public scrutiny. Definitely un-democratic and un-libertarian

            The most specious argument for publicly funded stadiums, which you did not make, is that such stadiums serve “the common good”. That folksy, quasi-religious term is meaningless since each of us has a subjective, usually selfish, definition of common good. If it benefits my favorite team, it must therefore be serving the common good.

        3. What never seems to get broached is the mollifying effect on crime of having pro sports presence in an urban setting. In short, what would be the added annual expenses incurred to pacify the city savages if they lacked a cohesion-inducing force like rallying around a sports team.

          This is presuming, of course, that the majority of citizens in the urban area actually want the stadium and visit the facilities. For quite some time, stadium projects have been used as urban renewal triggers to convince suburban whites to come downtown and spend their money, not as a amenity for residents of the immediate area.

          The development of Coors Field in Denver is an interesting case study in this phenomenon. The area that it’s in was smack dab in the middle of one of the crummiest parts of downtown Denver, an area that had just barely begun a gentrification process with the development of the Wynkoop lofts and the current Colorado governor’s brewpub. The stadium boosters ended up lying about the amount that taxpayers would end up being on the hook for the stadium, but it’s pretty much indisputable now that the presence of the stadium has, for the most part, kept the most feral of the city’s residents out of the area because they’re outnumbered by all the SWPLs and suburbanites who come down to watch the games and visit the clubs and sports bars.

    2. What the market will bear.

  2. Sports shmorts.
    Nobody forces me to pay their salaries, why should I care how much money they make?

    On the other hand, if I don’t pay my property taxes the state will kick me out of my home.

    1. Double Plus Undead!!!

    2. Ohhhh, so that’s the reason to oppose tax-payer subsidies on stadiums. I thought it was just some anti-roman racist thingy.

      1. [obligatory “Yo, Fuck Rome” here]

        [seriously squirrels, any intention of making carrot braces usable here?]

        1. <No.>

          1. ok ok, making them work for someone who isn’t paying enough attention when they slip in some custom-taggery.

    3. Well, hold on sarcasmic.

      Depending upon where you reside, you may very well be forced to pay their salaries.

      For example, if you live in Cincinatti, you would know that the Great American ballpark was largely financed by taxpayers. If the owners do not have to pay for the stadia in which their costumed labor perform, you are in effect subsidizing their labor costs.

      How about Dallas? If you live there, you would know that the city of Arlington raised its hotel tax, the county raised its car rental tax and so on.

      How about Indianapolis? Humongus assist from Marion County and neighboring counties as well.

      1. If you lived in Dallas you wouldn’t be staying in hotels or renting cars very often. The extra tax would be a pain for those trying to cheat on their wives though.

        Either way cities paying for stadiums is a massive waste of money in my opinion.

      2. I agree that the taxpayer being forced to finance the venue is wrong.
        The standard statist response would be that if the government doesn’t build it it won’t be built. That too is wrong. With that many millions of dollars being willingly spent by fans, of course the stadium could be privately financed.

        1. With that many millions of dollars being willingly spent by fans, of course the stadium could be privately financed.

          And more profitably too, when the investment is all theirs to make.

        2. Actually I think the standard statist justification used is that the venue will pay for itself in tax revenue and the prestige of having a professional sports franchise is worth the cost. Of course they rarely pay for themselves in tax revenue and the prestige argument is typically political cover for egregious rent seeking.

          1. Criticism of results is met with defense of intentions.

            1. Shut up, you racist.

      3. According to WSJ, the two stadiums in Cincinnati cost a mind-boggling 16% of the city’s total budget last year. Hometown pride, indeed – can’t let those Bengals and Reds leave town can we?

        1. As if any other city would even accept the Bengals.

    4. if I don’t pay my property taxes the state will kick me out of my home.

      You don’t say.

    5. Nobody forces me to pay their salaries, why should I care how much money they make?

      But you pay compulsory taxes, which are then funneled to rich owners via stadium subsidies, who pay player salaries.

      1. My personal taxes do not go to any stadiums. Yours might, but mine don’t.

  3. “Still, people are not forced to pay Chamberlain or Jeter to play games with balls, are they?”

    Yes, when they play in tax financed stadiums.

    1. Good point, but . . . generally speaking the vast majority of the taxpayers willing fork over the dough. Yes, even the smokers and drinkers.

      1. Funny, i didn’t get to chose where my new, enhanced, sin taxes were going last time i bought some portioned-death.

        1. Neither did I, but then again I have never once been made aware of any large-scale protest against the sin-tax funding of any sports venue. A goodly number of beer drinkers love them some sports.

          1. Ah, so because I like beer, that’s why I’m included?

            Damn, seems like the sports arena could just charge the people who go there. Oh, nevermind, that’s jsut crazy talk, here have my money!

            1. Look, I am no fan of tax-payer funded stadiums either. My only point is that the vast majority of tax payers gladly pay the tax to fund the venues. And they always will . . . it’s the modern version of Roman Coliseums and arenas.

              1. Actually, when these things get brought up to vote, they never win with a vast majority. And often they lose.

                It seems its close to 50/50.

                1. The Orlando Arena (a gift to welfare queen Rich DeVos and his Magic) generated the “No-rena” protest and was successful, for a while, in stopping pig mayor Buddy Dyer from giving away that hand out.

                  Unfortunately, the same BS claims of JERBS and DEVELEPMINT won out. Also since they funded it with a hotel tax, it’s not something city residents feel directly.

          2. And a goodly number of beer drinkers don’t give a rip about sports. Silence does not equal consent. Even if one beer drinker opposes taxpayer funded stadiums, that’s enough in my book. These are not essential services.

            1. Now look, I follow your argument . . . up until the “even one beer drinker is enough” nonsense. You say its not essential. That’s your opinion. The majority of your fellow citizens disagree. *Takes a drink of beer*

              1. Koan, please look up the concept of Mob Rule, and then look up how the Federal Republic of the United States was supposed to prevent such rule.

              2. which is precisely why tyranny of the majority sucks the life out of individual rights.

                Spectator sports doesn’t save lives (okay maybe playing sports is good for health but is sitting on your duff, which is what most people involved in a pro sporting event do, at a stadium good — maybe it beats being indoors at a tv but still). It’s not like the court system which resolves disputes between individuals and companies so that people don’t have to resort to violence.

                It is a very soft luxury — kind of like jewelry — that doesn’t serve much of a practical purpose. I don’t think you can make an objective argument against that. Even if there’s consent from the majority, I fail to see how a compelling argument can be made for governments to even extort taxes from a minority. Beer drinkers are not all the same, and lots of people drink beer. Now if the government wanted to put the beer tax money into alcoholism treatment programs, that would at least be something that saves lives and helps people’s health in a very tangible way if done right.

                1. or heck even a program to fund YOUTH sports or adult rec leagues where a majority of the people involved were actually PARTICIPATING would be a lot less objectionable than funding a very exclusionary pro franchise.

                2. If you think there is no practical purpose to jewlery then you are clearly not married…or at least no happily married.

                  1. I am happily married, and at my wife’s behest I spent about $800 total on all our rings at greenkarat.com.

                    1. But regardless of how much I spent, it was a personal, voluntary choice.

                      Really if you have the kind of significant other who demands jewelry in exchange for love and/or sex, don’t we really have what essentially amounts to prostitution? Not that there’s anything wrong with that if it works for both sides. I chose a mate that didn’t value jewelry as highly, and I’d recommend that others follow suit. If a woman lusts after jewelry and refuses to give you love unless you give them to her, she’s probably going to make a horrible mother (a job which requires lots of unconditional love). Do you really want that kind of person to bear and raise your children?

                    2. Do you really want that kind of person to bear and raise your children?

                      No, that’s why those kind make better second wives.

                    3. Why second wife and not mistress?

                    4. My wife isn’t big on jewelrey either. Now, granite, stainless steel, Italian tile….different story.

      2. “”generally speaking the vast majority of the taxpayers willing fork over the dough.””

        Current example

        http://sports.espn.go.com/new-…..id=6526985

  4. Do we really want people with exceptional talent being teachers? I think the answer is no. Imagine if Sergey Brin decided to become a math teacher at a public school in Maryland instead of working on the algorithm that started Google. Do you think we would be better off? I’m just fine with competent, but not brilliant, teachers.

    1. Yeah, it’s not a like a guy that brilliant could make such an accomplishment while also doing other work. Typical retarded-peasant thinking, *tsk* *tsk* *tsk*.

      1. (now hand me my ewe’s skin gloves, I have some mathmetization to embark upon.)

      2. (AND SO HELP ME, If I’m disturbed again, you’ll get such a stropping!)

      3. (thank god Einstein got to live such a sheltered and provided life, otherwise he would’ve ended up working in a patent office when he was coming up with Relat….oh, what’s that? You don’t say. Well….ummmm, nevermind then.)

  5. Yes, a part of me screams against the ridiculous sums paid to sports stars. It seems wrong. But . . . we often forget the level of skill that is required to not only play these sports, but to succeed in them as well. The awesome skill on display is something that we other mere mortals admire so much that we are willing to go, day after day, to see it on display – and sometimes, especially in NY, we pay a hefty price to do so.

    1. Bullshit aside, Koan hit the real issue.

      Is anyone asking why actors/actresses get a couple-mil per flick? And being a sports star takes way more physical effort (comparable levels of mental effort could probably be debated forever).

      If people are willing to pay for something, isn’t that the definition of “Earning Your Pay”?

      1. (let me premept the “well, people willingly pay taxes” idiocy: no-one can put you in jail because you refuse to attend baseball games. see the difference? if not, please, kill yourself.)

    2. I don’t think it seems wrong, per se, just seemingly competely out of alignment with what seems reasonable. That said, the balance of your comment is dead on. I also think that the level of skill on display is no different than other extreme levels of skill that are well paid – but in sports/entertainment the top tier gets the benefit of scale that few people do. Certainly not thier fault and no reason it shouldn’t be leveraged.

  6. My standard answer for the standard socialist/left winger who complains about an overpaid sportsman is that the sports man has created more happiness and value for society than the average fire man (or teacher or other sacrosanct profession). Social justice demands that those that create more happiness for society are rewarded for it.

    1. Ans then you just kick him in the nuts for good measure, right?

    2. You deride the “standard socialist/left winger” and then you justify your position by citing the “demands” of “social justice”? See “fallacy of the stolen concept.”

      How is the “creation” of “happiness” relevant to (what I can only assume you are referring to as) capitalism? Capitalism is about political and economic freedom, not making people happy. And it most certainly is not about arbitrarily judging an individual’s chosen profession based upon how “happy” he makes people or how much money he makes.

      1. I am using their own arguments about what the needs of society, the sports man provides a value that society wants. When people watch sports they normally do it because the enjoy it.

        They differ because they want to put “people over profits” and then somehow claim that the sports man is getting money from the Koch brothers, when the fact is that he is getting money from the amount of people who enjoy the sport.

        In a capitalist society a person who provides a valuable service to society, that service is generally rewarded with large amounts of money. So providing happiness and capitalism go very well together, a Sociology professor provides a service that is of little value and creates zero happiness for the population at large, so he deserves a miniscule salary.

  7. “The average teacher makes something like three-tenths of 1 percent of Jeter’s base salary. Is there any possible way to justify his being paid that much?”

    Yes. Jeter doesn’t cheat to inflate his hit total, complain that it is unfair that he is held to expected standards of performance, or blame his poor play on the consumers of his services or on society at large and its distractions. Can the “average teacher” make the same claim?

    1. Great post!

      To answer your question, yes, about 3,000 times a day. Of course, they’d be lying.

    2. And like the average teacher Jeter’s salary is inflated because of a union.

    3. More correctly, Yes, because Jeter serves a very large market (possibly millions) of individuals. Last i checked, teachers serve around 210indivduals/schoolyear.

    4. Barry Bonds, on the other hand…

  8. Another point: the public school salary system, tax-payer funded, distorts the real value of a teacher. Per another recent article, abolishing the public schools, or at least dramatically expanding the competition, would introduce market valuation and solve, once and for all, what a teacher is really worth.

    1. So you want kids to die in the streets, unable to read. You monster.

  9. As long as force or fraud aren’t involved, compensation is per se, if not ipso facto, justified.

    Once you throw taxpayer financing into the mix, of course, both force and fraud are likely involved, albeit indirectly.

    But this isn’t a problem with what the ballplayer makes, really. This is a problem with taxpayer financing.

  10. Somewhat of a threadjack:

    HOORAY FOR JETER’S FORMER TEAMMATE, ROGER CLEMENS!

    1. Seriously. He’s being tried on lying to the government over something the government had no right to ask. Its a complete circus. If he juiced, that’s none of Boenher’s concern.

    2. Overzealous prosecutor ignores judge, screws self. Gotta love it!!

      1. what?

  11. One day people will wake up to the fact its just a game and no amount of tribalism will elevate it. Give it another century or so, but it’ll happen.

    1. Yeah. They’ll all be out at the Baracolusseum watching libertarians fight duels to the death.

      1. As a fellow Reason commentator, surely you realize that that’s where the action will be.

      2. iF red and blue can agree on one thing, its how much they fucking hate yellow.

        1. When did we get yellow? It sounds cowardly. I know red, blue and green are right out. Purple is the color of royalty, so I don’t think we want that. Maybe white to go with the whole purity test thing? No, then we might be called racist, or even more racist. I propose black.

          1. we could take orange? We’re basically big fans of the Dutch.

            1. The left wing New Democratic Party in Canada uses Orange.

              Personally. I favor black. (With a skull and crossbones, of course.)

              If black is unacceptable, I’ll settle for gold (which is probably what he meant to suggest by yellow.)

          2. Is mauve still available?

    2. No way. People have demanded sporting entertainment for all of recorded history. It will be with us forever, it is part of our DNA.

      1. “for all of recorded history”

        which covers only what, 7k years? Our species has existed for at least 25-50k years.

        1. im sure two dudes hitting each other with rocks was the big thing back in neanderthal days. I imagine everyone was secretly rooting for little rock guy.

          1. I imagine everyone was secretly rooting for little rock guy.

            It’s the classic battle of Brute Force Vs Efficiency. Riveting.

        2. I’m pretty confident that sporting/competitive entertainment has existed for as long as our species has existed. We thrive in it, revel in it, we love it. It is what has allowed our species to survive a harsh and unforgiving environment to become the dominant one on the planet.

          1. It is what has allowed our species to survive a harsh and unforgiving environment to become the dominant one on the planet.

            To each his own-theory I suppose.

            I think we got where we are as a way of giving death The Bird. Sure, my ancestor 10k years ago is dust in a long-dead wind. But I’m here, using a fantasically magical device to communicate these words to you over some unimaginable distance.

            Hey, Death, *middle finger*, Sit and Spin, Asshole.

            1. Exactly right. Instead of being comfortable with our existence we have always strived to improve it, make it better. In short, we have always rewarded excellence of results (unless you work for the government) and it matters not the field of endeavor.

  12. Sport stars get paid what they are worth – just like CEO’s.

    There are very few people in the world who can play shortstop and hit as well as Jeter (and they are all in MLB).

    There are very few business managers who can run a major corporation.

    The good CEO and ball player can be the difference between business losses and big profits.

    1. And both athletes and (most) CEO’s have inflated salaries because tax dollars pad the income statements of the companies who pay them.

      1. Prove it. Not a few random examples but >50%.

      2. Publicly traded companies (blessed by the SEC, and quite often partially owned by public employee pension funds) have inflated salaries because the government distorts the compensation market.

        Executives of privately held companies have less generous pay packages. For a good review of this check out what happens to executive compensation, corporate jet ownership, etc. during an LBO.

  13. “”For diehard Yankees fans, baseball star Derek Jeter may be worth all the money on Earth.””

    Maybe 10 years ago.

    1. Two years ago. He only became bad in 2010, though his defense has always been atrocious. I’ve long been saying “a real Shortstop would have had that” whenever a slow roller squeaked through the left side of the infield.

      1. Ok, not really 10 years. But I’ve heard people complain for a while. More than two years.

      2. Yeah. Only the “atrocious” win Gold Gloves.

        1. You’re far more likely to win a gold glove as a great hitter and a bad defender than vice versa. This is well documented and part of the reason why the GG is considered to be a joke by all analysts looking seriously at defense. Derek Jeter’s lack of ability at defense relative to his peers is well documented. It has merely been good enough that he hasn’t been forced out since his elite bat for the position has long far outweighed his mediocre defense.

          And yes, Jeter’s only been bad the past two seasons. He was the best SS in baseball from 2004 – 2007 and 2009, though 2008 was an unlucky BABIP fueled down year.

          1. This. Further, GG is voted on my managers who are generally hostile to any baseball statistics developed about 1950.

          2. Gold Gloves should be strictly based on fielding percentage. The shortstop with the highest fielding percentage should win, just like the hitter with the highest batting average wins the batting title.

            1. Fielding percentage doesn’t take range into effect. Plenty of guys (like Jeter) pick up the balls they get to but don’t get to very much. Metrics exist that capture range and should go into determining how valuable a fielder is.

              1. —“Plenty of guys (like Jeter) pick up the balls they get to but don’t get to very much”—

                If they would hand out “errors” to shortstops who don’t get to balls the “should” get to, then that would be reflected in the fielding percentage. This error would penalize players with less than normal range. Players who make extraordinary attempts to get to a ball but don’t field it cleanly are generally, and rightly, not given an error. I’m okay with that.

      3. But Michael Kay says he’s the best ever! Oh, wait, that’s why I can’t bear to listen to a Yankees broadcast. God that guy sucks.

        1. I’ve never heard him say that. But then, I can bear to watch the broadcasts.

        2. Try the radio guy. He worships Jeter with a fervor that would embarrass a Jonestown resident.

          1. I do listen to the radio broadcasts, and your analysis is bogus. John Sterling gives credit (and criticism) where it is due, and he spreads it around equally. In other words, his objectivity far outpaces yours.

            1. I love John (not his real name) and Mary, enough to listen to their broadcasts even though I am part of a Red Sox family.

              But John Sterling IS IN LOVE WITH DEREK JETER. He wants to snuggle in his warm embrace. You can hear it in his voice every time he so much as mentions the guy. He definitely doesn’t gush like a schoolgirl over A-Rod or Texiera. Not in the same way, anyway.

            2. Fluffy, most play-by-play guys, imo, are homers. Not all, but most.

              Sterling is entertaining. Sure, its a matter of taste and style. Here, in Massholia, on several occaisons this past spring, you could have heard WEEI and 98.5 the Sports Hub sports talk show hosts and callers lampooning Sterling as a buffoonish homer while praising Jack Edwards, the Bruins TV play-by-play man, a notorious homer, as “entertaining” and a “breath of fresh air”.

              1. I don’t even think Sterling is that much of a homer.

                Except for his one true love.

                Jack Edwards takes homerism so far that it becomes a virtue. He is the Lady Gaga of homerism.

  14. This argument has been gone over about 4 gazillion times on the internets.

    Other than the fiasco of taxpayer-funded stadiums, it is none of anybody’s goddamned business how much Derek Jeter is paid. He obviously is very skilled [albeit in the most boring team ‘sport’ in the universe] and is therefore able to demand the top rate for his services. To develop that skill, he has probably put in thousands of hours of practice.

    If the whiners had put in as many hours developing a marketable skill, they might be making a hell of a lot more than they are and be more worried about their fellow “social justice” types who want to take it away from them.

    1. Other than the fiasco of taxpayer-funded stadiums, it is none of anybody’s goddamned business how much Derek Jeter is paid.

      OMG, it’s almost as if sports work EXACTLY THE SAME AS A BUSINESS?!?! But that’s like, not fair or something. CORPURASHUNS@!@#!

  15. Hinkle touches on something I’ve said for a long time: the people who can play baseball the way a Derek Jeter or a Josh Hamilton can are one in a million; teachers in general are a dime a dozen. There are so many of them that my state (Texas) is laying them off in droves because of budget problems.

    After working in retail for several years, I have grown quite weary of listening to teachers complain about how little they make; I made in retail literally half to a third of what the average teacher makes, working full time year-round to do it; no summers off. And I’m not whining about that, I’m just saying, it’s more than a little pretentious of these teachers to complain about the injustice of a retail bookseller charging them full price for their books, or not applying an educator discount to their obvious for-home-use purchase. Quit the “I’m a poor teacher” sob stories. There are a lot of people out there who are far worse off.

    1. teachers in general are a dime a dozen.

      “..those who can’t teach.”

      Old Sayings didn’t become Old Sayings by being wrong.

  16. Replacement players make roughly $400k annually, so over 15 years he was really worth app $179b since the Yanks would have had to fill that spot with a Miguel Cairo anyway.

  17. LIT, I disagree . . . I think you are underestimating the very powerful, and persistent, sway of tribalism. Methinks a century from now that “game” will be even more elevated that is now.

    1. 🙂

      I can’t wait for the light cycle battles.

    2. See, this is a perfect example of why immortality sucks.

  18. In a roundabout way citizens are forced to pay baseball players’ salaries, when the state uses corporate welfare to fund stadiums.

    I’d think the average baseball salary would be lower if many franchise owners didn’t get a free ride on their stadiums.

  19. Instead of being apologists for high salaries in industry and finance, I think libertarians would be more effective by pointing out how corporate welfare money generated by forced government taxes make those high salaries possible.

    I am convinced that if the banks and big sports teams didn’t get so much government funding they wouldn’t be so flush with cash to pay their executives and athletes.

    1. Instead of being apologists for high salaries in industry and finance, I think libertarians would be more effective by pointing out how corporate welfare money generated by forced government taxes make those high salaries possible.

      Wow, it’s like you’ve never seen any of the articles of comments here that bemoan crony capitalism. You knew you were actually talking about cronyism, right, and not actual capitalism?

      1. “Wow, it’s like you’ve never seen any of the articles of comments here that bemoan crony capitalism. You knew you were actually talking about cronyism, right, and not actual capitalism?”

        Of course I was describing cronyism.

        What I’m saying is emphasize the attack on cronyism. That’s what will build coalitions. I’m not against high salaries but any discussion of high baseball salaries should always include a long discussion of the corporate welfare baseball receives.

        1. “That’s what will build coalitions.”
          Coalitions with whom exactly?

          1. Bill, if you were important enough to know, you would. Now shut up and keep paying your taxes.

          2. A lot of Americans see capitalism as this big evil. But if libertarians can point out how the supposedly capitalist US system isn’t really capitalist and is effectively crony fascism, then some on the left and independents and even a few Republicans can probably get behind it and trim the fat. Then maybe some of them will see the good effects that has and realize that the problem wasn’t actually capitalism after all but cronyism.

            1. Yeah, that just worked wonders when tried as “liberaltarianism”, didn’t it? I mean, it’s not like the libertarians ended up backing a candidate who proved more hostile to capitalism once in office than any since Roosevelt. It’s not like those hostile to capitalism proved orders of magnitude more hospitable to crony capitalism once it was their cronies benefitting from the arrangements.

              You don’t play football with a Lucy Van Pelt, do you?

              1. Well gee that’s a great strategy for spreading libertarian ideas. Just give up. Just give up on the idea that people who self-identify with ideas opposed to liberty can ever possibly change their minds — even if it’s because they’ve been seriously misled by the media and big education and have a misguided view of what capitalism and liberty really mean.

                Just keep preaching to the choir. Yep, that’s the way to go. Because Thomas Edison would have invented the light bulb a lot faster if he’d just thrown up his hands the first time he failed.

                1. Does it hurt when Lucy pulls the ball away and you land on you back?

      2. “Wow, it’s like you’ve never seen any of the articles of comments here that bemoan crony capitalism. You knew you were actually talking about cronyism, right, and not actual capitalism?”

        Of course I was describing cronyism.

        What I’m saying is emphasize the attack on cronyism. That’s what will build coalitions. I’m not against high salaries but any discussion of high baseball salaries should always include a long discussion of the corporate welfare baseball receives.

    2. What if the Yankees didn’t get a “free ride” on their new stadium and were lured to New Jersey instead? I think a good case can be made that it would have been a disaster for the Bronx (probably not NYC as a whole) if the Yankees were to leave. Could the negative impact have been greater than what never gets paid back to the state if they finance the stadium in the first place?

  20. They certainly deserve what they get more than most owners as they actually do something to draw their money. Many owners just tumbled out of the right vagina.

    1. …and got lots of taxpayer-funded subsidies.

      1. Look at W when he had a hand in the Rangers. Had he not been a Bush its unlikely he would have that opportunity. And then he pushed to get a tax raise from the local community to support the stadium! The worst of both worlds there.

        1. I agree, but considering the ownership they had before, Bush was Red Auerbach.

          1. Bleh.

            http://espn.go.com/blog/sweets…..lb-history

            Stupid HTML. Must learn preview.

        2. Bush was a lot of things as president. But he certainly was a capable executive in the Baseball world. It is unfortunate for him that he did not stay there as he perhaps would have had a better life and not have suffered so much scorn (justified or not).

    2. Re: MNG,

      Many owners just tumbled out of the right vagina.

      Vagina envy, MNG?

    3. Some tumbled correctly – Tom Yawkey for instance. John Henry, not so much.

      1. Hank Steinbrenner, yes, George Steinbrenner, not so much…

    4. “Many owners just tumbled out of the right vagina.”

      As opposed to pro athletes who rely not at all on genetics.

      1. Yea, the pro athletes just pop right out dunking the basketball…

        Terrible comparison. Athletes have favorabe genetics AND a ton of hard work on and off the playing field to be where they are. Many owners literally just fell out of the right vagina and inherited the franchise and/or money to buy it.

    5. I agree.

      1. Yup, I’m agree with that go

    6. “Many owners just tumbled out of the right vagina.”

      Like many progressive politicians. particularly ones named “Kennedy”, “Gore”…

      Actually, it takes some skill for an heir not to lose a family estate. Incompetence loses riches in time, no matter how large the fortune to begin with.

  21. It’s kind of silly that we pay entertainers the way we do, but that’s about it. There’s nothing wrong about it, except to the extent that government subsidizes sports.

    I do think sports are beginning to hit the wall as far as pricing goes. I make decent money, but I still think what it costs to take my family to, say, a football game is insane.

    1. The thing is, it cost pretty much nothing to watch it the way most people do, on TV. It’s interesting, the owners in the NBA and NFL are currently in an interesting situation, they know most people watch from home but they feel they need to fill the stands because people don’t like to watch games played in empty stadiums from home! So they want to glitz up the stadiums and make visiting them something like visiting a theme park. They hope to do this by taking more from the players and of course taxpayers…

      1. With the advances in CGI, they will soon be able to dispense with stadiums and just generate a virtual crowd. Then the people watching at home can go wild with the virtual crowd.

        1. Why not virtual athletes to? Sportscenter does this by showing EA matchups…

        2. Could just replace the players with virtual players. Could have massive MMO tryouts, then people could just virtually attend.

          1. Could just replace the players with virtual players. Could have massive MMO tryouts, then people could just virtually attend.

            Those subscriptions sound WAY more profitable than season tickets.

          2. Realistically, isn’t that what much of online gaming is already? Players get to deal death and destruction upon one another through virtual proxies.

            I’m not a gamer, so I am not sure how realistic it looks when someone eviscerates an opponent in some Gladiator type game.

            Just add touch, kinesthetic and smell feedbacks to the technology and you will be able to enjoy full contact mayhem in your own home.

            1. In South Korea, Starcraft is a sport.

              I fear for the survival of the human race.

      2. Yeah it is interesting. Honestly I don’t know why municipalities and owners don’t put more thought into “scaled down” arenas. They always emphasize the stadium so much when that’s not what generates a lot of the revenue.

        Here’s an idea — in leiu of lavish stadiums, just allow TV viewers to hook up a microphone and pipe in the “audience” noise from viewers themselves. Okay I admit it’s a little kooky but wouldn’t it be less expensive than a huge stadium? Then once it comes time for the playoffs, do hold those events at a designated big stadium at a neutral site.

        I think a lot of these kinds of ideas might flourish if governments didn’t feel like they had a categorical imperative to force taxpayers to finance sports franchises.

        1. Also TV can make small parks seem a lot bigger.

          I never realized that Fenway park was so small until I went there in person. The TV makes it seem gargantuan, but if you go there it barely even has an upper deck. And there’s still a great atmosphere and they sell out every game.

          1. Lets put you in charge

    2. Then don’t go.
      When people stop going, then the ticket prices and salaries will go down.
      As long as people buy the tickets, ticket prices and salaries will remain what they are.

      1. I pretty much don’t. Maybe one game with my brother a season. I go to a few baseball games every year, a hockey game, and maybe a couple of soccer or local university sports games. That’s it.

        One issue for me and those who live here is that there’s too much to do outside to justify spending hours watching sports every weekend. That’s one reason we produce so many professional athletes.

        1. I’ve never been to a professional sports game. My parents must be Bad Americans. I went to a Frederick Keys game one time. I was more interested in how the lights worked.

          1. Being gay is nothing to be ashamed of.

            1. Standard Jock Reply. 6mins to type that, huh tough guy?

              1. I thought he meant that people who watched professional sports were gay, slavering over the big pecs and tight buttocks of the players.

                1. “Well Church Lady, as a running back, I try to penetrate any hole I can find.”

              2. don’t feed the trolls, wylie. And FTR if anything it’s a lot “gayer” to watch men play a game than to try and understand how to generate electricity and create light.

                One is incredibly heroic and saves thousands of lives, the other is sophomoric and based on a childrens’ game. Pretty obvious which one is more “manly.”

      2. In San Diego, the Chargers are delivering gloom and doom messages about how the government needs to build a $1 billion stadium because ticket sales have been down, which leads to blackouts, which will lead to the franchise having to move to another city.

        Meanwhile, the NFL is in a lockout due to demanding more pay.

        I’d say citizens are not buying tickets, and the players are trying to find a way to force the citizens to pay anyway.

      3. Then don’t go.

        Or only go to minor league or college games. Obviously, if you’re a fan of a specific team (or a certain level of play) this isn’t helpful, but if you’re just looking for a spectacle, it’s: much cheaper, much less crowded (I really prefer this), and often has cheaper amenities (parking, beer). I loved it when Orlando used to have a minor league hockey team. $5 tix, $5 parking, Thursday was $2.50 beer night…

  22. “Sport stars get paid what they are worth – just like CEO’s.”

    I agree somewhat, but only somewhat. This view ignores how the way corporations are set up the management can really do a number on investors. They are picked by the board and they have tremondous advantages in determining the make-up of the board. Add to this the interlocking nature of many boards and management teams and it is a real mess.

    1. But that would mean that the investors are stupid.

      If they’re stupid and pay someone too much, they deserve to lose.

      1. Which is why Gordon Gekko was right!

        The corporate raiders would not stand for 33 vice presidents each making over 300,000 per annum writing memos back and forth to each other.

      2. They don’t deserve to lose. They invest with the understanding the management has a fiduciary duty to put their profit maximization first, but because of principal agent probems built right in that doesn’t happen. You can say “well, they should take their money elsewhere” but that ignores that the harm has already started in that scenario (else no reason to take it elsewhere). That’s an after-the-fact remedy at best.

        1. I only can lament a poor horse race bet after the fact, too.

          But that doesn’t mean it’s unfair if I lose, or that I didn’t deserve to lose.

          I picked the wrong horse. I lose. I deserved to lose. If I had picked the winning horse, I would have won.

          If the principal / agent problem is so insuperable, and I know that in advance since you’ve been kind enough to tell me about it, then I can either buy CD’s or I can take a chance that I might lose.

          1. Why not structure the corporations to make it more likely that they will, you know, live up to what they are supposed to do and as billed?

          2. And pretty much everything you said about the horse race, can’t the same be said of fradulent transactions? I mean, you couldn’t figure out the guy was lying or the deal was too good to be true? Man, you deserved to be taken…

            1. And pretty much everything you said about the horse race, can’t the same be said of fradulent transactions?

              No. That is why there is a distinction, your piss-poor attempts to eviscerate said distinction aside.

            2. No.

              I knew it was a horse race.

              If I thought I was betting on a horse race and the #3 horse (my bet) turned out to be a yak, that would be different.

              There is a difference between not having guaranteed information that covers all outcomes and being lied to as part of a fraudulent scheme.

              There is also a difference between accepting the fact that all parties to an economic transaction will try to act in their own interest, and being defrauded by deliberate deception.

      3. Not necessarily. If you look at the legal rules around the market for corporate control and governance, it would be laughable if it weren’t so ptathetic.

  23. Does Derek “deserve” to earn a ton? That’s a meaningless question. He can earn it, that’s what counts. Morality and the market place are two different worlds. Jerry Springer was/is a shrewd, intelligent man who made millions exploiting the desire of confused, unhappy people to appear on television. Did he “deserve” to make millions? I don’t think so. But he did.

    1. And that’s assuming the “exploited” weren’t compensated for their performances.

      1. (or that any of it was actually real. wtf is wrong with you? those shows came out RIGHT as WWF was declining in popularity….no, no conincidence at all there, nope, movealong, nothing to see.)

        1. —“or that any of it was actually real. wtf is wrong with you?”—

          I’m here to tell you that my family alone could provide two weeks of programming for Jerry Springer. There are some seriously wierd people in the world. He didn’t have to make (most) of that shit up.

          1. But aren’t real people afflicted with any shame that they’re so fucked up….wait, I take that back, nevermind.

  24. “Morality and the market place are two different worlds.”

    Not true. The “marketplace” has all kinds of built in morality as to what people “deserve”-i.e., if I take your money by force I don’t deserve it, if I take it by outright fraud I don’t, but if I can get your consent somehow then I do “deserve” it.

    The deserve is backed up by government policy (i.e., forbidding fraud and theft). This is why liberals don’t find it so crazy to suggest that the policy could be different to enforce a different concept of “deserves”

    1. but if I can get your consent somehow then I do “deserve” it.

      Thank you for explaining the origin of the phrase “Caveat Emptor”.

    2. Re: MNG,

      The deserve is backed up by government policy (i.e., forbidding fraud and theft). This is why liberals don’t find it so crazy to suggest that the policy could be different to enforce a different concept of “deserves”

      Translation: The concept of “deserving” is contingent to the government’s good will and grace.

      Government as king.

      1. but but but, Democracy. More people said “yea” than “nay”, which automatically sets the deserving property to “true”.

        1. Re: wylie,

          but but but, Democracy. More people said “yea” than “nay”, which automatically sets the deserving property to “true”.

          That is precisely the trap many liberals fall into. Whenever democracy serves to justify a certain action liberals like, they will bring it up as argument for democratic rule. When it does not (e.g. gay marriage bans,) they will bring up instead Rule of Law.

          Liberals hold very pliable principles, you may have noticed.

          1. Rule of Law is the modern Divine Right of Kings.

            With Divine Right of Kings, the king gets his power from God and the king’s agents execute his will.
            This gives them the power to use force and fraud on ordinary citizens.

            With Rule of Law, the government gets its power from The Law, and government agents execute its will.
            This gives them the power to use force and fraud on ordinary citizens.

            All one can learn from history is that it repeats itself.

            1. Hence, Libertymike’s law:

              There can be no rule of law if the sole arbiter of the same is the king.

            2. All one can learn from history is that it repeats itself.

              Eventually, I think people will understand the how and when of that repetition and make use of that understanding to prevent the repeats. Right after fusion gets economical, by my estimates.

      2. OM, you want government to ensure people don’t get what they don’t deserve as well, you just have a different idea of what people deserve.

        1. Re: MNG,

          OM, you want government to ensure people don’t get what they don’t deserve as well,

          I don’t want the government to SAY what is “deserved” and what is not; that is what contracts and private property rights are for.

          you just have a different idea of what people deserve.

          A different idea from whom? You, or the government?

          1. So people who can get hold of property via force and fraud deserve it?

            1. Re: MNG,

              So people who can get hold of property via force and fraud deserve it?

              Of course not. What the FUCK does that have to do with government? You keep conflating rights with enforcement, MNG – that is YOUR mistake.

              What determines what is deserved are contracts and property rights. The government does NOT determine what is “deserved” nor does it really have to. It is THE CONTRACT between two people that determines this, not the government.

              1. Who do you think enforces contracts and property rights?

                1. Re: MNG,

                  Who do you think enforces contracts and property rights?

                  Lemme guess…. NOT goverment?

    3. So in your (and by extension, liberals’) view, making a profit for your labor when you sell your goods and services at market is tantamount to taking somebody’s money and that it is incumbent upon society, in the form of regulation via its elected government, to decide what levels of consentual takings are appropriate?

      1. No, what I said is what I said. You want the government to enforce ideas about who deserves what too, you just have different ideas about who deserves what. You think people deserve anything they can get absent force and fraud, anyone who gets things the latter way you think does not deserve it and the government should prevent it. Everyone here has an idea of what the government should do to prevent undeserved gains.

        1. So your stance then is that you have a much smaller window for what you describe as legitimate gains. But how do you define what is legitimate and what is not? It just has to seem right? It seems to me that the application of such a doctrine is awfully subjective.

          1. “how do you define what is legitimate and what is not?”

            By some moral criteria, like you do when you find possession via theft or fraud to be not legitimate.

            1. But that’s not solely a moral criteria.

              If there is no force or fraud involved, then we have the admission of the other party to the exchange that the exchange was valid.

              Every exchange involves two “Yesses”.

              So whatever you think of the morality of force or fraud, the exchange model has in its favor the fact that it contains within it an agreement.

              I guess you could back it up one step and say, “Well, you’re just employing the moral principle that when people agree on what each party to a transaction deserves, that means each of them actually deserves it” but that’s not so much a principle as a tautology.

    4. Interesting that you point out the market has morality built into it. That was one of many topics you might find interesting in this book.

    5. “Somehow”? Is this some kind of false consciousness argument?

    6. if I take your money by force I don’t deserve it, if I take it by outright fraud I don’t, but if I can get your consent somehow then I do “deserve” it.

      This “somehow” really isn’t that mystifying.

      If you consent to give me your money, then you should be estopped from arguing that I don’t deserve it.

      It seems like much more of a “somehow” to say that if A buys something from B, C can say that neither A nor B “deserve” what they have both agreed to exchange.

      1. Well, you base your idea of “deserve” on whatever one can get absent force/fraud. You could base it on something totally different, like need.

        Or you could take the emphasis on voluntariness that your view values and expand it a bit, so that certain imbalances in information or resources make exchanges you see as valid as suspect as you currently think outright fraud (which involves consent too, right, just misinformed consent) is.

        1. —“You could base it on something totally different, like need.”—

          Or you could base it on something totally different, like skin color, religion, gender.

        2. So we’re basing things on need then. Does this then mean that if someone isn’t going to take their profits back into the business in some way, they don’t deserve to earn them?

          Let’s say KDN Inc has received more orders of their newest product than they can produce at current capacity. They objectively need new land, labor, and capital to grow the business and fulfill their delivery schedule. Their greedy CEO / owner would prefer to buy a new yacht, something which he objectively does not need since he already owns 3, including the greatest yacht in the world. If the owner takes all of these new profits and buys his new yacht instead of reinvesting into the business, does that make all of his earnings on the newest product illegitimate?

    7. The other reason your argument is a little empty is because…where’s your point of enforcement?

      Do liberals think, for example, that I should not be allowed to pay a few dollars to see a sporting event? Is that where the wrongness lies?

      I doubt it.

      Or do liberals think that people should not be allowed to play baseball? Is that where the wrongness lies?

      I doubt they think that, either.

      So they accept the constituent components of the exchange, most likely – they just want to retain the prerogative of coming in, after the fact, to say, “Oh snap! You engaged in so many individual transactions that now you have too much money! We have to take some of this away from you!”

      It just strikes me as morally dishonest to accept the individual transactions but not their aggregate outcome.

      1. It could come in in a lot of ways. One way could just be to try to negate imbalances in information and/or bargaining power so trades are more truly voluntary. Other ways might involve actual restrictions on exchanges for the sake of one party who we suspect the exchange process will go badly for (this is what minimum wage laws do for example). But yes at times we do it after the fact.

        1. One way could just be to try to negate imbalances in information and/or bargaining power so trades are more truly voluntary.

          But that would only apply to exchanges where one party claims a grievance.

          In the case under discussion, neither the owners nor Derek Jeter nor the fans who buy tickets is suffering from a lack of information or an imbalance in bargaining power that’s of any consequence.

          The liberal problem is merely with the outcome of Derek Jeter and the owners getting millions, and still claim the right to change that outcome by redistribution.

          (Not that I accept your employment of the concept of the “truly voluntary”, which is usually a euphemism for “the greater the value of what you’re providing, the less you should be compensated for it” – I’m just pointing out that it doesn’t appear to apply in our example.)

      2. The “after the fact” part is critical. After someone else has invested money, taken a risk, provided a good or service, grown a business, made it a success…then the politicians want the envelope.

  25. As Will Munny would say “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”

  26. The deserve is backed up by government policy (i.e., forbidding fraud and theft). This is why liberals don’t find it so crazy to suggest that the policy could be different to enforce a different concept of “deserves”.

    So, Statists have it backwards (again)?

    Color me shocked.

    Something isn’t “right” just because the Almight State says it is. Unless, of course, you suffer from the Statist Fallacy and worship at the altar of the Almight State.

    1. You’ve got it all wrong. It’s not that what the state says is what people deserves, it is the idea that the state should be used to make sure everyone gets what they deserve. And of course your side believes that too as I bet you want the state to prevent peope from getting things they don’t “deserve” via force and fraud.

      What’s more funny than you missing the point is stupid ol’ restoras giving your total miss an “outstanding.” It’s like Dumb and Dumber.

      1. Re: MNG,

        It’s not that what the state says is what people deserves, it is the idea that the state should be used to make sure everyone gets what they deserve.

        And you want us to believe they are not the same thing, right?

        The use of the State’s coercive power is not used to make sure everyone obtain what they deserve, you fool. It is supposed to be used (according to minarchists) to settle disputes between two parties on what each previously agreed was deserved. In the case where there is NO dispute, then the state does not get involved – so much for “everyone.”

        1. “It is supposed to be”

          At least you seem to acknowledge now this is a normative view, progress! Of course I know what the minarchist noramtive view about what the state is suppoed to do regarding who deserves what, I just suggest that other criteria exist than minarchist ones.

          1. Re: MNG,

            At least you seem to acknowledge now this is a normative view, progress!

            I don’t, which is why the proviso: according to minarchists.

            So don’t strike the bells yet.

  27. Does Derek Jeter really deserve to earn millions of dollars?

    If he did not steal the millions of dollars, he deserved every single penny.

    1. …but again a lot of that money was stolen from taxpayers by the owner who then pays it to Jeter. He’s not the original thief but he’s still in possession of stolen property.

      1. I’m no lawyer, but that does sound like how money laundering prosecution would handle it…

      2. Re: Matt,

        [B]but again a lot of that money was stolen from taxpayers by the owner who then pays it to Jeter.

        Jeter would not receive any of it if he did not bring paying fans to the stadium. So Jeter is not simply receiving a transfer from taxpayers to him, he’s receiving proceeds from ticket sales, advertising, marketing and other productive efforts.

        He’s not the original thief but he’s still in possession of stolen property.

        No, the owner of the statium is the possessor of stolen property.

        1. “Jeter would not receive any of it if he did not bring paying fans to the stadium. So Jeter is not simply receiving a transfer from taxpayers to him, he’s receiving proceeds from ticket sales, advertising, marketing and other productive efforts.”

          All true but a component of his salary is possible because of the revenue the franchise receives from taxes. I’m not arguing that his salary wouldn’t be high without the subsidies, it just wouldn’t be at the level it is now. The subsidy distorts the entire market. A rising tide lifts all boats, not just the owner’s boat.

          1. Without the tax stadium funds the franchise would likely have a significant interest expense on the loan they’d certainly have to have taken out to build the stadium in the first place.

          2. The additional interest expense would in turn for the franchise to cut other expenses to achieve the same profit. Player salaries clearly would be affected by this. Your argument is tantamount to saying that the unions didn’t benefit at all by the auto bailouts. Of course they benefitted from that — GM didn’t have to declare bankruptcy and possibly default on their big pension plans.

          3. Beat me by 3 minutes.

          4. Re: Matt,

            All true but a component of his salary is possible because of the revenue the franchise receives from taxes.

            If he received it as a direct transfer, like welfare, I would agree with you. But what you’re implying is absurd, as Jeter is not receiving a salary for simply being, he is receiving a salary because he produces – in his case, good entertainment.

            When a welfare recipient buys at Walmart, that does not make Walmart a dealer in stolen goods, as the transfer is not direct. Walmart is simply producing value. The criminal is the government that extorts the money and the welfare recipient, but not Walmart.

            I’m not arguing that his salary wouldn’t be high without the subsidies, it just wouldn’t be at the level it is now.

            You can’t possibly know that.

            The subsidy distorts the entire market.

            Not the entire market, that’s not true.

            1. I’m not calling Jeter a criminal. But it’s simple math, his salary is an expense that the Yankees pay. If the Yanks had more interest expense on their loans for a stadium they financed themselves, they’d have less money for other expenses, including Jeter’s salary. They could choose to pay Jeter the same but then they’d have to cut something else.

              1. Re: Matt,

                I’m not calling Jeter a criminal. But it’s simple math, his salary is an expense that the Yankees pay.

                The Yankees also pay utilities. Maybe Con-Edison is also on the con as well, right?

                If the Yanks had more interest expense on their loans for a stadium they financed themselves, they’d have less money for other expenses, including Jeter’s salary.

                If that were the case, Matt (and it looks like you have NOT given this much thought,) Jeter would simply fly the coop and land wherever someone is willing to offer more. The Yankees do not pay the salaries they pay simply because they receive tax credits or subsidies, they do it in order to KEEP THEIR GOOD PLAYERS HAPPY and their competition at bay.

                You are assuming Jeter would have no choice, but that’s not the case.

                1. Assuming nobody else were receiving corporate welfare for stadiums, who would be able to pay more than the Yankees? They are I believe the richest franchise in baseball.

                  1. The baseball industry’s profit margins are clearly boosted by stadium subsidies. And yes Con-Ed IS also a beneficiary of that. And all those environmentalists that worry about the energy that stadiums consume should be very aware that it’s government, taxpayer-funded forced subsidies that make the construction of those stadiums possible and help increase their owners’ profit margins.

                    1. I wonder if the government overlords who want to ban incandescent light bulbs so badly ever though about how much energy the stadiums they force us to fund consume.

              2. And again I refer to the auto bailouts question. You can’t argue the UAW benefitted from that, and then turn around and argue that Jeter DIDN’T benefit from stadium subsidies. That’s absurd. Employers’ bottom lines have a huge effect on their employees. Are you going to deny that a company in the red is able to easily pay its employees the same salary as a company in the black?

                1. Re: Matt,

                  And again I refer to the auto bailouts question. You can’t argue the UAW benefitted from that, and then turn around and argue that Jeter DIDN’T benefit from stadium subsidies.

                  I can argue that because they are entirely different situations. In the case of the Bailouts, the UAW received monetary compensations that went BEYOND what the law allowed, at the expense of stockholders. Jeter is only being paid to play.

                  Employers’ bottom lines have a huge effect on their employees.

                  Only as far as being able to afford them, Matt.

                  Are you going to deny that a company in the red is able to easily pay its employees the same salary as a company in the black?

                  I believe you want to say “Are you going to deny that a company in the red is NOT able to easily pay its employers…”
                  Of course that a company in the red cannot afford to pay employers the same salaries as a healthy company. What does that have to do with the ACTUAL salary? The player either accepts a salary being offered or he goes somewhere else. It is the COMPETITION between clubs and the value the player brings that sets the salary, not the tax subsidies.

                  1. “It is the COMPETITION between clubs and the value the player brings that sets the salary, not the tax subsidies.”

                    It’s what the clubs are willing AND able to pay. If nobody’s ABLE to pay Jeter $6 mil a year because they all have to finance their own stadium with expensive loans, then Jeter won’t be making $6mil a year even if he bats 1.000.

                    You’re using a “labor theory of value” type of argument here, focusing on the work that Jeter does and how well he does it. But if he work is in an industry which has lower margins due very high capital investment costs, then there’s going to be less salary available to him.

                    Think of it this way — $6 million a year in an environment where stadiums aren’t subsidized is effectively a RAISE compared to $6mil a year where the stadium is subsidized. You’re taking home a larger share of the company’s revenue minus its capital expenditures.

                    1. Re: Matt,

                      It’s what the clubs are willing AND able to pay.

                      That has nothing to do with a player’s salary. If the player does not agree with a certain compensation for his labor, it will not matter how much in subsidies the team receives.

                      What I am trying to tell you is that the salary level is NOT CONTINGENT to the operational costs of the team, but on how much each party is willing to accept. Operational costs and the agreement between employer and employee are TWO SEPARATE ISSUES. This means that a player like Jeter can PERFECTLY RECEIVE his actual salary whether the team receives tax subsidies or not, as long as the player produces MORE than his cost.

                    2. “This means that a player like Jeter can PERFECTLY RECEIVE his actual salary whether the team receives tax subsidies or not, as long as the player produces MORE than his cost.”

                      Yes but how much more does he have to produce. Maybe without a subsidy the stadium is producing less revenue than the interest on its loan. So you might have to reduce Jeter’s salary so that you can afford to pay the stadium loan. You’re assuming Jeter’s negotiation/salary happens in a vacuum, and I couldn’t disagree with you more. A company’s moving parts like the stadium and Jeter and the security guards and the TV techs are all interdependent upon each other.

                      Even if one particular sales guy is a rainmaker, a company may still have to lower his commission if the entire company isn’t making ends meet or is under pressure to increase its shareholder dividends, etc.

                    3. Re: Matt,

                      You’re using a “labor theory of value” type of argument here,

                      Oooohh, don’t even go there. This has NOTHING to do with the so-called “labor theory of value.” The salary is ENTIRELY driven by the marginal utility of Jeter’s efforts in the mind of the employer and the disutility of labor from the perspective of Jeter, both concepts being subjective.

                      But if he work is in an industry which has lower margins due very high capital investment costs, then there’s going to be less salary available to him.

                      Again, you totally confuse operational costs with labor cost.

                      Think of it this way — $6 million a year in an environment where stadiums aren’t subsidized is effectively a RAISE compared to $6mil a year where the stadium is subsidized.

                      That’s not a raise, Matt, that’s simply lower operational costs. That affects the bottom line, but has NOTHING to do with labor costs.

                      Let’s say you have a house and, suddenly, the government gives you a credit for your mortgage. You have then enough money to buy a big screen TV. Does that change the price of the Big Screen TV in any way?

                      Same with Jeter – his salary has NOTHING to do with the lower operational costs of the team, only with the ability of the team to afford him.

                    4. “Let’s say you have a house and, suddenly, the government gives you a credit for your mortgage. You have then enough money to buy a big screen TV. Does that change the price of the Big Screen TV in any way?”

                      If multiplied by all the households in the US at the macro level, it may very well affect the price of the Big Screen. But the connection between big screens and homeowners is a lot more loose than the connection between a baseball player and the organization who hires him. Both need a stadium in order to perform. In a sense they’re both partnering in the same venture and splitting the profits among themselves. Jeter doesn’t own the team but to pretend he isn’t a stakeholder in the financial fortunes of the Yanks is preposterous!

                    5. I wonder how much luck Jeter would have negotiating a salary in the Ukraine where they don’t have Major League baseball stadiums at all, and baseball isn’t popular. I have a feeling he’d be getting paid a lot less money!!

                    6. One final note, seriously OM if you found out that your employer all of a sudden was getting a brand spanking new building scott free from the government, it wouldn’t even cross your mind to ask for a raise?

                    7. If multiplied by all the households in the US at the macro level, it may very well affect the price of the Big Screen.

                      See cash for clunkers for a real life example of this. After that program used car prices rose significantly.

                      I don’t know why OM is pushing for govt subsidized athlete’s salaries, maybe he’s got a thing for Jeter.

    2. What if the employer steals the money?

      The way I look at it is that if every few years city council steals a billion or so from taxpayers and gives it to owners then there will be a distortion in athlete’s salaries.

      Do you think that if the Rooney’s had to pay their own way they’d pay a shitstain $100 million?

      Probably not.

  28. A brilliant teacher substantially increases each student’s productivity. Expose genius pupils to brilliant teachers (yes, a few exist) and good things are likely to happen. A brilliant surgeon can save 200 (?) lives per year. A brilliant teacher can train 20 brilliant surgeons per year. Some measure of the credit for Google rightly belongs to the person who taught Brin calculus.

    1. Re: Tommy Grand,

      A brilliant teacher substantially increases each student’s productivity.

      Productivity on what? Acing tests?

      Expose genius pupils to brilliant teachers (yes, a few exist) and good things are likely to happen.

      Like the Khmer Rouge, for instance. Those guys were brilliant students that had brillian French teachers.

    2. what happens if Brin’s calc teacher was a drunk who slept on the job, and Brin taught himself calculus?

      1. Srinivasa Ramanujan came immediately to mind when I read that.

      2. “what happens if Brin’s calc teacher was a drunk who slept on the job, and Brin taught himself calculus?”

        Then Brin gets the credit, duh. Whoever taught him calc. deserves some credit. For autodidacts?

        1. Just makin sure there wasn’t some catch.

    3. Genius pupils will go on to brilliant lives/careers if they are motivated to do so, regardless of the teachers they had. Some are so effin’ brilliant that being taught is actually a waste of time for them.

    4. You can’t expose only genius pupils to the genius teachers because that is discrimination against the less than brilliant students.
      You can’t separate the bright kids from the disruptive kids because that is discrimination against the disruptive kids.
      You can’t give good grades to the smart kids and bad grades to the stupid kids because that is discrimination against the stupid kids.
      You can’t ensure the kids interested in learning have access to an education while the fuck-offs are allowed to fuck off because that is discrimination against the fuck-offs.

      In short, education is discrimination.

      It should be made illegal.

      1. They’ve gotten pretty close to accomplishing that.

    5. And the guy who taught Brin calculus was already paid the amount he agreed that service was worth.

      The guy who sells Brin toilet paper contributed to the creation of Google, too. You can’t leave the house and go to the office if you’re covered in shit. But you know what? That guy got paid already.

      1. You can’t leave the house and go to the office if you’re covered in shit.

        Google resides in California so yes he can. In some circles applause would accompany this decision.

        1. I thought Google was in Washington.
          In which case he still can because the never ending rain will wash it off.

    6. Does the converse of this principle work for terrible teachers?

      1. No. That is discrimination.
        The only fair way to do this is to put bright kids with moron teachers, and moron kids with genius teachers.
        This way you can ensure an equal outcome for unequal participants.

      2. Of course. When we expose good students to terrible teachers, each student’s productivity declines. That’s my definition of a terrible teacher. These folks have not earned a thin dime. If anything, they should reimburse the parents.

    7. A Genius will rise to the top except for the most repressed societies such as North Korea. Brilliant people do not need teachers, teachers are there for the average person.

      1. The question of whether extremely bright kids “need” teachers turns on one’s understanding of the word “need.” If you mean that such kids can achive amazing things without live instruction (i.e. with access to great books/internet/lab but no living teacher) then I agree.

        I studied physics under Steven Weinberg. Although it’s a conterfactual hypothesis, I’d bet good money that my genius classmates learned more from working w/ him than they’d have learned during an equivalent interval of independent study. Professor Weinberg is brilliant, but he gives credit to his teacher Sam Treiman, who studied under Enrico Fermi…

    8. Surgeons are taught by other surgeons, not by someone with an education degree.

      1. Anyone who teaches is a teacher: MD, PHD, JD, GED… you name it.

  29. Derek Jeter doesn’t spend all of the his free time in the statehouse screaming that my taxes should be raised; he’s too busy slamming thousands of hot women for that nonsense.

    This alone makes me like and respect him more than the typical public school teacher.

    1. He doesn’t have to, given that his salary is so high he’s set for life!

      Most teachers happen to be employed by the government. Given that the public education system rarely gives anyone bonuses, raises, or incentives based on job performance, it almost forces teachers to become politicized. Maybe if there were opportunities for teachers to earn more by being, you know, BETTER at teaching, they’d spend more time training like Derek Jeter spend lots of time training cause he knows it’ll increase his salary, and less time at the state house. Teachers don’t have the incentives or opportunities Jeter has to increase their salaries, so what else is someone in that industry supposed to do if they want a higher salary? It’s a perverse system.

      1. I refuse to solely scapegoat the rank and file teachers for the problems with the union benefits, etc. It’s a systemic issue and the politicians are most to blame in my view. Nobody wants to LEAD on this issue, everyone is addicted to the status quo.

        1. I think Michele Bachmann has actually been agitating to get rid of public schools, which is the leadership that needs to happen to fix our education system.

      2. Get into a different industry.

        I was a teacher’s aide and foresaw absolutely no future in the profession, and sought gainful employment elsewhere.

        I still like to teach, but cengage in that hobby through (free) private tutoring (which I feel does a lot more good than I did as a glorified babysitter).

        1. Sadly, with the licensure requirements, you’re pretty much forced to work for the state if you want to make a living teaching.

          Some folks want to teach full time even if it means working for Leviathan (basically their only option if they want to have an actual class instead of tutoring or teaching SAT prep classes for Kaplan at night). I’m not going to hold someone’s vocational dreams and aspirations against them because Leviathan has forced them to enter the public sector. Yes, I am making the argument for privatization of education. But I’m not going to scapegoat individual teachers for that.

      3. Given that the public education system rarely gives anyone bonuses, raises, or incentives based on job performance, it almost forces teachers to become politicized.

        Running headlong into the argument against public schooling, and missing the point by miles.

        *Applause*

      4. And who set up this perverse system designed to protect bad teachers and not sufficiently reward the good ones?

        1. A whole lot of people are responsible in a lot of different sectors, and it didn’t happen overnight. Academia has been around for centuries. Tenure started in ivy league-ish settings in the middle ages for very valid reasons. It’s been incrementally extended far beyond where it should reach, but it’s been a deliberate process that’s happened gradually over time.

          I’m not going to play the politics of group identity and crap on ALL people who happen to work as public teachers. That’s just wrong.

  30. A brilliant teacher substantially increases each student’s productivity.

    Just for fun, we’ll take this at face value. The question then becomes, “Why don’t we pay teachers based on merit and productivity? Why don’t we put crappy teachers on the waiver wire? You know, like baseball players?”

    1. Of course teachers’ compensation should depend on merit (a decent proxy for the liklihood for producing future value) as well as past productivity.

    2. While teachers deserve gobs of money, they also can’t be responsible for student performance. That’s all on the parents.

  31. Does Derek Jeter really deserve to earn millions of dollars?

    Bad question. There’s no such thing as a “fair salary” and anyone who speaks of such a thing is engaging in emotional babbling.

    1. ^^This^^ Unless he is stealing it or doing something illegal to make it, he deserves whatever he gets.

      1. This is called begging the question. The idea that we deserve whatever we can get without stealing is what is debated. Adding “or something illegal” is an amazing doubling of this question begging…

        1. No. It is called answering the question with “yes”. By virtue of you lawfully making the money you automatically “deserve it”, period. Begging the question is not answering the question. This is an answer. You just don’t like it.

          1. It’s exactly begging the question. Your comment was:

            “Unless he is stealing it or doing something illegal to make it, he deserves whatever he gets”

            To steal means ” To take (the property of another) without right” (Freedictionary), and the illegal part means to do so while breaking the law, so basically you are saying “as long as he deserves it and it is legal then he deserves it and it is legal.”

    2. The only people to whom that is a relevent question are named “Steinbrenner” (or employed in a management position by the Steinbrenner’s). All other is whining or moral preening by busybodies.

  32. I always thought it was amusing that a lot of people (usually of the liberal persuasion) carp about corporate CEO’s, hedge fund managers and other assorted business types making a lot of money but never complain about sports figures or movie stars doing so.

    1. the hedge fund manager thing drives me crazy. here’s why. when they talk about what hedge fund managers MAKE, they fall prey to survivor bias. THOUSANDS of hedge fund managers go broke. they lose everything, or a substantial percentage of their wealth. not just zero income, but they lose their (substantial) investment in their own hedge fund. many hedge funds don’t evne last a year

      hedge fund managers make money when they are SUCCESSFUL. that’s how the system is supposed to work, and they take substantial risk WITH THEIR OWN CAPITAL while doing so – contrast with a mutual fund manager.

      1. So, it’s a case of “just a few good apples”?

        1. well, lol but yes. if you look at any given year of top performing hedge funds or even all hedge funds, that list will not include hedge funds that did not last throughout the years

          i considered running a hedge fund (starting one up) and investigated incubator funds, survivor rates, etc.

          it’s a difficult game

  33. speaking of sowell, he often talks of “cosmic justice”. there is no cosmic justice in jeter making what he makes.

    but then, the universe, and capitalist societies don’t, and should not run on concepts of cosmic justice

    is it “cosmically fair?”

    no

  34. “So maybe we should compare the average teacher salary with the average salary in a minor-league club. (A triple-A rookie makes about $26,000.) Or, for that matter, with the average newspaper scribbler. How much does Glenn Beck make again?”

    A player at Triple-A who has at least one day of MLB service time will usually sign a split contract(salary depending on whether he is playing in the ML or not) with the minor league portion being round $70,000.

    Also, there are no rookies in the minor leagues, that’s a distinction made only for first year players on the ML level.

    And to make this comparison to really work, teachers should probably be represented by an interested 3rd party such as agents, whose job is to extract the most amount of wealth for their clients, and only their clients.

    For any responses, I’ll have my agent call you.

    1. —“Also, there are no rookies in the minor leagues, that’s a distinction made only for first year players on the ML level.”—

      Rookie Leagues. Check them out. Lot’s of fun, low prices.

  35. This whole article is intellectual BS. It completely fails to take into account that just about all sports franchises get tremendous tax breaks, without which, they would not be profitable at all.

    So, how much is Jeter worth if he has 6000 hits, but the Yankees franchise is not profitable? Answer: he’s worth whatever he can get paid at a regular job, like everyone else.

    1. A simple fact is that a sport star will live better in ANY society, from the most free to the most repressed. The USSR treated their sports stars as heroes no different to the USA. Unless one changes humans at the genetic level this will not change.

  36. In a sense it is what the market would bear , but of course professional sports are granted a monopoly by the government so they are not true market forces determining his salary. If the MLB was not granted immunity then NYC would have probably 5-6 professional teams making them more on-par with the likes of the Twins and Brewers.

    People bring up taxpayer stadiums alot and while I am no huge fan of them we do pay for Zoos, Orchestra Halls etc. But they are not granted monopolies like professional sports.

    1. If we had a free market, there would be no antitrust.

      MLB wouldn’t NEED its exemption. Everyone would be exempt.

      1. And we would get the results we have with the exemption(s) (NFL and NBA get exemptions from anti-trust under the labor laws): no competition in professional sports.

        You just made my pro-anti-trust argument for me, thanks.

        1. No you wouldn’t.

          There has never been any monoply except those explcitly created by government.

          Standard oil most certainly was NOT a monopoly.

        2. MLB has a plenitude of competitors:

          The NFL
          The NBA
          The WNBA
          The NHL
          Arena football
          That soccer league, whatever it’s called
          The CFL
          The movie studios
          The video game makers
          Book publishers
          The PGA Tour
          The minigolf and go-kart parks

          Ad infinitum.

          MLB sells entertainment. Nothing more. Are you suggesting that the fact that we only have one “major” professional baseball league means that MLB has achieved a monopoly on entertainment?

          Any consumer who doesn’t like the pricing or product offered by MLB can go to the damn opera instead.

  37. Hey, Fearless, shouldn’t you be out there electro-torturing people, or executing somebody for engaging in consensual victimless business transactions?

    Maybe if police departments paid by the scalp, we’d see some serious law enforcing.

    1. Why should the do any serious law enforcing?
      Where’s the incentive?
      There is no return on investment when investigating crimes that have victims. Assault, robbery, b&e, don’t involve property that can be confiscated. You can’t buy new toys for your SWAT team when you waste time with that silly shit.

      Crimes against The State on the other hand, things like not obeying signs on the side of the road or engaging in prohibited economic activity, there’s where the money’s at.

  38. Jerry Springer was interviewd on morning radio recently about his new show “Baggage”. And I’ll be darned if he didn’t come across as a fairly decent guy. He was a newscaster assigned to do a daytime show, and they came up with a way to get attention (ratings), he was good at hosting the show…made a bunch of money….seemed pretty level headed and a clear perspective.

    1. shit…this was in reply to vanneman at 11:15

  39. People also fail to consider that professional athletes have the probably the worst job security of any profession. The 90% of MLBers that aren’t renowned superstars are only making a few million a year on at best a 2-3 year contract. Thus, they are one torn knee away from never playing again. Plus, it ignores the fact that these guys condition and train their entire lives just to make it to the Show and even harder just to stay there.

  40. The fallacy here is that sports stadiums are built at taxpayer expense. I don’t begrudge Jeter his wealth, but I can’t help but think that if the MLB franchises had to raise their own money instead of leaning on the government, his salary would not be nearly as astronomical.

    1. Re: Bill,

      [I]if the MLB franchises had to raise their own money instead of leaning on the government, his salary would not be nearly as astronomical.

      You’re making the SAME MISTAKE that Matt makes above. Do you really think there are no other competing parties trying to get the interest of Jeter? His salary is not “astronomical” because his employer gets subsidies, it is “astronomical” because Jeter produces a great deal of value to the employer, and because of the COMPETITION that would be trying to entice Jeter away. The employer is ALWAYS participating in a never-ending auction for Jeter’s production, regardless of the tax breaks or subsidies the employer obtains.

      1. Actually, OM, I would speak to a couple points raised by your response.

        It’s generally the case — with only a handful of exceptions I am aware of, like AT&T Park and, in a limited fashion, Dodger Stadium* — that ballparks are publicly subsidized. Those costs not borne by the teams themselves migrate toward other things, such as player salaries. I find it odd that someone I know to be a libertarian would argue otherwise.

        Second, regarding this passage —

        The employer is ALWAYS participating in a never-ending auction for Jeter’s production

        Not really, because contracts are of fixed length, and always for a minimum of one year. I forget who it was — I want to say Whitey Herzog — who proposed making all players free agents with contracts of a maximum of one year. That would have been an enormous benefit to MLB owners; given the existence of guaranteed contracts, the possibility of injury or incompetence due to age or other loss of skills remains ever open. In fact, a constant churn in contracts favors the employer rather than the player. (I suppose you could argue that this would tend to drive up salaries of elite players even faster, but you would also see no more Mike Hamptons, who languished for Rockies’ payroll for years despite barely pitching, and pitching ineffectively when he was on the 25-man roster.

        ===
        * Construction was paid for by the Dodgers but the land was famously stolen from its former owners.

        1. Re: Rob McMillin,

          It’s generally the case […] that ballparks are publicly subsidized.

          That has little to do with a ballplayer’s income, only with the management of the venue.

          Those costs not borne by the teams themselves migrate toward other things, such as player salaries.

          You don’t know that, unless you happen to be their accountant. The most that can happen if overhead increases is that you either go without something else (like less productive players) or you raise ticket prices or beer prices, but salaries are agreements between employer and employee. If a player does not like the current salary, he can always WALK.

          I find it odd that someone I know to be a libertarian would argue otherwise.

          “No true Scottsman…”

          I know economics, Rob. I can and am arguing that.

          Not really, because contracts are of fixed length, and always for a minimum of one year.

          Are you jesting, Rob? Even if a player is under contract, he does not become ipso facto ISOLATED from other offers. That is something the team owner has to think about NEXT TIME the contract is up for renegotiation.

          The amount of money the team owner saves because of tax breaks/subsidies only lowers the operational cost, but not LABOR: That’s absurd. Labor costs depend entirely on what the employee agreed to receive, regardless of what the State decided to give away to the owner.

          1. OM, your myopic view of this issue stuns me. I feel like I’m in that scene of Back to School where the prof is describing a fantasy company making “widgets” without any regard to any other external factors.

          2. OM, your myopic view of this issue stuns me. I feel like I’m in that scene of Back to School where the prof is describing a fantasy company making “widgets” without any regard to any other external factors.

            1. Re: Matt,

              I feel like I’m in that scene of Back to School where the prof is describing a fantasy company making “widgets” without any regard to any other external factors.

              That’s because you keep confusing the balance sheet for the territory, Matt. Tax subsidies allow the team to lower their operational costs but does NOT change labor cost, as that is agreed beforehand by the player and the team; that’s a totally separate issue.

              Besides, as it was indicated above many times, a player’s total revenue comes not only from his base salary but also from royalties, advertisement, marketing, etc.

              1. Okay OM, it’s been a hearty debate, I’m going to hang it up. We’re clearly at an impasse. I understand the distinction you’re trying to make, I just perceive athletes’ salaries being very tightly coupled to the financial fortunes of the baseball enterprise as a whole.

          3. Even if a player is under contract, he does not become ipso facto ISOLATED from other offers.

            Read up on “tampering” some time. That’s why there are contracts in the first place, to prevent what used to be called “bolting” (i.e. voiding your agreement when someone willing to pay more comes around). A player is isolated from other offers for the duration of his contract.

  41. The Wilt Chamberlain Hypothetical fails utterly at least because ticket sales don’t pay the salaries of professional athletes. Advertisers, and thus every consumer who purchases a good or service from the firm whose product is advertised, do.

    Like Coke? Pepsi? Taco Bell? Fizzy yellow tasteless American beer? Congratulations you’re paying Derek Jeter’s salary because the money he earns from the Yankees primarily comes from broadcast deals which are 100% paid for by advertisers of those sorts of goods.

    Ah you might say but Mr. Consumer you’re always free to choose other products and thus avoid paying Derek Jeter’s salary. But what if a good is superior or at least I find it so? Then I’m left with the choice of purchasing inferior replacement goods or paying Derek Jeter’s salary. That doesn’t seem particularly just.

    Suppose I want to avoid paying the salary of not only Derek Jeter but all other professional athletes & entertainers. I’d have to have a complete & constantly updated record of all present advertising, sponsorship & endorsement agreements which is, of course, an impossibility. Thus I can’t avoid paying the salaries of at least some of these jackasses no matter how hard I might try. Just? Hardly.

    1. This is silly.

      Your agreement to pay $2.99 for a bag of Doritos means that you have gotten appropriate value for your $2.99.

      What Frito-Lay does with your $2.99 is none of your concern.

      If one thing they do with it is aggregate it with other purchasers’ $2.99 and buy advertising with it, that’s entirely their business (literally) and not yours.

      You’re complaining that if you decided to try to launch an indirect boycott to hurt Derek Jeter, you’d have to give up the value of the products you chose not to buy. Well, duh. So what? That’s the price you would pay for your irrational dislike of a third party not involved in a direct transaction with you.

  42. I don’t begrudge them being rich bastards, but I hold those who idol worship* a bunch of men running around playing a GAME in utter contempt. I’d pay maybe up to $10 bucks to watch a pro-sports game live, if the seats were good and the match was bound to be interesting. And if I could bring my own beers.

    *sports commentators, die hard fans, season ticketeers, etc.

    1. I’m with you. Watching grown men throw a ball around is not my idea of entertainment.

  43. “Social justice” = theft. Always.

  44. I can’t believe we’re having this discussion here, isn’t this a libertarian website?

    Yes, of course he deserves to earn $70 million, $700 million, $7 billion, as long as he doesn’t steal it. That’s objectivism 101, if you make it, you keep it.

    If I take a poop and put it on a canvass, and tell Steven Spierberg that he can buy my shitcasso for $9 million and he actually gives me the money, is it not mine? Of course it is.

    People in the private sector deserve to earn as much as they’re worth.

    Hey teachers, if you don’t like public school salaries (which are pretty damn good, by the way) maybe you should teach at a private school, or maybe you should seek a different profession.

    Because in the end, it doesn’t matter what we do for society, saint or sinner, you deserve to get paid what the market will pay you.

    1. “If I take a poop and put it on a canvass, and tell Steven Spierberg that he can buy my shitcasso for $9 million and he actually gives me the money, is it not mine? Of course it is.”

      ‘Shitcasso’… that’s pretty good Grego. Credit where credit is due.

  45. Interesting read Hinkle. Whenever I hear someone waxing poetic about “Social Justice,” I make sure to hide my wallet. There have been untold amounts of cash spent on such egalitarian fantasies.

  46. GREGERRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  47. TL;DR comments.

    The important thing is: “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

    /Will Munny

  48. Re: MNG,

    Who do you think enforces contracts and property rights?

    Lemme guess…. NOT goverment?

  49. Re: Matt,

    You’re using a “labor theory of value” type of argument here,

    Oooohh, don’t even go there. This has NOTHING to do with the so-called “labor theory of value.” The salary is ENTIRELY driven by the marginal utility of Jeter’s efforts in the mind of the employer and the disutility of labor from the perspective of Jeter, both concepts being subjective.

    But if he work is in an industry which has lower margins due very high capital investment costs, then there’s going to be less salary available to him.

    Again, you totally confuse operational costs with labor cost.

    Think of it this way — $6 million a year in an environment where stadiums aren’t subsidized is effectively a RAISE compared to $6mil a year where the stadium is subsidized.

    That’s not a raise, Matt, that’s simply lower operational costs. That affects the bottom line, but has NOTHING to do with labor costs.

    Let’s say you have a house and, suddenly, the government gives you a credit for your mortgage. You have then enough money to buy a big screen TV. Does that change the price of the Big Screen TV in any way?

    Same with Jeter – his salary has NOTHING to do with the lower operational costs of the team, only with the ability of the team to afford him.

  50. “Same with Jeter – his salary has NOTHING to do with the lower operational costs of the team, only with the ability of the team to afford him.”

    And the ability of the team to afford him is completely unrelated to how much the team has to pay for the venue?

    Is the ability to make money publishing newspapers completely unrelated to the whether or not they have to pay for paper?

    Is the ability of a restaurant to pay it’s cooks a competitive salary unrelated to whether or not it has to pay rent?

    You don’t think it would completely alter the economics of dining if the government started subsidizing restaurant equipment?

    The distinction between operational costs and labor costs is certainly useful, but it’s an abstraction, and not some sort of deep ontological divide. It applies to a company that already exists making decisions about what to do next year or next quarter. It doesn’t apply to a particular financier’s decision to buy a baseball team as opposed to tech company or an airline.

    Both kinds of decisions are part of capitalistic enterprise, no?

  51. Wow, I’m surprised at the absolute lack of logic in these comments. Derek Jeter earns what he earns because of a contract with his employer. He is overpaid however. Revenues increase the more a team wins. Jeter doesn’t perform much better than a replacement level short stop, i.e. the dude that is backing him up. For the 51mm Steinbrenner paid him, Steinbrenner could have signed Cliff Lee. With a pitcher like Cliff Lee replacing an average starter like Ivan Nova, the Yankees would most likely be in first place – not 1.5 games behind the Red Sox.

  52. What if the Yankees didn’t get a “free ride” on their new stadium and were lured to New Jersey instead? I think a good case can be made that it would have been a disaster for the Bronx (probably not NYC as a whole) if the Yankees were to leave. Could the negative impact have been greater than what never gets paid back to the state if they finance the stadium in the first place?

  53. Sorry Mr. Hinkle I have got to disagree with you on this article entirely. You should concentrate your articles on scum bags who make a hell of a lot more money than Jeter, have this country by the balls and are protected by stupid laws. These are the people you should be grilling.

  54. “Is there any possible way to justify paying him this much?”

    That someone is willing to pay him that much.

  55. It’s a private contract, guaranteed by the constitution. This sounds more like a need for control than a socaila issue. Who will decide what is just or fair?
    The party that happens to be the majority between election cycles?
    Bill did raise a very good point though on the subsidies stadiumss receive.
    Now before you reply let’s all play nice.

  56. I think it is elitist and sophomoric to go after an athlete. There should be more outrage over celebrities like Kim K and Jersey Shore cast. This writer must have been picked on by jocks growing up.

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  63. “If they freely choose to do so…” is a key flawed assumption in evaluating the salary of anyone in society, perhaps especially entertainment celebrities. There would be no super-hero Jeder if not for a low-paid high school coach somewhere along the way, outsized advertising budgets for sports, and monopoly practices of the big leagues. …And the list goes on for miles. In other words – as is so often the case in these pages, the world is hardly a free market where people are paid according to their contribution.

  64. Why was this article written? Why waste the space to post this?

  65. I would argue it is none of anyone’s business other than the person paying his check.

  66. Basically if you don’t like how much the “athletes” make then DON”T buy a ticket, or turn the TV off. Once the sales and ratings drop the whole system will have to come back to reality.

    If you don’t care what it costs to “see” your favorite player do their thing then pony up the money and stay quiet about the amount.

    I fall under the first line I have shut off the TV and would rather watch local sports or better yet participate at my own level…..for free.

    Right now the market “bears” the costs and does not look to be slowing any time soon. But I can do my part by walking away.

  67. While the scarcity of talent is part of the equation, professional athletes pay is high mostly because it is bid up with taxpayer money and market protection.

    Wherever you see income diversity it’s always because of government intervention. Beyond protecting natural rights, essentially that is all government does when it boils down to it, create income diversity.

  68. Professional baseball is a government protected monopoly. Take away the monopoly protection and revenues would dwindle. On top of that monopoly protection they also have government protection in the form of copyright laws. Take away both forms of government protection and favoritism and a baseball player would earn no more than a retail store clerk.

  69. As a fans of Yankee, of course I hard support Derek Jeter as he is such an exellent player.
    Support him, wear his jerseys.

    Cheap jerseys for you.

    http://www.tradeyankeesjerseys.com/

  70. This argument is slightly flawed, due to the little known fact that non fans are (sort of) forced to pay Jeter to play.

    The New York Yankees make most of their money from their cable network YES. All Cable subscribers in the Tri-state area actually pay a buck or two per month to YES whether they care to watch the Yankees don’t ever watch any baseball at all.

    A buck or two a month multiplied by the number of households in the nation’s largest metro-area is a fantastic income stream. Granted, residents aren’t “forced” to subscribe to cable. But anyone who wants to buy any cable TV of any sort in NYC, must help pay Derek Jeter.

  71. It’s too great.
    Gendongan Bayi

  72. ugh: $51 million for the current three-year contract, plus millions

  73. s ardent enthusiasts probably wonder whether even someone as good as Jeter should be raking in his kind of dough: $51

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