Free markets, free people

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There's a somewhat lighthearted debate on right now over whether Tiger Woods has become history's first billion-dollar athlete.

Forbes magazine estimates he is. Woods denies it. Golf.com says it's only a matter of time, if he's not already -- especially after Woods' recent $10 million check for winning the season-long FedEx Cup points race.

"We'll never know when it happens," the Web site says. "He likely won't know right away either, and when he does learn, the only acknowledgment of the fact will probably be a private smile behind the tinted windows of a Buick SUV."

He's earned every penny of it. His tournament winnings have come fair and square. He's also got a golf course design business and millions and millions from endorsements and speaking fees that other consenting adults have willingly parted with.

The point is, who would begrudge him any of it?

Well, some folks would.

Some think athletes are overpaid, especially considering the relative importance to society of other professions. Others, like a protester at the recent G20 summit in Pittsburgh, argue: Why should anyone make over "X" amount?

For the lady protester, that amount was $500,000. For someone else it might be $1 million. Or $10 million.

That, of course, begs the question: Who should decide how much is enough?

Some think the government should. In fact, the federal government is increasingly thinking exactly that, as it tries to set maximum wages at bailed-out companies.

So how much is Tiger Woods worth? How much should he earn?

We don't think anyone has the right to decide that in a free country except Tiger Woods and the people he does business with.

As for people being "overpaid": You are worth what you're paid. The free market determines that. If a team owner thinks you're worth tens of millions, that's his right. You are worth whatever someone else decides they want to pay you.

We realize free-market capitalism isn't exactly the trendy fall color this year. There's a movie out denigrating capitalism (while it continues to make the filmmaker filthy rich). And the Pittsburgh protester's view -- that people should have their incomes capped -- is gaining a foothold, as we have a president and Congress who want to use their exaggerated sense of power to "spread the wealth around."

Certainly capitalism isn't perfect. We've all been horrified by some of its excesses.

Free markets and free people have elevated mankind to a standard of living never before seen on this planet. Yet, because not every boat has been lifted at the same rate -- and because some captains of industry have overindulged in their successes -- capitalism is on the run.

But the alternative -- government fiat -- is infinitely worse.

Indeed, though this story isn't getting out much, last year's economic collapse was caused in large part precisely by fiat: government pressure to load Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac up with bad loans in order to puff up home ownership statistics to make the politicians feel and look good.

Moreover, how could there possibly be any room under the Constitution for capping salaries?

And think of what kind of world we'd have if the lady in Pittsburgh had her way -- if all compensation were capped at $500,000. Where would human ambition and striving go to breathe? Why would people work hard or invest in the uncertain business climate, if the fruits of their labor were somehow capped or carted away?

To most of us raised in freedom, it seems a silly discussion to even have. But today's young seem not to appreciate the dangers of socialism and communism that their fathers and mothers worked so hard to defeat on foreign soil and keep at bay at home. Nor do they appear to be as immersed in free-market education as they ought to be. Otherwise, there'd be no market for movies about the evils of capitalism.

There can be no freedom without financial freedom.

If America forgets that, whither the world?

Comments (36) Add comment
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Lobosolo
5
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Lobosolo 10/11/09 - 05:28 am
0
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Ryan, you continue to show

Ryan, you continue to show how contrived, hysterical, and paranoid you are. So much conjecture, so much arrogance speaking for others (really, now, you use the word 'us' way too much). You ARE the Glenn Beck of editorialist. What a bright spot for Augusta. How long do you think you guys at the Chronicle will survive?

Riverman1
84004
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Riverman1 10/11/09 - 05:49 am
0
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I agree with the theme of the

I agree with the theme of the editorial, but I do see one conflict. We all know Buick pays Tiger millions, but we bailed out GM. If GM couuldn't make it paying out the millions for endorsements, they should have reeled them in, but they continue to pay Tiger millions with our money. If GM owes the government billions then we may very well have a say in how much Tiger is paid. Of course this whole bailout nonsense has messed up capitalism until we can't tell whose money owns what these days.

WhippingPost
1
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WhippingPost 10/11/09 - 06:34 am
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Lobosolo, your 5:28 post

Lobosolo, your 5:28 post makes your usual amount of sense....none. Say what you mean. What is your point, other than to insult? (except you missed with the Glen Beck comment)

WhippingPost
1
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WhippingPost 10/11/09 - 06:36 am
0
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The bailouts aren't

The bailouts aren't capitalism, they're anti-capitalism and the take over of GM shows it. As this company continues to struggle, the federal government has yet to show it can run an auto company any better than any other program.

TheDeerhunter
0
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TheDeerhunter 10/11/09 - 07:08 am
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Tiger Woods' contract with

Tiger Woods' contract with Buick ended about three months ago. So i guess he did recieve bailout money lol.

dashiel
176
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dashiel 10/11/09 - 07:09 am
0
0
Excellent point, Whipping,

Excellent point, Whipping, especially on the eve of U.S. taxpayers finally paying off the bill from the savings & loan scandal. Now that investment swindlers know for sure that it's pillage as usual, they know the government will always bail them out because they're too big to fail. Only trouble is, the U.S. Treasury ISN'T. Also, the faint praise this editorial sprinkles on Tiger is amusing. ("...fees that other consenting adults have willingly parted with.") Why not just say it's a business doing pleasure with you, Mr. Woods...

Jim Christian
0
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Jim Christian 10/11/09 - 08:18 am
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I dunno...the NBA salary cap

I dunno...the NBA salary cap seems to work pretty well.

WhippingPost
1
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WhippingPost 10/11/09 - 08:37 am
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Jim Christian, the NBA cap

Jim Christian, the NBA cap isn't to deter player effort, but to protect owner profit. That's not quite the same thing as reducing a person's value for purposes of redistribution.

justus4
101
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justus4 10/11/09 - 09:18 am
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The article is borderline
Unpublished

The article is borderline racist. Don't use Tiger Woods as an example for free markets because his forefathers didn't earn themselves a dime-they worked to make others rich. Free markets require limits and restriction. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a complete fool or a liar. A good example of free markets would be individuals who gained their wealth through GENERATIONS-Woods has not! By reviewing generations of wealth, U could credibly argue that free markets have worked to maintain wealth. But to drag this brotha into a wealth debate is actually saying, "U see, even those decendents of slaves can win big in a free market society." HA! Tiger Woods is an exceptional golfer who makes huge amounts of money. That is NOT wealth because a scandal would ruin him, just like M. Vick. Non-minority citizens would turn on him so quick, U'd get a nose bleed. Wealth is the Kennedys. Wealth is the Fords or the Bushes. Generational wealth. Yep, the Ole ACES is using poor observation skills and more "watercooler" rumors as information worth printing. Again, restrictions are in order and Woods is not an appropiate example of free market success.

bettyboop
7
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bettyboop 10/11/09 - 09:24 am
0
0
LOL..lol...lol..OMG justus

LOL..lol...lol..OMG justus you are making it justoo easy today !

Michael Ryan
648
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Michael Ryan 10/11/09 - 09:47 am
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Lobosolo proves what we've

Lobosolo proves what we've been saying is true -- especially about how liberals can't argue the facts. All they can do is try to insult.
Your insults say more about you, Lobosolo.
Thanks for proving us right!

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 10/11/09 - 09:48 am
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I missed where race was

I missed where race was mentioned on the editorial. Oh I forgot....to justus4 (a racist) everything is borderline racism.

Lumbarsupport
0
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Lumbarsupport 10/11/09 - 10:08 am
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If the government decides to

If the government decides to cap the earnings of anyone, good luck finding a neurosurgeon. Maybe that protester can remove your brain tumor.

corgimom
32476
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corgimom 10/11/09 - 10:18 am
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Tiger Woods is multi-racial.

Tiger Woods is multi-racial. A whole bunch of his forefathers weren't slaves. I think Justus is judging Tiger by his skin color.

TheDeerhunter
0
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TheDeerhunter 10/11/09 - 10:23 am
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"Indeed, though this story

"Indeed, though this story isn't getting out much, last year's economic collapse was caused in large part precisely by fiat: government pressure to load Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac up with bad loans in order to puff up home ownership statistics to make the politicians feel and look good."....Ive never heard this arguement before....i thought the bad loans put more money into their own pockets. Didn't Credit-Default swaps and other complicated financial actions cause the failure of Fannie mae?

TheDeerhunter
0
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TheDeerhunter 10/11/09 - 10:26 am
0
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Just don't pay attention to

Just don't pay attention to justuss and others who post bogus nonsense; now this blog will be turned into another Augustachronicle.com race debate with hundreds of comments that have nothing to do with the article.

gus0426
0
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gus0426 10/11/09 - 10:26 am
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0
Justus - a few thoughts: (1)

Justus - a few thoughts: (1) change Woods to Nicklaus or Palmer, you'd still be whining, (2) Tiger is only part Black ( still a "brotha")?, (3) you're not only bigoted, you're paranoid (cf, one scandal...), (4) your spelling and grammar is better, someone proofing your work?, (5) you need to stop writing your typical foolish tripe and start exhorting "non-minority" parents to teach their children the values that made America great, (6) use your passion for something constructive and worthwhile.

corgimom
32476
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corgimom 10/11/09 - 10:42 am
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0
We know who Justus is. He's

We know who Justus is. He's always been a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Fortunately, when he ran for office, the voters showed their good sense and he was defeated.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 10/11/09 - 10:44 am
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Tiger wins and gets millions.

Tiger wins and gets millions. CEO's drive companies to the verge of bankruptcy, get convicted of fraud, stock scams, etc. and earn millions. In the rare cases that they are shown the door, they sometimes make even more. United Healthcare's Bill McGuire is forced out for stock options scandal and gets golden parachute of $1.1 BILLION. Goldman Sachs has earnings of $2.3 billion and pays out bonuses of $4.8 billion, Morgan Stanley earned $1.7 billion and paid out $4.475 billion in bonuses (after each received TARP bailout of $10 billion). If Tiger started losing badly enough, he would eventually be dropped from the pro tour, and his endorsements would soon dry up. It's a shame it's exactly opposite for some in the business world

disssman
6
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disssman 10/11/09 - 10:55 am
0
0
If people are stupid enough

If people are stupid enough to think that driving a Buick makes them in the same league as Tiger, well they need to wake up. But isn't that what is America is tosay, a society looking for someone to emulate and look like? I remember a year ago, the craze to look like Sarah and buy, at any price, glasses like she wore. A pity really that we have become a look-alike people with no real identity and no ability to make up our own mind on anything without input from a social commentator. It is unfortunate but unless we break out of our little shells we really are dooming ourselves as a great knowledgeable nation.

teharper428
2
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teharper428 10/11/09 - 11:22 am
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Good point, Tech,

Good point, Tech, unfortunately it will go over the head of some of the posters of the AC editorials.

Niko Mahs
83
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Niko Mahs 10/11/09 - 11:24 am
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A dumb editorial deserves a

A dumb editorial deserves a "No Comment". The folks above were cajoled and duped by this editor to say something when they should have just ignored this dumb editorial. No further comment.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 10/11/09 - 12:07 pm
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Apparently it wasn't a dumb

Apparently it wasn't a dumb editorial then Niko, because you made a comment. Or were you just cajoled and duped?

creolechick
72
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creolechick 10/11/09 - 12:37 pm
0
0
It doesn't matter what an

It doesn't matter what an article is about or says, the very paranoid justus4 will think it's racial. You could print scripture from the bible & he'd put a racist spin on it. Really, justus4 you are a paranoid racistphrenic! That is my new word - similar to a schizophrenic.

Niko Mahs
83
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Niko Mahs 10/11/09 - 12:58 pm
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Slightly my dear baroness,

Slightly my dear baroness, but if you note my comment was "NO Comment". No as in Repubnicant.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 10/11/09 - 01:00 pm
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When the page editor

When the page editor specifically asked Niko to comment, she turned tail and ran..............had nothing intelligent to say...................as usual.

sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 10/11/09 - 01:43 pm
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Of course athletes are

Of course athletes are overpaid as are CEOs. Seen how much it costs to sit next to the action at a professional sporting event? Seats in the first four rows at an NHL game cost $300 a piece. The only ones sitting there are the CEOs and the businessmen they are trying to woo. Luxury skyboxes? Dream on low-life. Businesses willingly shill out over ten grand for a couple of Maters badges. Here's the deal, this country is in trouble with deficits and has major social issues that must be addressed. The income gap is greater now than it has since the Great Depression. The rich have gotten richer and everyone else has gotten poorer. If these obscene wages continue, and they will, the millionaire athletes' and CEOs' upper taxable income must be taxed at 50% or more. Taxable income above $1,000,000 = 50%. Taxable income above $10,000,000 = 75%. Of that $10,000,000 check Tiger received, $9,000,000 of it would be taxed $4,500,000 instead of $3,150,000. Boo Hooo poor Tiger Woods would pay $1,350,000 more to the country yet would still go home with $5,678,425. But, some unfortunate American without health care now may live to see him play tomorrow as a result. Tax the Rich! Feed the Poor!

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 10/11/09 - 01:49 pm
0
0
Overpaid? says who?

Overpaid? says who? sjgraci...what if some outsider decided that YOU were overpaid? Let the free market decide what people are worth. If athletes weren't bringing in the money, they wouldn't get what you consider to be "too much money." This is classic wealth envy. "Tax the Rich! Feed the Poor!"......neither Robin Hood, nor Karl Marx could have said it better, sjgraci. You make a wonderful Marxist.

sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 10/11/09 - 02:53 pm
0
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And you not only are a fool

And you not only are a fool you are a horrible person. Marx would never allow any individual to go home with millions of dollars. I don't have a problem with anyone making millions in this country as long as they give back a portion of what society has given them. That paltry portion that they are giving back currently is to the point of obscenity given the problems we face. Tiger Woods is a Billionaire for Christ's sake. He has more money than God and still would if he were taxed more. Tax them like I stated and Tiger would still take home two weekends ago more than what every poster on this thread takes home combined for the next ten years. Half of everybody in this country takes home less than $25,000 annually. For the record, I am an envious top 10 percenter. Chances are are pretty good I make more than you. Probably more than the Op/Ed writer. I don't have a problem raising my rates to what they were under President Clinton. The rich did just fine back then and the country as a whole did even better. Still, not even that Fascist, Socialist, Communist, Nazi President Obama is suggesting that. Yeah, I'm a real Marxist but you are still a fool. And a horrible person.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 10/11/09 - 03:08 pm
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OMG.....sjgraci. Give back a

OMG.....sjgraci. Give back a portion to who? What makes you think someone besides the person who worked for the money, deserves to get it. YOU are a large part of what is wrong with this country. Marxism/socialism has failed EVERY TIME it has been tried, but you seem to think Obama can make it work this time. It kills initiative. Explain how my belief that I should be able to keep what I work for makes me a horrible person. It seems to me that someone who thinks THEY can determine how much of what I earn can be confiscated and redistributed should be considered the "horrible person." And someone who believes that a system of economics that has a 100% record of failure, might somehow work this time, should be considered a fool.

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