Free markets, free people

  • Follow Editorials

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
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Tigger_The_Tiger
0
Points
Tigger_The_Tiger 10/11/09 - 03:24 pm
0
0
I, who believe that someone

I, who believe that someone should be able to keep what they work for, am a horrible person. Marx and sjgraci....who believe that the fruit of the worker's labor must be confiscated and redistributed to people who did NOTHING to earn it, are the good people........could someone explain how that makes sense?

jack
10
Points
jack 10/11/09 - 05:06 pm
0
0
Tiger is the greatest golfer

Tiger is the greatest golfer in the history of the game and skin color has nothing to do with it. So what if he becomes or is a billionaire? He has earned it by playing the game and endorsements. He was a poor sport and acted childish when he began in the pros but has matured and is worth every penny he is paid by those companies that he endorses products for. He is indeed a prime example for any young person, regarldless of color/race to follow. YOu just have to over lokk ignornace like that shown by Lobosolo (his usual) and Justass4.

KSL
134594
Points
KSL 10/11/09 - 06:29 pm
0
0
sjgraci, by some standards

sjgraci, by some standards the poor in America have gotten poorer (when measured against the top income earners). However, to be poor in America today is still sort of a ritzy life, unless you are mentally ill and living under a bridge by choice and it is a choice that the poor person has made. Go down to the projects and just check out things. Cell phones, electronics, I could go on ad infinitum. Poor is such a relative term, tossed around by politicians on a daily basis. In America, the poor can get sick and show up at an emergency room for treatment without being turned away. In America the poor can make bad choices, get pregnant and be set up their own home with medical care, food stamps (debit card), etc. They can even be arrogant enough to have appointments for ultrasound and just not show up, because, after all, they are paying for the missed appointments, the taxpayers are.

KSL
134594
Points
KSL 10/11/09 - 06:32 pm
0
0
How many of today's poor

How many of today's poor people have chosen not to take advantage of free education and learn everything they can to better themselves?

corgimom
34196
Points
corgimom 10/11/09 - 07:25 pm
0
0
KSL, you are dead on. Good

KSL, you are dead on. Good post!

concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 10/11/09 - 08:35 pm
0
0
Techlover, one of the best

Techlover, one of the best posts I have seen on here.

KSL
134594
Points
KSL 10/11/09 - 08:49 pm
0
0
Corgi and I do not always

Corgi and I do not always agree on everything. But we do agree that there are opportunities offered free of charge that a number of people are choosing not to take advantage of in order to better themselves.Instead they are just holding their hands out at their proverbial mailboxes. The taxpayers are getting tired of this.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Charges for sex offender

A man convicted of sex charges in Columbia County, who then went to prison for child molestation in south Georgia is back behind bars.
Search Augusta jobs