One percenters: They have median annual household income of $750,000, median assets of $7.5 million, and there are 1.2 million of them across the country.— Barron’s Magazine
Thanks to all of you who sent cards during my convalescence.
And for those who were unaware of my massive heart attack, it occurred last week when I attempted to buy a couple of World Series tickets.
The price – $2,983 per ticket – sent my system into cardiac arrest. My doctor said she had never seen anything quite like it.
You read it right. No typographical error. Almost $3,000 to attend one game, and if you tried to get into Wrigley Field in Chicago, a ticket was closer to $4,000, according to Ticket IQ, which tracks prices of tickets in the entertainment business.
Flashback to 1990, when I actually did purchase a ticket to see the Cincinnati Reds play the Oakland A’s in the World Series. My cost? $100, which at the time seemed like a lot of money. And it was. Adjusted for inflation, that $100 ticket would cost $185 today.
So what’s going on?
If you are in the entertainment business, which includes professional sports, your salaries have outstripped other categories of working Americans at warp speed. You are the quintessential “1 percenter” that the politicians love to talk about when they advocate higher taxes and income redistribution. Not that you hear those same politicians mention the names of Clayton Kershaw, pitcher, annual salary $34 million, highest in baseball, or David Wright, third base, at a mere $20 million. Wright hit .226 this year. But consider this: The highest paid baseball player in 1908 made $8,500, or roughly $200,000 in today’s dollars.
In 1930, baseball’s best player, Babe Ruth, was paid $80,000, which was higher than the $75,000 paid to President Herbert Hoover. When asked if he was worth more than the president, Ruth replied that he had a better year than Hoover.
Adjusted for inflation, the Bambino would be paid $1.15 million today, more than the $508,000 minimum but far less than the average salary of $4.4 million paid to today’s ballplayers. And it pales in comparison to Kershaw, or even Wright.
We can complain about CEO salaries, but sports professionals and other entertainers are also true 1 percenters.
When will the public wise up and quit paying these obscene prices for entertainment? Wrong question, because clearly, there are many out there who are willing to pay and have the wherewithal to do so.
In a free enterprise capitalistic economic system, demand controls prices. And often, it has nothing whatsoever to do with value.
Nov. 2, 2016