As this most interesting week comes to a close, I pause to consider what I have learned. I learned that Britney Spears makes over $700,000 per month, and doesn't save one penny of it. Now let me think about this, for it is quite profound. If a Registered Nurse makes $25 per hour and worked 40 hours per week, that would amount to $1,000 per week in wages. This translates into a little over $4,000 per month. Hmmm, that means that a 25 year old former pop singer is worth 175 times more than a skilled RN who works in a pressurized life and death environment every day. I just wanted to get what I learned straight.
I learned this week that everyone's favorite baseball player, Mr. A Rod will probably sign a contract soon to play baseball for the next 10 years with the New York Yankees. No one knows at the moment the details of this contract, but it is estimated to be around 275 million dollars. Now let me get this straight. A very good baseball player, who is an athlete, who entertains people with too much time and money on their hands, wants to finish his playing career for one team. Everyone assumes he will play for another 10 years. He stands to make around 27 and a half million dollars for each of those 10 years doing what?
Let us dissect what exactly a baseball player is paid over 27 million dollars per year to do. He must get and stay in shape. He must devote roughly 7 or 8 months per year to the sport. He must spend a minimum of 81 days and nights on the road, living in 5 star hotel rooms the team pays for along with his meals. He must show up most days for work late in the afternoon and be done with work around 10 or 11 in the evening. He must put on a uniform and take a shower each day there is a game. Oh yeah, he must be able to catch a little white ball and also hit it with a bat. Whew, it makes me tired just thinking about this strenuous job.
Every day in America, millions upon millions of parents send their most prized possession in life, their children, off to school. Every day, for 8 or 9 months of the school year, teachers are held responsible for the advancement in learning of their pupils. Teachers must prepare lessons, attend numerous meetings, put in a full day teaching kids who rarely want to listen, let alone learn anything, sit with parents and attempt to get them involved in their children's lives, go home and grade tests and prepare for the next day. They must put up with unruly troublemakers, boys and girls going through puberty, teenage pregnancies, drug addiction, gangs and more distractions than could ever be listed.
If a baseball player makes millions of dollars to play a game, wouldn't you think a teacher should at least make the same? It doesn't quite work out that way, does it? The average salary for a teacher in America is $48,000 per year. Some make more than this and many make far less than that amount. So, what I learned this week is that a baseball player is worth 540 times more than a teacher. I just wanted to make sure I was a good pupil and learned my lesson well.
I learned this week that Steve Jobs made about 650 million dollars last year off of vested stock options. I also learned that the CEO of Occidental Petroleum, Mr. Ray Irani made 322 million dollars last year. Again, this was mainly from his company's stock prices shooting up. I cannot fathom how much money is involved here. In Mr. Jobs case, his annual compensation works out to 1.7 million dollars per day or $73,858 per hour. I know people who think they have a pretty good job when they make $20 per hour.
There are many people who put their lives on the line daily to serve and protect our cities, states and country. The average salary for a police officer is about $48,000 per year. A firefighter is actually very well paid, receiving an annual salary of $55,000-70,000 per year for 8-10 twenty four hour shifts. The average cash compensation for someone who has been in the military for three years is $40,000 per year. I f they serve in a combat zone, they get an extra $250 per month.
So, to put this all in perspective; a 25 year old entertainer is worth 700 thousand dollars per month. A person who hits and fields a little white ball is worth a little over 2 million dollars per month. A person who started and is CEO of their own company is worth about 54 million dollars per month. But, a person who must put his physical life on the line every day to serve and protect the singer, ball player and the CEO is only worth $3,500-5,000 per month: And the person who risks his life in a combat zone in the military is worth an extra $250 per month. Whoop tee do.
Britney makes $250 in less than 20 minutes. Mr. A Rod makes $250 in a little over 5 minutes. Mr. Jobs makes $250 in less than 13 seconds. Either military personnel need to make a lot more for combat duty or Britney, Mr. A Rod and Mr. Jobs need to go spend some time in Iraq or Afghanistan dodging bullets.
I have learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that the entire system of financial compensation in this country is 100% upside down. Those who make the least should be making far more than they do and those making unfathomable amounts of money to entertain us need to either give some back or receive far less. Somehow I don't think they are going to do either, albeit Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffet have proven that wealthy people can also be very generous people if they choose to be.
It was reported that Ms. Spears spends over $100,000 every month on entertainment. As outrageous as that sounds, it means that she manages to spend $600,000 per month on other things! I am sure she never would consider in a million years giving any of her "hard earned" money to deserving charities or other philanthropic organizations. I am doubly sure she would never consider sharing of her windfall with those who have little or nothing in this life.
Next Thursday Americans will consume 20% of the turkey they eat in a whole year. All over this country, families will sit down with each other and enjoy a feast fit for a king. Meanwhile, out on the streets and huddled in run down shacks all across America, millions of people will spend another day eating a can of beans or a box of macaroni and cheese. I am thankful for the countless agencies and organizations which provide a meal for the poor on Thanksgiving. But, for everyone who receives a meal, there are probably 10 too proud to go or physically unable to get to where the meals are being served.
A decent sized turkey costs around $20. Ms. Britney, do you realize how many turkeys you could buy for the poor and disadvantaged in this country if you "tithed" 10 % of one month's "salary"? For $70,000 one could easily purchase 35,000 turkeys. But no, that money is needed for parties and clothes and other essential items. Please think about these things the next time your teenage daughter wants you buy her Britney's latest CD. Is it really worth adding to her "retirement plan"?
I do not know any of these people, and perhaps they are all very benevolent folks who give millions of dollars to underprivileged people every year. If they do, I am deeply thankful for their generosity. If they don't, I implore all of us to re-consider our support for their causes. Do we really need to spend as much as we do on music CDs, baseball, football, basketball, golf, and other sporting events, and IPODs and other new fangled technological toys?
I pray this overly cynical post gives you some "food for thought" to balance out the physical food devoured in abundance this coming week. The Bible clearly implores us to "remember the poor and needy". This is necessary all the time, but especially at this time of year. Please ponder these things the next time you see a "bell ringer" with a red bucket or a box for collecting toys. As tough as any of our circumstances may be, I can guarantee you there is someone out there in a thousand times worse situation. Please remember them; somehow I can't imagine Britney will.
Reading your blog..all I could think of are these famous words:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.
Now, I do understand your point of view..I am not blind to the ways of the world..but in light of these famous words I have to ask..what exactly IS $700,000 a month REALLY worth??
Just a thought..
Amen and amen and one more amen! Precisely my shock upon learning of the $29,000 marble toilet in the pastor's bathroom.
I think the disproportionate salaries that you have researched show us exactly what we value in today's society (and by we, I don't necessarily mean US here at CB). It is our military men and women, teachers and police officers and firefighters and paramedics and nurses who should be earning the big bucks.
And rather than spending $100,000 on entertainment each month, wouldn't the world be a better place if she only spent $50,000 a month and then each month paid for another several young people to get a college degree?
And I love Steph's point. All that money, and it's worth precisely zilch.
The world is what the world is and all we as individuals can do is support things that give glory to God. Obviously there was real thought devoted to research for this blog and I understand why, however, what came into my spirit while reading this blog is:
Philippians 4:8 - 9 (NKJV) 8Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. 9The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Over this special season we can dwell in things that depress us or choose to dwell in things that bring joy to our hearts. My prayer is we follow the teaching in Philippians 4.
God Bless, Happy Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas to all.
My apologies to anyone who might not have understood the reason for my posting this. Normally I limit myself to Biblical posts because God and His Word are my life. Every so often I try and "lighten things up" by "spoofing" the world and its insanity. I agree wholeheartedly that if one looks at the world very long, one becomes negative very quickly. We need to set our affection on things above and lead captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.
A gigantic part of the Christian faith involves helping and sharing with those who are in desperate need, I pray we always remember those who through no fault of their own many times, have fallen and need a helping hand to get up. I know it is only "wishful thinking" to dream of how much good could be done with just a little bit of the excess so many in the world have, but in reality, it the love being manifested by God's people that is the only thing that ever REALLY helps anyone.