Thursday, July 5, 2012

Money and Mouth

In this country, we talk a lot about "values." Freedom. Family. Education. God. Helping people. The word value means to assign something worth relative to other things. And our "values" are supposed to be the things we esteem more highly than other things. We assign a higher "worth" on things we value, right? And surely, in this country at least, we think of "value" as a monetary concept. We all know that the phrase "good value" means that we get something that's well worth the money we paid for it, relatively speaking. So, let's have a look at what Americans value.

My first listed value was freedom. So lets look at some things that we see as important to freedom. Well we're told (ad nauseum) that the military protects our freedom and dies for it if necessary. A staff sergeant (E6) in the US Army makes $34,636. Not much "value" there. The Press-that's important to freedom. Even Thomas Jefferson said so. A journalist in the US makes an average of $58,467. Well, that's a little better, but still pretty low for a bastion of our "values."

What about family? Well, we all know how much you make for being a parent. Zip. Zilch. Nada. But that's a volunteer gig, so it doesn't really count. But how about someone who helps a volunteer parent keep a family together--a nanny. Average: $31,200. Yikes. Housekeeper: $21,955. Daycare worker? $19,300. Ouch. So much for valuing family.

Education. That's certainly an American "value," isn't it? Well, a high school teacher makes an average $43,668. Other grades make less. A liberal arts college professor makes $80,627. Not much evidence that we care a lot about education, is there?

Well there's helping people. Yeah, that's it. Here we go: a cancer researcher makes an average $160,000. Brain surgeon can make up to $602,538. That's certainly more like it.

And what about God? Certainly that will make our list favorably. Well, the median income for a pastor: $85,455. Not bad, but on a scale of eternity? Meh.

So, what DO we value?
Pounding people to a pulp over a little brown ball, aided by assorted pharmaceuticals. Average NFL player: $1,900,000.

Big breasts, big muscles, lack of taste or brains. Cast member on Jersey Shore, Season 4: $1,400,000.

Siphoning money out of the real economy and stifling real business and competition. Average Goldman Sachs employee: $367,057 or more. Corporate Bond Trader: $1,000,000 . Mergers and Acquisitions Banker: $2,000,000

Yup. It seems that in "values," just like in everything else, you get what you pay for. 'Nuff said.

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