Friday, October 28, 2011

Rising Income Inequality for the Texas Rangers. So?

The chart above is based on data from the USA Today Salaries Databases and reveals significant and increasing income inequality over time for the Texas Rangers, measured both by the payroll share of the top 20% and the Gini coefficient of statistical dispersion.  Over that time period, the average inflation-adjusted Texas Ranger salary has gone up almost 8 times, from $412,350 in 1988 (measured in 2011 dollars) to $3.18 million in 2011. 

So what's the problem?  We hear all the time that rising income inequality is harmful and damaging, so why isn't that the case for professional sports? 

Also, the minimum salary for the Texas Rangers is $414,000, which is the MLB salary minimum, putting every MLB player in the top 1% (based on $344,000 minimum to be in the top 1% for 2009, the most recent year available).  Where's the outrage? What about Occupy MLB Stadiums?

25 Comments:

At 10/28/2011 10:33 AM, Blogger The King said...

How would we have had the greatest game in World Series history last night if we did the occupy thing @ stadiums!? Let's have our priorities straight, PLEASE!

 
At 10/28/2011 10:51 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Baseball players aren't getting rich by breaking the law or imposing risks on the rest of society that require bail out. Read Taibbi and/or Greenwald please and stop with this straw man. The problem is not that some are rich. It's that some get rich by cheating and breaking the law and yet the law doesn't apply to them because they buy influence in Washington.

 
At 10/28/2011 10:59 AM, Blogger mike k said...

Ok Jon, I'll bite. I read the Taibbi article. Where was the evidence of "breaking the law"? How were they "cheating"? The only reference to improprieties was "robo-signing", and the courts seem to have held against those involved in it. Although, the article made no representation that the practice was illegal. I think you have your "straw men" confused.

 
At 10/28/2011 11:18 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Those two links were just intended to show generally why they protest at OWS. For a discussion of the type of crimes they got away with, read this article from Taibbi.

 
At 10/28/2011 11:24 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Though in fairness the first Taibbi article explained how there are two sets of laws. One for the rich and the other for the poor. When the rich bet that mortgage prices will go up and they lose that bet the law says the get compensated for their losses. When a homeowner does the same he's kicked out of his home by a police force that gets a cut from the eviction.

It's kind of like saying the law against sleeping under the bridge or setting up a tent in a park applies equally to the rich and the homeless, so the law is fair. The law is contrived so that punishment is only inflicted on the weak and poor. That's part of what OWS is about.

Instead Mark wants to pretend they are unhappy because the average baseball player only makes $3 million annually and they should make more. It takes real cynicism to be that blind to what the protests are about.

 
At 10/28/2011 11:53 AM, Blogger Sean said...

People understand exactly how and where the large Ranger paychecks occur: not so with Wall Street. People don't fear the familiar.

 
At 10/28/2011 12:04 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

In fact, MLB operates a string of regional monopolies, and players have learned to extract salaries from owners who have learned to leverage their monopoly status.

What is sad is that citizens will pay for stadiums, and give their airwaves to ball teams---an example of how special interests can trump the general, usually.

 
At 10/28/2011 12:16 PM, Blogger Hasdrubal said...

What's the Gini coefficient if you include the front office salaries, I wonder? After all, just measuring income disparity of people doing the same job is not really comparable to measuring the income disparity for everyone in a nation. Including the bean counters and janitors in the team's Gini and median salaries might paint a picture more similar to the country.

Jon:

I think the comparison between ball players and bankers is fairly apt. After all, the ball players are leveraging direct public subsidies in the form of stadiums or profit. Indeed, the Vikings are only the latest sports team that is actively extorting public subsidies with the threat of leaving for a sunnier locale.

 
At 10/28/2011 12:19 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

" ... there are two sets of laws. One for the rich and the other for the poor. When the rich bet that mortgage prices will go up and they lose that bet the law says the get compensated for their losses. When a homeowner does the same he's kicked out of his home by a police force that gets a cut from the eviction." -- Jon

His home? He has a mortgage, not a home. The home belongs to the lender until the mortgage is paid off.

Let's recap. You "purchase" a home using another persons money. If the value of that home increases you realize all of the appreciation. If the value falls, you walk away and stick the lender with the loss. And you are whining about "homeowners" being victimized by this deal?

You say that if the rich make poor bets on the mortgage market, "the law says the [sic] get compensated for their losses". Bullshit. No such law exists. However, if such a law did exist, who would compensate them? Since the rich pay almost all of the taxes and the poor pay nothing, who is being victimized?

Reality, as usual, is exactly the opposite of what you assert. It is the public unions who have their market losses covered by law. Every public union pension plan invests in the market. If they make money they keep it, and if they lose money the taxpayer is required by law to fill in the hole.

When will you start protesting them?

In fact, the law is heavily skewed to the benefit of the poor. If a poor man robs a rich man he is given a public defender at his victims expense, while the rich man, if accused of a crime, must provide for his own defense.

If a rich man owns a property which he rents to a poor man he may find himself subject to rent control laws and eviction laws that benefit his tenet, etc., etc..

 
At 10/28/2011 12:33 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The law is contrived so that punishment is only inflicted on the weak and poor. That's part of what OWS is about." -- Jon

More nonsense. When tea party rallies are held their organizers adhere to the law. They secure the appropriate permits, provide the required sanitary stations, compensate the city for additional police presence and purchase insurance policies to protect the city in the event of a lawsuit. The OWS protestors have done none of these things. Instead, they believe that these laws do not apply to them and that they have rights to public spaces that supersede the general publics. Their lawless behavior juxtaposed against the behavior of those in the tea party puts the lie to your statement.

 
At 10/28/2011 12:40 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Che 10/28/2011 12:19 PM,

Good stuff!

 
At 10/28/2011 12:48 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Let's recap. You "purchase" a home using another persons money. If the value of that home increases you realize all of the appreciation. If the value falls, you walk away and stick the lender with the loss. And you are whining about "homeowners" being victimized by this deal?

A lot of people don't buy a home JUST with the money of others. I didn't and many of my friends didn't. One friend lived in an apartment and managed to save $75K in 5 months. Put it down as a down payment on a home that cost $350K. Now it's worth $250. He's underwater after all that savings. He's lucky and hasn't been kicked out of his home because he didn't lose his job, but imagine if he did. GS gets the taxpayer to cover when the market can't cover their bets. Where's the bailout for this evicted guy that lost his down payment?

Bullshit. No such law exists.

It certainly does. The government covered AIG's bets to the tune of 100 cents on the dollar. The bets against AIG were so huge that they collapsed. Normally when a company goes bankrupt their creditors don't get full compensation. GS did as did AIG's other creditors.

Since the rich pay almost all of the taxes and the poor pay nothing, who is being victimized?

Everyone pays. The tax structure is mildly progressive. Not a lot. But yeah, the rich pay for the super rich. The top .01% are the real ones getting away with the fleecing. They pay the lowest rate and use taxpayer moneys to propel themselves into the income stratosphere. People making around $250K per year are getting screwed by this system as well. The people fleecing the taxpayer are among the extreme upper income echelons.

The law is skewed toward the poor? Is that why zero of the criminals that caused the 2008 collapse have been convicted of a crime? Meanwhile when a poor homeless black man steals $100 and turns himself in he's sentenced to 15 years. Lucky homeless blacks. They get all the breaks.

 
At 10/28/2011 12:53 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

jon-

no. your links show that you have no understanding of what happened.

the federal government created the situation. they lent at low rates to bad credit risks, bought up the loans from banks who did the sam and then asked and forced them do do more of it.

if freddy and fannie would buy 60 cents worth of trash from a bank for $1, you can't blame the banks for producing it and selling it.

that's like blaming apple for producing and selling iphones in response to is high demand.

the fact that you even use the phrase "bailout" demonstrates that you have no idea what happened.

banks were lent money.

they paid it back with interest.

the US taxpayer came out ahead on the banking sector as a whole.

they would be way ahead on tarp as a whole apart from the black holes of freddy and fannie, the government sponsored (now nationalized) entities.

this was no more a federal bailout of banks than your getting a small business loan and paying it back is a bailout.

you seem long on emotion, but very short on facts and comprehension.

 
At 10/28/2011 1:07 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"It certainly does. The government covered AIG's bets to the tune of 100 cents on the dollar. The bets against AIG were so huge that they collapsed. Normally when a company goes bankrupt their creditors don't get full compensation. GS did as did AIG's other creditors." -- Jon

Why didn't the government cover the "bets" of Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros., Countrywide, Washington Mutual, etc., etc.? Didn't this imaginary law apply to them as well?

 
At 10/28/2011 1:25 PM, Blogger Doug said...

How about income equality in Hollywood? Many of these "stars" are donating their time to the OWS effort and the income inquality in Tinseltown is worse than MLB.

 
At 10/28/2011 1:28 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The law is skewed toward the poor? Is that why zero of the criminals that caused the 2008 collapse have been convicted of a crime?" -- Jon

If someone has broken the law, I am completely in favor of their prosecution. However, and I know it's difficult for someone with a religious faith in the efficacy of government to accept, almost all of the behavior that led to the financial crisis was not only legal, but was encourage by those in power in Washington. Government is the problem.

What I find curious, is that no one on the left ever asks about the responsibilities of the regulators. How many of them have been prosecuted or, for that matter, fired? Weren't they all watching porn on their computers as the economy was melting down, in part, because of their failure to provide competent oversight? Where's your rage at them? And why does the answer to every crisis involve giving these same incompetents more money and authority?

The market is the ultimate regulator, let the morons go bankrupt.

 
At 10/28/2011 1:48 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Che,

"What I find curious, is that no one on the left ever asks about the responsibilities of the regulators."

Yep. When will OWS vagrants be protesting outside of Fannie and Freddie? Outside of Barney Frank's house?

 
At 10/28/2011 1:52 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Jon,

"Where's the bailout for this evicted guy that lost his down payment?"

And that, in a nutshell, is the diff between the Tea Party and the OWS layabouts. The latter want some of the free stuff coming their way, they aren't against bailouts in principle.

And anyway, the guy that loses his down payment still able to walk away from his obligation, under alot of circumstances. When I moved back here to Az, it seemed like everyone I ran into had a story about how they short sold their house. Who do you think eats the loss there?

 
At 10/28/2011 2:21 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Jon, you must be pretty angry at the federal government for bailing out those fat cats. You must also be angry about all those federal regulations that have been written by those fat cats to hurt their small competitors. What is your solution? Sounds like you want to give more power to the federal government. That doesn't make sense.

 
At 10/28/2011 2:22 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Good one jon: "One friend lived in an apartment and managed to save $75K in 5 months. Put it down as a down payment on a home that cost $350K"...

This is hilarious! So jon did this friend of your's float a loan from a bank or get some sort special package from a government entity to pay the part that the $75K didn't cover on that house?

'If' so then it was other peoples' money that was used for the purchase of that home...

Thanks for the chuckle jon...

 
At 10/28/2011 3:19 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Morganvich, even right wingers like David Frum are saying you need to get over the whole "Freddie and Fannie did it" meme.

Why didn't the government cover the "bets" of Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros., Countrywide, Washington Mutual, etc., etc.? Didn't this imaginary law apply to them as well?

Hank Paulsen, Treasury Secretary and former CEO of Goldman Sachs (which tells you the real problem right there), was a competitor of Lehman and so he enjoyed watching them collapse. In Washington when you want to be tough on someone you talk about how important the free market is. "Moral hazard" and all that. When it comes to your friends it's socialism all the way.

almost all of the behavior that led to the financial crisis was not only legal, but was encourage by those in power in Washington.

Here we agree. Ayn Rand's disciple Alan Greenspan, along with free marketeers Robert Rubin and Larry Summers crushed any efforts to bring oversight to the derivatives market. There's a good Frontline episode. You could watch the whole thing, or perhaps start here if you only want to watch a small amount. The theory was the free market reduces risk and leads to prosperity, so there's no need for regulation. The market is so rational. If prices are out of whack they will be quickly corrected because speculators can profit by placing bets on accurate prices. All great in theory. Reality is another matter.

What I find curious, is that no one on the left ever asks about the responsibilities of the regulators. How many of them have been prosecuted or, for that matter, fired?

Regulators were literally blocked from looking thanks to free market madness.

The market is the ultimate regulator, let the morons go bankrupt.

Even Milton Friedman would tell you that this is madness. Yours is precisely the prescription followed in 1929.

And that, in a nutshell, is the diff between the Tea Party and the OWS layabouts. The latter want some of the free stuff coming their way, they aren't against bailouts in principle.

No. Here's the difference between the Tea Party and OWS. The Tea Party strenuously objects when the government acts for the benefit of people. When they act for the benefit of corporations the Tea Party goes silent, or nearly silent. Medicare and Social Security are terrible? Military industrial complex? Corporate welfare? Maybe a whimper. Not much more.

You must also be angry about all those federal regulations that have been written by those fat cats to hurt their small competitors. What is your solution?

Yes I am. My solution is democracy rather than plutocracy.

 
At 10/28/2011 3:54 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Jon,

"..even right wingers like David Frum are saying you need to get over the whole "Freddie and Fannie did it"

Please. David Frum's name is mud on the right. His whole schtick is to be the guy that people like you can use for "even right-wingers like David Frum.." quotes.

"The Tea Party strenuously objects when the government acts for the benefit of people."

Uh, the Tea Party largely rose up as a response to the bailouts. You obviously have never even talked to a Tea Partier.

"My solution is democracy rather than plutocracy."

And you demonstrate that by idolizing Fidel Castro.

 
At 10/28/2011 4:30 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/28/2011 4:35 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Hank Paulsen, Treasury Secretary and former CEO of Goldman Sachs was a competitor of Lehman and so he enjoyed watching them collapse." -- Jon

So, now you are saying that your imaginary "bailout law" only applies to Goldman Sachs.

"The theory was the free market reduces risk and leads to prosperity ..." -- Jon

I think that we are well past theory at this point. Of course, your knowledge of economic history may be as limited as your knowledge generally.

"... so there's no need for regulation." -- Jon

No one claims this, it is simply a straw man thrown up by leftists in order to disguise their desire to regulate the life out of everything.

"The market is so rational. If prices are out of whack they will be quickly corrected because speculators can profit by placing bets on accurate prices. All great in theory. Reality is another matter." -- Jon

Untold billions have been made doing just that - in reality, which is something that someone who embraces socialism has only a tenuous grasp on.

"Regulators were literally blocked from looking thanks to free market madness." -- Jon

"Literally blocked"? Who literally stood in their way?

Regulators were told that Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme years before his fund collapsed yet continued to pass him on every audit. And they knowingly used lawyers with a clear conflict of interest when doing the follow up investigation. Regulators deliberately destroyed documents involving ongoing investigations in an effort to hide their incompetence and when the congressional oversight committee complained and investigated their Democrat allies moved to shield them from future embarrassment by exempting them from the FOIA. And still the incompetence continues.

George Will sums up the "Occupy" movement precisely:

"... OWS’ defenders correctly say it represents progressivism’s spirit and intellect. Its meta-theory is ... clear: Washington is grotesquely corrupt and insufficiently powerful." -- George Will

 
At 10/28/2011 5:32 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Morganvich, even right wingers like David Frum are saying you need to get over the whole "Freddie and Fannie did it" meme"...

LMAO! jon! jon! jon! You're on a roll today champ!

How does some clown from the No Labels crowd rate as a 'right winger'?

 

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