Steve Lunetta: Payroll socialism


Recently, the internet exploded over another case of a man being paid more than a woman for similar work. The man was paid about $1.5 million for his work while a woman was paid about $1,000.
“Tis a crime!” many liberals screamed. Or, was it?

The man in this case was Mark Wahlberg, a well-known A-list actor and the woman was an actress named Michelle Williams who, admittedly, I had to look up on IMDB.

She has a fairly impressive resume, I must admit.

They had to re-shoot some scenes for a Ridley Scott movie named “All the Money in the World” after Kevin Spacey was removed after his indiscretions came to light.

The first thing that came to mind was “Dang, Wahlberg has a pretty good agent.” After reading all of the follow-up information, it seems my first thought was correct. Wahlberg said “pay me” and Williams didn’t. That isn’t sexism, that is good business.

Of course, many in the media claimed that it was because she was a woman. I can’t agree. I would go see a Mark Wahlberg movie because I know who he is. I didn’t have a clue who Michelle Williams is. That is called star power, and that is what studios pay for.

Let’s put it another way. If Meryl Streep and I were cast in a movie, who do you think should get paid more? If she got $20 million and I got $1000, would that be unfair? Streep is a 20-time Oscar nominated actress and I am nothing.

The fact that I have a Y-chromosome has nothing to do with it. People will not come to see a movie starring Steve Lunetta. They will come to see Ms. Streep.

What seems to be happening here is also a bit of what I call “payroll socialism.” Many people today think that just because people are doing a job, they should all be paid exactly the same. This is laughable.

Many factors play into this. Experience, skill, fame, reputation, and history all influence these types of decisions.

For example, the Yankees now have Giancarlo Stanton playing center field. I’m sure the left and right fielders could point out “hey, we play in the outfield too! And, we get just as many at-bats as Stanton! We should be paid the same!”

Except, Giancarlo has shown the ability to hit 58 homers a year and people come to see him. He is worth the $29 million per year that the Bombers are going to pay him.

Therefore, even though they do the same job, Stanton’s ability and production make him worthy to be paid more.

What about school teachers? Should we pay them all exactly the same? “Now, stop right there, Steve. You’ve gone too far!” Why not? All teachers perform essentially the same function.

According to the Payroll Socialists, we should eliminate things like time in job, quality, activities, and skill. If a teacher produces students that score 20% higher on standardized tests- so what? They should be paid the same as a teacher who just mails it in every day.

I recently heard about the teacher that was arrested for protesting her superintendent’s raise from $110K to $140K. This was in a district where the teachers have not received a raise in a significant amount of time.

The district is also ranked 6th in the state based on standardized scores. Sounds like the superintendent is doing a pretty good job.

However, many commenters said that the raise should be split up equally among the staff and forget the superintendent. Everything equal and the same. Payroll socialism.

It is astounding to me that we seemed to have learned nothing from the Soviet Union’s collapse. One of the things that contributed to this was the socialistic thinking that made compensation “equal”.

Doctors became scarce because they could not make more than the average worker. There was little drive or ambition because hard work and innovation were not rewarded. Striving to excel gained- nothing.

Is that what we want here? Thinking simplistically that an actress got paid 1,000 times less than an actor because she was a woman is not intellectually honest. While there may be many instances of discrimination based on sex, this is not the case here.

We must be extremely careful not to fall into the poisonous thinking of payroll socialism.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and will gladly accept a starring role with Meryl Streep for $1,000. Heck, I’ll even pay. He can be reached at [email protected].

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