Letters to the Editor

Silly salaries

August 4, 2011


To the editor:

What a pathetic comment on our world today: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. These stories, side by side, on the first page of Sunday’s Journal-World. One family facing bankruptcy and poverty because promises were not kept by the chain store where Roy Coker worked, and the theater where his wife fell down stairs in a darkened theater.

And then we read where Sheahon Zenger is reviewing six-figure salaries within the Kansas University Athletics Department. We trust he is reviewing the salaries of top administrators and coaches with the purpose of significantly cutting them back. But why stop there? Let’s look at the chancellor and vice chancellor’s exorbitant salaries and work on down the administrative chain of command.

Paying off the contracts of coaches/athletic directors and others who get fired is outrageous. Let them have year-to-year contracts with no obligation beyond that. For starters, let them all contribute at least $10,000 to the Coker family and let the Cokers’ former employers and theater managers have a conscience and pay for medical expenses as promised at the time. It would seem the Me, Me, Me Generation is deeply entrenched, and this has to stop.


Stephen Roberts 6 years, 8 months ago

So what is the solution?? Should people who make above a certain $$ be ashamed?? If my employer agrees to pay me a certain amount and I agree to that amount, what is the problem?

Liberty275 6 years, 8 months ago

I nominate Ms Paris to determine who deserves what amount of money for working and also to dictate which charitable causes we should be forced to support.

It's nice that our problems can be solved so easily.

tomatogrower 6 years, 8 months ago

The Cokers are not sloths. And I'll be that more than a few of those six figure admin jobs are more than a bit cushy. They don't have to punch a time clock, so I bet there are plenty of long lunches and afternoon golf games.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kasha 6 years, 8 months ago

Educated does not mean intelligent.

Cai 6 years, 8 months ago

Higher education doesn't guarantee intelligence. And, Intelligence doesn't guarantee higher education did or will occur. But the two ARE inexorably linked.

A college degree takes time, energy, effort, and money. And no, not everyone is capable (still, despite falling standards). The PhD level, in particular, guarantees some set of abilities (ie: the ability to communicate effectively).

And while the first statements are still true, we, as a nation of employers, should still value higher education. Higher salaries for those that spent that time and effort is one way that we can show we do indeed value those degrees.

EarthaKitt 6 years, 8 months ago

And what about folks who don't have the opportunity to go to college? Those people have to over-achieve in the ways they can - say by working for 30 years for a company that then renegs on its promises when it's time to pay. I think we all realize that there will be disparity in pay depending on intelligence, advantages, hard work and luck. But the point is that those of us who have the ability to help others - be it through charity, volunteering or taxes - should be willing to give something back.

monkeyhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Poor people are not poor because the rich people are rich. Get over it.

geekin_topekan 6 years, 8 months ago

Saw a bumper sticker: "The rich stay rich because they act poor. The poor stay poor because they act rich"

tena buse 6 years, 8 months ago

most of the persons that I am aquainted with who are well off,by no means "rich",are very well disciplined in their finances. They do not spend above their means and have significant savings. If they make large purchases,they do research and get the best value for their money. Many "I want it now" Americans (including myself) could take many lessons to heart. The overuse of credit in this country is its downfall.

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

Get with the program. There are NO rich people in the U.S. of A. There ARE, however, job creators. Good grief. Didn't you get the memo?

Flap Doodle 6 years, 8 months ago

KU Athletics is in the entertainment business. Big-time directors and producers tend to make a lot of money.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

Doesn't anybody think it's a problem that coaches, etc. who get fired walk away with large severance packages? I thought the idea was to reward people for their performance.

When unions negotiate things that aren't performance based, the right wing gets all upset about it - why is this any different?

tomatogrower 6 years, 8 months ago

Because the right wing love rich people, and especially the trappings. They hate poor people who get money for nothing, but when the rich do it, it's ok, because they drive such cool cars and have big houses. The right kiss and worship the ground the rich walk on. Got a million dollar severance pay for running a company into the ground? Please come work for our company. You must be good, look at those expensive suits. And they just know if they grovel enough, they too will be allowed to join the ranks of the rich.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 8 months ago

ks, I'd put money of tom being on the dim side of the scale.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 8 months ago

Coaches who get fired get severance packages because it's the team who is suggesting that the terms of the contract not be honored. If a coach has a five year contract and isn't doing well after that five years, the contract is simply not renewed. However, if he's not doing well after three years and the team wants to let him go, then they must compensate him for the remaining two years on the contract.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago


So they have a guaranteed 5 year contract regardless of performance, and get the remaining money if they're fired before that time for lack of performance.

Imagine if unions negotiated that sort of a deal - they'd be blasted up and down by those on the right.

Where's their outrage about the coaches?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 8 months ago

It's simple supply and demand. Suppose Phil Jackson, recently of the Lakers decides to get back into coaching. There would be high demand for his services. He could command a contract with high compensation, including guarantees if he didn't perform well and the team fired him. Compare that if I let it be known I wanted to coach an NBA team. There would be no such demand and I could not get those guarantees. Now if a union existed that could guarantee high returns, like Phil Jackson, then they too could get that type of contract.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 8 months ago

BTW - Some unions do get that kind of money and guarantees. The players' unions. Have you ever seen the interviews conducted with some of the players? If not for the sport in which they play, they wouldn't be qualified to work at McDonald's. Yet they make more in one year than I will make in my entire life. I've seen several NBA players command many millions for the purposes of a team releasing them. The team gets out from under the contract and then the player signs another contract with another team. So, yes, some unions do that well.
Suppose I worked for a company and am represented by a union. But I'm offered a better job in Hawaii. Imagine a situation where I would have to continue working on an assembly line in Detroit because I'v signed a contract.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

You seem to be missing my point.

Those on the right are frequently outraged about unions, claiming they get paid highly with good benefits, and that they don't have to perform well.

If they're upset about that, they should be equally upset when it occurs at coaching levels, or CEO levels, etc.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree that CEO's who don't preform well should not be getting these huge golden parachutes. The only consolation is that it's not my money, and therefore, they can spend it in any foolish manner they choose. As to the highly paid unions, it's an unfortunate fact that we now live in a global marketplace. A place where it is often true that foreign workers getting much lower pay can produce goods to American consumers at much cheaper costs. American companies are not going to forsake profits just to produce products here. American consumers, voting with their pocketbooks, have told them that. All of us, consumers, companies, unions, are going to have to adapt to the realities of the marketplace. For unions, that might mean agreeing to substantially less in compensation or run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

If he can "guarantee high returns", then he wouldn't need a contract which compensates him even if he's fired for poor performance.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 8 months ago

Obviously he can't guarantee victory because there are things beyond his control. The general manager might trade a star for a future draft pick. Just like a stock manager can't guarantee profits, just look at yesterday's market crash. But for those with established records of success, they can command those types of contracts because the free market dictates that they can. Phil Jackson and I will not get the same contract, nor should we.

Getaroom 6 years, 8 months ago

Well it is Liberty275 above this post somewhere who wants all the firepower the police have to protect himself from the baton wielding police, like those in the Rodney King videos Leonard Pitts wrote about this morning. And at what point in your life were you a black man living in LA and coming under attack?

Great letter Barbara Paris!

budwhysir 6 years, 8 months ago

Isnt it possible to become rich by being poor???

gccs14r 6 years, 8 months ago

We used to punish avarice via the tax code. The country was amazingly better off then, with gleaming infrastructure, world-class schools, and a thriving middle class.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, I am aware of the word's definition. Let's try this again: operationalize the concept in a useful way. For example, is a $1 million salary punishable?

gccs14r 6 years, 8 months ago

Sure. Tell me someone who is paid a million dollars a year whose work is actually worth that much.

Someone on another forum adjusted the 1959 tax table for inflation and came up with some interesting numbers. I reformatted it a bit to try to get it to post here, but it'll still be ugly. The 1959 AGI range is on the left, and the equivalent current AGI range is on the right. Remember how the tax rates work, though--just because the top rate is 91% doesn't mean that the government would take 91% of all your income, just 91% of the amount that's in the qualifying bracket.

20.0% $0 $4,000 $0 $31,040 22.0% $4,000 $8,000 $31,040 $62,080 26.0% $8,000 $12,000 $62,080 $93,120 30.0% $12,000 $16,000 $93,120 $124,160 34.0% $16,000 $20,000 $124,160 $155,200 38.0% $20,000 $24,000 $155,200 $186,240 43.0% $24,000 $28,000 $186,240 $217,280 47.0% $28,000 $32,000 $217,280 $248,320 50.0% $32,000 $36,000 $248,320 $279,360 53.0% $36,000 $40,000 $279,360 $310,400 56.0% $40,000 $44,000 $310,400 $341,440 59.0% $44,000 $52,000 $341,440 $403,520 62.0% $52,000 $64,000 $403,520 $496,640 65.0% $64,000 $76,000 $496,640 $589,760 69.0% $76,000 $88,000 $589,760 $682,880 72.0% $88,000 $100,000 $682,880 $776,000 75.0% $100,000 $120,000 $776,000 $931,200 78.0% $120,000 $140,000 $931,200 $1,086,400 81.0% $140,000 $160,000 $1,086,400 $1,241,600 84.0% $160,000 $180,000 $1,241,600 $1,396,800 87.0% $180,000 $200,000 $1,396,800 $1,552,000 89.0% $200,000 $300,000 $1,552,000 $2,328,000 90.0% $300,000 $400,000 $2,328,000 $3,104,000 91.0% $400,000 - $3,104,000 -

gccs14r 6 years, 8 months ago

And I did some math for you. Assuming a $3.104 million AGI, the proposed tax table would have that person owing just over $2.4 million in taxes (effective rate 78%), leaving a still-substantial income. 'course if the person were to invest in R&D, manufacturing plants, wages and benefits for employees, etc., then both the AGI and the tax bill would go down.

pace 6 years, 8 months ago

Brownback/Koch are stealing food, jobs, books, art from the children of Kansas to give to the rich. Watta guy.

TopJayhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

What a stupid letter. I think you all owe me money because I think you all make too much.

If you want more,,,,,,,work harder. produce more, and save your money. Leave the rich (define rich by the way) alone.

Pay your own way, and quit whining.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

The myth that those who are well off are so because they've worked harder than those who aren't is hard to shake.

But, it's clearly a myth.

Many people work hard, and never get rich. And, many people are rich, and don't work hard to get that way.

Are there some people who work hard and get rich? Of course. But there are many who work hard and never get rich.

If you've every seen a roofing crew work, you've seen people working hard, and in difficult (sometimes dangerous) conditions. How many of those folks get rich?

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

Good for you.

But everybody can't and doesn't do that - that's the big picture.

Many people work hard their whole lives and never get rich.

dmkansas 6 years, 8 months ago

That was my exact thoughts when I saw those articles side by side in the JW. So glad you commented on this

rtwngr 6 years, 8 months ago

The author of this letter confuses equal opportunity to equal outcome. In every society there are those that have more than others. Some have a lot more. I would submit that there are more "have nots" that choose to be "have nots" because the "Great Society" has made them so, than there are "haves". I have no statistical data to back up this premise but I am sick of hearing people grouse about those that have more than others. Equality of outcome is called Communism and everybody does without.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 8 months ago

Oh, do let us try Marxism here! It was such jolly fun in Eastern Europe in the 20th Century!

gccs14r 6 years, 8 months ago

Marxism has never been tried anywhere. Pure communism hasn't, either. We've had Stalinism and Maoism, though.

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