I’m using my platform to take up a new issue – payment of college football players. I understand the purist arguments waxing nostalgic about the glory days of amateur collegiate athletics but clearly the game has become big (and increasingly big) business. Since the amount of revenue generated by college programs is so large, and the payroll of players so small, the money that should have been in the players pockets starts to show up in unexpected places.
Here’s an article highlighting the use of custom graphics and artwork to recruit players. It reveals that the University of Alabama has a full-time staff of 10 graphic artists. The article highlights the competition between schools (Alabama and Tennessee, in this case) for graphic artists!
If they could properly pay the players to play then that money would go straight into their salaries, instead of this kind of fluff masquerading as compensation. Fundamentally it is the players ultimately buying the artwork. Why can’t we just ask them if they wouldn’t rather have the money instead…?
Just about every day we read a story about how robots are replacing humans in the workforce. Most of the articles focus on the negative impact on the humans they are replacing in the form of lost work and decreasing opportunities for work. While I tend to agree with the Wall Street Journal that humans will eventually find other forms of work, what we are not thinking about is the impact on our seniors who depend on current workers’ payroll taxes. When businesses employ robotic workers to replace humans the robots are not paying into the Social Security or Medicare funds. Furthermore by charging payroll taxes to human workers, and not robotic workers, the government is essentially putting humans at a significant disadvantage from a labor cost perspective. So if we are worried about the welfare of our human workers at a minimum we need to level the playing field by charging businesses payroll tax when they deploy robots. Whenever companies deploy new robotic systems they will be required to estimate the number of human positions the robot will replace and the nominal hourly rate for that position. They will have to pay the equivalent payroll tax that humans would have paid as the robot’s contribution to our social infrastructure.
Brian has come under fire recently for embellishing on several of his life stories. I hate to pile on but Brian’s account of his chance meeting with me, and subsequent purchase of the largest single insurance policy in Pennsylvania history, is not true either. He’s offered up this photo of the happy moment, but if you look carefully you can see it has been manipulated.
Here is the real photo. The record policy holder is weatherman Phil Connors, not Brian.
I traveled with Secretary of State Kerry this past week to France where we met French president Hollande. If you’re wondering how it went, I guess I would report it as the Telegraph reported it:
“The French are just not that into hugging.”
So we have atheist economists preaching suppression of covetousness:
“That’s why I propose the creation of the Tenth Commandment Club. The tenth commandment—”You shall not covet”—is a foundation of social peace. The Nobel Laureate economist Vernon Smith noted the tenth commandment along with the eighth (you shall not steal) in his Nobel toast, saying that they “provide the property right foundations for markets, and warned that petty distributional jealousy must not be allowed to destroy” those foundations. If academics, pundits, and columnists would avowedly reject covetousness, would openly reject comparisons between the average (extremely fortunate) American and the average billionaire, would mock people who claimed that frugal billionaires are a systematic threat to modern life, then soon our time could be spent discussing policy issues that really matter.”
Meanwhile, religious leaders are advocating covetousness:
“Inequality is the root of social evil.”
At a recent event German chancellor Angela Merkel and I were taking a few questions and at the exact moment I was pointing out that they were bringing in cookies for a snack one of the photographers snapped this shot that made it look like Merkel was Hitler.
Sorry about that, Angela!
I got another gig with Jimmy Fallon slow jamming the news, this time with Governor Mitt Romney.