AIG Precedent: Taxing Pro Athletes
Scott Ott reports that the other shoe has dropped:
With the debate over AIG executive bonuses nearly bringing official Washington to a standstill in the past three weeks, the Obama administration today expanded its plan to control Wall Street executive pay, adding provisions to limit compensation for star performers in the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB).
“Some of these sports stars, like AIG execs, have negotiated sweetheart deals paying them millions of dollars, and yet they lose games,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. “The president shares the outrage of the American people at these obscene salaries and bonuses. There’s nothing that makes the little people feel littler than the thought of these fat cats getting fatter just because that have specialized skills that are in high demand in a free-market economy.”
Indeed, the White House released a recent poll showing that 75 percent of Americans answered ‘Yes’ to the following question: “Do you believe President Obama should personally limit the compensation of anyone who earns a lot more than you do?”
More at ScrappleFace.
It could happen. Reductio creep and all that. And, really, a lot of athletes get huge bonuses, whether for signing their contracts or achieving relatively easy performance milestones. It’s true that none of the sports leagues are getting federal bailouts but many teams are getting local funding for their stadia and all benefit from exemptions to anti-trust laws.