A high salary doesn’t define success

Nicole Moran

Sometimes I think that the culture of the United States is completely flawed.  Every year we hear about the salaries of the people we idolize, whether they be actors or actresses, singers or professional athletes.

Forbes Magazine estimates that singer Taylor Swift made around $55 million in 2014 alone, and actress Jennifer Lawrence made around $34 million in the five-month span from June 2014 to October 2014.  Professional athletes also have high average salaries; football quarterback Tom Brady signed a $70 million contract with the New England Patriots meaning he will make $14 per year for the next 5 years.  He also averages about $7 million in endorsements each year.  Kim Kardashian averages about $28 million a year, and I don’t think anybody really knows why she is even famous in the first place.

Yes, these people keep us entertained with movies, catchy songs, sports games and ridiculous “reality” TV shows, but why do they deserve these absurd amounts of money?

What about the people who dedicate their lives to teaching the youth of our country?  According to the National Education Association, the national average starting salary for a teacher is $36,131.

This means the average teacher makes about .065 percent of Taylor Swift’s paycheck a year, .11 percent of the amount of money Jennifer Lawrence made in 5 months, .25 percent of the amount of money Tom Brady makes per year (not including endorsements), and .129 percent of Kim Kardashian’s yearly average.

A teacher’s salary is less than 1 percent of each of these celebrities’ salaries. Does this mean that the United States is prioritizing performances at concerts, making of movies, and playing of sports over the education of the people who are going to be running our country one day?

Many of us think doctors have high salaries, but in comparison to people living in fame, doctors’ salaries are still minuscule.  One of the highest paid types of doctors is an orthopedic surgeon. Orthopedic surgeons make, on average, about $400,000 a year.

That is .7 percent of Taylor Swift’s salary, 1.18 percent of what Jennifer Lawrence made in five months, 1 percent of Tom Brady’s salary, and 1.43 percent of Kim Kardashian’s salary.

How does this make any sense? The people who have been educated to save lives are making less money, fewer than 2 percent, of what celebrities are being paid.  These people dedicate their lives to helping the greater good; spend about a decade in colleges and grad schools, then work to better the lives of other people for the rest of their careers.

 Military workers also seem to get the short end of the stick.  These men and women risk their lives to fight for our country. Yes, they get compensated for their duties, but according to Today’s Military website, the high compensations range around $90,845 and the low compensations run around $57,518.

Again, even the highest compensations are under 1 percent of what these celebrities make.  We send these men and women to dangerous wars where they fight to keep our country safe and free, and we compensate them with minimal amounts of money.  These compensations also wither away after the men or women stop serving in their military branch. I’m sure almost everyone has seen a homeless person in a city with a sign that says something like, “Homeless veteran, please help.”

Many of us see the younger generations and wonder what happened with the world.  The use of drugs and alcohol seems to start at younger and younger ages each year. Girls are getting pregnant in their teens, when they themselves are still children.  We even have TV shows about teen pregnancy.

But are these actions really surprising given who the role models are today?  In every paper and on every news station there are stories about the latest scandal of celebrities; whether it is drug use, leaked nudes or physical abuse. Kids see these celebrities as someone to look up to because these people have so much money that they can have whatever they want.

It seems young children are no longer dreaming of being doctors or teachers, but instead are looking to be the next Kim Kardashian. I think we need to rethink who we put on pedestals as role models, and the biggest part of that would be giving money to those who actually deserve it.