After that, Internet chat rooms and radio call-in shows lit up with predictable darts and arrows. Especially in Ohio, critics derided James for forsaking his native Buckeye State. Others questioned whether James, Wade, and Bosh – who are all accustomed to carrying their teams – could share the ball with each other.
But almost nobody complained that James – like Wade and Bosh – will make sinful piles of money, at our worst economic moment since the Great Depression itself. On the contrary, they actually praised these guys for taking less than they could have earned playing elsewhere.
See, on the open market, each of them could get about $20 million dollars per year. But to comply with the Heat’s salary cap, they’re probably going to make about $15 million. That’s right: $15 million. We’re not talking about a vow of poverty here.
Indeed, we’re not talking about poverty – or wealth – at all. And that tells us something truly depressing about our current economic moment: We’ve lost our sense of moral outrage about inequality. Vast riches, amid rising levels of unemployment and destitution: Who cares?
Even President Obama, when he weighed in on the James sweepstakes, said simply that he hoped the hoopster would sign with Obama’s hometown Chicago Bulls. No mention about how much these players earn, and how much the rest of us need those earnings.
And make no mistake: We do need them. While James was dithering about which team would give him millions of dollars, Obama was crisscrossing the country pleading for Congress to extend unemployment assistance to the nation’s 15 million jobless adults. Republicans – and some Democrats – balked at the proposal, complaining that any such aid would swell the federal deficit.