Society places more value on entertainers than the professionals that really make a difference; why do entertainers have better salaries than doctors?

By: Angela Allen

The NBA signing period just passed, and hundreds of young men are now on their way to joining the hundreds of other professional athletes basking in fame and wealth. New musicians and actors are steadily finding their places in Hollywood. These entertainers are talented, handsome, beautiful, and deserve to be paid well for their crafts. But, I can’t help but continuously wonder, why do professional athletes and entertainers get paid so much, while other professionals that have studied for years to save lives and make significant progress and change in this society get paid only a fraction of these entertainer’s salaries?

Let’s break it down: According to the US Office of Personnel Management, the President of the United States receives an annual salary of $400,000. The Vice President’s annual salary is $221,100. The president is not only the leader of the country, but as President of the United States, he is a world leader. His job entails making sure that all U.S. laws are carried out and that the federal government is ran effectively. He has veto power over all bills that are approved by the legislature, and has the role of Commander in Chief over the armed forces (who happen to only make an average of $20,466 per year, while risking their lives to protect you and I everyday). As the nation’s chief executive, the president oversees foreign policy, making treaties with foreign nations and appointing ambassadors to other nations and to the United Nations. He also appoints members of the Cabinet, as well as Supreme Court justices and federal judges. Not an easy job, eh?

A heart surgeon on average earns $427,139 annually. A brain surgeon on average earns $457,978 annually. An attorney (depending on the field) can earn up to $205,163 annually. An engineer on average earns $66,000 annually. A K-12 teacher on average earns $44,000 annually.

When you compare these salaries to an “A list” star in Hollywood who on average earns $20 million per film, or to a major league baseball player (the highest paid athletic profession) who on average earns $2,996,106 annually, one can only help but wonder where our emphasis and priorities lie within this country. Even comparing an “A list” surgeon or lawyer to an “A list” entertainer, there is a vast difference in salary and societal admiration.

I often hear about a young man trying to pursue a rap career or neglecting his studies to try to become a professional athlete, or a young woman trying to be a model or performer, not because it is their passion, but because these are the careers that produce the fame and cash. It seems that this generation is slowly losing the desire to pursue professional careers outside of entertainment.

Our society idolizes entertainers, and sadly, where ever the idolization is, the money will be also. Vanity and greed are replacing the true passion and talent needed for successful careers in entertainment. These entertainers are overpaid for their craft in comparison to others who are doing jobs worth more than what entertainers are considered to be worth. Teaching and molding the minds of our future, performing medical miracles, being a community organizer, protecting our rights, and being the leader of, not only our country, but the free world, is more important than entertainment.

Entertainers should be paid, and paid well. I love movies. I like sports. However, I also happen to not only like, but need my doctor, my professors, my attorney, and my president. So when, God forbid, North Korea fires off a nuclear warhead for the United States, I will look for Barack Obama to make the necessary moves, not LeBron James to jump and catch it. I just wish their paychecks would reflect that.