In 1929, Babe Ruth batted .345, with 46 homers and 158 RBI’s. As a result, his contract for 1930 called for him to be paid an unheard-of $80,000, which was more than the $75,000 salary of the President of the United States. When someone asked the Bambino whether he was embarrassed to be paid more than Hoover, Ruth (a Democrat) is supposed to have replied, “But I had a better year than him.”
Call that the Babe Ruth Principle: that someone should be paid according to his or her performance, not merely the prestige of the job itself. A great right fielder deserves to earn more than a lousy President.
It seems to me that the Babe Ruth Principle has contemporary application. Consider, for example, the pseudo-fuss being kicked up because Sarah Palin’s makeup artist was paid $22,000 for just the first two weeks of October, far more than any of McCain’s speechwriters or policy advisers.
Why not? Comparing the way Palin looks to the way McCain sounds, I’d say the make-up artist was relatively underpaid.