It’s no secret that Hollywood stars rake in millions every year. Robert Downey Jr. apparently earned $1 million a minute in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). Daniel Craig reportedly negotiated quite a hefty salary for his next James Bond movie. Forbes named Mark Wahlberg the highest-paid actor of 2017, earning a more-than-respectable $68 million.
Meanwhile, I feel like I’m living the high life when I get a five-cent raise.
So — are celebrity salaries too excessive?
Let’s do some quick comparisons just to see how much actors and actresses truly earn.
The median income in the United States is just over $59,000. Do you know how little $59,000 is compared to $68 million? Let me do some quick maths for you.
$59,000 a year / $68,000,000 a year = 0.09%
That means that the average American doesn’t even make 1% of what our highest paid actors do. To put it another way, Mark Wahlberg makes over 1,152 times as much as the average American.
To further put that in perspective, the poverty line for a three-person household (the average American household has 2.58 people) is $20,420, which is just 0.03% of Wahlberg’s salary; Wahlberg makes 3,330 times more than people living at the poverty line.
The average American would have to work 1,152 years to make what Mark Wahlberg does in one year. Doesn’t that sound a little off to you?
However, actors and actresses do tend to have busy schedules (even if trolls on the internet will try to convince you otherwise). For most A-list actors and actresses (and even B-list), their work week is 5-7 days and can be anywhere from 60 hours to 140 hours (days can be anywhere from 12-20 hours of shooting).
On top of that, they’re scheduled for interviews and appearances galore. They’re expected to memorize their lines and be on their A-game everyday, whereas many of us can get away with just showing up to our jobs and doing the bare minimum. If they don’t get it right, they stay until they get it right — they can’t just clock out at closing. They work with difficult personalities and some even do their own stunts, adding to their exhaustion. Some even go through extreme body transformations to better portray their role.
Considering these factors, maybe it’s understandable that they earn such a sizable salary; but is it still too excessive?
Do They Deserve It?
I’m going to bring up an argument that gets pulled every time someone gripes about celebrities getting paid too much, but it’s still a valid argument: why aren’t we paying these kinds of salaries to people who actually save people’s lives?
Why don’t we pay millions to soldiers who risk their lives to protect our country? Police departments are so underfunded that sometimes they can’t afford new bulletproof vests to prevent their own deaths. What about those brave firefighters that leave their families every year and travel to California to fight the new biggest wildfire in history? What about ambulance drivers, paramedics, and EMTs? Don’t they deserve fair compensation for the work they do?
Now, I’m not saying that actors and actresses don’t have important jobs either. After all, they provide our entertainment. They make our lives a little happier and give us a distraction from our problems, which is something I think we all appreciate in our chaotic lives. Sometimes, we even learn something new from the movies we watch. And many actors and actresses are generous philanthropists with their money.
But, putting it in perspective, it seems like there are people who probably deserve it more.
We Fund Them
The thing is, there’s not much we can do about this issue unless we raise salaries for the aforementioned workers or we stop watching all media–something that definitely wouldn’t happen. But, we are the ones who provide their paycheck with our consumption.
Of course, I’m not calling for a boycott of Hollywood. Like I mentioned before, they do a lot for this world either through their philanthropy or just by providing us regular people with entertainment.
What I am saying is that we should give a little more notice to those who deserve higher salaries. When you see an off-duty cop, thank him for the job he’s doing; admittedly, there are some bad apples in the police department, but not all of them are like that. If you see some paramedics on a lunch break, shake their hands or offer to pay. When a service member walks down the street, thank them for their service.
Let’s start treating these people as our real heroes instead of our celebrities.
Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on celebrity salaries? Comment down below!
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