New York Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner had some choice words for revenue sharing and the luxury tax. Not surprisingly, he wants changes to be made. The Associated Press wrote:
Steinbrenner also said baseball’s revenue sharing and luxury tax programs need changes, and that Commissioner Bud Selig is open to the idea.
Steinbrenner said he doesn’t know what the final figure is, but expects the Yankees’ 2010 payments for the two to total about $130 million.
“We’ve got to do a little something about that, and I know Bud wants to correct it in some way,” Steinbrenner said. “Obviously, we’re very much allies with the Red Sox and the Mets, the Dodgers, the Cubs, whoever in that area.”
“At some point, if you don’t want to worry about teams in minor markets, don’t put teams in minor markets, or don’t leave teams in minor markets if they’re truly minor,” Steinbrenner said. “Socialism, communism, whatever you want to call it, is never the answer.”
Steinbrenner clearly has no idea what he’s saying. First of all, socialism and communism are two different concepts. Socialism advocates collective ownership by the people while communism advocates ultimate ownership and control by the state.
Although they are socialistic practices, revenue sharing and the luxury tax do not align with communism. Major League Baseball, much more than any other professional sport, represents capitalism. There is no salary cap or limit on spending, and owners who have more money put owners who have less money at a significant competitive disadvantage.
In fact, the revenue sharing model resembles the direct taxation process currently implemented in our own government. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t most people in the United States pay income taxes? The wealthier pay more while the poorer pay less. The money collected from the taxes then go toward helping everyone, especially the less fortunate.
In Steinbrenner’s world, Major League Baseball would have roughly six teams: the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Dodgers, Cubs, and “whoever in that area” (whatever that means, but probably the Phillies). Without revenue sharing, franchises like the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays would simply cease to exist.
As much as revenue sharing is “socialism,” it’s a self-preservation technique with capitalistic goals; if MLB only had six or eight teams, interest in the entire sport would wane and everyone would suffer.
Is that really what Steinbrenner wants?