People commonly gripe about astronomical salaries that celebrities (actors, pro athletes, singers) receive. Celebrities' pay rates are regularly compared to those earned by nurses, teachers, police officers, military servicemen and women, firefighters, social workers, and so on.
Here is my controversial view. The vast majority of people in American society are not overly preoccupied with their health, safety or welfare, which are the very facets addressed by nurses, police, soldiers, and social workers.
Many of these same people in society bicker about taxes, yet it is tax revenue that pays for public school teachers, cops, military, social services, and the nurses who work in city, county, state and federal government.
On the other hand, most Americans love to be entertained. The American public places an enormously high value on an optional part of life such as entertainment. The American public places a lower value on mandatory aspects of society such as public safety, healthcare, and education.
This is evidenced by the quadrillions of dollars people collectively spend on movie theater visits, Broadway shows, cable/satellite TV, live sporting events, music, live concerts, Netflix/Hulu, and other forms of entertainment.
Some people are so dedicated to celebrities that they know their dates of birth, filmography of film actors, discography of singers, and statistics of players on their favorite professional athletic team by pure memory. They pay big bucks to join fan clubs, obtain autographed memorabilia, and buy replica sports jerseys.
A harsh truth is this: if the majority of people are passionate about something, that is where the money goes. Will Smith and Johnny Depp receive multimillion dollar paychecks because people willingly empty their pockets to be entertained by them. Nonetheless, people will not readily pay good money to observe a nurse conduct an assessment, or a police officer issue a citation, or a teacher prepare a lesson plan.
Again, why do celebrities receive higher pay than nurses, cops, social workers, military, and teachers? It is because we get what we pay for. It is because the public has shown time and time again that they prefer entertainment over health and safety, as evidenced by the massive amount of money they spend on movies, music, and professional sports.
Nobody in this questionable society of ours would spend $100 million on tickets, food, beverages, parking, and souvenirs to watch nurses or enlisted sailors at Yankee Stadium. They would, however, spend that money to watch professional ball players, or Beyonce at the concert hall, or the A-list actor at the movie theater.
So, how much are nurses worth? Per the American public, we are worth a heck of a lot less than the quarterbacks on their favorite NFL teams.