A lifetime of economic sacrifice.

In today’s Globe and Mail, Dan Palotta decries limits on executive compensation for charities. This was my favorite part:

First of all, a person’s occasional sacrificial donation to charity does not entitle them to mandate a lifetime of economic sacrifice on the part of others.

The limit he is talking about?

Bill C-470, a private member’s bill introduced by Albina Guarnieri, would impose a suffocating $250,000 cap on executive salaries at charities.

Economic sacrifice? It may not be the kind of compensation available in for-profit private companies, but a quarter million dollars a year is many times what the average person earns and hardly "economic sacrifice".

This part was also interesting:

Meanwhile, we are paying Canadian hockey coaches $2-million a year. We are paying U.S. college football coaches $4.4-million a year. David Beckham makes $50-million a year from soccer and endorsements. But woe to the head of a charity trying to cure cancer if he or she commands a tenth of these salaries. What does that say about our society’s priorities?

Private sports generate revenue, and pay coaches and players whatever they feel they are worth.Sports in fact generates revenue because so many people enjoy and pay for it, in effect defining society’s priorities. Charities raise money by promising to support a cause; as much of that money should support the cause as possible. And by the way, "the head of a charity trying to cure cancer" is a bit of a leading statement. It should be "the head of a charity trying to raise money to cure cancer"; they aren’t doing the actual curing.

There have been many horror stories lately about charities with lax oversight, highly-paid executives, and high administration costs. This bill is an attempt to fix that problem, even if it is a poor first step. And again, we aren’t asking these executives to work for free after all.

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One thought on “A lifetime of economic sacrifice.

  1. I had a laugh over that one too — and the same response to the paragraph citing other salaries. Salary caps will always be contentious, but it’s stretching language to new levels to refer to a $250,000 limit as a “deprivation strategy.”

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