Column: Money: Who needs it?

We’ve all seen LeBron coming in hot on the big screen, but as of late, NBA players are getting hot in another area. Like the NFL was, the NBA is currently in a lockout among players and owners of the teams. The fourth in its history, this most recent lockout started July 1, and is still in the process of negotiation, with no end in near sight.

There are many issues surrounding the lockout, but with revenue sharing and salary caps at its core, the end game of the whole thing is clear: Everybody wants more money.

But this isn’t new. We all remember how uncertain the future looked for NFL teams and fans as the season approached this past year. ESPN’s audience grew nervous and tired of watching the same deliberations between owners and players in between the usual play re-hashing. For 18 weeks and 4 days, diehard fans, players and owners alike worried that the season would be postponed, or even worse cancelled.

All of this — the television coverage, the games, the endorsements and the deep emotional ties that communities feel to their teams — was at risk. And at the bottom of it all was the demand for more money.

Who else is asking for money? Controversy over financial bailouts issued by the United States Treasury rose in 2008. To date, Fannie Mae has asked for (and received) bailouts on five separate occasions, each occasion separately amounting to a minimum of $10 billion, usually much more. Insurance company AIG has asked for and received four bailouts since 2008, all inclusively adding up to $180 billion. The auto bailout, which gave second chances to GM and Chrysler, has cost the nation $79.23 billion all together.

What is it that these technically failing businesses did? They asked for more money.

On the anti-business front, Occupy Wall Street protesters are asking for another kind of bailout. On Tuesday, occupy protesters successfully repealed a bill in Ohio that banned collective bargaining by public employees. But this is just a small battle in a greater war.

The protesters are pushing for a total re-distribution of wealth, which they want to trickle from the “1 percent” of the nation controlling “99 percent” of the wealth to the “99 percent” who control whatever is left, which would be 1 percent. Regardless of how you say it or how they say it, the protesters are asking for more money.

Even the Chicago city government, which is notorious for being corrupt, is asking for more money. Citing “concerns for alcohol abuse,” Cook County seeks to raise taxes on alcohol by 50 percent, claiming that young adults will drink less due to the price incline, according to WBEZ. But seeing as Chicago already has the highest taxes on hard liquor in the nation, and looking at the $315 million deficit, this tax seems like an almost blatant attempt to cushion the debt. In simpler and less specific terms, Chicago is asking for more money.

It’s been deemed the root of all evil by Timothy 1 in the New Testament (yes, that’s where that came from). To go back to the NBA example, Michael Jordan, who has changed roles from player to owner, is dissatisfied with proposed deals to end the lockout. As a player he asked for more money, and now he’s doing the same as an owner. When I zoom out and look at what’s happening right now in the nation, I have to wonder what it is that money has done to us.

Money, at its core, is a measure of worth. It arose as an end to the barter systems of old, or a medium of exchange e.g. that chicken is worth $3, or that popcorn is worth $2.

So what’s so wrong with asking for money? Nothing, if the money is a direct result of ambition, or a need to prove worth. But it’s when money is asked for out of greed that it becomes an evil, or a motivator of evil at least.

So, what I’m saying is let them ask, but be sure you know why they’re asking.

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