I came home on Tuesday at 3:30 a.m. after a long night at work. I had a class at eight that I really didn’t want to go to – so I skipped it.

I turned to one of the twenty-four-hour cable news networks to stay current with the news. How ironic, considering my place of employment.

On CSPAN the topic of discussion was the high salaries celebrities, professional athletes and broadcast journalists receive, and if they deserve what they are paid.

Viewers called in whining of the absurdity of celebrity paychecks. A woman from Oklahoma called in to say that the money should be going to public schools, scientists and other people who contribute to society. Other viewers called in to echo the same remarks. Everyone wanted the money go somewhere else.

The argument here is not a philosophical one – no one will disagree that scientists, teachers and so on should be paid more for their contributions to society. The fact of the matter is that the money is not taxpayer money, but private money. It belongs to the companies and corporations that fund, sponsor and produce TV shows, movies and professional sports. The public has no right to dictate where corporations should funnel their money unless you are a shareholder, nor does it make any sense to do so.

The Washington Post recently reported that the Washington Redskins had signed Coach Steve Spurrier to a five-year contract worth close to $25 million, making Spurrier one of the highest-paid coaches in the National Football League.

The only reason that Spurrier and other coaches, as well as players, are paid such large sums of money is because people watch them. People want to watch them. They pay money to sit in a cold stadium in the middle of winter, adorn their bodies with their favorite team’s colors and cheer wildly to show their support – even if it snows.

The New York Times reported that CNN news anchor Larry King is expected to re-sign with CNN for about $7 million a year. King would remain the highest-paid cable news anchor.

Larry King and his famous suspenders are marketable. So are Dan Rather, Katie Couric, Bill O’Reilly and a host of others.

This is our capitalist system at work. How can people say that they love America and its market economy and at the same time carp when they see the system work the way it’s supposed to?

The very same people complaining will pay high prices to attend sports events, buy cable TV and go to movies that feature famous personalities. We fuel the very demand that creates revenue to pay those ridiculously high salaries.

If you want to see more money go to schools, teachers, cancer research and humanitarian efforts, get up from the couch and do something. Donate to local schools; volunteer to help fundraise; stop watching TV; because you’re feeding the funds that pay for Jennifer Aniston to buy a Jaguar.

The war in Afghanistan is said to be one of defending our freedom – the freedom to purchase. To purchase in a safe and secure place, but to purchase nonetheless.

If the people who complain of the high celebrity salaries are the ones that our troops are defending, please, bring our troops home and stop wasting their time.

Jason La is the Daily Nexus webmaster.