Sometimes you have to laugh. This morning was one of those times for Jon from Highbridge.
“How can you not laugh?” he says with a shrug. “The Bronx has the highest tax rate. That’s just perfect.”
It’s perfect in a uniquely American way that allows Major League Baseball to steamroll people like Jon and his wife and his seven-year-old son.
They live in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the poorest borough of New York City. Jon works two jobs – full-time on a warehouse loading dock and the rest of the time driving a taxi – and Christmas was his only day off this month.
Like every family in this neighborhood they scrape by and try to save a little money for baseball tickets in the summer.
That’s a little harder these days because the price of tickets went up.
“It’s going to make it tougher for us,” Jon admits.
But he doesn’t blame the Yankees.
“The Steinbrenners always give us a good team,” Jon says. “They are taxed for that and the first rule of taxes in this country is that they land on the poorest people.”
The Yankees received their luxury-tax bill of $23.88 million a few days ago and their revenue-sharing tab will push the total over $100 million for the year.
That money is squeezed out of people in the Bronx and dumped into the pockets of billionaires like David Glass in Kansas City and Kevin McClatchy in Pittsburgh and, of course, Jeffrey Loria in Florida.
“That’s the way it is in America,” Jon says. “Tax the poor to fatten the rich. George Bush sells it and so does Bud Selig. We’re not dumb enough to buy it, but we have to take it if we want to support our baseball team.”
Sometimes you have to laugh or you would never stop crying.