Conventional wisdom says Prince Fielder would be crazy to stay with Milwaukee after this season. One of the best sluggers in baseball, Fielder, who is soon to be a free agent, could command a contract comparable to the Phillies' similarly husky first-baseman Ryan Howard, who was signed to a 5 year $125 million contract last year. Unfortunately, Fielder can't get this kind of money from the Brewers, whose entire payroll was $85 million this year.
But it doesn't have to be this way. Some say if the Brewers go all the way, the emotional appeal of staying with the franchise he led to its first World Series could force the Prince to accept a salary the Brewers can actually afford.
But as I'm sure Gov. Scott Walker will tell you, emotional appeal is only part of the game. A multimillionaire needs more assurance than a plea to "Escape to Wisconsin," to set up shop here permanently. So what would be the next step in the Walker plan?
Prince Fielder needs a tax break. If he is a such a crucial piece of machinery in the Brewers business, why not offer the Brew Crew a giant tax rebate for investing in him? Such a policy would be no different than levying special taxes to fund Miller Park or refundable tax credits to the many companies that Walker has championed as job creators in the past 10 months.
Conversely, to use Warren Buffet's logic, if Fielder limits his pay by sticking with the Brewers, why should he pay the same tax rate as Derek Jeter! Moreover, why do guys making the MLB's minimum salary ($300,000) pay the same tax rate as the guys making $25 million a year?
Such is the folly of the American tax code.
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