A giant headline in the Des Moines Register today begs the question: Does Iowa pay its university presidents enough? At least enough to keep them from leaving prematurely? It's a good question, but the paper seemed to ask the question mainly as Iowa university salaries relate to those in other states. But that's not the only market that influences the supply and demand for university leaders -- it's also important to ask how much those people are paid compared to other residents of Iowa. For instance, the president of the University of Iowa gets $302,050 a year, but the Governor gets $107,481. Meanwhile, Kirk Ferentz gets $2,085,950 as head football coach at Iowa. Meanwhile, the average Iowa teacher's salary is $39,284, while the median salary for the chief operator working in a wastewater treatment plant may only be around $34,460.
Bottom line: Supply and demand do (and should) set most people's income. But it's not as if they exist in a vacuum -- and they don't just set themselves on autopilot.
A reminder of the dangers of unrestrained government power: North Korea's government is sending cheerleaders to jail for telling their friends about the outside world.