Is Ryan Tubridy worth €1m a year? That's the question I'm asking myself today, having read that this is allegedly what RTE is willing to offer him to take over Gerry Ryan's radio slot, as well as presenting the Late Late Show. And the unequivocal answer is yes.
Ryan is that rare breed -- someone who is both successful and popular. Michael O'Leary is great at his job, but be honest, you'd cross the street to avoid him. Ryan, on the other hand, has a quick brain, an assured confidence on air, and also that thing that all broadcasters seek -- the common touch.
At the recent Walkers TVNow Awards, he was voted Ireland's favourite male TV presenter. In this unashamed popularity contest, Ryan comfortably came out on top, not just personally for the third year in a row, but also for the Late Late Show -- the first time it's scooped the award.
No doubt a baying pack of lefties will be up in arms at the prospect of someone earning this princely sum. People like Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore, for example, who this weekend has called for a 48pc tax rate for 'high-earners' on over €100,000 a year.
It's typical of the lazy, rabble-rousing standard of political thinking these days that this old chestnut is being wheeled out again. Rather than encouraging enterprise, rewarding those who actually create jobs and contribute taxes to the exchequer, let's penalise them when get their just rewards.
Each year, the HSE spends €350m on the 5pc of its staff who fail to turn up for work every day -- but curiously I haven't heard a politician suggesting we should do something about that. You know why? Because trimming 7,000 people off the public wage bill who don't actually do any work in the first place isn't as easy as trotting out the old 'tax the rich' soundbite. Politicians moan incessantly about how difficult their jobs are, and how even when they're not officially 'at work' (those life-sapping 100 days in the year the Dail actually sits) they are constantly at the mercy of the public.
Well it's the same for TV presenters, guys, the main difference being that when Pat Kenny is buying some asparagus in Dunnes and is approached by the public, he doesn't have a minder and PR person to shield him the way Brian Cowen does.
Most importantly, there's a big difference between Ryan Tubridy's huge salary, and that of politicians. Gerry Ryan's radio show generated about €5m in advertising a year for RTE -- Gerry only earned about 10pc that amount.
Tubridy generates huge income already for RTE, and would no doubt continue to do so on a 2fm radio show. While politicians seem to spend so much time trying to find underhand ways of topping up their salaries, Tubbers & Co are actually generating the wealth that employs countless others.
This is the subtle difference that the 'tax the rich' brigade fail to grasp -- TDs get paid a big salary, Ryan Tubridy earns his. Got that, Deputy Gilmore?