Well said. But don't ignore the value of intelligent managers. Having the best and brightest as CEOs (among other roles) would really be a great thing.
"Ditch digging is hard work" sure, but it's much harder to find someone smart. Your statement highlights a significant cultural flaw in the US: the age of manufacturing and agriculture and heavy labor is over. We need to value the work of the mind over the work of the body. We need to value intelligence over athletic ability.
If you're clearly among the best as a Football player in high school, we have an amazing system to pay your way and make sure you get both the opportunity and training to excel. And, sure, we get some good entertainers out of it, and there's some money in professional sports to funnel back into this, but money-wise it's small compared to the money in tech.
Where's the parallel system for people who would clearly make good engineers, scientists, or business leaders? Where's the cultural desire to pick the smart ones to run companies, not the (often former athlete) great salesmen?