I don't know about the amount of money - all of which seems obscene -- but IMHO Tony Geary is far more important to this show than Maurice Benard.
Luke and Laura were the phenoms of the soap world -- Sonny is a boring, one-dimensional bore. It's absurd to believe that he continues to run his mobster business without interference from the law.
I, too, love Luke and Tracy together. In fact, that's the only time I can tolerate her. LOL