You see SERPS cost, just in a different way. Getting to the top costs manpower - even if you don't buy links - and, in my experience, nobody works for free.
But many webmasterworld members actually makes a dime or two on their sites, and it would be very ignorant to go and buy champagne for the prize money. Setting aside a portion for marketing budget is essential in all business plans.
Thats my point - stop complaining about google not giving you free serp hits - do something about it.