Stupid White Men and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation


George, are you able to read and write on an adult level?



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1. George, are you able to read and write on an adult level?

It appears to me and many others that, sadly, you may be a functional illiterate. This is nothing to be ashamed of You have lots of company (just count the typoes in this book. In fact, isn’t that a typo?). Millions of Americans cannot read and write above a fourth-grade level. No wonder you said “leave no child behind“—you knew what it felt like.

But let me ask this: if you have trouble comprehending the complex position papers you are handed as the Leader of the Mostly-Free World, how can we entrust something like our nuclear secrets to you?

All the signs of this illiteracy are there—and apparently no one has challenged you about them. The first clue was what you named as your favorite childhood book. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar, ” you said.

Unfortunately, that book wasn’t even published until a year after you graduated from college.

Then there’s the question of your college transcripts, if those really are your transcripts. How did you get into Yale when other applicants in 1964 had higher SATs and much better grades?

During the campaign, when asked to name the books you were currently reading, you answered gamely—but when quizzed about the books’ contents, you didn’t know what to say. No wonder your aides stopped letting you hold press conferences with two months left in the campaign. Your handlers were scared to death of what you might get asked—and how you might answer.

One thing is clear to everyone—you can’t speak the English language in sentences we can comprehend. At first, the way you mangled words and sentences seemed cute, almost charming. But after a while it became worrisome. Then in an interview you broke America’s decades-long policy toward Taiwan, saying we were willing to do “whatever it took” to defend Taiwan, even suggesting we might deploy troops there. Jeez, George; the whole world flipped out; before you knew it, everyone was at Defcon 3.

If you’re going to be Commander-in-Chief, you have to be able to communicate your orders. What if these little slipups keep happening? Do you know how easy it would be to turn a little faux pas into a national-security nightmare? No wonder you want to increase the Pentagon budget. We’ll need all the firepower we can get after you accidentally order the Russians “wiped out,” when what you meant to say was, “I need to wipe the Russian dressing off my tie.”

Your aides have said that you don’t (can’t?) read the briefing papers they give you, and that you ask them to read them for you or to you. Your mother was passionately committed to reading programs as First Lady. Should we assume she knew firsthand the difficulty of raising a child who couldn’t read?

Please don’t take any of this personally. Perhaps it’s a learning disability. Some sixty million Americans have learning disabilities. There’s no shame in this. And yes, I believe a dyslexic can be President of the United States. Albert Einstein was dyslexic; so is Jay Leno. (Hey, I finally found a way to work Leno and Einstein into the same sentence! See, language can be fun.)

But if you refuse to seek help with this problem, I’m afraid you may be too great a risk for the country. You need help. You need Hooked on Phonics, not just another Oval Office briefing.

Tell us the truth, and I’ll come read to you every night at bedtime.
2. Are you an alcoholic, and if so, how is this affecting your performance as Commander-in-

Chief?

Again, there is no finger being pointed here, no shame or disrespect intended. Alcoholism is a huge problem; it affects millions of American citizens, people we all know and love. Many are able to recover and live normal lives. Alcoholics can be, and have been, President of the United States. I greatly admire anyone who can deal with this addiction. You have told us that you cannot handle drinking, and that you haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since you were forty. Congratulations.

You have also told us that you used to “drink too much” and that you eventually “realized that alcohol was beginning to crowd out my energies and could crowd, eventually, my affections for other people.” That is the definition of an alcoholic. This does not disqualify you from being President, but it does require that you answer some questions, especially after you spent years covering up the fact that in 1976 you were arrested for drunk driving.

Why won’t you use the word alcoholic? That is, after all, the First Step to recovery. What support system have you set up to make sure you don’t fall off the wagon? Being President is perhaps the most stressful job in the world. What have you done to ensure you can handle the pressure and the anxiety associated with being the most powerful man on earth?

How do we know you won’t turn to the bottle when faced with a serious crisis? You’ve never had a job like this. For twenty years, from what I can tell, you had no job at all. When you stopped “drifting,” your dad set you up in the oil business with some ventures that failed, and then he helped you get a major league baseball team, which required you to sit in a box seat and watch a lot of long, slow baseball games.

As governor of Texas, you couldn’t have had much stress; there just isn’t enough to do. Being governor of Texas is a relatively ceremonial job. How will you deal with some unexpected new threat to world security? Do you have a sponsor you can call? Is there a meeting you can attend? You don’t have to tell me the answers to these questions; you just have to promise me you’ve thought them out for yourself.

I know this is very personal, but the public has a right to know. For those who say, “Well, c’mon, it’s his personal life that was twenty-four years ago,” I have this to say: I was hit by a drunk driver twenty-eight years ago, and to this day I cannot completely extend my right arm. I’m sorry, George, but when you go out on a public highway drunk, it’s no longer just your PERSONAL life we’re talking about. It’s my life, and the lives of my family.

Your campaign people—the enablers—tried to ‘cover for you, lying to the press about the nature of your arrest for driving under the influence. They said the cop pulled you over because you were “driving too slowly.” But the arresting officer said it was because you had swerved off on the shoulder of the road.

You yourself joined in the denial when asked about the evening you spent in jail.

“I didn’t spend time in jail,” you insisted. The officer told the local reporter that in fact you were handcuffed, taken to the station, and held in custody for at least an hour and a half. Could it be that you truly don’t remember?

This is not just some simple traffic ticket. I can’t believe your enablers actually implied your drunk driving conviction wasn’t as offensive as Clinton’s transgressions. Lying about consensual sex you had with another adult while you are married is wrong, but it is NOT the same as getting behind the wheel of a car when you are drunk and endangering the lives of others (including, George, the life of your own sister, who was with you in the car that night).

It is also NOT the same, despite what your defenders said before the election, as Al Gore volunteering that he smoked pot in his youth. Unless he was driving while stoned, his actions endangered no life but his own—and he wasn’t trying to cover it up.

You’ve tried to dismiss the incident by saying “it was back in my youth.” But you were NOT a “youth“; you were in your thirties.

The night your conviction was finally revealed to the nation, just days before the election, it was painful to watch you swagger as you tried to chalk up your “irresponsible” action as the mere “youthful indiscretion” of having a few beers with the boys (smirk, smirk). I really felt for the families of the half a million people who have been killed by drunks like yourself in the twenty-four years since your “little adventure.” Thank God you kept drinking for only another several years after you “learned your lesson.” I think, too, of what you must have put your wife, Laura, through. She knew all too well how dangerous it is when any of us get behind the wheel. At seventeen she killed a high school friend of hers when she ran through a stop sign and collided with his car. I’m hopeful that you can look to her for guidance if ever you feel the pressures of the job getting to you. (Whatever you do, don’t turn to Dick Cheney for help: he’s had two drunk driving arrests on his record for more than twenty-five years!)

Finally, I have to tell you how distressed I was when, back in that crazy week before the election, you hid behind your daughters as your excuse for covering up this conviction. You said you were worried that your history of drunkenness would set a bad example for them. A lot of good that secrecy has done, as proven by the twins’ various arrests this year for alcohol possession. In some ways, I admire their rebellion. They asked you, they begged you, they told you: “Please, Dad, don’t run for President and ruin our lives!” You did. It did. Now, like all good teenagers, it’s payback time.

Perhaps the news anchor on Saturday Night Live put it best: “George Bush said he didn’t reveal the drunk driving charge because of what his daughters might think of him. He had preferred that they think of him as a man with numerous failed business ventures who now executes people.”

Here’s what I suggest: Get help. Join AA. Take your daughters to Al-Anon. You will all be welcomed with open arms.
3. Are you a felon?

When you were asked in 1999 about your alleged cocaine use, you replied that you had committed “no felonies in the last twenty-five years.” With all we’ve learned about tricky answers in the last eight years, that kind of response could only lead a reasonable observer to believe that the years before that were a different story.

What felonies did you commit before 1974, George?

Believe me, I’m not asking this in order to seek punishment for anything you did. I am concerned that if there is some deep, dark secret you are hiding, you may in effect be providing ammunition for anyone who uncovers that secret—be it a foreign power (your current favorite, the Chinese) or domestic (like—oh, pick one—say, R.J. Reynolds). If they discover your history of a felony or felonies, they’ll have something to hold over you, putting them in a position to blackmail you. That makes you, George, a national security threat.

Trust me, someone will find out what you are hiding-and when they do, we’ll all be at risk. You have a duty to disclose the nature of whatever felony you imply that you may have committed. Only by revealing it can you neutralize its potential use as a weapon against you—or us.

Also, you recently made it a requirement for any young person seeking financial aid for college to answer a question on the application form that reads: “Have you ever been convicted for any drug offense?” If they have, they are denied student aid—which means that many of them will not be going to college. (Or, to put it another way, according to your new orders Sirhan Sirhan can still receive student aid, but a kid with a joint can’t.)

Doesn’t this move on your part strike you as a little hypocritical? You would deny a college education to thousands of kids who only did exactly what you have implied you did as a young person? Man, that takes some chutzpah! As you’ll be receiving $400,000 a year from us until 2004—from the same federal kitty that pays out the college aid—it seems only fair to make you answer the same question: “Have you ever been convicted of selling or possessing drugs (not including alcohol or tobacco)?”

We do know, George, that you have been arrested three times. Other than some peace-activist friends of mine, I don’t personally know anyone who has been arrested three times in their life.

In addition to the drunk driving, you were arrested with some fraternity brothers for stealing a Christmas wreath as a prank. What was that all about?

Your third arrest was for disorderly conduct at a football game. Now this I really don’t get. Everyone conducts themselves in a disorderly manner at a football game! I’ve been to many football games and have had many a beer spilled on my head, but to this day I’ve never seen anyone arrested. You’ve gotta work pretty hard to get noticed in a crowd of drunken football fans.

George, I have a theory about why and how all this has happened to you.

Instead of having to earn it, you have been handed the presidency, the same way you’ve come by everything else in your life. Money and name alone have opened every door for you. Without effort or hard work or intelligence or ingenuity, you have been bequeathed a life of privilege.

You learned at an early age that, in America, all someone like you has to do is show up. You found yourself admitted to an exclusive New England boarding school simply because your name was Bush. You did not have to EARN your place there. It was bought for you.

When they let you into Yale, you learned you could bypass more deserving students who had worked hard for twelve years to qualify for admission to college. You got in because your name was Bush.

You got into Harvard Business School the same way. After screwing off during your four years at Yale, you took the seat that rightfully belonged to someone else.

You then pretended to serve a full stint in the Texas Air National Guard. But one day, according to the Boston Globe, you just skipped out and failed to report back to your unit—for a year and a half! You didn’t have to fulfill your military obligation, because your name was Bush.

Following a number of “lost years” that don’t appear in your official biography, you were given job after job by your daddy and other family members. No matter how many of your business ventures failed, there was always another one waiting to be handed to you.

Finally, you got to be a partner in a major league baseball team—another gift—even though you put up only one one hundredth of the money for the team. And then you conned the taxpayers of Arlington, Texas, into giving you another perk—a brand-new multimillion-dollar stadium that you didn’t have to pay for.

So it’s no wonder you think you deserved to be named President. You didn’t earn it or win it—therefore it must be yours!

And you see nothing wrong with this. Why should you? It is the only life you have ever known.

On election night, as the vote swayed back and forth across the nation, you told the press that your brother had assured you Florida was yours. If a Bush said it was so, it was so.

But it ain’t so. And when it dawned on you that the presidency had to be earned and won by a vote of the people—yes, the people!—you went berserk. You sent in hatchet man James Baker (“Fuck the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway” was his advice to Poppy in ‘92) to tell lies to the American people and stoke the nation’s fears. When that didn’t seem to work, you went to federal court and sued to stop the votes from being counted—because you knew how the vote would turn out. If you were truly sure you had the vote of the people, you wouldn’t have minded all those votes being counted.

What startles me is how you turned to the big bad federal government for help. Your mantra during every campaign stop was the following: “My opponent trusts the federal government. I trust you, the people!”

Well, we soon learned the truth. You didn’t trust the people at all. You went straight to the federal court to get your handout (trust the voting machines, not the people!). At first the judges in Florida didn’t buy it—and for perhaps the first time in your life, someone told you no.

But as we’ve already seen, Daddy’s friends on the U.S. Supreme Court were there to take care of everything.

In short, you’ve been a drunk, a thief, a possible felon, an unconvicted deserter, and a crybaby. You may call that statement cruel. I call it “tough love.”

For the sake of all that is decent and sacred, good God, man, take leave immediately and bring some honor to your allimportant family name! Make those of us who know there’s a thread of decency in your family proud once again to claim that a Bush in the hand is better than a handout to a Bush.

Yours,


Michael Moore
THREE

Dow Wow Wow
AS I’M SITTING in a Michigan airport waiting for my American Airlines flight to Chicago, a man in a uniform sits down beside me and strikes up a conversation.

I learn that he is actually a pilot, for American Airlines—or more precisely American Eagle, the commuter airline of American Airlines, which like all commuters, these days is now adding jets to its fleets for flights of under two hours. This saves the parent company lots of money, I guess.

The pilot who has approached me is not scheduled to fly the plane I’m on. He’s hoping to grab an empty seat for the flight across Lake Michigan.

“Do you have to pay to fly if it’s a personal trip?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “It’s about the only fringe benefit we have.”

He then revealed that the starting pay for a pilot at American Eagle was $16,800 a year.

“What?” I asked, sure that I had misheard the figure. “Sixteen grand per year?”

“That’s right,” the captain responded. “And that’s high. At Delta’s commuter airline, starting pay is $15,000 for a pilot; at Continental Express, it’s around $13,000.”

Thirteen thousand? For the captain of a commercial airliner? Are you messing with me?”

“No, I’m not messin’ with anyone. It gets worse. That first year as a pilot, you have to pay for your own flight training and your own uniforms. After that’s all deducted, you end up with about $9,000.”

He paused so that could sink in. Then he added: “Gross.”

“I can’t believe what I’m hearing.” My voice was now getting to a level where others around us began listening in.

“Believe it,” he assured me. “One of our pilots last month went down to the welfare office and applied for food stamps. No kidding. With four kids, at his level of pay as a pilot, he was legally eligible for assistance. The front office at American found out about this and sent out a memo that said no pilot was to apply for food stamps or welfare—even if they were eligible for it! Anyone who did apply would be let go.

“So now my buddy just goes down to the food bank on his way home. They don’t ask for anything from you that would get back to American Airlines.”

I thought I’d heard everything by now. But this story was beyond frightening. I did not want to get on that plane. You see, there’s something about us humans and our basic animal instincts for survival—and one of those instincts, probably traceable back to the caveman days, is: Never, ever let someone fly you up in the air who’s making less than the kid at Taco Bell.

I got on the plane, but only after I convinced myself the guy must have been feeding me a line. How else could I justify risking my life like that? The following week, though, I made some calls and did some research. Much to my horror, that pilot’s figures were right. While captains who had been with these commuter airlines for a number of years were pulling in the big money ($40,000/year!), first-year rookies in many cases were living below the poverty level.

I don’t know about you, but I want the people taking me with them to defy nature’s most powerful force—gravity—to be happy, content, confident, and well paid. Even on the big jets for the major airlines, the flight attendants—another group of employees whose training may one day be critical to saving your life—start out at somewhere between $15,000 and $17,000 a year. When I’m at 30,000 feet I do not want the minds of the pilots or the attendants to be occupied with how they’re going to get the heat and lights turned back on once they get home tonight, or which Bob’s Big Boy they’re going to have to stick up in order to make the monthly rent. And what’s the lesson for the flying public? Be nice to people on welfare—they may be flying you to Buffalo.

For the first half of 2001, the pilots for Delta Connection were on strike. The greedy bastards at the union were demanding $20,000 for their pilots’ starting pay. But Delta refused, and the work stoppage went on for months. You’d think that considering the booming economy—especially for the well-to-do who fly often—there would be little problem giving the pilots a wage that allows them to subsist on something besides dog food. (When boarding a plane, I used to do a “sniff check” to see if the pilots had been drinking; now I’ll be looking for stray Kibbles or Bits as I pass by the cockpit.) After begging for scraps from the table, the Delta Connection pilots finally got their $20,000 a year.

These pilots—and the rest of the public—are being told that the economy isn’t doing so well, that there’s been a huge downturn, that profits are off, that the stock market has taken a beating, and that no matter how far Mr. Greenspan lowers the interest rates, nothing seems to be helping.

They certainly have numbers to back up their claim. An average of 403,000 Americans are filing new unemployment claims every week. Hundreds of companies are announcing massive layoffs. Thousands of start-ups in the new high-tech-dot-com fields have gone belly-up. Car sales are down. Retailers had a horrible Christmas. From Silicon Alley to Silicon Valley, the belts are being tightened.

And we’ve fallen for it.

There is no recession, my friends. No downturn. No hard times. The rich are wallowing in the loot they’ve accumulated in the past two decades, and now they want to make sure you don’t come a-lookin’ for your piece of the pie.

The wealthy are doing everything they can to convince you that you’d better not be asking for your share, because—well, suddenly, there’s not enough to go around! Night after night, the media they own tell you one sad story after another, about the latest Internet company that went down, or mutual fund that lost everything, or NASDAQ investor who went belly-up. Today the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 300 points. Lucent Technologies announced another fifteen thousand layoffs. The merger between United and U.S. Airways is off, General Motors is killing off Oldsmobile, and there are now reports that even your personal 401K is not safe. Pretty scary stuff, eh?

Oh, it’s all true. They wouldn’t lie to you. At least not about these puny details they use to manipulate your fears.

But what about the bigger lie? The one about how horrible the larger world economy is today? I mean, on one level, it appears to be true. If you’re middle class or lower, you have every right to be fearful. Why? Because those on top are even more afraid. They’re scared silly that you’re going to want to participate in the party they’ve been having. They’re afraid you’re going to say, “OK, you got your yachts and your homes in the south of France—now what about me? How ‘bout a little something for me so I can get a new garage door?” The only thing bigger than this fear of theirs is their astonishment that none of you have demanded a raise, or a vacation, or a co-paid visit to the dentist, or any share in the excessive wealth that’s been generated in the past ten years. Can it really be that you’re content to spend four nights a week wondering who wants to be a millionaire, but never actually answer “ME!”? The corporate poobahs have been waiting for you to drop the other shoe.

Yes, those in charge know it’s inevitable: one day you’re going to want your share. And because that must never happen, the long knives are drawn—and they’ve decided to perform a preemptive strike in the hope that you’ll never even think of eyeing their piles of cash.

So that’s why they’re laying you off, or pleading poverty. That’s why they’ve removed the free coffee pot—not because they can’t afford the coffee but because they need to fuck with your mind. They need you in a constant state of stress, suspicion, and fear. YOU COULD BE NEXT! Forget about the Maxwell House—save yourselves! The bosses must be sitting back having one of the biggest laughs of their lives.

Now how do I know all this, you ask? Well, you see, I walk among them. I live on the island of Manhattan, a three-mile-wide strip of land that is luxury home and corporate suite to America’s elite. Much of the suffering you experience as an American emanates from this piece of platinum real estate nestled between two polluted rivers. Those who run your lives live in my neighborhood. I walk the streets with them each day. I see their children being raised by Haitian immigrants, and I watch them pass by the Invisible Men who clean the grouting on the marble floors without saying a word, always in a hurry to get to wherever they’re going—most likely to reduce your insurance benefits or put your workplace on the chopping block. They are fit, coifed, and hungry to make a killing—and the next body they drop could be yours!

I listen to them talk about how well they’ve done—the new home in the Berkshires, the trip they just took to Easter Island. They couldn’t be happier.

When I first moved into my building, it was occupied by artists and playwrights and half the cast of Saturday Night Live and some senior citizens. Now it’s pretty much just us, one of the Rangers, and my crazy friend Barry, the cinematographer; everyone else, it seems, is either rich enough to do without a job, or busy reaping huge profits from the various properties they own in poor neighborhoods, or living off some trust fund, or working on Wall Street, or from another country (here in New York overseeing the family’s foreign investments). The Fortune 500 corporations are their bread and butter. And I’m here to tell you, they’re loaded, and they’re not cutting back one bit for themselves.

If you don’t want to take my word alone, then let me offer you some neutral, objective statistics about just how well those at the top are doing:

• From 1979 until now, the richest I percent in the country have seen their wages increase by 157 percent; those of you in the bottom 20 percent are actually making $100 less a year (adjusted for inflation) than you were at the dawn of the Reagan era.

• The world’s richest two hundred companies have seen their profits grow by 362.4 percent since 1983; their combined sales are now higher than the combined gross domestic product of all but ten nations on earth.

• Since the recent mergers of the top four U.S. oil companies, their profits have soared by 146 percent during what we were told was an “energy crisis.”

• In the most recent year for which there are figures, forty-four of the top eighty-two companies in the United States did not pay the standard rate of 35 percent in taxes that corporations are expected to pay. In fact, 17 percent of them paid NO taxes at all—and seven of those, including General Motors, played the tax code like a harp, juggling business expenses and tax credits until the government actually owed them millions of dollars!

• Another 1,279 corporations with assets of $250 million or more also paid NO taxes and reported “no income” for 1995 (the most recent year for which statistics were available).

We are getting bilked in so many ways that listing them all might get me charged with inciting a riot. But who cares? Mercedes Benz, which has continually refused to meet American mileage and pollution standards, was being fined for its lawbreaking when it came up with an ingenious plan. For the years 1988 and 1989, the company deducted from their taxes the $65 million it had paid in fines as “ordinary expenses incurred ... in carrying on its trade or business.” That means that you and I paid $65 million so that a bunch of rich people could drive around in big, fancy cars and ruin our lungs. Fortunately, the IRS was on to this scam and denied their claim.

Halliburton, the oil company, set up a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands in the early nineties. Problem is, there is no oil in the Cayman Islands. Nor are there any oil refineries or distribution centers. So what was that Halliburton subsidiary doing there? Evidently the government was suspicious. From 1996 until 1998,

fourteen separate tax actions were filed against Halliburton entities. In one case, the government contended that Halliburton used these subs to avoid $38 million in taxes. Most of these cases have been resolved.

They aren’t the only ones interested in defrauding the federal government. A half-dozen major U.S. insurance companies now call Bermuda their “headquarters,” including insurance giants Chubb, Hartford, Kemper, Liberty Mutual, and others. Accenture, which used to be known as Andersen Consulting, recently “moved” its company to Bermuda in order to avoid paying taxes. It’s really just a paper move—they still have all their offices around the country, and everyone shows up to work every day doing what they always did for Andersen. It’s just their “headquarters” that have moved. Wouldn’t you love to wake up tomorrow and declare that you’ve “moved” yourself to Fiji, even though you still have to look at Topeka outside your window?



Forbes magazine estimates that corporate tax shelters cost us average Americans over $10 billion dollars a year (and we have to make up the difference, by paying more taxes or by losing services). Next time you can’t afford to fix the furnace or replace the computer, you can thank all those fat cats who’ve got you repeating the line “the economy isn’t doing too well right now.”

Instead of collecting this money that’s being stolen from us, how is the IRS spending its time these days? They’ve decided to go after you. That’s right. They’ve thrown up the white flag; they’re surrendering their efforts to get the rich to pay their taxes. Their new policy is to focus on squeezing those who make the least. According to the General Accounting Office, those who earn less than $25,000 a year have seen their IRS audits double-while those earning over $100,000 have seen their audits drop by over 2 5 percent.

What does this mean on the balance sheet? It’s resulted in a drop of 2 6 percent in the amount of taxes corporations pay, while you, the average American, have seen your taxes go up by at least 13 percent. In the 1950s, taxes from corporations made up 27 percent of the revenues for the federal government; today that number has dropped to less than 10 percent. Who has made up the difference? You and your second job.

Part of the reason you’re hearing so much about how bad the economy is these days is that many of those who are getting their pink slips are the friends and family of those reporting the bad news. Unlike the massive layoffs of the eighties, which were all but ignored by those who went to good colleges and made good

money, the layoff massacres today are mostly white-collar and professional. Lay off a few hundred thousand of these people, and you’re gonna hear about it. Why? Well, because it’s ... it’s ... it’s SO UNFAIR! I mean, these high-tech guys paid their dues! They played by the rules, gave their heart and soul and first marriage to the company. They were there for every company retreat, never missed a late-night “think session,” attended every charity event the chairman and his friends threw. And then one day... “Bob, this is an employment counselor we’ve hired to help you with your transition, which we’d like to make as easy for you as possible. Please hand me your keys, and this gentleman with the badge and gun will escort you to your cubicle so you can collect your personal belongings and leave the building in the next twelve minutes.”

There is no downturn. Are businesses earning less than last year? Absolutely. How could they not? The nineties saw these corporations post surreal, over-the-top profits, a once-in-a-lifetime bonanza that had nothing to do with reality. Compare any year’s figures to those, and you’re comparing apples and windfalls. There was a headline the other day that said GM’s profits were down 73 percent from last year. That sounds bad—but last year was nothing short of a profit orgy. Even with that 73 percent drop, GM will still pocket over $800 Million profit in the first half of 2001.

Are dot-coms folding left and night? Of course they are! Big deal. That’s what happens with any new, revolutionary invention—a ton of entrepreneurs hop on board to find their fortune, and in the end only the mediocre but ruthless few are still standing. It’s called C-A-P-1-T-A-L-I-S-M. In 1919, twenty years after the invention of the automobile, there were 108 automobile manufacturers in the United States. Ten years later the number had whittled down to the Big 44 U.S. auto companies. By the end of the fifties it had dropped to 8, and today we have a grand total of 2-1/2 U.S. car manufacturers. That’s the way it works in our system. You don’t like it, you can move to ... to ... um ... damn, where do you move to these days?

Oh, of course—Bermuda!



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