Among the line-items in the itemization of this shortfall are a $31 million dollar investment in Africa-based Botswana, Inc., whose CEO used the cash injection to purchase a much-needed jet for its CEO; an approximately $32 billion dollar hostile takeover attempt of Afghanistan Corp., a bid which, despite its price tag, enjoyed widespread acceptance throughout world markets; and numerous undeclared zero-interest developmental loans to still-financially-troubled RussiaCom, which filed for Chapter 11 protection during the 90's.
Don't get me wrong. I love this country and its markets. Despite the decadence and corruption that prevail during its up times and the desperation and infighting that happen during its downs, capitalism is the best system in the world. Corruption and abuse are human potentials -- exaggerations of the self-interest and use-of-advantage which, when kept in check, are not vices at all, but rather the engines that drive the market. But the CEO of Love, Peace, and Truth Incorporated doesn't exactly command the moral high ground, and I do admit that I resent his high-handed posturing. It's been said by others before: if the Guv Ment was run like a business, it'd go bankrupt. The same tricks that Enron and WorldCom got called on are de rigueur in governmental economics. And not to sound unpatriotic, but I'm not sure how I feel about Vice President Ashcroft's "homeland security" product placements. I figure that for a $32 billion price tag I should get more options than having to choose between turning all of America into the Gaza Strip and/or resurrecting McCarthy.
I don't have a problem with being in the 37 per cent federal tax bracket, even after the 8.8 percent state sales tax. That's the price of working for the best company in the world. I feel that I should be allowed to grouse, though, when it takes our CEO less than a second to spend all of the tax revenue I'll generate in my entire life. I feel that I am entitled to bellyache that while the King County Library System will be shut down for two weeks later this year for want of $80,000, some sub-Saharan company with a 35% HIV rate will have an air-conditioned ride to the Bahamas. I'm not sure I want to subsidize a governmental police action whose prisoners of war are too stoned to get up off their couch and steal my car or spray-paint my fence, especially when it's perfectly legal for folks to have four shots of Jaegermeister and share the road with me.
We've got our responsibilities to the world, yes. We've got responsibilities to ourselves, too. Corporate America feels no shame about being number one; the Fortune 500 aren't exactly lying awake at night riddled with guilt because of it. I guess there are some things that the CEO of Love, Peace, and Truth Incorporated could learn from Corporate America.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, after taxes.