How Not To Ask For Help

I’m not the savviest of investors.  If I were, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.  I’d be writing the “Guess Who I Bought This Week? Weekly” blog.

But, damnit, if it isn’t just so freakin arrogant when you make CARS for a living, to fly in a big fancy private jet, dress up in your best Sunday clothes, and ask the Government for a small percentage of 250 Million + people’s money.

Honestly, who the hell do you think you are?

These days it seems like anyone can ask for a bit of the continuously-expanding pie.  Next up – mom and pop shops looking to beat down on the less-savory aunt and uncle stores.  But for now, let’s just take a look at what the difference is between Big Auto and Big Banking.

Big Banking asked for a handout.  That is, we the people will likely never see our money again.

Big Auto asked for “operating revenue”.  This could be taken to mean any number of different things, but where I come from it means “buy our preferred stock”.  Now, preferred stock investments would net the taxpayers interest when Big Auto eventually pulls off their miracle.  We, the people, would eventually get to see our money again.  Well, the Government will see it, but that’s better than nothing.

In my eyes, Big Auto execs, while stupidly flying their private jets to ask for the money, are much less evil than the big bankers.  Flying a private jet to ask congress for money is simply much less stupid than receiving your bailout money and then partying on the taxpayer’s dime – Ahem, AIG…

Although, to be fair, AIG’s CEO is now taking a $1 salary for the year to come, and no separation bonus (except for equity grants…).  In addition, the top 50 execs are receiving no bonuses or raises for 2009.  Granted, I think they might have realized that if they didn’t do something big, the average Joes they insure might have risen up and slain them.

I think we’re all accustomed to a greedy Wall Street, and to be fair – there are some very smart, compassionate people hidden in the ranks of those greedy suits.  For example, the guy who snuck in the provision for the government to have the option to buy preferred stock from the banks rather than just shovel over some money.  Big Bank lobbyists DID NOT want that to even be an option.  How greedy!  How stupid.

As new business professionals, we simply cannot act this way.  The greater good has to override the sanctity of capitalism in some cases (because a free market doesn’t always mean “fair”).

What services can you afford when 100% of the wealth is in only 2% of the hands?  You won’t be able to get your hair cut, order KFC, go shopping at the mall… I’m not advocating hand-outs here, I’m advocating more and better education.  Fair wages set on a fair market value.  Trickle down does not work.  The most successful businesses are the ones where even the peon is proud to go to work every day.  Why?  Because nobody thinks of them as peons – and certainly nobody treats them like peons.  Bad businesses go so far as to treat their own CUSTOMERS as PEONS!

Simply put – the golden rule should always be in effect for every business person.  If it had been, the high-powered jerks at Enron wouldn’t have felt like it was ok to steal Granny’s retirement.  Unless they were… you know, sadists.  They like that sort of thing.  Granny doesn’t tho.  So treat everybody like you want to be treated, and maybe businesspeople won’t have such a bad rap.  In the words of Captain Plannet… or maybe Captain Kirk… “it’s all in your hands now”.

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