Business-suited American injustice version 2.0

It's no fun always being angry after reading the daily news.

That's why I've enjoyed the last few weeks, writing about Thailand, train travel, the aging of the Wilken family still stuck back in Ohio and my resolutions for a better, brighter personal New Year in 2005.

But while I was growing philosophical, and even a little forward-looking, those devils in the news kept doing things to make me, and any other right-thinking working person, want to send out the exorcist and the executioner in one car.

According to Chuck Jaffe, a business columnist whose words are printed by The Seattle Times, Putnam Investments, an American firm in the mold of Enron, gifted its former chief of operations, Larry Lasser, with a $78-million severance package. This guy mismanaged the company, lost tons of money and dragged Putnam's reputation through the mud.

And the same folks who will not bat an eye at this applaud the arrest of some welfare cheater who buys liquor with his food stamps.

American criminals do the most damage with pencils and computers, not guns.

For point of proof number two, I give you Gary Pilgrim and Harold Baxter, the two worthies who founded Pilgrim Barker & Associates, then according to Jaffe "let their buddies pillage the company's funds for personal gain."

The two corporate tyros paid fines totaling $160 million after selling the badly damaged Wall Street firm for $400 million. They won't see the inside of a jail.

There are no bigger crooks than the men running certain American corporations. Speaking of crooks, Ken Lay of Enron is still out and about despite stealing with both hands - or mismanaging with both hands, for those lawyers among the QANews readership - while guys caught stealing cars are doing hard time.

Closer to home, in California, according to the Los Angeles Times a group of 22 companies that paid no state income tax received $82 million in tax refunds the other day to help them defray business costs.

This corporate giveaway was defended by those Republicans and Democratic legislators who are now making enough money to share in the giveaway, while Cali's chief executive, The Guvinator, whines about bankruptcy and cuts social service funding for the poor and disenfranchised.

At home, business groups and others friendly to thievery at the top and poverty at the bottom of the economic pole are weeping and teeth-gnashing to suit any Biblical scholar, because Washington state has raised its minimum wage to a whopping $7.35 an hour.

Such a bold move can't help but hurt the economic recovery our rich-boy president (who by the way never succeeded at any of the companies his oil-rich family helped him start - only in government is a trillion-dollar deficit a good thing evidently) and his followers keep talking about.

I'm sure you can see the alleged conservative point of view here if you stop the Lexus and put on your thinking cap: Listen, who needs approximately $295 for a week's work (before taxes) anyway? This kind of reckless legislation is going to seriously cut into second-home sales. Damn bleeding hearts derailing recovery! It's enough to make you throw up your filet mignon.

But there may be help on the way.

Those dedicated guys and gals at the Washington State Hotel and Lodging Association are, according to The Seattle Times, "expected to step up their lobbying efforts against both workers' comp and minimum-wage increases when the state Legislature reconvenes in January."

Makes me feel warm all over.

Also makes me want to register in about a hundred area hotels under assumed names, like Bush, Cheney, Hilton, Best Western, Rockefeller and DuPont, and then steal every towel I can get my hands on.

But that would be thievery, and I don't own a company, so there would be no golden parachute for little Denny.

Finally, I quiver as I think of your president - he's certainly not mine - as he prepares to fix Social Security, which by the way his own experts say will remain solvent until 2043 if he does nothing.

Let's tie your retirement to the stock market, and leave mine - and those of all the others who worked all our lives for a living - alone.

The same guy who fixed Medicare and ended the war in Iraq after finding the weapons of mass destruction is going after the poor person's only retirement fund.

Great. I just hope he gets a bunch of experts like his friend (he called him Kenny Boy) Mr. Lay to help him.

Lay can work on stealing from us from his prison cell if he ever does any time for his multimillion-dollar raping of his own company.

American business might not have recovered yet from the economic downturn, but it's almost a guarantee that American executives aren't suffering.

And since we don't have a Royal Family like our buddies the Brits and because business is king anyway, I for one am glad to put my shoulder to the wheel to ensure that CEOs across this great land continue to profit no matter what the hell happens to the rest of you.

And if you're a believer in the recovery, here's one little tidbit for you as I go out to look for sales at the local grocery stores: 2003's Economic Report of the President (that's George) predicted there would be 1.7 million jobs created. Instead, according to an Associated Press report out of Washington, the nation lost 53,000 jobs in 2003.

I can't wait for the next prediction or the latest news of arrests on Wall Street.

It's a great thing, this living through an economic upturn!

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