“Money (That’s What I Want!)”

If this column’s headline made you ask:  “Why do the rich folks need my money; they already have millions?,” then you don’t understand the situation and that makes you vulnerable (due to lack of vigilance) and that, in turn, puts you squarely in their economic “cross hairs.” 

If the reader is enjoying good health, does that mean you don’t need more for this afternoon, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year . . . etc.? 

In a moment of candor, a wealthy fellow, who was the supervisor at a place where this columnist worked back in the very beginning of the B. C. (Bush Clan) era, taught this columnist that money is like sex and drugs because “you can never have enough.”  Sherman (he resembled a certain cartoon character) also mentioned, in front of a coworker (we’ll call him J. C.), who was living from paycheck to paycheck, that the most money his grandma could give him tax-free each year was $10,000. 

There were times when, if the aforementioned coworker in dire economic straits was nearby, “our boss” would pull out a stash of his uncashed paychecks and ask “Bob, how long do we have to cash these before they become invalid?”  I’d answer six weeks and then he’d count them and exclaim:  “I better go to the bank and deposit them right now!”  The fellow who needed every cent would then ask the boss why Sherman wouldn’t sign one and give it to a fellow (JC) who needed the money and would get it to fulfill its potential.

Sherman would concede that initially that might sound like a compassionate thing to do, but that ultimately it would remove J. C.’s motivation to work hard, succeed, and improve his own lot in life.

J. C. got a credit card and Sherman noted that the ensuing months would provide a front row seat for the economic equivalent of the spectacle that Romans got when they watched unarmed Christians battle a lion.  A few years later when J. C. filed for bankruptcy, Sherman shed some very realistic crocodile tears. 

Sherman used his grandma’s annual retirement fund contributions to retire before his fortieth birthday.  J. C. became an example for use in the arguments favoring universal health care.

Somewhere (Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley, actually) in the last year and half, we picked up a bargain bin paperback that related the history of the South Pacific area.  According to this intriguing book (lost it so we can’t cite the academic details such as author and page number), the island natives had to be taught to covet material possessions so that they could then be induced to sign on as wage slaves for the various companies seeking to export the local treasures. 

The islanders lived on the fish and vegetables that were easily gathered and then spent the rest of the day swimming and socializing. 

Some cynic said that when the white man came to the South Pacific, he brought with him the four great advances of civilization:  the Bible, pants, guns, and syphilis.  He also brought time clocks and paychecks.

The native women did learn to covet “stuff.”  (The famous philosopher George Carlin did a wonderful treatise on the concept of “stuff.”)  When that conversion was made, it became easy for plantation owners to get the men to sign their “X” to papers which were legal documents consenting to an often unspecified period of work in return for a substance (called “money”) which could be exchanged for the stuff the women now coveted.

Bleeding hearts liberals decry this example of capitalism in action and assert that the signed legal documents constituted an egregious example of fraud. 

Radio personality Mike Malloy recently hinted that there is a similar motivation relationship for the military’s health care.  He says that universal health care would destroy the allure of free medical care provided to the folks who join the various branches of the all volunteer military which protects the United States.  He snidely suggests that may explain why Republicans are working against the Health Care Reform Bill

Republicans love to foster the folk legends about self made millionaires.  According to their philosophy of “self determination,” a poor but honest disk jockey from Sacramento can become a millionaire by giving advice and encouragement to the workers of the world or at least the United States.  Democrats refute this by spreading myth busting unsubstantiated information that the aforementioned inspirational example was actually the grand son of President Eisenhower’s ambassador to India and that he got his first radio gig when his family bought a local radio station. 

According to Republicans, John D. Rockefeller was a gracious grandfatherly self made millionaire who bestowed a generous dime tip to newspaper boys at a time when the papers sold for less than a nickel.  The Democrats used a whisper campaign to paint the fellow as a ruthless cad who would destroy competitors and then deceived the public by hiring the same Public Relations firm that Hitler had selected to improve his image in America during the Thirties.

Sometime in the past, a wise old man revealed to this columnist that there is a curse on money and that the rich people, by taking the money from the poor, they are thereby eliminating the danger of the curse and thus protecting the poor from danger by assuming the risk themselves.

Health care may be vastly overrated.  William Claude Dukenfield (AKA W. C. Fields) once pointed out that there are more old drunks than there are old doctors.

We see in the news that the President is planning a trip to the South Pacific.  We wish him a bon voyage and remind him to be careful about signing any legal documents he hasn’t fully read and understood.

James Michener, in “Return to Paradise (Fawcett Crest paperback page 49):  “The copra crop was bad in Paea and parents hadn’t much money for Christmas, so the chief sent word to all the children:  ‘It is very sad.  Pere Noel just died.’” 

Now the disk Jockey will play:  “Bali Hai,” Woody Guthrie’s song “Deportee,”  “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “How’d ja like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?” 

It’s time for us to go see if our lottery ticket is a winner.

Have a week that Robert Dean Frisbe would envy.

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