Read D.F.'s bio and previous columns
October 6, 2008
and the Economic Cake Batter of America
Nobody paid me last week. Or the week before. Bummer.
You don’t even want to know the total value of my past-due receivables.
Let’s just say they’re a lot higher than usual, while the balance
in our bank account is a lot lower than usual.
Now, you may recall that last week I wrote a column mocking the whole
idea of government bailouts, especially the $25 million that went to the
Big Three automakers, but certainly including the one that went to Wall
Street. I mocked this for several reasons, most prominently the fact
that I mock everything. I also mocked it because the people who required
the bailouts are idiots, and the day I fail to mock an idiot is the day
they give someone else this column.
But I will take the rare occasion to actually say something serious here
so you know where I’m coming from. Given the alternatives, I was all for
the bailout – not because its recipients deserved it, but because the
entire economy would have collapsed without it, and that economy
consists of people like me.
This is not because I borrow money to fund operations. I don’t. I used
to! Got in big trouble doing that. Now I rely on consistent positive
cash flow to fund operations and pay those debts off. Most of my clients
don’t borrow to fund operations either.
But that doesn’t matter. Somewhere up the chain, someone does. I’m
waiting for nearly $5,000 from a client who’s waiting for $10,000 from
their client, which hasn’t paid because their customer is having
trouble accessing a line of credit. I’m four links down on the chain,
and I can’t get my money.
You don’t need to feel sorry for me. I’m not complaining. I’m just
enlightening you. I’d rather have this problem than sit there in your
cubicle and deal with your life. But I offer the information here
to illuminate how poorly our fine public servants – especially those who
claim to be “defending Main Street” – really understand what happens on
There’s no getting around the fact that the economy depends on the
smooth availability of credit to operate. I don’t particularly like that
fact, but it is a fact. And even if you don’t need to access credit to
operate, you still can’t get cash unless you get paid by people who
do need credit. So when Wall Street starts imploding, Main Street
One bonehead congressman I saw during this debate kept talking about how
he was going to protect the taxpayers’ dollars from being used to reward
these greedy, stupid, malevolent financial buzzards. Yo. Taxpayer here!
I don’t much care for the buzzards either, but they’re the only ones
around to lend money to the people who pay the people who pay the people
who pay the people who pay me. And that’s the money I use to pay my
employees and my taxes.
Understand? I don’t think Congressman Bonehead has ever been a CEO
because of the clueless things he says. Real CEOs say different
clueless things, like “synergistic alignment” and “I wonder what Steven
Covey thinks about this.” They don’t talk about defending the people on
Main Street by taking down the people who can keep them supplied with
Here’s what I don’t think enough members of Congress understand: Our
whole economy is like a big bowl of cake batter. All the parts need to
work together. If the flour starts trying to take down the vanilla, if
the eggs start attacking the oil, the cake might end up blowing itself
to smithereens. Frosting will be all over your walls and in your hair.
But, you say, the oil was an idiot! It deserved to be attacked by the
eggs! Fine. While you’re scrubbing that frosting off your wall and out
of your carpet, you keep telling yourself that. The oil got what it
And so did you.
© 2008 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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