November 23, 2005
You'll Pay? Then I'll Go
hard-working, capitalistic business owners who produce a lot, provide
products and services and guarantee a return on investment think we’re
very smart for doing all this.
We’re idiots. And somewhere at a Dunkin’ Donuts near you, the local
chapter of the PFN Club is meeting and laughing their heads off at all
Paid For Nothing Club. They’re smart. We’re dumb. And the members of the
PFN Club are not welfare recipients, either. They’re perfectly capable
people who figured out a way to get paid by the private sector to kindly
go away and never return.
newest members of the PFN Club appear to be arriving shortly from
Delphi, which has the United Auto Workers outraged over its proposal to
pay laid-off executives not to work.
remaining Delphi management were smart, it might retort: “These people
were making such dumb decisions, we ended up bankrupt! So we thought
we’d be better off paying them to not make decisions.”
can make lots of non-decisions at the PFN Club meetings. Or they can
make all the decisions they want, as the only actions taken by the club
are pretend actions, so even if they make bad decisions – no harm done.
This is why laid-off executives fit in so well.
Also heavily represented at the PFN Club meetings are bought-out
partners. These may be the smartest people of all. Once upon a time,
they went into business with someone, and in the course of managing the
business, they worked so little and annoyed their partners so much that
they were paid to leave.
paid a business partner a king’s ransom to disappear. For more than
three years, I’ve been servicing my debt on that buyout, which has left
me happier and poorer.
Bought-out partners contribute to the PFN Club by asserting their right
to be paid for nothing, which didn’t go over too well in their former
endeavors, but is fine now! In fact, it’s required for admittance.
Sometimes, famous people come to the club. Terrell Owens showed up for a
few meetings. The Philadelphia Eagles are paying Mr. Owens to kindly
stay away from the team, and he seemed like a promising member until he
got upset because the club wouldn’t change its name to The Paid For
Nothing Club Featuring Greatest Athlete In The World Terrell Owens.
most famous all-time member of the club was probably Ross Perot. GM once
paid Perot billions to go away. Pretty soon, Perot started showing up
everywhere, and now GM is close to joining Delphi in bankruptcy. But
then, the money they paid Perot is a pittance compared to the billions
they pay every month for the health benefits of people who no longer
work for the company.
Granted, getting health benefits is a little different from getting cold
hard cash, but the former employer paying for the benefits has to shell
out the same cold hard cash for the premiums – so it may seem different
to you, but it’s not to them.
upon a time, every member of the PFN Club was on some CEOs' Can’t Do
Without (CDW) List. The person was seen as so vital – either
individually or as part of a collective group – that agreements,
assurances and commitments were made that virtually assured the person
would continue to be paid indefinitely. Even if one or both parties
decided it best that the person vacate the premises – because who could
would happen to the economy if every dollar paid to every laid-off
executive, bought-out partner, unwanted star athlete or otherwise
departed non-contributor could somehow be recouped? One presumes the
effect would be nothing but positive, but then there would be no PFN
Club. And these people need a safe place to go.
© 2005 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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