The other night I had this terrible dream. I walked into this large room with marble columns. There was a huge wooden boardroom table. Hundreds of people were sitting around the table and all of them were talking at the same time.
I asked the man next to me, “What is this we are seeing?”
“The Board Meeting of the Uncle Sam Corporation of America,” he replied.
“Why are they having a board meeting right before Christmas,” I asked.
“To get done the things they haven’t done all year.”
“Pass a budget.”
“But it’s December. They went a whole year without passing a budget?”
“Well the fiscal year started in October, so it hasn’t been a whole year.”
“Still, that was three months ago. Why didn’t they pass a budget then?”
“Well they knew that the shareholder evaluations were coming up in early November. They didn’t want to pass a budget that would have anything in it that might tick of the shareholders before the November evaluation.”
“How did the evaluation work out?” I asked.
“Bad. The shareholders were angry. Fired a bunch of them.”
“What were the shareholders mad about?”
“Not passing a budget. Overspending. Doing nothing to increase sales or make sure the company kept jobs. Pork barrel stuff.”
“So these are the new board members holding a board meeting to pass a budget and do the other things the shareholders want done?”
“No. These are the old board members. See Nancy over there? They fired her as supervisor.”
“Then why does she have that gavel like she’s still in charge?”
“Because she is still in charge…at least until January.”
“Why are they passing a budget now? After all they didn’t do one all year and wouldn’t they want the new board members to pass a budget? After all, the new members will have to live with that budget.”
“Nah. The new guys are a bunch of health nuts anyway. They want healthy spending, a healthy economy, and healthy job growth. And they’re all on some special diet.”
“What diet is that?”
“Well they’re all a bunch of whatchamacallit, Tea Drinkers. Yeah, that’s it, Tea Drinkers.”
“What did the ones who got fired drink?”
“So what’s so special that they have to pass the budget now?”
“You know…earmarks and stuff.”
“What are earmarks?”
“That’s when you get stuff like having a building named after you.”
“Isn’t that like the Pork Barrel stuff the shareholders were mad about?”
“Sure it is. But wouldn’t you want your name on a building?”
“Even if it meant breaking the company? Idon’t know…”
“Hey, they gotta spend money so that the employees have money to go buy the products and increase sales.”
“But what if the employees just buy stuff from the Manufacturing Company of China and the WeSpeakEnglishSorta Service Company of India?” How will that help keep employees in the Uncle Sam Company of America?”
The man just shrugged.
“So let me see if I understand this. A bunch of the board just got fired and Nancy was demoted. So then the board meets just before Christmas, with Nancy in charge, to pass a budget that they didn’t want to pass before shareholder evaluations…?” I asked.
“And in that budget there’s a bunch of the stuff that the shareholders and the new guys coming in don’t want…?”
“This is no way to run a company!”
“That’s how we run the Uncle Sam Company of America.”
“But this is crazy!”
The man turned and looked at me.
“No, it’s Congress,” he said.
I woke up in a cold sweat. Then I felt relieved when I realized it was just a nightmare.
My alarm clock went off and the news radio came on.
That’s when I found out that the nightmare is real.
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