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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Witchy Women- What I Do on Rainy Wednesdays

Let me see if I can get my short, mental arms around some of the “stuff” of current politics to examine and to understand a couple of republicans running for office.

Take Meg Whitman. She has spent nearly, if by now not more than, 150 million dollars of her own bucks trying to become the governor of California. Go figure: yesterday I heard an interview with her on the radio. This former CEO who was earning more than 13 million (I am assuming she is nowhere near broke despite the expense of the campaign) while running my favorite online spot, e Bay, admitted to and apologized for having a miserable voting record. That is she could not remember how many times she had voted as a California citizen since 1979 ( zero according to The Sacramento Bee). She claims she was just too busy with her children to be much bothered with civic privilege. Dang, being busy with them babies sure can be time consuming. Despite her tortured work schedule and baby-keeping, she had a domestic or two to “hep out a bit.” And so it goes with another politician hiring at least one illegal alien. Go figure, again: a CEO who ran a huge online company, trained in math and physics at Princeton, earned an MBA at Haahvahd, could not drum up the intellectual wherewithal to validate if a worker had legal documents and then ignored a letter from the Social Security Administration that warned that the number used by the worker did not match her name. Whitman’s comment during her interview was that the employee was a wonderful worker but that in California it is illegal to hire undocumented workers (you think, Meg?), so she had to fire her. Whitman went on to claim that all this alien-negativity was really a political stunt pulled by her opponent. In addition to employing an illegal, as a republican candidate it doesn’t hurt her a bit that she was on the board of Goldman Sachs during the time of Hank Paulson’s ceo-ship and that she was the beneficiary of what you and I would call insider trading but due to a loophole in the codes is fondly known as “spinning,” a nifty benefit whereby insiders get special deals on initial public offerings of stock before the public can buy the new securities. Plus, before she moved on out of e Bay, despite the company’s stock’s declining, her salary had gone from 2 million to 13 million give or take change;she had agreed to give back around a million to the company for personal use of its private jet; and she was tapped as one of America’s Most Powerful Women. Gotta love her!

Take Carly Fiorina. Another super-woman-republican, Fiorina is very much like Whitman. First, she has spent gobs of her own money funding her campaign. Second, she did not exercise her right to vote much at all, spotty in California, never, while living in New Jersey and never-registered, while she lived in Maryland. Her response to criticism of her failure to vote was that she was a life-long republican, that people die fighting to get a right to vote, that she didn’t vote, and shame on her. At least she did not blame her step-daughters. Like Whitman she has a meteoric corporate profile: she hired onto A T &T, became an executive, and when the company decided to spin off its very profitable equipment making company, she became CEO of Lucent Technologies and then onto Hewlett Packard. Plus she was ranked right along with Meg Whitman by Fortune Magazine as one of America’s Most Powerful Women. Of course, while she was accelerating her career, it was the time of the fast, slippery, loose, where over-leveraging of technology companies (akin in gross malpractice to the over-leveraging of the mortgage/securities companies from which we suffer as I type) was commonplace and where, too, CEOs could be rewarded very handsomely by escalating revenues. So, Lucent in order to show revenue growth began lending money to companies who wanted to buy Lucent’s products. Get it? I will lend you a couple 100 million if you will spend it in my store and when you get rich off reselling my stuff, you can pay me back. With that scam in place, Lucent showed a gonezillion increase in revenue growth; its stock went up; Fiorina’s worth went up, proportionally. (That's how to become one of America’s Most Powerful Women.) Then, Fiorina boogied to Hewlett Packard (HP). When she left Lucent, she left about 85 million worth of stock options on the table, but HP gave her 65 million of its stock to replace the Lucent-package. And was she NOT lucky? Seemingly she lost 25 million to go to work for HP; however, not long after she fled, the bubble burst, Lucent-stock fell because of its burdensome debt, to about a dollar, and that was that. She done good at HP, made a lot of money for herself and the company while laying-off more than 30, 000 employees, and got laid-off herself but left with a substantial bundle of money on her back. Gotta love her, too. Plus, as Pat Buchannan says, “She’s a good lookin’ gal with lots of appeal.”

“Two businesswomen from the real world who know how to create jobs, balance budgets and get things done,” chortled Whitman when she and Fiorina won their party’s nominations. When I read this, I knew I was onto an understanding of republicans: they use code! Like, creating jobs is republican code for laying-off tens of thousands of US workers. Balancing budgets is code for dump workers and shift a good hunk of payroll/benefit-savings over into MY bonus package or fly around on stock-holders’ expense conducting personal business. Get-things-done is code for hire an illegal to do it, code for never voting, code for getting-out-of-Dodge before the company I over-leveraged collapses in debt.

Comprehending these two republicans turns out to be really simple: take whatever they claim, promise, or take credit for, apply the opposite meaning, and viola, the truth is revealed. And, for sure, if either of these women makes it to DC, you can bet other republicans know that she is prepared to do a fine job.

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