Categories: Entertainment, Government, Politics Posted by Ralph Benko on 9/22/2010 1:53 AM | Comments (0)


From:  The President of the United States

To:  Secretary of the Treasury Geithner
Secretary of Defense Gates
Secretary of the Interior Salazar
Secretary of Labor Solis
Attorney General Holder

Dated:  September 7, 2010

Re:       Buggy Whip Manufacturing

Gentlemen (and Lady), it has come to my attention (websurfing on my Blackberry during these interminable staff meetings and out on the links when the rest of my foursomes are teeing off) that there is only one buggy whip manufacturer remaining in the United States of America today: Westfield Whip Manufacturing Company of Westfield, Massachusetts.

This raises a number of troubling implications and interesting opportunities for this Administration.

Tim, my faithful Treasury Secretary, I direct you to engineer a bailout for Westfield Whip immediately.  Please do not let the mere fact that they claim to be solvent deter this.  By virtue of the fact that Westfield is the last surviving member of a once-flourishing industry it is ipso facto “at risk.”

Whatever took down the buggy whip industry as a whole — some of the best minds at Harvard are still debating the cause, something about some sinister guy named “Schumpeter” — may still be lurking out there.  We courageously refused to let healthy banks such as the multi-billion dollar BB&T opt out of the TARP funding.  We got them to reconsider their protest that “their business and balance sheets were perfectly OK and they didn’t need the money” by making very credible menacing noises about burying them in audits by the Comptroller of the Currency.  And we brought to bear the suasion of other regulatory agencies with bureaucratic life-or-death power …  which most people (myself included) had never even heard of until you, Tim, yourself previously (and, come to think of it, still) a lifelong bureaucrat, so kindly pointed out to me.

So … how very clever of me! There are some who say that customers, in a free market, best determine what companies should rise and fall based upon the quality of their products and services, the competitiveness of their prices, and the demand for their goods and services.  That implies that mere businesspeople (not to mention customers — some of whom, I have just learned, shop at tacky places like Walmart and Costco!  Can you believe it?) have better judgment than I, the President of the United States.  How weird is the worldview to which right wingers, tea partiers, and so many little people in the “flyover states” so bitterly cling!  Obviously, I, as President, know better than such as these.  About, well, everything.

Robert, my bipartisan Defense Secretary, I direct you immediately to nationalize Westfield Whip as “critical national security infrastructure.”  There are some who say that buggywhips have no place in modern warfare.  I, let me be clear, know better.  (It is obvious that I know best to all but the most feeble minded tea party types who are failing in their civic duty to listen to NPR instead of those strange fellows Limbaugh and Beck.  I, after all, am the President.  Nobody else is.  QED.  Duh!)

To paraphrase Teddy Kennedy, paraphrasing Bobby Kennedy, paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw, “Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that used to be and say why not?” (Note to my “small s” secretary Katie Johnson:  this is brilliant of me.  Get it over to Gibbs immediately and have him get it around to those piranha in the mainstream media who have stopped swooning at my every cliché.  This may remind them how astute and witty truly I am.)

As late as WWII, The German and the Soviet armies used horses until the end of the war for transportation of troops and supplies. The German Army, strapped for motorised transport because its factories were needed to produce tanks and aircraft, used around 2.75 million horses—more than it had used in World War I. One German infantry division in Normandy in 1944 had 5,000.

Since our secret program to convert most of GM and Chrysler (we still own them, right Tim?) to manufacturing Predators for Afghanistan to keep the Right quiet and Windmills for whoever we can unload them to keep MoveOn quiet is moving forward handsomely, it is by no means out of the question that the United States Army, like the German Army before it, may find itself “strapped for motorized transport.”

I, the President of the United States, having foreseen this distinct possibility in that nice, “no drama Obama but visionary way” of mine, am directing you to position the United States against the possibility of militarily essential buggy whips.  Take whatever steps are deemed expedient to nationalize Westfield Whip.  Mothball it and store it, if need be, next to the Ark of the Covenant over there in the warehouse of the national archives.  But do it.

Secretary Salazar, it has come to my attention that Westfield Whip’s factory is the same building in which it has been manufacturing whips since 1887.    Because it is so old, or something, it has been listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.  I, lo the President of the United States, find it deeply troubling that actual commercial activity is permitted in a property listed on an actual U.S. National Register.  Commercial activity is so… déclassé.  A necessary evil at best.  To associate the prestige of the United States Government with a mere factory?  Unthinkable.  Shut down its operations immediately.  Quietly let them outsource the manufacturing to Taiwan, if necessary, but … let’s play dumb on that.

Secretary Solis, as Secretary of Labor were you aware that Westfield Whip employs literally dozens, maybe scores, of people?  Given your poor performance in reducing unemployment, let me, the President, given that I am smarter than everyone including, therefore, you, provide guidance here.  Please immediately force Westfield Whip to accept some expansion loans from the Small Business Administration to double their workforce, then put out a press release.  (Katie, send a note to my Secretary of Commerce, what’s his name again?  Oh yes.  Gary something.  Gary Locke?  Clever of me to remember.  Telling him I, the President, approved this.)  This could rapidly generate dozens or even scores of new jobs.  Hilda?  I really expect my secretary of labor to be more proactive in creating jobs.  Can’t you get more power over to the Unions?  That surely will help create more jobs.  Because union members have jobs, don’t you see?  And while you are at it, get the Bureau of Labor Statistics to count those jobs in Taiwan which we created but shutting down the factory into their employment numbers.  Fair’s fair.

I don’t have to time to think of everything without severely cutting in to my golfing schedule.   So get this handled. Stat.  The press is beginning to notice the higher-than-predicted level of unemployment you know.

Mr. Attorney General, it hardly will have escaped your notice that, as the only remaining Buggy Whip factory in America, Westfield Whip is ipso facto (!) a monopoly, which is defined at, sixth entry, as “the market condition that exists when there is only one seller.”   Why does it always fall to me, the President, to have to notice and point these things out?

So, Eric, it has been disappointingly lax of you not to already have commenced antitrust action against Westfield Whip.  Your neglect has allowed them to engage in such monopolistic practices as not selling their products at retail, forcing the public to go through capitalistic parasites such as “distributors” and “retailers.”  Get with it people!  This is the 21st century.  If you can’t buy it on the Web, it might as well not exist.  So Eric, please give your assistant attorney general for antitrust a good hard prompt.  Tell her to stop messing around with Google and other marginal players and bear down on breaking up Westfield Whip.  Do whatever it takes to prevent it from using its chokehold on America to engage in noxious profit-making practices.

I expect you, my cabinet, to be more proactive and to get this country moving!  We can only blame things on the prior administration for about so long. (Note to self: This job seriously is beginning to detract from my golf time.  Katie?  Would you rev up Air Force One and call up the usual suspects?  I have always been keen to try out the links at St. Andrews, in Scotland, where some say golf was invented.  Get Rahm to come up with some kind of fact-finding mission to justify.  Maybe a ceremonial visit to the Stone of Scone, on which most British monarchs have been crowned since the 14th century.  Maybe the Brits, or Scots, or whoever owns it now, will let me sit on it as a photo op?  Surely something can be arranged.  (If some suasion is needed, Gates, you are authorized to go to DEFCON 3 … but no higher without consulting me first.)

To recap your marching orders:  Tim: bail it out.  Robert:  nationalize it.  Ken, shut down its factory operations.  Hilda, use it as a poster child for creating jobs.  Eric, break it up.  I expect to see results by the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Cabinet.   And remember.  I am the President of the United States and, thus, smarter than all of you combined.


Ralph Benko, author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to use the Web to Transform the World, available as a free download from is a member of the Tea Party Patriots.  And a satirist.


blog comments powered by Disqus