March 21, 2009

The Lemonade Stand

note: Sharpton had a response to my AIG post that prompted me to write this. I was having so much fun that I decided it deserved a post of its own.

Let's say you have a lemonade stand. It operates on the corner of your street and a some-what busy street, and it used to make you $10 an hour. For a little kid, even after expenses, that's good money. But then two people come to you and tell you that something has to change.

The first is President Barack Obama. He tells you that due to these harsh economic times, your lemonade stand needs a stimulus package. Further, if you can write a 320-page proposal complete with shovel-ready projects and plans to hire unemployed lemonade salesmen, there's no reason that you can't leverage a $40 million economic relief check. Of course, with this relief check, your Chief Lemonade Executive cannot make more than $300,000 a year and you must submit detailed plans for your new Lemonade Stand to 16 different federal agencies and your construction must have passed through a carefully-vetted process which guarantees fair and competitive bidding on supplying, constructing and operating your new lemonade stand. Oh, and you also have to agree to pay for expanded unemployment insurance and it is strongly suggested that you voluntarily pay above and beyond the Federal Minimum Wage Act requirements in order to maintain your status as a Lemonade Stand in Good Standing.

The second is AIG CEO Edward Liddy. He tells you that your first problem is that your company is not diversified enough nor is it doing enough for its top executives in order to properly stimulate the creativity that these difficult times need. He hands you a 750-page business plan outlining the keys to your success as a Lemonade Stand. The first step is to leverage all of the lemons that your company is receiving in a careful fashion so that through a series of subsidiaries, you're actually paying 14 times for the same lemon, but your customers are paying for it 23 times, in addition to allowing you to hold the money that they're buying your lemonade with for a period of 21 days before returning the change. In such time, you will take the money they gave you and use it to purchase additional lemons and sell the rights to the lemon no less than 12 times, while not ever actually relinquishing control of said lemon. Upon properly capitalizing, you will proceed to diversify your company into related fields such as lemon farming and orange juice sales along with such diverse interests as fruit futures trading, real estate in various Banana Republics where lemons are grown, and in companies that produce the buses and clothing used by the migrant workers who pick lemons. Also, you would be well-advised to purchase stock in various arms-dealing companies that sell guns of questionable legality to revolutionaries in the aforementioned Banana Republics. Once you've done all this and your company is well beyond the scope that you can manage and is filled with subsidiaries that have nothing to do with each other, you should go on a $440 million retreat after advising the government that if your company isn't saved, fruit and fruit juice as we know it will cease to exist. Oh, and then you get to tell the government that you can no longer manage such a poorly-integrated mess and that you need their help in selling off pieces of your company, including the two 500-story lemon-shaped skyscrapers in Guatemala City and East Timor that you just finished building that nobody wants.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at March 21, 2009 10:30 AM | TrackBack