|So here ya go...you work
hard all your life to make your dream come true, the
dream of owning your own incredibly successful
business. You're smart and ambitious, you have a
product that can't miss and a marketing campaign that is
simply genius. And you finally make it - the world
knows your name and the majority of the populace uses
your products. You are wealthy beyond belief,
married to an intelligent woman, you have a beautiful 1
year old daughter, and to top it all off you've just made
the merger of a lifetime.
So what do you get for your trouble? A big fat Attorney General on your case and the FTC trying to fine you mucho $$$. The media rips you to shreds and dorks make websites and screensavers where people can use you for target practice. You have almost single-handedly revolutionized the technical industry and helped businesses to run more efficiently, yet you get no thanks, no respect, no nothing.
Yeah, it's kind of hard to feel sorry for Bill Gates. His net worth is more than your whole city will see in a lifetime and his home is larger than most state parks. But he's getting a raw deal from the FTC. Let's draw an analogy: It never fails, every time you purchase a box of Mrs. Paul's fish filets, you get a packet of Mrs. Paul's tartar sauce along with it. Even if you hate Mrs. Paul's tartar sauce, you still get some. But you don't hear Janet Reno and the Justice Department coming down on them for unfair trade practices. The Hellman's people don't send out press releases and whine about their tartar sauce not being included. The public doesn't lose their collective mind in a jealous rage, reviling the whole fish stick industry.
And, folks, that's about what it boils down to. You want to run Windows 95, you get an Internet Explorer browser. You can always toss the IE browser and download Netscape (much like you can throw out those little packets and use whatever tartar sauce pleases you). You haven't paid extra for that browser...it's just a nice little amenity. So what's all the fuss about?
Since you asked, I'll tell you: The lovely and talented Janet Reno has been under fire for not seeking independent council for Bill Clinton's fundraising peccadilloes. Yes, she has sworn to uphold the law, but for Pete's sake! The man's her boss! So what's a girl supposed to do? That's right, redirect attention (and headlines) toward another topic, mainly another Bill that we love to hate. One that doesn't sign her paycheck. One whose wife doesn't throw a hissy fit and fire everybody in sight. Yeah, that's the ticket!
And We The People buy into this garbage, mainly because we have no real idea of what they're talking about. All we know is that Bill Gates is rich and powerful and we're not. We also have no real working knowledge of just why it's illegal to solicit funds or campaign from the business offices of the White House (clue: If you got a call from the Oval Office asking for a large sum of money, wouldn't you be intimidated into giving it up? Plus that, the Hatch Act says that our elected officials aren't supposed to do that.) Bill Gates is a little closer to home, plus that he's one of those capitalist pigs the hippie-leftovers scream about. He's a big nasty corporate mogul, who had the nerve to make his way in the world without welfare money or special interest groups. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, "feels our pain" while he hangs a sign on our White House saying "Rooms To Let: $1 million for a night in the Lincoln bedroom".
So to Bill Gates I say "Give 'em hell!" And I say that as a Mac user, too! It's a sorry day in America when you can't even choose what goes into your own line of goods. And about that shampoo with the built-in conditioner...
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