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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

As Solid as...

North Miami Beach, FL 11-07-2005
A.H. Schectman

          It is funny (peculiar) that we think of some businesses as solid as say, the Rock of Gibraltar.  I used to think that Public Service (as in Public Service Electric and Gas Co.) was a selfless and parenting kind of entity that took care of us making it possible for us to enjoy cheap power, heat and light (that was before the days of almost universal air-conditioning).  In New Jersey there was PSE&G and in Florida there is FPL.  I just heard the latter referred to as: Florida Plunder and Loot.


            Now, far be it from me to grouse about profits made by monopolies that provide our creature comforts.  But, there is a whole philosophical debate and a dirty political fight that continues about the place in our lives occupied by businesses that make a profit on supplying our needs and wants.  I confess to being of the persuasion that “Government” and “Businesses” (like “Natural” monopolies) should not be in the profit business.  I realize that business cannot operate on a loss but must there be profits that impoverish the recipients of either the Government or Business?  I do not think so. I am disturbed to the point of political activism (that is going into the streets with placards and shouting at the top of my lungs about injustice) to fight against the might of government and business that despoil our land, pollute our air and poison our bodies by caring only for profits or to give us the cheapest “service” possible.


            It is inconceivable that people believe the propaganda that in order for there to be “progress”, we must protect the profits of big and bigger businesses and, in fact, glory in the magnitude of monopolistic practices because “big is better”. This is without thought of who gets hurt in the process of making only a few richer.  Yet this is the manner in which things are done and in which current selfishness is cloaked in pure white garments in order to obfuscate and confuse those of us who are at the end of the line when the goodies are passed out.


            Our government is not really solvent. How can it be when it gives tax breaks to the rich and ends programs favoring the poor and needy?  You cannot say anymore, “As Solid as the U.S. Government.” You might say: “As Solid as a Halliburton Company”. But you can no longer claim that the Rock of Gibraltar is solid.  It is riddled with tunnels carved out in previous wars to protect British sovereignty on the seas and apes over run the place.


            I question our concept of what is permanent and true.  I think Florida Plunder and Loot will last as long as or longer than New Jersey’s PSE&G Company.  I do not look forward to sensible changes in the near future where service to the public is a guideline for business or government.




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