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GEEZERS' GUIDE
TO BRIBERY FOR FUN AND PROFIT
By Frank Kaiser

Today's question: How do you use your money to make more money?

Chances are, if you're lucky enough to still have a few bucks, you'll say the stock and bond markets, or CDs, savings, and other interest-bearing accounts.

Sucker bets all.

Between an expensive, cruel, and unnecessary war, and billions to the rich and well-placed in political bribe paybacks, Uncle Sam is in debt up to his eye brows, forcing the dollar down, inflation up, and a walloping tax burden on grandchildren yet unborn.

In times like these, geezers are fortunate indeed to just stay even.

My advice: Stop taking sucker bets, and start following the lead of America's most successful moneymakers, those who base their wealth on these three magic words: Bribery. Bribery. Bribery.

That's what the rich do. And instead of 5 percent on their money, they get 50,000 percent, often much more — the kind of money that adds up to a really decent retirement.

Take the tycoons of the drug industry.

Bribes for passing just one bill, the 2003 Medicare Drug Plan, gave them windfall profits of hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years.

Pharma's investment? According to www.opensecrets.org, legal bribes for the previous 10 years totaled about $90-milllion for an annual return on investment of, well, far too zeroes for my weary little brain.

Just know that bribing lawmakers to make it illegal for Medicare to negotiate drug prices paid off a whole lot better than 5 percent.

Other successful examples abound.

Oil-Slicked Fat Cats

During the past 10 years, oil industry moguls have invested about $140-million in, as they say, "buying access to politicians."

For their troubles, last year these oil-slicked fat cats got a $15-billion tax break.

And that was only the beginning. ExxonMobil alone just earned $36-billlion in what many consider gravy profits. Not to mention today's 3-dollar-a-gallon gas, annual industry salaries of $20-million and more, and overwhelming political pressure to pollute our air and environment, including my Florida beaches.

Pretty good return on investment, eh?

Everyone's doing it! And since gerrymandering, dirty tricks, and rigged voting machines have mortally wounded our ability to exercise democracy, isn't it time that we geezers, too, invest in something that will pay off big?

Bribery!

The tricky part will be agreeing on what we want to pay our bribes for.

If we seniors simply want money, our politicians will be more than happy to throw it at us. They do that very well.

But that further picks the pockets of our children and grandchildren while pushing this great nation into a bleak and bankrupt future.

Is that what we want?

Perhaps, better that we buy universal health care with our bribes. What would it cost? A couple hundred million a most. (It astounds me how cheaply anyone can buy Congress. They are such sluts.)

A Trillion Here, A Trillion There

With a good single-pay system such as those working successfully all over Europe*, 61-million Americans who currently have little or no insurance would be fully covered. And unlike Plan D, those of us on Medicare would get the exact drugs we need, while drug companies would receive fair profits plus plenty for R&D.

Best of all, it would end up saving us about a trillion dollars (a thousand billion) every year.

Now, that's return on investment! Not only would we be a healthier, happier nation, we could use all those billions saved to pay for things we really need. Including a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment that more realistically addresses typical senior expenses.

That alone would get you a far better annual rate than 5 percent.

Of course, before we get too involved in Washington corruption, I'd suggest that our last bribe pay for the elimination of bribes through publicly financed election campaigns — in other words, a return to democracy.

Just as Khrushchev said that capitalists would sell the rope to get hanged with, today's grasping politicians certainly will sell democracy back to us.

Wouldn't that be the most propitious bag of cash ever passed under a table?


* How difficult can it be? By most measures, France has the best healthcare system in world at half what we pay per capita. The US is currently 37th.

© Copyright 2006 — Frank Kaiser


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Frank Kaiser frank@suddenlysenior.com

http://www.suddenlysenior.com/

The nationally syndicated column read by more 1.93 million Americans over 50 who've become senior way before their time.

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