Saturday, March 12, 2011

Michael Moore Is Not 'MMMMM Good

I don't know if I am aware of anyone that seems to be more misguided, misinformed, mistaken or misleading that Michael Moore.  I am not sure what he is missing but he is missing something.

He is at again in appearances in Wisconsin where he is supposedly speaking out on behalf of the union workers and other working Americans.

His latest missive is "America Is Not Broke".  According to Moore, everything would be fine if we just went out and appropriated all of the wealth of the 400 richest Americans that he has determined are obscenely rich.  People like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison of Oracle.  Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Michael Dell of Dell Computer and Phil Knight of Nike.  He argues that most of the Forbes 400 stole this money from us and are hoarding the bulk of wealth that runs our economy.

What is he talking about?  Bill Gates didn't steal anything from me.  He gave me some fantastic tools like Word, Excel and PowerPoint that I use every day.  The same for Page and Brin.  I use Google and it has made my life richer and easier than it ever was before.  Phil Knight?  He sold sneakers out of the trunk of his car when he was just starting out.  He glued waffled soles to athletic shoes in his garage.  That kind  of effort used to be called hard work.  Michael Moore calls it theft.

Beyond Moore's misguided logic is his misinformed view of the depths of America's financial situation.  He thinks that all we have to do to solve our problem is get that money from the rich.  Let's put that argument in perspective.  The Forbes 400 has total wealth equal to $1.3 trillion.  The federal budget deficit this year is projected to be $1.6 trillion.  Therefore, we could take everything this group of Americans has accumulated over their entire lifetimes and it would not even cover all of the debt that we are creating this year.  We would still need to find another $300 billion to balance the budget in 2011.  We also would still  have $14 trillion in total accumulated federal debt still outstanding.   Where does that money come from after we wipe out all of the country's billionaires?  More importantly, where does the next billionaire come from if their hard work is deemed to be a national resource rather than their own?   We know how this ends.  Visit Cuba or North Korea to see how those economies are doing.  Of course, Moore is still insisting that Cuba has a better health care system than we do.  

My favorite Michael Moore story is in the book, Do As I Say (Not As I Do) by Peter Schweitzer.  Schweitzer found in his research for the book that Moore conducts his own business affairs much differently than he wants everyone else to conduct theirs.

Moore loves unions and paying union wages if it's on someone else's dime.  But when it affects his own bottom line, you'd better hope he doesn't outsource you.
During the production of TV Nation for NBC, Moore called two of the show's writers into his office.  They were not members of the Writer's Guild and were not receiving health care benefits or a portion of the profits from video sales of reruns.  They were planning on joining the union, but said that Moore tried to dissuade them.  Eric Zicklin, an associate producer of the show, recalls, "Michael said, 'I'm getting a lot of heat from the union to call you guys writers and pay you under the union rules.  I don't have the budget for that.  But if they keep coming down on me that'll mean I'll only be able to afford one of you and the other one's gotta go.  
"He wanted to let us know that this would hurt us if it continued", says Zicklin.  " We were scared out of our minds.  It was like a theme from Roger & Me." 

That sounds a lot like Scott Walker's predicament in Wisconsin.   The big difference is that Scott Walker has not taken the actions he has for his own enrichment.  He is merely trying to close a gaping budget deficit in Wisconsin and try to protect hard working taxpayers in the process.  Moore was protecting his own pocketbook.  His own wealth that he is not willing to share although he wants others to do it.

Misguided? Misinformed? Mistaken? Misleading? Miserable?  You be the judge.  Whatever it is, it is not good.

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