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Jewish World Review April 30, 2003 / 28 Nissan, 5763

Art Buchwald

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Consumer Reports

Americo-Shaft Airlines | The executives of the Ameirco-Shaft Airlines Co. were having a celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel. They were honoring Tommy Cloud, who had just negotiated contracts with the pilots, the attendants and the mechanics.

Tommy saved the airline $1 billion by making all the unions take drastic cuts in salaries.

When Tommy walked into the room, everyone cheered.

Arnie Blackhawk, the chairman of Americo-Shaft said, "Tommy, you are a negotiating genius. No one has been able to stick it to the unions the way you did."

Tommy replied, "That is what negotiating fair contracts is all about. You tell them that if they won't give in, the airline will go bankrupt."

"What else did you do?" Arnie asked.

Tommy answered, "I cried a lot. The unions had never seen a grown man cry."

"You didn't mention anything to them about our trust funds, bonus plans, or golden parachutes, which guarantee each of our executives $5 million?"

Tommy said, "It is none of their business what we on the 40th floor do."

The vice president in charge of operations said, "All the people who took the cuts do nothing but fly the planes. What do they know about money?"

Arnie said, "Our negotiations with unions will be a textbook case for every business school in America to study. They'll teach future CEOs how to screw the unions when they grow up."

Eddie Tailspin said, "How do we keep the workers from finding out we were looking after our own interest before theirs? They may not take it quietly."

The vice president for advertising said, "We'll have a campaign on television and in the newspapers. We show a pilot, a stewardess and a mechanic. They will each say, 'Welcome to Americo-Shaft Airlines. Fly with us at half the salaries we had before.'"

An executive said, "How about, 'Take a flight with us before we go belly up'?"

The advertising VP said, "That sounds too downbeat. I think we should have a message that will make people feel good about Shaft - maybe a chorus of employees singing, 'Fly Me to the Moon.'"

Another executive said, "I hope the advertising campaign won't come out of our bonuses and pension plans."

Arnie said, "It won't show up because we will keep them hidden on the books in the Cayman Islands and list it as 'Good will.'"

"My wife wants to buy a home in Fort Lauderdale," the VP in charge of frequent flyer miles said. "Can she do it now?"

"Of course. That is what our bonus plan is for," said Arnie. "But I would sell your stock before the word gets out about our executive compensation plans."

Everybody picked up their cell phones and called their brokers and then their friends and relatives.

Arnie spoke again. "I am happy to announce that we owe a lot to Tommy, and I am making him Employee of the Year. He has done more for aviation than Charles Lindbergh."

Everyone raised their glasses of Dom Perignon and sang, "For he's a jolly good fellow."

Tommy blushed and said, "All it took was the same greed that everyone in this room has."

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04/22/03: More time with the kids
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03/25/03: The Five Saddam Husseins
03/04/03: Tax free defense
02/27/03: Yelling at the TV
02/20/03: The fight for duct tape
02/14/03: Losing your identity
02/05/03: Whose reality is it?
01/17/03: Foreign Affairs for Dummies
01/15/03: No-news stories
01/13/03: The last pill
01/08/03: Come fly with me
12/20/02: Snooping for America
12/13/02: Give 'til it hurts
12/06/02: Pre-nursery is rough
11/20/02: The Princess and the butler
11/15/02: Preaching democracy
11/04/02: The blame game
10/30/02: The threat of golf
10/11/02: The wives of Hidden Valley
10/04/02: Will the real Saddam stand up?
10/01/02: To shred or not to shred
09/20/02: Plea-bargaining crime
09/17/02: Jack and Jane
09/12/02: Signing books is half the fun
09/10/02: To lose one's center
09/05/02: Moot court
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08/27/02: No smoking --- I love you
08/23/02: Ashes to ashes
08/14/02: Wall Street good news
08/09/02: Things in my attic
08/01/02: Damage control
08/01/02: Another icon
07/30/02: Draft all the lawyers
07/25/02: House for rent
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07/16/02: Money as a game
07/11/02: Just desserts
07/02/02: So you want to win?
06/19/02: Homeland security parking
06/13/02: The Accused
06/11/02: Don't let them know
06/06/02: The FBI changes its ways
06/04/02: RED ALERT
05/28/02: Malice On Purpose: I'm scared!
05/23/02: Barbie Doll
05/21/02: Why Bermuda?
05/19/02: White collar prisons
05/15/02: Those in depression
05/09/02: Mother's Day in the market
05/07/02: Salary negotiations
04/26/02: Homeland security
04/24/02: The greatest breakthrough
04/18/02: Conflict of Interest
04/15/02: The Sign That Couldn't
04/11/02: It's Cherry Blossom Time
04/08/02: The Young Audience
03/31/02: Safe Deposit for Sale
03/26/02: Au Revoir to Soft Money
03/21/02: Andersen Defense Fund?
03/19/02: Celebrity kickers
03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

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