Maybe you thought about becoming a big business tycoon, but were never good with numbers.
You did all right on tests, but realized early on you would never be a Wall Street wizard. Not just anyone can run a multibillion-dollar corporation, right?
Take General Motors, for instance. It's America's great automobile behemoth -- or at least it was until it was tripped up in the recession. Now General Motors, king of car kings, is begging for $16.6 billion in additional federal bailout dollars and is dumping subsidiary brands -- like Hummer, for instance -- it should have scrapped years ago. In December, GM signed up for $13.4 billion in loan guarantees.
It turns out the brain trust at GM didn't clearly see high gas prices coming, didn't see sporty changes in design coming, didn't see the rise of green technology coming, didn't even see global warming coming as a hot political issue.
GM, like its cohorts in the U.S. car business, was living in denial, fattening up its management and whining that unions were hurting the big fat bottom line. It was joined in the chorus by Chrysler, which these days is seeking an additional $5 billion to go with the $4 billion in loans it scooped up in 2008.
Between the two companies, 50,000 jobs have been cut in recent months.
Meanwhile, windbag politicians and academic pundits tell a generation of factory workers they need to retrain quickly or face financial ruin. It seems those assembly-line journeymen should have known better than to think their jobs near the bottom would last.
Of course, it's not those jobs little capitalist boys dream of. It's the ones at the top that make them dizzy. And the ones at the top remain surprisingly secure with fat salaries and benefits and platinum parachutes and absolutely no chance of the CEO's job or vice president of air filters position going to a Mexican guy for a fraction of the labor costs.
If you'd had any real business moxie, you might have grown up to be a Texas billionaire like Robert Allen Stanford. According to Forbes, Stanford's net worth is $2 billion -- and that's just his own money.
That doesn't include the $8 billion the stammering calculator-punchers at the Securities and Exchange Commission contend Stanford stole through a complex matrix of deception associated with his bank. Maybe this news will finally shift the balance of gushing press about Stanford.
Speaking of trouble in the publicity department, billionaire casino mogul Donald Trump has abandoned ship as Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the third time. Trump makes no secret of his business brilliance -- he's published several books espousing his consummate savvy in the art of the deal -- and in recent years has still had time to star in his own television show. Now he's up for the lead role in "Who Used To Be a Billionaire?" You'll bet he won't have to sell even one of his mansions to make ends meet.
But whether it's the learned men at Bank of America, who accepted $45 billion in bailout money, or the sage suits at Wells Fargo, who cut us a break by grabbing only $25 billion, the bottom line is these incredible bankers and captains of American industry are undoubtedly as smart as their most ingratiating biographers would have us believe. They have so much, and are in line for more, for the simple fact that they had so much before.
Now Nevadans have learned our share of the $787 billion federal stimulus package is $1.5 billion, including $270 million for transportation and transit projects, approximately $500 million to patch the Medicaid funding gap and $543 million for education. That puts Nevada at or near the bottom in stimulus funding.
Surprise, surprise, surprise.
Although the stimulus funding is expected to create or save 34,000 jobs here, its impact won't put much of a dent in the state's nearly 10 percent unemployment rate (fifth highest in the nation).
Thank goodness Wall Street's reckless won't suffer much. To the billionaires go the billions while the working stiffs slouch toward the poorhouse.
At least you know your place. You realize you lack what it takes to be a corporate tycoon.
Business acumen aside, you blush much too easily.
John L. Smith's column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith/.