You've worked hard all your life to achieve the American dream. But it's starting to seem as though the only people living the dream are those who President Obama refers to as "savvy businessmen."
Some argue that an Ivy League education is critical to achieving business savvy. Others insist it's pedigree (one of your ancestors must be the spawn of Satan). My personal theory is that we're all born with business savvy but it's usually socialized out of us.
No matter. It's clear that we all need to start incorporating the principles of savvy businessmen into our own lives if we're going to get ahead. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Redefining your work ethic
Many people make the mistake of assuming hard work and providing quality goods or services is all it takes to succeed. Wrong. It's how much you can rake in for you and your shareholders while providing as little value as possible to the consumer. We've seen how this principle works for banks and large corporations, but how does this apply to average Americans?
Say you happen to get lucky and score a housecleaning job. Don't make the mistake of spending an inordinate amount of time cleaning. When you're not blogging, tweeting and issuing Facebook updates about how hard you're working cleaning the house, most of your time should be spent lowering the wattage on all the light bulbs, smearing Vaseline on the homeowners' glasses and shoving things under rugs to give the appearance of cleanliness.
As your skills improve, you can start removing expensive articles and cash from the home to sell them. If you're really savvy, you'll even charge a removal fee.
Apply this kind of thinking to your every endeavor.
Note to men: unless your wife has a paying job or a trust fund, you'll want to get rid of her too. As you become more savvy, you'll probably want a brand new trophy wife. Consider bringing in someone from Asia or Russia--they'll do the same job for much cheaper and are much more appreciative of your meager benefits.
Become too big to fail
We've all seen the benefits of being too big to fail. But if you're not a major corporation who holds the economy in your hands, where can you go when you need a large quantity of cash to avoid devastation of apocalyptic proportions?
Fortunately, with a little planning and cultivation, similar types of bailouts are available to everyone. Just make sure to keep all receipts, correspondence, texts, videotapes, blood tests and semen stains. When you go to your benefactor on bended knee, make sure it's clear that if you go down, they're going down with you.
The importance of branding
We've seen how savvy businessmen have renamed old financial products and turned them into lucrative earning tools. Banks cleverly rebranded "usury" by renaming it "29% plus fees and penalties" and opened the door for billions in earnings. "Unloading worthless crap on the taxpayers" became "Public-Private Investment Program". And lets not forget Goldman Sachs' brilliant rebranding of "massive Ponzi scheme" to "doing God's work."
Similarly, insurance companies made a bundle rebranding "protection money" with the new name, "premiums." Some advertising agencies have followed their lead by rebranding "slave labor" as "crowdsourcing."
Think about how you can rebrand financial instruments in your own life. "Shoplifting" can become "long term non-collateralized loan". "Running a sweat shop" is "teaching children life skills" and "fraud" becomes "storytelling." Suddenly, the world is your oyster.