Thursday, April 4, 2013

On Tuesday I kidded Gov. Scott Walker...

...of Wisconsin for blaming his administration's anemic job creation record on "uncertainty."

("Uncertainty," by the way, seems to be some funky Republican code word for "Democrats.")

It always gets under my skin when I hear Republicans say this, because it sounds like Baloney Sausage to me. (Pardon my French.)

And as I thought more about it, I couldn't help asking myself, "When is the future ever not 'uncertain?' "

For example, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer in 1976. If I remember correctly, that was an election year. The Vietnam War had just ended in 1975 and the Watergate scandal had driven President Nixon from office in 1974. "Stagflation" (low growth combined with high inflation) was the word on everyone's lips as a relatively unknown one-term governor from Georgia unseated Gerald Ford from the White House.

Could Jobs and Wozniak have possibly looked at each other in 1976 and said, "This is a great time to start a company! The future looks so, so ... certain!"  I kind of doubt it.

Or how about Microsoft, which was also founded around that time. Do you suppose -- for one minute -- that Bill Gates and Paul Allen gave one thought to tax rates, or public employees' contracts, or anything else that Gov. Walker and his Republican cohorts would define as "uncertainty?" Somehow I don't think so. Can you imagine a conversation like this?

Gates: "Hey, let's start a software company!"

Allen: "Whoa, what if it succeeds and we become billionaires? What do you think the tax rate on capital gains will be in twenty years?"

Gates: "Good point. If only the future wasn't so darn uncertain!"

Or do you think it went more like this?

Gates: "Hey, let's start a software company!"

Allen: "Cool!"

I'll bet it was more like the latter. I'm no entrepreneur, but I just can't picture two young guys sitting around moaning like Gov. Walker about "uncertainty." Can you?

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