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Top Secret Competition --DeWese

November 2005
Oh great! This is just what we needed. More competition! New competition! The news item was all over the trade press during PRINT 05.

This time it's our federal government. They bought a new five-unit sheetfed press.

They paid cash. A few million for a new press is nothing to our officials in Washington, DC. After all, Congress just passed a Hurricane Katrina relief bill that is paying some cruise lines $2,500 per person per week to house Katrina victims. I don't mind that so much, but the weekly rate is about three times the regular price when the ships are actually cruising.

Then there was the recent Transportation Bill to which various legislators attached 1,600 "pork barrel" amendments. I'm all for helping the Katrina victims and having a great transportation system, but these amendments had nothing to do with the hurricane victims or better roads. One taxpayer watchdog group reports that there were 13,977 pork projects totaling $27.3 billion in the fiscal 2005 appropriations bills. These were new appropriations for our politicians' various pet projects in their home states. This is called getting reelected.

If you had that kind of money to throw around, you would never lose a customer. Just teasing. Don't start throwing money around among your customers or you'll wind up in jail.

We don't have a pork barrel in the printing industry.

The Feds don't worry about money. First, they've got our tax money and, whenever that runs out, they can print more money. For the federal government, running out of money is called having a deficit.

Taxes Come First

If you, you dumb printer, run out of money, the government classifies you as stupid and demands that all your tax money be paid first and immediately.

So, you damn sure better be able to borrow some dough, sell some more printing real quick, grab your shotgun before that old wolf comes wailing at your door, or even have a yard sale. The yard sale is safest.

This time the new competition is the sneaky part of the government. It's the CIA. Yep. The CIA purchased a five-color Roland 700 perfector with in-line coating. Of course, the spies got the ColorPoint and automated washup features.

I guess the CIA needed the press because they now need to print our Top Secret stuff in four colors, plus coating.

I'll bet the CIA picked up on my research published in my column last month. It revealed that last year the printing industry made profits of $3.4 billion on revenues of $170.0 billion versus the airlines that lost $9.071 billion on revenues of only $131.5 billion. Furthermore, the airlines employ a paltry 581,088 people to our 1,300,567 co-workers in printing.

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