James Dyson, the inventor of the self-named vacuum cleaner, justified sacking his 800 strong UK workforce and replacing them with cheaper labour in Malaysia because "wage levels doubled" over here and he "would have gone out of business." In 2003, Dyson and his wife paid themselves £17m in dividends. He has declined to say what level of payout they could be in line for this time, but the doubling of profits in 2004 to £102m suggests the figure could be well over £34m. Now that his own wages have doubled, will he be sacking himself?
The war in Iraq has cost the US over $156 billion (and counting). This is the same price for ensuring that every child in the world was basic immunizations for 52 years.
The energy group Centrica, which owns British Gas, announced an increase in the profits of its domestic energy business of some 83%. The company admitted that the "required customer tariff increases" which raised gas bills by 19% since January 2004 were among the main reasons for a rise in profit margins.
Nearly a million customers went to its competitors after the domestic price rise, only to see their new suppliers also raise their prices.
Thank Thatcher the gas industry is not one of those evil nationalised industries who charge their unfortunate customers high prices and pass the risk and the burden of the wholesale gas price onto its customers!
Profit per employee made by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2004 (pre-tax earnings were £6.9 billion, a 14% increase).
The average salary at the Royal Bank of Scotland, even including the profit-share element.
The Bush Junta shows its common touch in this wonderful exchange between a woman named Mary Mornin and the Commander in Thief on his recent "Let's Destroy Social Security" Tour:
Ms. Mornin: Okay, I'm a divorced, single [57 year-old] mother with three grown, adult children. I have one child, Robbie, who is mentally challenged, and I have two daughters.
Bush: Fantastic. First of all, you've got the hardest job in America, being a single mom...
Ms. Mornin: I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.
Bush: You work three jobs?
Ms. Mornin: Three jobs, yes.
Bush: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)
Ms. Mornin: Not much. Not much.
Words fail. But Bush is wrong. Thanks to the spread of neo-liberalism, having to work three jobs to make ends meet while the ultra-rich get richer is no longer "uniquely American." The real question is, how long will people tolerate such a sick system?
We all know that Bush is a liar, but this takes the biscuit. Children's writer and illustrator Eric Carle is famous for "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." A Democrat, he has an unexpected fan in Bush, who nominated that very book as his favourite story when he was a child -- even though George W was 24 when the book first came out. The man cannot even tell the truth about what books he claims to have read. Incredible.