Monday 26 Sep 2016

Money Honey
Matt Seinberg

Pink Floyd says it best, “Money, it’s a gas.” These days, it takes a lot of money to buy gas. In my area, it’s between $4.09-to-$4.50 per gallon of regular and we haven’t even started the summer driving season yet.

There was a story in today’s newspaper that the Chair of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, received a $25.2 million pay package for 2011, up from $21.5 million, in 2010. The oil giant had one of its most profitable years ever, and rewarded Mr. Tillerson for it. Sure, they’re doing it on the backs of the lower and middle class that were hardest hit by the economy

I remember when I first moved into my house, about 12 years ago, and the Gulf station across the street was at 89 cents a gallon. Now it’s $4.09. Isn’t inflation wonderful

The government started to regulate the banking industry more closely after the economic crisis three years ago, with high-level executives having their compensation watched very carefully.

Why don’t the oil industry executives, which are ripping off the American public, have their compensation regulated, and as heavily taxed as the average person? There is no doubt in my mind that these top executives are paying less in taxes than they should be.

I’ve always been a big fan of money, be it the actual green stuff or the colorful plastic cards we all carry in our wallets. I enjoy that plastic, since it doesn’t actually feel like we’re spending anything. We get to pay for it about a month later, and, even then, we just transfer funds from one account to another, or electronically move it from one bank to another

I also enjoy getting money from other sources than work, be it selling something on E-bay or Craigslist or through my website or writing this column every week. Hey, you think I do this free of charge? Nothing in life is free, unless it’s a meal paid for by a parent. Even then, you’re going to pay for it somehow, somewhere. Trust me; I know it and for a fact.

How about the 1972 film, “Cabaret,” starring Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles and Joel Grey as the ghoulish Emcee singing “Money (Makes the World Go Round)?” I was 14 at the time and didn’t quite understand what was going on. I saw the movie with a bunch of friends while on a vacation in Florida and, though we enjoyed the movie, I don’t think the story truly penetrated our young brains. Thinking back, it is eerie watching a musical about the Nazis rising to power in Germany; the atrocities they perpetrated upon their Jewish citizens.

Then, of course, there’s the "Dire Straits" rock classic, “Money for Nothing,” from 1985. These lyrics had a big effect on my then 28-year psyche; I was chasing every girl or woman I could find. Sometimes I got lucky, sometimes I didn’t. The law of averages was in my favor though at that age,

"Now look at them yo-yos, that’s the way you do it

You play the guitar on the MTV

That ain't workin', that’s the way you do it

Money for nothin' and chicks for free?"

Other great money songs include “Can't Buy Me Love,” by The Beatles; “Money, Money, Money,” by Abba; “Material Girl,” by Madonna; “She Works Hard for the Money,” by Donna Summer; “Take the Money and Run,” by Steve Miller Band and “Money Changes Everything," by Cyndi Lauper.

I’m sure that there are many more money songs, but those are the ones that made an impact on my young mind. The other song that I always think about is “Cats in the Cradle,” by Harry Chapin, because it’s about a father that loses sight of what’s truly important in life.

I had the chance to meet Harry three times, once when, I was in high school, and he performed at the school; twice when I was doing an internship at the diocese television studio in Uniondale. Chapin was fascinating and, like every performer, he had the need to make money. He also had the need to give back and half the concerts he did were for charity.

The next time you fill up your gas tank, think of Rex Tillerson and his outrageous salary, say a few choice curse words under your breathe, and write an email to ExxonMobil telling them you want a job where you too can makes lots of money. That’s what I’m going to do.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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