Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
Commentary
8/11/2009
03:48 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Cash For Clunkers Part 2: 'Moolah For Mainframes'

The White House is secretly planning to follow "Cash For Clunkers" with a new scam called "Moolah For Mainframes" that will reward CIOs for replacing mainframes with smartphones and turning data centers into wetlands. The top-secret plans also say the Administration will launch a government-run IT company in 2010 "to keep those greedy private IT companies honest."

The White House is secretly planning to follow "Cash For Clunkers" with a new scam called "Moolah For Mainframes" that will reward CIOs for replacing mainframes with smartphones and turning data centers into wetlands. The top-secret plans also say the Administration will launch a government-run IT company in 2010 "to keep those greedy private IT companies honest."Since the White House has already made incursions into banking, the car industry, insurance, mortgages, and healthcare, the Administration sources said that a number of top executives in the IT industry "have become kinda jealous and angry" about the government's lack of direct ownership in the tech business.

Using air quotes liberally, another White House source said, "The President is on "friendly terms" with many "techie CEOs" and he says they feel there's been a "breach of etiquette" with all those other industries getting "stimulus" while the IT industry has had to "battle it out" in the marketplace with only customer revenue to "fall back" on."

(Asked why he felt the need to use "air quotes" so "religiously," he said it was because he was speaking "off the record" and did not wish to be "quoted directly.")

"I mean, really, even those right-wing free-market capitalists on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal think Cash For Clunkers is like a total success," one of the sources told Global CIO, slipping me a printout of a recent Journal opinion piece called "Cash For Clunker Policy Is Crackpot Economics," which includes this passage that the source highlighted:

Clearly, we spoilsports need an attitude adjustment to Washington's new economics. And since money is no object, let's give everyone a $4,500 voucher for other consumer goods. Let's have taxpayers subsidize the purchase of kitchen appliances, women's clothing, the latest Big Bertha driver-our Taylor-made is certainly a clunker-and new fishing boats. These are hardly less deserving of subsidies than cars, and as long as everyone thinks we can conjure wealth out of $4,500 giveaways, let's go all the way, the Journal wrote.

When I suggested that, given the headline, that opinion piece was probably intended to be sarcastic, the source rolled her eyes and said, "Don't sweat the details - instead, try to see the big picture. That's why the new Moolah for Mainframes program is going to change the world. Instead of businesses running on big giant things that take like megawatts of electricity, those companies can just plug in a smartphone and save the planet. And, mainframes can't do text messages but smartphones can."

And now for the details. Under the Moolah For Mainframes program, these Administration sources said, American businesses that exchange mainframes for smartphones will receive cash payments totaling $4.5 million per mainframe provided (1) they simultaneously trade in all company cars in exchange for bicycles, and (2) replace those mainframes with smartphones powered by organic batteries.

Those companies that wish to swap out their mainframes for organically powered smartphones but refuse to trade in their clunkers for bicycles will receive $4,500 per mainframe, according to the provisions of the Moolah for Mainframes plan.

Finally, those companies that just want to turn in their old mainframes and refuse to go along with any of the government's ancillary programs will receive $200 million in coupons entitling them to $200 million worth of merchandise from the first government-owned IT company, which should make its debut sometime in 2010, the sources said.

"The White House believes that IT is important," the sources said. "And while the President has no interest - none - in getting involved in private industry, he feels it would be irresponsible not to give the buying public a government-run IT option that will keep those greedy IT companies in the private sector honest."

Global CIO will, of course, share more information on this vital development as it becomes available.

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