Skin in the Game

Member Group : Lincoln Institute

As President Obama and Congress debate another trillion dollars in ‘economic stimulus’ spending – the European style socialization of the United States – we have to wonder who, as the say, has skin in the game?

That term was popularized by one of America’s great capitalists Warren Buffet. He buys companies when management of the company have their own money in the business. That’s their ‘skin in the game.’

Though the phrase took a new term last week when raunchy magazine publisher Larry Flynt, owner of among others, Hustler magazine, claimed that the adult entertainment industry deserves a taxpayer bailout.

Hard times have apparently hit porn and Flynt along with another x-rated hustler by the name of Joe Francis think it is the U.S. taxpayers’ responsibility to help them come out of an economic softness in their industry. "People are too depressed to be sexually active," Flint said in a speech to the Adult Video/Adult News Convention in Las Vegas last week, "this condition is serious," he continued "America can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex."

Admittedly my research on this industry is limited. I thought I might be pushing the limits of my extraordinarily patient wife if I brought home magazines from the local convenience store that were wrapped in cellophane and go my the names of ‘Hustler’, ‘Girls Gone Wild’ and one other who’s name probably can’t be used in a family oriented newspaper. So the profitability of Mr. Flynt and Mr. Francis’ enterprises are difficult to judge. There aren’t any credible estimates on the value of the industry however the fact is that in 2007 the grandfather of mainstream porn, Playboy Enterprises, reported a loss of $1.1 million.

In that way Mr. Flynt may have a point. One night last September the Secretary of the Treasury decided that the US Taxpayers needed to buy AIG Insurance. It wasn’t long after that somehow we ended up buying major banks, brokerage houses and auto makers. The smallest piece, so far, were the auto makers and they seem to be the only ones subject to Congressional oversight. If all of them can get these trillions of dollars why shouldn’t Mr. Flynt and his colleagues get theirs too and you can get yours, right after I get mine.

These are not bail outs. This is an entire paradigm shift of American power moving it more dramatically than any time in our history to Washington DC. The big difference between what the Federal Government is doing and what Mr. Flynt does is that Mr. Flynt knows where his skin is in this game. If we don’t demand that this process slows down to some rationale perspective someday our children and grandchildren may regard these days as a truly gross financial obscenity.

Albert Paschall is Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research. A non-profit educational foundation based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Somedays is syndicated to leading newspapers and radio stations through out Pennsylvania. [email protected]