Monday, July 21, 2008

This Entry Has Not Been Printed at Government Expense

Got a call and a fax -- remember faxes? -- from the Business Advisory Council today. Apparently the BAC wants to include my name in the Congressional Order of Merit and to representing Massachusetts on the BAC.

First, I am not a member of the political party that sponsors the BAC. So while I may be honored I'm not sure why they'd ask me -- nor why they continue to ask me. This is probably the fifth time I've been asked. (I am always polite on the phone, by the way.)

Second, I did a quick search on the Business Advisory Council (I won't link to them here since this is not a political blog and because I'm sure the other party has similar initiatives) to find out whether I should join. I certainly have ideas about how the government should adjust the playing field to make it more level for small businesses, and would be happy to share them (but this is not a political blog so I won't share them here). The criteria to joining the BAC is not surprising really, though I was anyway. They've got an application form you can download, but the only questions they ask are: name, company name, complete company address -- and, oh yes, information about your contribution. In fact, while the BAC's main page calls it a "printable application form," the form itself says it's a contribution page while the document's electronic name is pledge.pdf.

So as Groucho Marx famously said, "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members. "

Third, I keep wondering (but do not ask) what it means to represent Massachusetts on a Business Advisory Council. Do I have to wear a sash? Is there a swimsuit competition and a talent portion? I don't think I can, should or could compete in either category.

Fourth, the follow-up fax I received had tiny print at the bottom of the letter that said: "Not printed at government expense."

I thought: Of course the fax wasn't printed at government expense -- it was a fax. It was printed at my expense! For all I know, the letter was prepared electronically and distributed through an e-fax application.

So I'm left wondering: can I write of, as a contribution, the cost of my paper and toner and depreciation of my fax machine the portion used to print this fax?

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