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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Baby, We Were Born to Bun

Jack Lynch

Way back in 1984, conservative columnist George Will got it all wrong when after a Bruce Springsteen show, he declared that the song "Born in the USA" was merely a patriotic, flag flying salute to the sort of jingoistic politics followed by Reagan supporters and then promoted the idea to the Reagan campaign, leading the old man himself to declare it, or rather misinterpret it, to much scorn.

Reagan said, "America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts; it rests in the message of hope in songs so many young Americans admire: New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen. And helping you make those dreams come true is what this job of mine is all about."

Will had written, "I have not got a clue about Springsteen's politics, if any, but flags get waved at his concerts while he sings songs about hard times. He is no whiner, and the recitation of closed factories and other problems always seems punctuated by a grand, cheerful affirmation: 'Born in the U.S.A.!"

Springsteen responded at a September concert in Pittsburgh, "The President was mentioning my name the other day, and I kinda got to wondering what his favorite album musta been. I don't think it was the Nebraska album. I don't think he's been listening to this one."

So I thought it appropriate to place Will's recent column about the mythic success of food corporation McDonald's in similar Springsteen tradition –

"There's a McDonalds at the Edge of Town"

"You Can Cook, but you'd Better Not Touch"

Will says that 85% of McDonald's are franchisee owned, but that is inaccurate, in fact, they have a goal of reducing company owned units to 30% from its current benchmark of 70% corporate owned. Link to: McDonald's Annual Report 2006 .

Further, Will claims that McDonald's has made more millionaires than any other company, another dubious claim, unless its based on the high cost of opening a franchise, which last stood at $250K plus – I guess you must be close to being a millionaire to consider it.

Will also makes overbearing claims for corporate greatness in minority opportunities, and while it certainly proposes great success in that regards, and demonstrates it somewhat, the results of studies and media suggest many better diversity promoters and advancers in the business world: Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies for Minority Workers and the Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc.

George Will's conservative shades are about as relevant as Reaganomics at this late date.

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