Investing in America, one magazine at a time . . .
The Hon. Henry Paulson
US Dept. of the Treasury
Washington DC 20001
I’m writing you on behalf of Four Wheeler, America’s oldest and most prestigious four-wheel drive publication. Since 1962, we have serviced the needs of millions of Americans in the four-wheel drive community; we’ve been in business for over four decades, have sold millions of copies, and raised tens of millions of dollars in revenues.
As with many other companies in our field, we have found ourselves sailing in troubled economic waters in recent days---and while we enjoy the support of millions of consumers and enthusiasts, our success and survival are far from assured.
We believe that the failure of Four Wheeler would be a terrible economic and cultural loss to the millions of four-wheel drive enthusiasts, the manufacturers and suppliers who have depended on us for decades for the latest breaking news and information in the world of four-wheeling and the backcountry travel. We have, in our own way, become synonymous with a uniquely American way of life---a vital national treasure like General Motors, or Chrysler, or Goldman Sachs. Okay, maybe not that last one.
But make no mistake, we are too big to fail. And this is why I am writing today---to request a government rescue package.
We’re not asking you to take on any unsecured loans, or to cover any bad business investments like what you’re being asked to do for Citigroup---our sense of patriotic duty would never allow us to ask for a naked bailout. We’re only asking for a helping hand in these challenging economic times. Therefore, what we can offer in exchange for a one-time rescue payment are the following collateralized assets, which can be leveraged for appropriation and/or liquidation in the future should the Treasury deem it necessary. They are:
(1) Historical assets: Nearly five decades of American history are on display in the Four Wheeler library, most of them unique and irreplaceable documents deserving of a home in the National Archives. Like Lincoln’s handwritten version of the Gettysburg address, Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration, or the collected works of Spiro T Agnew, it is hard to put a dollar value on such a valued historical asset, but in the interest of getting a deal done, we’ll opt for a conservative figure. Estimated value: $1 billion.
(2) Infrastructure assets: Our modern, state-of-the-art network of PC stations, servers, scanners and mainframes can be pressed into immediate service for national security, for air traffic control, for hurricane warning and response, or for any other pressing national need. Or maybe just for publishing the monthly NHTSA Newsletter, it's your call. Estimated value: $200 million.
(3) Vehicular assets: Close to a dozen custom automotive creations, all utterly unique and one-of-a-kind, many of which would be valued additions to the Smithsonian Institution as rolling examples of the evolution of 20th-century automotive history and technology. And, unlike some other automotive dudes you may know, we own no corporate jets, and always travel in coach. On Southwest. After peak hours. Plus, if you swing by our offices and drive these puppies off the lot for us, we’ll give you a generous discount. Estimated value: $200 million.
(4) Digital assets: Since 1995, fourwheeler.com has been on the cutting edge of the digital revolution, and the latest version of our property is one of the fastest-moving machines on the Information
Goat Path Superhighway. As you well know, digital publishing is the future of mass media in this country, and one could reasonably expect to raise millions from an IPO of this property should our loan package require additional monetization. Plus, you get weekly installments of “Wheelers in Tha Hood” and all the press releases you can stand to read on our timely and informative blogs. Estimated value: $500 million.
(5) Real estate assets: The Four Wheeler Midwest Bureau occupies some 40 acres of prime real estate in one of the most desirable and fastest-growing regions of the country. It’s close to most major national distribution centers and transportation corridors, and it’s strategically located in close proximity to some of America’s most vital energy sources (okay, ethanol farms). Plus, it’s only a stone’s throw from the hometown of our next Commander-in-Chief and can easily be converted into a Crawford-style vacation home should the future Chief Executive require a country home to escape the bustle of Washington. Estimated value: $300 million.
Granted, we realize that great rewards come with great risks, and therefore understand that the Treasury may need to effect a nationalization plan to fully securitize its loan to us. On the other hand, we are the nation’s leading 4x4 magazine, so if we need to change our statement of ownership to read “Uncle Sam Interlink” at the top of the page, we’re happy to make the sacrifice on behalf of the Republic.
Let me know if I can be of any additional service to you in these challenging times. And thanks in advance for the dough. You can make out the check to "D-O-U-G-L . . . "