The surprising thing was that hardly anyone complained about CEO
Newt's devolution of the U.S. from a democracy to a plutocracy.
A few pundits had warned just before the turn of the century that the
country was galloping in that direction, but they forgot to define the word.
Members of the X generation, who prided themselves on not paying
attention to politics anyway, thought a plutocracy might be a fan club for a
"Hey," they'd say to one another during the MTV commercial breaks,
"at least Pluto wouldn't spend all our social security money on puppy
NASA employees thought plutocracy might lead to a manned space
probe to the planet farthest from the sun, so they were all for it.
Two or three classicists at Harvard suspected plutocracy was a new
cult devoted to the Greek god of the Underworld, but they didn't see how
revealing that theory would help them get tenure, so they kept quiet.
It was an ex-newspaper editor from Madison, Wis., who finally
pointed out that plutocracy was government by the rich and for the rich.
But nobody paid attention to him because he was poor. He'd been out of
work since back in 1995 when CEO Newt exposed him as one of the hoard
of "pro-government, anti-free-market" socialists who infested editorial
pages in those days.
What threw some people off was that CEO Newt hadn't always been
a plutocrat. He was born poor, made a lateral move to the shabby gentility
of the professoriat, then got himself elected to Congress.
That was, remember, before the 1996 "entrepreneurial incentive"
Constitutional amendments requiring $10 million ready cash to run for the
House, $20 million for the Senate, and $50 million for Chief Executive
Officer (formerly President). The least controversial was the amendment
requiring an annual income in six figures before you could vote.
Congressmen Newt got his first taste of plutocracy back in 1995 when
he became Speaker Newt and shortly thereafter published his wildly
successful WWII novel, 1945. The plot:
U.S. chief of staff John Mayhew allows Erika, a beautiful German spy
with a "lethal pout," to sit "athwart his chest" while she promises to do
"terrible things" in return for military secrets. But the magic can't last, and
when it ends she realizes that "I was little more than a throw-away
container for your lust."
It sold like hot cheesecakes and Speaker Newt made almost as much
money as Robert James Waller.
And that's when he began to see that love of money is the root of all
virtue. So he set about making the nation safe for plutocracy by getting
government off the backs of the ruling class.
"Noblesse oblige sans oblige," Speaker Newt explained
The Truth, Mainly
He began small, suggesting early in 1995 that we encourage children
to read, not by funding public education, but by paying them$2 per book.
For that innovation, Speaker Newt won the 1996 Donald Trump
Foundation's $10 million Award for Pluperfect Plutocratic Pedagogy.
And he had a ready answer when he was criticized for trying to end
public funding of public broadcasting: He donated $10,000 of his own
money to public TV. If everybody else would donate $10,000, he said, we
could "keep public broadcasting without draining the taxpayer" of the
$1.09 per person per year it had cost before.
After he pushed through tax cuts for corporations and for citizens
making $200,000 a year, and after he privatized public schools ("socialized
education"), he was elected CEO in the fall of '96. The incumbant, who
insisted on calling himself President despite the Constitutional
amendment, couldn't raise the necessary $50 million because his lawyers
had left him bankrupt. A pathetic figure, he's remembered today only for
his incompetence: He left the White House with less money than he
There were a few murmers at the coronation when CEO Newt
changed the national anthem to "O Trickledown" (to the tune of "O
Tannenbaum"): "O Trickledown! O Trickledown! Let Big Cash dribble
But most found the new anthem easier to sing, and besides, CEO
Newt told his advisers, the words would mollify the disenfranchised
One who wasn't mollified was the ex-editor from Madison. He was
moving off his heat grate in front of the White House to join the other boat
people to Haiti when he saw CEO Newt sniffing roses in the Rose Garden.
"I hope you're satisfied, you rascal you," he yelled. "You've turned a
pretty good democracy into a pretty bad plutocracy."
"Don't be silly," CEO Newt said with a wink. "A plutocracy is a fan
club for a Disney dog."
Satterfield is a college professor and writes as a means of discovery.