White House for Sale (Cheap)
Last week, the New York Times reported that leading Republican lobbyist "Black Jack" Abramoff received $9 million for arranging a 30-minute meeting between President Omar Bongo of Gabon and President Bush in May 2004.
Abramoff was not doing anything out of the ordinary; he was merely trading in some of his Bush stocks on the GOP Suck Exchange, or GOPSUX. Little-known outside DC, this market allows power brokers to trade face time with party leaders, political favors, cushy government jobs, lucrative no-bid contracts, and more for cold hard cash.
The GOPSUX can be quite volatile; commodity values rise or plummet depending on public opinion polls and the activity of special prosecutors. Today, for example, that same meeting with the President would trade for only $987.32.
Laura Bush, on the other hand, has retained her value on the GOPSUX. At today's prices, a 30-minute chat with the First Lady (Ticker: LLB) would cost nearly $500,000. For an extra $50,000, she'll come to the meeting wearing fishnets and stiletto heels and carrying a riding crop.
When the Reverend Pat Robertson (REV) recently declared the city of Dover, Pennsylvania, a godless hellhole because its residents voted down the teaching of "intelligent design," that was the result of a trade on the Sux. Dover's citizens pooled their money and purchased a Robertson tirade against their town. Why? Because the last time Robertson did something like this--in 1998, when he urged God to smite Orlando after the city put up rainbow flags to celebrate gay rights--property values shot up 200%. It seems a lot of people want to live in a godless hellhole.
In fact, nearly all of the Bush administration's major achievements -- the economy (TAX), Iraq (IRQ), national energy policy (OIL), and so on -- can be tied directly to trades made on the exchange.
Some might call GOPSUX just another form of influence peddling or corruption, or even the wholesale usurping of democracy. But it's really just the natural culmination of free market capitalism. When everything else can be bought and sold, why should government be an exception?