Save the CEOs

by Rich Herschlag

This is Clark. Last year, Clark bought a 12,000 square foot waterfront villa in Boca Raton and a 7,000 square foot penthouse in Dubai. His daughter’s sweet sixteen cost 2.3 million dollars, five hundred thousand of which went to Lindsay Lohan, who came out of the cake. He crashed a vintage DeLorean into a parking meter on the Strip in Hollywood and left it on the side of the road rather than deal with the insurance mess. He bought his trophy wife an 18 carat gold Elsa Peretti Tiffany diamond necklace and his girlfriend a 24 carat one. His Yorkshire Terrier was treated for toxic shock after a particularly lengthy Botox session.

But that was then. Today, Clark has put virtually half his fleet of Barchettas up for sale. Plans for a new heliport at his home in Key West are on hold. News of the recent global financial meltdown gave him a mild upset stomach until he flicked the TV from CNBC to Animal Planet. His wave pool is set to “standby” during off hours. He has stopped flossing with polar bear sinew. He has turned down the thermostat on the north end of his walk-in closet.

Clark has been forced to economize on jet fuel by doubling up on coast-to-coast charter flights. Due to the sudden need to horde vast sums of cash, he’ll need a new mattress any day now. Some of his CEO cronies cashed out with a few hundred million more than Clark did and had the gall to brag about it on the back nine at Augusta. He dumped most of his derivatives only minutes before the Eurodollar hit 1.36, narrowly averting a brush with non-billionaire status. His life coach laid off his personal trainer.

Golden parachutes have become bronze parasails. It’s getting harder to laugh all the way to the bank when your bank has gone under. How long can we ignore this problem? How long can we look away? How long can we stand by idly while the richest of the rich are reduced to simply the superrich?

Many of you are probably saying, the problem is so great and I am just a retired civil servant with a decimated pension and a part time job at Target. What can I do? Well, you can of course watch helplessly while your government mortgages your future and your children’s future and their children’s future by buying up millions of subprime predatory loans. But that’s not enough. And that’s why we here at the Heritage Foundation started Save the CEOs. Thanks to Save the CEOs, you can sponsor Clark and dozens of asshole prima donnas just like him.

That’s right, for just a thousand dollars a week, you can make a difference in Clark’s life. Your donation could mean the difference between a forty-seat and a forty-five-seat screening room. Between store-bought cheese and fresh goat cheese for his Lhasa Apso. Between a 24-inch and a 36-inch flat screen TV for his valet’s bathroom.

You’ll sleep better—whether in your own bed or in a cardboard box—knowing you’ve done your share to preserve the status quo in the United States of America . All funds will be automatically debited from your checking account on the first of the month. And all donations are tax deductible—for Clark, not you. However, if you earn more than $250,000 a year, don’t worry—John McCain will make you whole.

We encourage you to write to Clark each month and tell him how much your sponsorship means to you and how it has given you a brand new outlook on life. In return, Clark will not write back. But if he did, his message would go something like this:

“Hello. I am, at the moment, being fellated by twin Brazilian runway models. This morning, a Geisha girl walked on my back while I TM’ed my broker to short my boarding school roommate. Later today I’ll be taking a spa with some of my friends at AIG and hatching a new plan to start a high yield tax sheltered hedge fund with federal bailout money. Then it’s over to the United Arab Emirates embassy for drinks and a nifty scheme to change citizenship status and avoid a windfall profits tax.

“To the degree that such an unlikely and preposterous thing is possible, I really do appreciate your pathetic little gesture of dipping into your boy’s college fund once a week to make sure the sushi platters at my Abu Dhabi duplex never get too light and my collection of vintage 1960 Folignan Cognac never runs dry. When times are tough, we must all sacrifice except for me. I don’t do sacrifice.

“But I understand you do, and that you’re very good at it. I understand that during the last recession, you moonlighted at Wendy’s to pay the COBRA on your wife’s health plan. That’s exactly what I would have done if I were a loser too. But since I am not and you are, I believe it’s best that we play to our strengths. Cheerio, old chum. And one more thing. If you happen to see me from a distance on the tarmac at Monte Carlo Airport, stay away. And please don’t wave.”


Rich Herschlag is the author of a new book, Before the Glory: 20 Baseball Heroes Talk About Growing Up and Turning Hard Times Into Home Runs (HCI, 2007). His other books include Lay Low and Don’t Make the Big Mistake (Simon & Schuster, 1997) and Women Are From Manhattan, Men Are From Brooklyn (Black Maverick, 2002).

4 replies »

  1. RE: PJBravo

    You are omitting the fact that neither candidate, or political party, really cares about middle class politics at all. Both McCain and Obama are neoliberal, globalization, free marketers who have everything to gain if the Clarks of the world do well. Every Presidential campaign that I can remember (born 1981) has broken down on petty issues: moral decline, abortion, who will lower your taxes more, gun control, etc. Both of the current candidates would probably respond to your criticism by saying that would go against the “American Dream” without having to define exactly what that means to them. Right now the CEO free marketers have the best situation in the world: they have benefited from 30 plus years of political culture that has told the common citizen taxes are bad and government infers too much. As with any political smear campaign, you tell someone something enough times that they will believe it and develop automatic responses against it. So as a candidate you could not tell citizens you were going after CEOs, or raise taxes, or develop stronger regulations without people reacting automatically as they have been socially programmed–from the American “left” and “right”.

  2. Hey, Clark got caught long and wrong. That’s part of any speculator or risk takers life at one time or another. That’s part of the beauty of the free market system…..irrational excesses are punished, as they should be.

    Too much schadenfreude going on here.