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By Molly Ivins
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His delivery was flat, but when Bush got around to noticing the unemployed in his December 14 weekly radio address, his words sounded like Samuel Gompers’. “These Americans rely on their unemployment benefits to pay for the mortgage or rent, food, and other critical bills. ” By George, he’d noticed at last. Too late for Julia Jeffcoat and a million other Americans waiting for the economic security Bush promised them. Julia had lost her job as a security guard in December 2002. She got the twenty-six weeks of unemployment benefits most states provide.
As he spoke on Wall Street, stories were surfacing about Harken’s sham sale of a subsidiary to a group of company insiders. The acquisition was financed by an $11 million loan guaranteed by the seller, Harken Energy. In other words, a fake asset swap to punch up Harken’s annual profit-and-loss statement. The “sale” of Aloha Petroleum, from Harken to Harken, was again Enron writ small and so outrageous that the SEC stepped in, declared the accounting unacceptable, and forced the company to restate its earnings.
The odd thing about Bush at midterm is that most of the Washington press corps has yet to recognize just how extreme his ideology is. As governor of Texas he tried to privatize the state welfare system and considered privatizing the University of Texas; he fought for “voluntary compliance” with environmental regulations. With the power of large corporations in this country already grossly disproportionate because of their influence over politicians through money, government is the last effective check on corporate greed.
Bushwhacked by Molly Ivins