A government money market debacle unfolding in Florida is raising questions about former governor and presidential brother Jeb Bush's possible involvement in the mess.
Florida froze withdrawals from a state investment fund earlier this week when local governments withdrew billions of dollars out of concern for the fund's financial stability.
In the past few days, municipalities have withdrawn roughly $9 billion, nearly a third of the $28 billion fund (which is similar to a money market fund) controlled by the Florida's State Board of Administration (SBA). The run on the fund was triggered by worries that a percentage of the portfolio contained debt that had defaulted.
A majority of this paper was sold to SBA by Lehman Brothers. Bush, as the state's top elected official, served on a three-member board that oversaw the SBA until he retired as governor in January. In August, Bush was hired as a consultant to the bank. Lehman spokesperson Kerrie Cohen, speaking on behalf of Bush, said they had no comment and would not say when the bank had sold Florida the paper. SBA did not return calls
Isn't that just special? Bush steers business to Lehman and now Lehman steers money into Jebbie's pockets. But hey, folks, nothing to see here! No conflict of interest, no financial shenanigans, nothing anyone would be interested in.
Yes, there is a lot of corruption in America, and prominent Democratic families are part of it sometimes (the Kennedys being the most prominent example). But really, when you think about it, is there ANY family in American history more corrupt than our own home grown Borgias, the Bushes? From Prescott's dalliance with the Nazis to George H. W.'s Iran-Contra involvement to Neil's S & L fiasco to W's knack of always coming out richer from collapsing businesses, the Bushes always ruin everything they touch and then walk away with the money. Our mainstream press has been amazingly uncritical of this Blueblood Mafia for years. It's as Kevin Phillips said: the Bush family has been at the nerve center of the military-industrial complex, as well as being intimately connected to the world of big finance, for DECADES. (Check it out here.) They can smell money like a warthog looking for truffles. It's their extraordinary combination of dishonesty, ruthlessness, and malicious incompetence once they get what they want that makes them so dangerouus. From the link cited just above, an article published in February 2004:
In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about how "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." That complex's recent mega-leap to power came under George H.W. Bush and even more under George W. Bush — with the post-9/11 expansion of the military and creation of the Department of Homeland Security. But armaments and arms deals seem to have been in the Bushes' blood for nearly a century. ...
Oil: The Bushes' ties to John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil go back 100 years, when Rockefeller made Buckeye Steel Castings wildly successful by convincing railroads that carried their oil to buy heavy equipment from Buckeye. George H. Walker helped refurbish the Soviet oil industry in the 1920s, and Prescott Bush acquired experience in the international oil business as a 22-year director of Dresser Industries. George H.W. Bush, in turn, worked for Dresser and ran his own offshore oil-drilling business, Zapata Offshore. George W. Bush mostly raised money from investors for oil businesses that failed. Currently, the family's oil focus is principally in the Middle East. ...
Enron is another family connection. The company's Kenneth L. Lay made his first connections with George H.W. Bush in the early 1980s when the latter was working on energy deregulation. When Bush became president in 1989, he gave Lay two prominent international roles: membership on the President's Export Council and the task of planning for a G-7 summit in Houston. Lay parlayed that exposure into new business overseas and clout with Washington agencies. Family favoritism soon followed. When Bush senior lost the 1992 election, Lay picked up with son George W., first in Texas and then as a top contributor to Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. Before Enron imploded in late 2001, it had more influence in a new administration than any other corporation in memory. ...
Top 1% economics: Over four generations, the Bush family has been involved with more than 20 securities firms, banks, brokerage houses and investment management firms, ranging from Wall Street giants like Brown Brothers Harriman and E.F. Hutton to small firms like J. Bush & Co. and Riggs Investment Management Corp. This relentless record of handling money for rich people has bred a vocational hauteur. In their eyes, the economic top 1% of Americans are the ones who count. Investors and their inheritors are favored — a good explanation of why George W. Bush has cut taxes on both dividends and estates, where most of the benefit goes to the top 1%. Over the course of George H.W. Bush's career, he was close to a number of the merger kings and leveraged-buyout specialists of the 1980s who came from Oklahoma and Texas: T. Boone Pickens [Chief financier of the Swift Boat Liars in 2004-JM] Henry Kravis and Hugh Liedtke. "Little guy" economics has almost no niche in the Bush economic worldview. ...
Debt and deficits: Whenever a Bush is president, private debt and government deficits seem to grow. Middle- and low-income Americans borrow to offset the income squeeze of recessions. The hallmark of Bush economics during both presidencies has been favoritism toward capital over workers. Federal budget deficits have soared because of a combination of upper-bracket tax favors, middle-income job shrinkage, big federal spending to hype election-year economic growth, huge defense outlays and overseas military spending for the wars in Iraq and elsewhere. Imperial hubris costs a lot of money.
The Bush family is a collection of locusts who swarm in and destroy everything in their path to further their own gain. One day, perhaps, we'll know the whole astonishing story, but for right now, one thing is clear: whatever the Bushes touch turns to crap.
Except for their investments and bank accounts--those always seem to grow.
(Hat tip: Atrios)