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Bush Doing What Bush Does Best: Selling Snake Oil!
Donald Schiffler dschiff1@tampabay.rr.com

In June 1990, George W. Bush went on the road to sell Harken Energy stock with the promise of a bright future. (Bush served on the board of directors of Harken Energy Corporation and his position on a special Harken committee gave him detailed knowledge of the company's deteriorating financial condition.) On June 22, 1990, he sold $848,560 worth of Harken Energy stock that was trading at $4 a share. One week later, the company posted spectacular losses and the stock plunged sharply. Shares lost more than 60% of their value over a 6-month period. Bush made $668,185 on the sale. Investors later got back 45 cents on the dollar. "Knowing when to sell is the golden goose of stock trading and using inside information to profit is insider trading."

In 1993 George W. Bush, then part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball franchise, sold the city of Arlington on the proposed plan to have it pay for and build a new stadium, and told the city how much to pay for the land it had condemned. Evidence later introduced in a Fort Worth courtroom proved that Bush and his fellow owners of the Texas Rangers conspired along with the Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority (ASFDA) - a quasi-governmental entity endowed with the power of eminent domain - to take land from private citizens in order to enrich themselves and the value of the Rangers.

The biggest and most important piece of land coveted by the Rangers was a 13-acre parcel owned by the heirs of television magnate Curtis Mathes. According to court documents, an appraiser working for ASFDA, valued the land at $3.16 per square foot, for a total value of $1,515,000. The seller wanted $2,835,000.00 for the land, ASFDA offered the Mathes heirs just $817,220 for the property. The Mathes family refused to sell and ASFDA seized the land through eminent domain (condemned). Bush and his baseball partners then sold the Texas Rangers to Thomas Hicks for $250 million. For his 1.8 percent share of the club - which cost him $605,000 - Bush got $15 million.

In October 1994, George W. Bush told members of the Texas Association of Business, "I understand full well the value of private property, and its importance not only in our state but in capitalism in general, and I will do everything I can to defend the power of private property and private property rights when I am the governor of this state." George W. Bush, the man who said he would do everything he could to "defend the power of private property and private property rights" made $15 million by abusing the rights of others.

In May of 1996, a Tarrant County jury found that the ASFDA had not paid a fair price for the 13 acres of land it condemned; the court subsequently awarded the owners of the land, the Mathes family, a $5 million award. That $5 million award then sat in escrow with interest accruing at a rate of about $1,800 a day. A year after the jury's decision, the city finally decided not to appeal the verdict and paid the judgment. The court subsequently ordered that the now $7.5 million judgment should come from Bush and the Rangers. They still haven't paid the $7.5 million they owe the city of Arlington.

In 1997, and again in 1999, Governor George W. Bush sold the people of Texas the need for a tax cut ($1 billion in 1997 and $1.85 billion in 1999 -when Texas boasted budget surpluses of $3.9 billion and $6.4 billion, respectively). He promised a boost to every citizen, as well as the ability to take care of the Texas budget. As of March 22, 2001, Texas is looking at a $700 million budget shortfall. Chris Harris. the 52-year-old Republican state senator from Texas, who currently serves as the Senate's president pro tempore and vice chairman of the powerful Finance Committee. has proposed a constitutional amendment to roll back Bush's 1997 property-tax-relief measure, one of the then-governor's proudest accomplishments. There has even been talk of a tax increase. All told, according to a recent analysis by the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, Bush's 1997 and 1999 tax cuts have reduced the revenue available for the next two-year budget by $2.6 billion. "Texas was already a low-tax, low-service state," says Dick Lavine, a fiscal analyst with the group. "We had an opportunity to do something [about that], and we took the opportunity to do tax cuts instead."

When asked in September of 2000 about the pending deficit in Texas, Governor Bush replied "I hope I won't be there to deal with it, I'm running for a different job." Now Mr. Bush is out there once again, traveling the countryside, pitching his Snake-Oil remedy, only this time with a "Projected $5.6 Trillion dollar United States surplus and a HUGE $1.6 Trillion dollar tax cut".

Ask yourselves why. Why the list of reasons for this tax cut has changed 8 times in the two months since Bush has assumed office. Why each time he's that much more desperate to get the people behind his effort to "Give back their money". Why in light of the fact that most people (even Republicans in Congress) view it as too extreme or express a preference to pay down the debt, he insists on giving a tax cut that favors the wealthiest 1%. Why? A lot of this wealthiest 1% are the very people that gave him the money to run for office, the people that helped him steal the election, the same people that he made the promise of big returns on their investments.

Why hasn't anyone dared to ask why he insists so strongly on this one promise of such a huge tax cut, when he's already displayed his willingness to break any number of his other campaign promises? Why does it clearly favor the rich? Why he feels he has to go out and SELL his tax cut, if it's so good for everyone? Or why he's not willing to give a smaller cut now, right away and the rest at a later date. Could it possibly be that it will take $1.6 Trillion dollars and maybe more to payback all that he promised?

Make no mistake folks, Mr. Bush is already being pressured to get folks in line to support this tax cut, and get it passed as soon as possible, by whatever means possible, time is money, and every day this tax cut gets postponed it's money his backers are losing.

At a recent Republican function, Bush made the statement "You can fool some of the people all the time - those are the people you have to concentrate on". That was not a joke, as most in the room mistakenly thought. That one statement is exactly why Bush the salesman is out on the road, why the ones actually running this administration put him on the road. He's a salesman, it's what he does best. He's out there to sell to those that can be fooled all the time, sell his tax cut with the promise that it will be to their benefit, to the countries benefit, when in reality it is his way of keeping his promise of the big pay back to those that helped him most.

Is America next to experience the Bush promise of pay back at all cost, the way Texas is? To watch helplessly as our great nation goes through again what it did for the 12 years prior to our last administration, when Reagan and Bush Sr. gave away millions to the rich while diving us further into debt? Is America once again going to be "The nation that can be fooled all the time" by this new breed of Snake-Oil peddler?