Friday, August 26, 2011

Day Of The Voting Dead: Perry Re-Elected Despite 'Dead Peasant' Insurance Scheme

By Manifesto Joe

People don't seem to recall what was happening five years ago in politics. That was so long ago! I'll refresh some memories. Il Doofus' approval ratings were sliding down to eventual record lows, he was about to lose control of Congress -- and in Texas, Rick "Governor Goodhair" Perry was something less than popular.

The problem with Perry's opposition that year was that they couldn't unite behind one candidate. Goodhair was re-elected with only 39% of the vote, and his main opposition was split three ways -- Democrat Chris Bell got 29.8%, independent state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn got 18%, and country-Western singer and novelist Kinky Friedman got 12.6% (Kinky's a funny and engaging personality, but he flopped badly as a politician.)

Now let me really solicit memories, all the way back to late 2003. The Huffington Post has reminded everyone, including me, that Gov. Rick Perry's office was proposing to Swiss banking giant UBS a scheme in which UBS would buy life insurance policies on retired Texas teachers, cutting the state government in with revenue upon the deaths of said teachers. The survivors of the teachers would get nothing, and the elderly ex-teachers themselves would be offered something like $50 to $100 to sign the contract.

Here's a link to the Huffington Post article on the scheme. It's noteworthy that former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, author of some of the financial deregulation that half wrecked the U.S. and world economies, was by this time a vice president of UBS, and was reportedly in on the talks.

In this ghoulish scheme, UBS would essentially be gambling on the deaths of the retired teachers, with the state cut in on revenue from the deals. Corporations had long been using this as a tax break, since insurance premiums and death benefits are not taxed.

Walmart had already gone through horrid publicity over this practice, in which that company took out life insurance policies on its low-wage "associates." "Dead peasant insurance" was what some pundit dubbed it.

When news of this scheme hit Texas news media outlets in the coming months, it queered the deal. Teachers groups were predictably outraged. And, there seemed to be little question that the governor's office was the main force pushing the scheme. (It's also noteworthy that Perry's 23-year-old son went to work for UBS a few years later.)

But the voters didn't seem to remember any of this come 2006, nor did the news media. Knuckle-dragging zombies staggered to the polls and re-elected Perry, and they did it again in 2010.

Thankfully, the Huffington Post has raised this story from the dead. It's going to be important to keep reminding the public about this matter, and many others, as Goodhair lurches toward the possibility of the Republican presidential nomination next year.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.


Cletis L. Stump said...

Great post, Joe. It's nice to have a person who is so familiar with Perry. I will repost this in a couple of days with proper attribution and help spread the word. Shameless is the only word that fits a man like Perry. Well, not the only one.

Anonymous said...

He's like the sarah palin of of Texas.
Too bad he didn't take out that insurance on crooked politicians in Texas.
Would have made more money that way!

Motivated In Ohio said...

Dead Peasant. I hate that he did that, and he is as corrupt as they come, even contaminating ground water by allowing his buddy to buy a license to dispose of radioactive material and contaminate groundwater.

bearsense said...

Roll out your Molly Ivins library.
Everything she ever said about this dolt remains true.
God, I miss her

patg said...

how can a State produce Molly Ivans, Ann Richards et al and then subsequently elect Dubya and then maybe the only politician dumber than dubya governor?

Manifesto Joe said...

Hi, Cletis: "Stupid" comes to mind, too, and Americans will get plenty of chances to see that in coming months.

Hi, Anon: When he and Palin met, it was like Cowboy Ken meets Caribou Barbie. And in Texas, "crooked politicans" is redundant.

Hi, Motivated: Perry has gone from modest means at the beginning of his political career in the 1980s, to being a millionaire off real estate deals. Of course, his office says that the huge profits off said deals had nothing to do with his political connections.

Hi, Bearsense: Molly's the one who gave him the "Governor Goodhair" nickname. It took so well that now everyone calls him that.

Manifesto Joe said...

Hi, patg: You got me there. This is a place with a split personality. In some areas where the necks are especially red, Perry has been known to poll as much as 80% of the vote. Then, in cities like Austin, he's generally regarded as a corrupt fool.

too damn hot in texas said...


James Martin said...

On the one hand, Perry is Bush Lite. That's right, Perry is dumber than Bush and will entertain us with splendid malapropisms and other hee haw material. On the other hand, Bush is Perry Lite, since although Bush claims to be born-again, Perry claims to agree with people who want Jesus to exercise dominion over the world, hastening the Arab-Israel apocalypse so that the Rupture can happen.

Manifesto Joe said...

On one hand, debates between a U. of Chicago law professor and an Aggie who made C's in animal husbandry may be delightful to watch.

On the other hand, it's frightening that Perry could get that close to the presidency. And, since Bush II and Reagan both made it to the Oval Office, I fear that Goodhair's obvious stupidity won't be any disqualification for him.

Motivated In Ohio said...

James, I personally think that if God wants to end the world, he wouldn't need help from people like Perry. These people scare the crap out of me. Perry is dumber than stone. He makes Dubya look really smart.

Cletis L. Stump said...

Joe, I posted this today. Thanks again for sharing your insights.