Tuesday, February 18
Bushonomics: One Family's Lifelong Legacy to America's Investment Class
Kevin Phillips, Seattle Times, February 17, 2003

For those who ever believed in it, Washington "compassionate conservatism" just took off its mask. Federal deficits are soaring. State finances are sinking into their biggest crisis since the Great Depression. So, what does the Bush White House propose?

No serious help for the states. Nor is there relief from payroll taxes to encourage job creation. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has rightly remarked on the lack of compassion in the Bush administration's economic stimulus package. Its centerpiece, costing $364 billion of the $674 billion to be spent over 10 years, is to reduce or end taxation of dividends, some 40 percent of which annually goes to the top 1 percent of wealthy Americans. ...

...Like father, like son. In fact, we can go further: Like great-grandfather, like grandfather, like father, like uncles, like siblings, like son. The predominant history of the Bush family for 100 years has been to work in the investment business (sometimes with an oil tilt); interpret the economy through the lens of investment; and tailor economic policies to favor friends, neighbors and relatives in the investment business.

If a president who came out of the widget industry spent all his time trying to promote the widget business, it would be obvious — and it would raise major ethical problems. But the magnitude of the Bushes' investment involvement and bias is too little understood.

Great-grandfather George H. Walker was the president of two major New York investment firms: G.H. Walker & Co. and W.A. Harriman and Co. Grandfather Prescott Bush was the managing partner of Brown Bros., Harriman & Co. Presidential uncles Jonathan and Prescott Jr. have been, respectively, the heads of small investment firms named J. Bush & Co. and Prescott Bush & Co. Prescott Bush Jr. has also been closely involved with Asset Management International Financing and Settlement Ltd.

Presidential brother Marvin runs hedge funds at investment company Winston Partners. Presidential brother Neil started an investment deal in Austin, Texas, and both George H.W. and George W. Bush have been in the kind of oil business that is largely driven by tax shelters and financing from friends and relatives.

Such finance doesn't look out for widows and orphans. [...]
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