FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush’s Phony Money

“This growing divide between wealth and poverty . . . is both a challenge to our compassion and a source of instability.”

George W. Bush, March 22, 2002

One of Mr. Bush’s great skills is the ability to turn a small amount of money into a large amount of money with virtually no effort. Another is to give the impression that small amounts of money given for worthy projects are a much greater gift than they in fact are. The first skill was demonstrated long before he became governor of Texas.

Having failed in a number of business ventures Mr. Bush discovered one in which he was highly successful. He bought a 1.8 percent interest in the Texas Rangers Baseball team for $606,302. Prior to the time the team was sold, his co-owners gave him an additional 10 percent interest at no additional cost to him, presumably because they liked him and wanted to reward him for being who he already was. When the team was sold he received $14.9 million, proof that hard work is no substitute for having rich generous friends.

As president he has demonstrated that he can appear to be more generous than he actually is by making a big production of promising money for worthy causes that is less than it seems to be. He first demonstrated that skill when, on January 28, 2003, in his state of the union address he announced the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a five-year, $15 billion initiative to turn the tide in the global effort to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It sounded like it was a lot of money and it was. Less than $10 billion was new money, however, as the president acknowledged. Five billion had already been promised. According to the White House Press Release following the speech:

“The President believes the global community can-and must-do more to halt the advance of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and that the United States should lead the world by example. Thus, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief will provide $15 billion (including almost $10 billion in new funds) over five years to turn the tide in the war on HIV/AIDs.”

What the spokesman did not say was that the president was slowing down payment of $1 billion he had earlier pledged for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The president had pledged to provide $500 million for 2001 and $500 million for 2002. Under the January 28 plan the fund was to get $200 million a year for 5 years. What the spokesman also did not say, since he could not see into the future, was that when Mr. Bush submitted his budget for 2004 a few weeks after his speech he only asked for $900 million in new funding. In the 2005 budget he only asked for $1.2 billion in new funding and in the 2006 budget he only asked for $1.6 billion in new funding. These requests were made notwithstanding his January 28 promise to obtain new funding of $2 billion a year for 5 years. If he is to make good on the January 28 promise he will have to ask for and get from Congress $6.3 billion in the next two years. If history is a guide, he won’t ask for it.

On June 7th we again saw how Mr. Bush can use sleight of hand to make a little money seem more than it actually is. On that date Mr. Bush met with Tony Blair who had two things he wanted to discuss with Mr. Bush. One was Global Warming, something Mr. Bush does not understand and, not understanding, does not believe in. The other was funding for Africa.

Mr. Blair hoped to persuade Mr. Bush to provide more money for that beleaguered part of the world than the U.S. is now giving. (Although the United States contributes more aid to Africa than any other country, providing approximately one-quarter of the total amount of aid that is given, it gives only $.16 for every $100 of national income compared with the major European nations that presently give $.36 for each $100 of national income and have pledged to increase that to $.51 by 2010. Japan has pledged to double its contribution within three years.)

During the meeting Mr. Bush promised to release $674 million in aid. What he didn’t point out but the media did, was that it was money that had already been appropriated by Congress. Mr. Bush promised no new money at that meeting.

Commenting on Africa’s plight Mr. Blair said Africa’s poverty is: “the fundamental moral challenge of our time.” Mr. Blair hopes to develop a Marshall Plan for Africa. Mr. Bush won’t help out. According to the New York Time when asked about Mr. Blair’s proposal he responded: “It doesn’t fit our budgetary process.” Compassion often doesn’t.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a lawyer in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at: Brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu or through his website: http://hraos.com/

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail