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“What’s The Price On Jeb Bush’s Integrity?”: Preaching Against The Corrupt Coziness Between Money Interests And Government Officials

If you are a presidential aspirant and you have to tell people that you are a person of integrity — there’s a very good chance that you are not.

And those odds at least quadruple if you have to hire a talking head to attest to your honor; how intriguing, then, that a spokeswoman for the Bush campaign was recently trotted out to tell us that, “Jeb’s record, both in office as Florida’s governor and in the private sector as a successful businessman, is one of integrity.” The testimonial from his paid mouthpiece was necessitated by the still-evolving news story that, after leaving the Florida governorship in 2007, he immediately cashed in on his name, state government knowledge, and contacts. Bush became a richly paid legislative consultant and board member to major corporations that had received lucrative benefits from Florida’s government while he was at the helm of it.

With cynical chutzpah, Jeb, the presidential wannabe, now campaigns as an ethics reformer, piously preaching against the corrupt coziness between money interests and government officials. But in the last eight years, Preacher Bush has pocketed at least $18 million in personal payment from his own quiet spins through the revolving door of government-corporate corruption. For example, Jeb was only out of government office for four months when he got a nice sinecure as a board member of the insurance giant, Tenet Healthcare (which just happened to run several of Florida’s private hospitals under Florida’s Medicare program). In 2006, Tenet was found to have cheated patients and taxpayers with more than a billion dollars in overcharges. To settle this malfeasance, the corporation paid only $7 million.

Meanwhile, Tenet has gushed in recent financial reports that it has “benefited greatly from Mr. Bush’s extensive background in government service, his perspectives on public policy and social issues.” In heartfelt gratitude, during the past eight years, this one corporation alone has put more than $2 million in Bush’s pocket.

The Tenet case clearly shows that Bush suffers from a total lack of integrity, but poor ‘ol Jeb seems to also have a terminal case of “Mitt Romney disease” — he just keeps blurting out asinine comments that reveal the fact that, in heart, soul, and political mindset, he is yet another “son of a Bush.”

His inner-bigotry against the poor, coupled with his cartoonish concept of the black community’s political motivation, was outed recently when he was asked how he planned to win the votes of African-Americans. “Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” he responded. Okay, Jeb, go positive, so far so good! But then the deep prejudice derived from his narrow upbringing as a child of privilege surfaced. His campaign message “isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff,” he asserted with a sneer. Then, to punctuate his little lecture on how to appeal to low-income black families, the multimillionaire heir to the Bush fortune said he would tell them: “You can achieve earned success.”

Yes, Jeb — instead of hard-hit people lining up to get what you call “free stuff” (like unemployment compensation and health care), thinks it better to challenge them to “earn” success. Tell them to have the same gumption you did — to be born to rich parents, to be welcomed as “legacy” applicants into the most prestigious schools, and to have their fathers open the doors for them to “achieve” financial and political success.

Yet the former “shoo-in” for the GOP presidential nomination can’t figure out why he’s running fifth in New Hampshire and fifth in Iowa, even after pouring millions into a month-long blitz of TV ads to goose up his appeal. Such shallowness, callousness, and condescension expose an ingrained contempt for all who don’t live in Bush’s elite zip code. No one but his fellow “one-percenters” wants someone like that in the White House.

 

By: Jim Hightower, The National Memo, November 4, 2015

November 5, 2015 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates, Jeb Bush, Lobbyists | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Largest Share Of The Burden”: Sequestration Forces Cuts To Long-Term Unemployment Benefits For Millions

There’s plenty of talk about how sequestration is hurting some workers, like the government employees facing unpaid furlough days this year. But the cuts are hitting unemployed Americans hard as well, according to one employment rights organization.

A new analysis shows the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program – which provides benefits to long-term unemployed Americans – will be cut by $2.4 billion, impacting millions of unemployed Americans. The National Employment Law Project analysis finds that the EUC program provides an average weekly benefit of $289 before sequestration reductions. Sequestration will take $43, or nearly 15 percent, out of that average weekly check.

However, the monthly benefit cuts will be much steeper in some states, inching above $200 or even $300 per month. Among the states taking the largest chunk out of all long-term unemployed workers’ checks is Maryland, which starting June 30 cut weekly benefits to all recipients by 22.2 percent, or about $72 out of that state’s average benefit of $325. New Jersey also cut benefits by 22.2 percent, or $85 from its average benefit, as of June 30. Montana, meanwhile, cut benefits by 19.6 percent, or $51 per week, starting on May 5.

“[I]t is the workers who have benefited least from the economic recovery who are bearing the largest share of the burden of these domestic sequester reductions,” said the National Employment Law Project in a statement.

States administer their own unemployment insurance programs, providing benefits for up to 26 weeks per worker in most states. Once workers hit that point, they can start to draw on federal programs for long-term unemployed, which provides up to 47 additional weeks of federal benefits.

The reason for the differences in state cuts lies in when states started making the cuts to the federal benefit payments. Sequestration forced cuts to that EUC program, but the government left it up to the states to determine how and when to make those cuts.

In a March advisory to state workforce agencies, the Labor Department directed states to implement reductions quickly, but not every state did.

“The preferred method was the one that most states opted for, which was just to implement as quickly as possible and spread the reduction out over the entire population of individuals who were collecting EUC benefits,” explains George Wentworth, senior staff attorney for the NELP. “The later that the states implemented, that percentage [taken out of checks] increased.”

Though some states cut benefits for all workers, others chose different routes. Some implemented “non-paid weeks” for claimants, while others shortened the number of weeks that the unemployed can receive benefits. A few only cut benefits to new EUC beneficiaries.

Two haven’t done anything yet to make up the shortfall resulting from the sequester. Louisiana and Nevada have yet to cut benefits, which may mean that when they do, their cuts will be all the steeper.

North Carolina’s EUC program ended at the end of June, but those cuts were unrelated to sequestration. That state cut its weekly unemployment benefits, making it ineligible for federal EUC benefits.

While benefits are cut, long-term unemployment remains a persistent problem. Currently, nearly 4.4 million Americans have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. That is down significantly from an early 2010 peak of 6.7 million but is far higher than the levels of around 1.1 million seen in the mid-2000s.

 

By: Danielle Kurtzleben, U. S. News and World Report, July 3, 2013

July 8, 2013 Posted by | Sequester, Sequestration | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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