The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by J.C. Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Monday, September 13th,  2004
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?
“It’s yer money” Mr. Bush kept assuring the voters in 2000.  So the Texas Governor promised to return the voters their money in the form of tax cuts.  And, once appointed to the Presidency, he did -- in his fashion.  80% of taxpayers kept about $300 more of their incomes last year.  The bottom 20% kept sixty dollars more.  The top 1% of taxpayers kept over $11,000 each, but in the “yer money” world of Mr. Bush, some taxpayers are more equal than others.  Tax cuts are the universal economic panacea according to the administration’s brain trust, the cure for everything from no job growth -- only one million jobs lost so far -- to low economic growth, a feeble 2.8% last quarter.  It’s no surprise that grossly unequal tax cuts are a dismal policy failure.  What might be news to some is that Mr. Bush owes his own wealth entirely to a regressive tax hike.

In 1989 George Bush borrowed $500,000 from a bank of which he was once a director, and made a $600,000 investment in the Texas Rangers.  That gave him a 2% share of the baseball team, which his partners increased to a 12% share for reasons which had nothing to do with Mr. Bush’s close relations with the 41st President. "He had a well-known name, and that created interest in the franchise," said Tom Schieffer, a former president of the Rangers. "It gave us a little celebrity."

At the time the Rangers were a bad team with a dubious provenance.  The Washington Senators, a storied American League franchise in the nation’s capital, had some years before traded away a fine infield to acquire a washed-up former pitching great.  The subsequent collapse of the team led the owner, one Bob Short, a name forever despised by Washington baseball fans, to move the team to Arlington, Texas.

That was the birth of the Texas Rangers.   They played in a smallish, antiquated stadium.  The new owners wanted something a lot spiffier but they didn’t want to spend the required millions to pay for it.  Instead, they threatened to move the team out of Arlington unless the city paid the tab.  And Arlington succumbed, raising the sales tax on its citizens in order to pay the $135 million price tag for the new stadium.

A spanking new stadium was built, complete with expansive parking (acquired by a land grab that defrauded local owners;  the Rangers settled the subsequent law suits for millions of dollars), sky boxes, and all the bells and whistles expected of a modern facility.  The value of the team skyrocketed.  When Mr. Bush and his partners sold up, Mr. Bush’s 12% share on an original $600,000 investment earned him 14.9 million dollars, the kind of return that only lottery winners (and Presidential sons) can hope to earn.  This business “success” was enough to launch Mr. Bush’s gubernatorial bid, and the rest is history.  That it all started with a tax hike, which the citizens of Arlington are still paying, no doubt accounts for President Bush’s perpetual smirk.  After all, and especially for citizens of Arlington, Texas, it was "yer money.”

The Afternoon Affront

The inside pages of the Sunday New York Times Business section constitute a kind of journalistic wasteland where the inhabitants, perhaps through loneliness and neglect, become slightly unhinged.  How else to explain a lengthy “Economic View” story on Sunday detailing an American Enterprise Institute study purporting to expose the liberal bias of the business press?

The enterprising AEIers, staunch Republicans all, stayed up late to prove that there were more negative stories about the economy during both Bush administrations than there were when President Clinton reigned.  The NYT’s dutiful chronicle of the AEIers heroic efforts works its way down to ‘graph thirteen, where we learn “The fact that the economy did better under Mr. Clinton than either of the Bushes probably affected the coverage more than the researchers allowed for.”


©J.C. Nossiter 2004
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