Two weeks before Thanksgiving in 2003, top officials from Texas Governor Rick Perry’s office pitched an unusual offer to the state’s retired teachers: Let’s get into the death business.
Perry’s budget director, Mike Morrissey, laid out a pitch that was both ambitious and risky, according to notes summarizing the meeting provided to The Huffington Post.
According to the notes, which were authenticated by a meeting participant, the Perry administration wanted to help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired Texas teachers would live. Perry was promising the state big money in exchange for helping Swiss banking giant UBS set up a business of teacher death speculation.
All they had to do was convince retirees to let UBS buy life insurance policies on them. When the retirees died, those policies would pay out benefits to Wall Street speculators, and the state, supposedly, would get paid for arranging the bets. The families of the deceased former teachers would get nothing.
Wal-Mart and other economic parasites do this all the time with their
When the deal eventually leaked, teacher groups balked at the entire arrangement.
“It was just pretty morbid and I don’t think it convinced anybody it was gonna enrich anybody except Phil Gramm and UBS,” Texas State Teachers Association Spokesman Clay Robison told HuffPost. “Our members were pretty much appalled by it.”
You had to know that Phuckwad Phil was in there somewhere.
During the November 2003 meeting, Gramm and the Perry administration were well aware of the potential for a media debacle. “The ‘liability’ is really on the PR side for AIG … and possibly TRS,” the meeting notes read. “They want to avoid a ‘Wal-Mart’ problem.”
And now, the money shot:
The deal collapsed. But ultimately, none of its top architects paid a serious political price for the debacle. Perry did not abandon his close relationship with Gramm. A few years later, Perry’s 23-year-old son went to work for UBS, and Gramm began urging Perry to let UBS privatize the Texas state lottery. Perry named Guthrie executive director of the teacher pension fund. Morrissey is now a senior adviser to Perry. And Perry himself, of course, is now a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination.
Texas = Wal-Mart.
America = Weimar.