July 16, 2002

Two Kinds of Texans

Just returned from a full day on stage in El Paso. Went very well. I enjoyed meeting the people from the project which is helping over 700 teachers learn to integrate technology into their professional lives.

And now, while catching up on the news while relaxing at home, I read Paul Krugman's piece from the op-ed page of today's New York Times.

"As the unanswered questions about Harken Energy pile up -- what's in those documents the White House won't release? Who was the mystery buyer of Mr. Bush's stock? -- let me now turn to how Mr. Bush, who got by with a lot of help from his friends in the 1980's, became wealthy in the 1990's. He invested $606,000 as part of a syndicate that bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in 1989 -- borrowing the money and repaying the loan with the proceeds from his Harken stock sale -- then saw that grow to $14.9 million over the next nine years. What made his investment so successful?

"First, the city of Arlington built the Rangers a new stadium, on terms extraordinarily favorable to Mr. Bush's syndicate, eventually subsidizing Mr. Bush and his partners with more than $150 million in taxpayer money. The city was obliged to raise taxes substantially as a result. Soon after the stadium was completed, Mr. Bush ran successfully for governor of Texas on the theme of self-reliance rather than reliance on government. "


Contrast this easy skate to wealth with the less profitable road taken by the hard working teachers I met today. Personally, I'd rather be among people who measure success in lessons well taught.

It's galling to think that Bush actually believes that his rise was a result of his business acumen, and that anyone can do it if they are similarly brilliant.

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