Reporters Jason Cherkis and Zach Carter of Huffington Post have revealed an insurance scheme by Texas Gov. Rick Perry that, in a just world, would win him at least a finalist spot in the All-Time Slimiest Governor Sweepstakes. You can read all about it here, but here’s the short version:
In 2003, Perry proposed this charming idea as a money-maker for Texas’ state government — help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired Texas teachers would live. And no, this isn’t satire, it’s straight-up news. Perry wanted retired Texas teachers to permit Swiss banking giant UBS to buy life insurance policies on them. When the retirees died, the policies would pay out benefits to Wall Street speculators who had bet on when the teachers would die, say Cherkis and Carter. Texas’s state government would get paid for arranging the bets. The families of the dead teachers would get nothing. If a teacher balked at the idea, Perry suggested offering them 50-100 bucks.
In short, “Perry was promising the state big money in exchange for helping Swiss banking giant UBS set up a business of teacher death speculation.” Words like “inappropriate” or “exploitative” or “government intrusion into citizens’ lives” seem weak in the face of such warped, callous sleaziness. Again, read the whole story for yourself and make up your own mind.