Column, 308 words

Crony Capitalism Made Rick Perry Our Energy Secretary

The former Texas governor's only experience for the job comes from stiffing the American people — and their environment.

Jim Hightower

Rick Perry has taken quite a tumble since being governor of Texas. He was a twice-failed GOP presidential wannabe and then ended up being a rejected contestant on Dancing with the Stars, the television show for has-been celebrities.

But now, having kissed the ring of Donald Trump, Perry is being lifted from the lowly role of twinkle-toed TV hoofer to — get this — taking charge of our government’s nuclear arsenal.

That’s a position that usually requires some scientific knowledge and experience. But as we’re learning from Trump’s other cabinet picks, the key qualification that Trump wants his public servants to have is a commitment to serve the private interests of corporate power.

That’s why Perry — a devoted practitioner of crony capitalism and a champion of oligarchy — has been rewarded with this position.

rick-perry-crony-capitalism

(Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

As governor, Perry went to extraordinary lengths to let the fossil fuel giant Energy Transfer Partners run a pipeline through the ecologically fragile, natural wonders of Texas’ pristine Big Bend region. In fact, he rammed it right down the throats of local people, who were almost unanimously opposed.

Perry then accepted a $6 million campaign donation — i.e., a payoff — from the company’s corporate boss, who later made Perry a paid member of the corporation’s board of directors.

Perry also privatized a state-run, low-level nuclear waste facility, turning it over to Waste Control Specialists, a firm owned by a major campaign contributor. Then he let the corporation double the amount of waste dumped there, while reducing its legal liability for damages.

Finally, after taking even more cash from the owner, Perry pushed to let him put high-level nuclear waste in the dump.

Rick Perry has zero expertise or experience for the job of energy secretary, but he has plenty at stiffing the American people and our environment.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, and a member of the Public Citizen board. Distributed by OtherWords.org. 

  • DFinMOzarks

    Jim,
    Doncha get it? This is Trumps way of getting even with one time or current political opponents. He makes them grovel for a job …usually one they have zero qualification for or it’s an appointment to head an agency the person thinks should be shut down.

    Mitt said many nasty – but true stuff about Trump and then he comes – hat in hand, begging for a plum job. Mitt wanted the biggest plum in the basket and figured since he’s traveled to a few foreign places, he’s qualified to be our top diplomat. ‘The Donald’ drags out his decision to max out media interest before dumping him.

    Perry was just as honest and aggressive about saying bad stuff. Now he wants a job. Trump gives him one …to head a group he thinks is a huge waste to rich taxpayers – like himself. He pays about 1/2 what ordinary middle class taxpayers shell out but heck, he’s a quick study. Let’s see what his plans are for an agency that is the watchdog for the biggest nuclear stockpile on the planet – and pray that he isn’t as incompetent at it as he was as governor or as bad as the guy another former Texas governor put in charge of FEMA.

    HELLO FELLOW AMERICANS. REMEMBER THE ALAMO? No, try and remember Mike Brown, who’s biggest qualification to head up FEMA was that he raised some horses …and some money to get Bush 43 elected …and remember what his incompetence did to New Orleans – one of our biggest export centers for American goods.