Published reports indicate that Barrett Moore was once convicted of deceptively obtaining more than $300,000 in connection with a used car business in Australia. He served prison time for that. Other ventures he founded have gone bankrupt. There have stories alleging that he misrepresented his military background.
In a later venture he was CEO of a private military contracting firm called Triple Canopy, which did business in Iraq. The internet newspaper Michigan Messenger reported that the board of directors fired Moore and charged him with fraud.
That case was later settled out of court. Whatever the facts are, it might seem that a little bit of due diligence was in order before the state fell all over itself to give Sovereign Deed special tax breaks.
But prudence and caution never seemed to enter the heads of Michigan lawmakers. Last year, Democratic State Representative Gary McDowell and Republican State Senator Jason Allen got together.
They drafted a bill to grant Sovereign Deed sweetheart tax abatements. Lansing was a place last year where Democrats and Republicans normally weren’t even talking to each other.
But the lawmakers stopped their trench warfare long enough to unanimously approve Sovereign Deed’s tax abatements, which were then signed by a beaming Governor Granholm.
Well, I shouldn’t have been surprised. These folks are risking destroying a species of trout for a hundred temporary jobs produced by a controversial Upper Peninsula sulfide mine.
Believe me, I know how badly Michigan needs jobs. But what really bothers me is that this is a business that should be highly repugnant to all Americans, especially those who claim to represent the poorer and the downtrodden, namely, the Democrats.
Sovereign Deed’s entire premise is this: In the event of a disaster, some lives are worth more than others, so we are here to save the truly deserving: The rich. This is a company founded on the principle of billionaires first, poor women and children last. It wants people to think that our government is incompetent to save us, and that they need to buy protection. What I worry about is that if we encourage businesses like Sovereign Deed, their advertising slogan will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If well-off people buy their own services, that will give Congress every incentive to reduce disaster funding for the rest of us.
I can think of nothing more un-American. A few years ago, there was a character on the television series the West Wing who finds out he will be whisked off to a secure bunker if there ever is a nuclear war.
When he finds out his secretary isn’t on the evacuation list, he gets visibly upset and can’t sleep. Today, I suppose he would just l smile, and slip her a number for Sovereign Deed.
So here’s a memo to all concerned:
Just what were you thinking?