Orman: Bush Owes America His Family Fortune for Causing Financial Crisis

March 20th, 2009 10:15 AM

Former President George W. Bush is personally responsible for the current financial crisis and should give every penny of his family fortune to the American people as a result.

So proclaimed financial advisor Suze Orman in an article published Friday at WWD. 

Ironically, the piece also pointed out that Orman didn't foresee the collapse of the financial services industry, and not only continued to recommend people buy real estate as the bubble was being pumped, but also purchased an expensive apartment in New York City close to the peak.

That's probably Bush's fault, too:

Sitting in a green room after her TV interviews, she lambasts everyone from Alan Greenspan to Larry Summers to the former president of the United States, who holds an especially dark place in her heart. “Commander in Chief?” she says of George W. Bush, with a mix of disbelief and scorn. “You blew up every single financial vessel we had and if you think you aren’t personally responsible, well, the blame starts at the top. There is no higher top than you, SIR! If I were you, I would feel so absolutely horrific that I would take every penny I had and distribute it to anybody and everybody to help them in whatever way I could. You owe the American people every penny of your fortune and your family’s fortune.”

Wow. It's all his fault. And this is a so-called financial expert?

Honestly, I wish the author would have asked Orman to name the pieces of legislation that were enacted since January 2001 which caused the financial crisis. That would have been a hoot.

Maybe more important, as she preaches personal financial responsibility, irrespective of government regulation or lack thereof -- and, of course, who was actually responsible for reducing such regulation -- how is a president to blame for malfeasance and negligence on the part of corporations here and abroad?

As she blamed Bush for banks, brokerage firms, and insurance companies around the world buying into the credit default swap Ponzi scheme, she had nothing but scorn for those that fell prey to Madoff's:

Even the victims of Bernie Madoff don’t get off scot-free when Orman gets going. “You walked right into that financial concentration camp, my loves,” she says later in a regrettable metaphor, given that the world’s most famous concentration camp survivor, Elie Wiesel, was among Madoff’s bilked investors. “I mean, you didn’t have to give 100 percent of everything to him.”

Well, Suze, didn't all the folks at the world's troubled financial institutions walk voluntarily into that same concentration camp? Why the double standard?

But that wasn' the only interesting hypocrisy:

These days, Orman gives money to everything from breast cancer research to Democratic political candidates... [...]

Fair Isaacs’ credit model, known as a FICO score, is the most widely used in the United States and the arrangement between them and Orman has been a source of controversy in the financial press, since Orman promotes the importance of a good FICO score in her books at the same time she is earning money from the very company that sends that score to potential lenders.

Another source of controversy is Orman’s relationship with TD Ameritrade, with whom she has a business partnership. To convince viewers of her show to begin saving, Orman suggests going to Saveyourself.com (a Web site she set up) and placing $100 a month in a savings account with that firm. If you deposit $100 in each of the first 12 months, the bank will match you — up to $300. “It’s a savings rate of 30 percent,” Orman has said repeatedly. The trouble is, after the first $1,200, the interest rate drops to an ordinary one, making the offer more of a marketing ploy for the bank than anything else.

Recently, Orman has also come under fire for not anticipating the meltdown of the financial system and for being a sometime cheerleader of investing in real estate. For her part, Orman says, “I still believe that real estate purchased at the right time, when it made sense, is one of the best investments you will ever make. You cannot live on a stock certificate.”

Orman also pooh-poohs the notion that her own $3.6 million purchase of an apartment in the Plaza hotel at the height of the boom was less than sound. “If I wanted to sell that right now, I could,” she says, adding bullishly that she would “probably” break even on the purchase price, the building’s lawsuits and negative publicity aside. “I gutted it; I put money into it. I think somebody would come and see it and love it and buy it. People who have money, they don’t care.”

She does acknowledge she failed to see rampant corruption in the financial system but says it wasn’t completely her fault. “How do you call a market when the people that are running the banks and the brokerage firms are lying to you through their teeth?” Orman says. “How do you call anything? I was naïve enough that I just believed them all.”

So, add it all up, and the financial crisis was George W. Bush's fault, and her own inability to see it coming was the fault of the folks on Wall Street.

And yet this woman tries to teach others to have personal financial responsibility.

Now THAT's entertainment.