Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Joe’s Ambition Trumped Joe’s Desire to Protect Hunter


neweconomicperspectives |  Goldberg’s column is unusually honest for a Democrat like Goldberg.  It includes two important admissions about Joe and Hunter Biden’s poor judgment in dealing with Ukrainian matters.
As all this was happening, Biden’s son, Hunter, sat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a natural gas company that Zlochevsky co-founded, at some points earning $50,000 a month. Zlochevsky might have thought he could ingratiate himself with the Obama administration by buying an association with the vice president. All available evidence suggests he was wrong.
We need to put Hunter Biden’s $50,000 per meeting in perspective, he began receiving it in 2014, when the purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita GDP figure for Ukraine was slightly over $8,500.  In a single month, Hunter Biden received fees over six times what a typical Ukrainian received in a year.  Hunter Biden had no relevant expertise to be on the Ukrainian firm’s board of directors.  The only disagreement I have with Goldberg’s description is her use of the word “earning” instead of “received.”  Hunter Biden does not “earn” his money.  He makes money off those who seek to get in good with his dad.  The Trump children, of course, have super-charged this sleaze.

Hunter’s one real job miraculously led to his ludicrously rapid promotion to EVP of a major bank.  The bank, of course, was a major contributor to his dad.  Hunter’s miraculous advancement to EVP is a typical sleazy payoff to elite politicians’ kids.  Both parties do it.  The sole reason Zlochevsky hired Hunter was to try to influence favorably his dad and the Obama administration.  This too is typical elite sleaze.  Yes, we should remember that Trump’s spouse, children, and their spouses, make Hunter look like a highly competent saint when it comes to cashing in on their tawdry Trump ties.

Goldberg correctly notes the modest nature of the sleaze in the Bidens’ case.  There is no evidence that hiring Hunter Biden ingratiated the Ukrainian firm with the Obama administration.  There is no evidence that hiring Hunter Biden ingratiated the Ukrainian firm with Joe Biden.  Joe Biden’s successful effort to fire the corrupt non-prosecutor increased the chances that the Ukrainian government would sanction the firm.  Trump’s claim that the fired prosecutor was an anti-corruption hero investigating Hunter’s purported corruption is a double lie.  Trump’s attacks on Joe and Hunter Biden are lies.  This should not surprise us.  First, Trump always lies.  Second, Joe and Hunter Biden’s sketchy actions are not crimes or ethical violations.  They may be ‘corrupt’ in the broad sense of that word in everyday usage, but not in the legal sense of statutes against corruption.  Trump, therefore, has substituted lies for the nuanced reality.