culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Friday, September 10, 2004
How to swindle soldiers. They're young and financially naive and they're willing to sacrifice their lives for our country. So let's take their money (
The chairman of a House subcommittee that is investigating the sale of life insurance and mutual funds to young soldiers and other military members unleashed a scathing attack on Thursday on financial companies active on military bases. The chairman, Representative Richard H. Baker, Republican of Louisiana, challenged not only the sales practices of their agents but also the fundamental merits of their products.

Mr. Baker led a four-hour hearing through a review of how life insurance and mutual funds are sold on military bases, opening with testimony from Specialist Brandon Conger, a soldier who said he was misled into buying an expensive insurance policy he did not want or understand, and ending with promises of swift, bipartisan action to address the problems.

Mr. Baker questioned whether the life insurance industry had done enough to root out agents who prey on young soldiers and indicated that the Pentagon might have a future date with Congress to explain its failure to adequately police the agents it allows on bases.

But Mr. Baker's fiercest criticisms fell on the companies that package and sell the high-commission products. He singled out the complex form of insurance sold to Specialist Conger by the American Amicable Life Insurance Company in Waco, Tex., and a type of mutual fund marketed by First Command Financial Services, in Fort Worth.

The product combines an expensive insurance policy that provides a low death benefit with an interest-earning savings fund that can accumulate cash value over 20 years. The mutual fund, called a contractual plan, imposes sales charges that consume half of an investor's first-year contributions.
Because they protect both Democrats and Republicans, protecting the financial safety of soldiers really ought to be a bipartisan action. Fleecing soldiers with shady mutual funds and rigged life insurance cannot be construed as patriotic no matter how twisted your worldview.

It comes as no wonder that the two companies singled out for censure both hail from the cesspool of fraud and mendacity that we are currently trying to flush from federal influence... the state of Texas.

For more on First Command (and its CEO's campaign contributions to the 2004 campaign of a certain George W Bush), check this out as well as the links at the top of this page. See also Stars and Stripes.

Greatest Hits · Alternatives to First Command Financial Planning · First Command, last resort, Part 3 · Part 2 · Part 1 · Stealing $50K from a widow: Wells Real Estate · Leo Wells, REITs and divine wealth · Sex-crazed Red State teenagers · What I hate: a manifesto · Spawn of Darleen Druyun · All-American high school sex party · Why is Ken Lay smiling? · Poppy's Enron birthday party · The Saudi money laundry and the president's uncle · The sentence of Enron's John Forney · The holiness of Neil Bush's marriage · The Silence of Cheney: a poem · South Park Christians · Capitalist against Bush: Warren Buffett · Fastow childen vs. Enron children · Give your prescription money to your old boss · Neil Bush, hard-working matchmaker · Republicans against fetuses and pregnant women · Emboldened Ken Lay · Faith-based jails · Please die for me so I can skip your funeral · A brief illustrated history of the Republican Party · Nancy Victory · Soldiers become accountants · Beware the Merrill Lynch mob · Darleen Druyun's $5.7 billion surprise · First responder funding · Hoovering the country · First Command fifty percent load · Ken Lay and the Atkins diet · Halliburton WMD · Leave no CEO behind · August in Crawford · Elaine Pagels · Profitable slave labor at Halliburton · Tom Hanks + Mujahideen · Sharon & Neilsie Bush · One weekend a month, or eternity · Is the US pumping Iraqi oil to Kuwait? · Cheney's war · Seth Glickenhaus: Capitalist against Bush · Martha's blow job · Mark Belnick: Tyco Catholic nut · Cheney's deferred Halliburton compensation · Jeb sucks sugar cane · Poindexter & LifeLog · American Family Association panic · Riley Bechtel and the crony economy · The Book of Sharon (Bush) · The Art of Enron · Plunder convention · Waiting in Kuwait: Jay Garner · What's an Army private worth? · Barbara Bodine, Queen of Baghdad · Sneaky bastards at Halliburton · Golf course and barbecue military strategy · Enron at large · Recent astroturf · Cracker Chic 2 · No business like war business · Big Brother · Martha Stewart vs. Thomas White · Roger Kimball, disappointed Republican poetry fan · Cheney, Lay, Afghanistan · Terry Lynn Barton, crimes of burning · Feasting at the Cheney trough · Who would Jesus indict? · Return of the Carlyle Group · Duct tape is for little people · GOP and bad medicine · Sears Tower vs Mt Rushmore · Scared Christians · Crooked playing field · John O'Neill: The man who knew · Back to the top

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