This article has been published on The Huffington Post.
The clarion call from Republicans: Fraud!
Using fear in promoting selfish and ultimately destructive policies has become the GOP methodology — the backbone of their final attempt to hold onto a waning power.
Like the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” the GOP’s mantra for passing illegitimate legislation is the word ‘fraud.’ People are slowly catching on to their deceit and the party numbers are dwindling. Dropping with each deception, with every lie.
Are Republicans a party of false prophets?
Nationally and in state after state these scare tactics are employed by Republicans to deny rights, divert power, and reduce or eliminate help or assistance to those in need — especially the poor. The irony is that most of these right-wing politicians taking from the poor, children, vets, and our elderly, portray themselves as Christians.
When they want to eliminate a program or benefit, the argument they use, the phrase they invoke implies — fraud, or some thinly disguised derivative of the word.
They believe, collectively, that if they repeat a lie often enough the fear it creates will motivate their tunnel-visioned minions to vote, even against their own self-interest.
‘Fraud’ has been used to take away voting rights in many Republican states. More recently it was used by Republicans in Congress to reduce the distribution of food stamps for the needy through the SNAP program. Both variations on a dying theme including newer disguises: the takers verses the makers, 47%, the complacent unemployed.
Using this tactic has paid handsomely for some in our society; for the richest one percent and the largest corporations. But it has hurt millions of good Americans and their families.
As long as right-wing politicians are willing to give up their integrity for either fame or fortune, until they have a come-to-Jesus epiphany, they will continue these nefarious practices.
One recent example of their nefarious intentions: passage of the House Agriculture bill which retained farm subsidies but stripped SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, of $4 billion per year over the next decade used fraud as a justification for the cuts. They left UnGodly subsidies to farming conglomerates in tact.
Fourteen members of the House who voted to slash food stamps, voted to keep the farm subsidies that lined their already fat pockets despite a clear conflict of interest. If they had recused themselves the Bill would have failed.
The cry of wolf over food stamp abuses has masked the ‘real’ fraud — the fraud they don’t want you to see — farm subsidies. Chairman Lucas received huge farm subsidies.
But the fraud doesn’t stop there.
Big oil subsidies — around $4,000,000,000 per year — for an industry that made $47,500,000,000 last year is ludicrous and diverts money from important social programs that would help millions of low income individuals and families, children and seniors.
And then there’s Medicare fraud. The perpetrator of the largest healthcare embezzlement of taxpayer money in history (Columbia/HCA fined $1,700,000,000) is the current Republican Governor in Florida, Rick Scott. Scott was CEO of the company during the fraud! They were convicted of overcharging and double-charging the government and bribing physicians to refer to them. He should be in prison, not comfortable in a Governor’s mansion in the deep south.
The perfidious Rick Scott has also fleeced Florida taxpayers’ with the deceitful drug testing program for welfare recipients that he championed, scaring Florida citizens into accepting state-wide testing by crying ‘fraud.’ The tests produced negative results. After testing over four-thousand welfare recipients under the new law — before it was stopped by the Court — at $35 per test the results found a mere 2.6% were in violation, mostly for marijuana. A net dificit to the state of over $47,000. The Florida Legislature likely has a higher percentage of drug use than Florida’s welfare recipients.
But the unscrupulous Republican Governor of Florida does not stop there. He, along with other venal right-wing Governor’s use ‘fraud’ in a veiled attempt to suppress the vote — the black, Hispanic, and student votes — mostly votes for Democrats. Prominent studies exist that expose these lies showing the likelihood of in-person voter fraud is somewhere between 0.00004 and 0.00009 percent. In other words, voter fraud does not exist and voter ID laws are a sham!
Another Republican cry of wolf.
The most pernicious diversion is related to corporations, especially when discussion turns to taxes. Though Republicans bemoan the second highest marginal tax rate in the world, no corporation pays the top rate of 35%. Many corporations paid zero in taxes, some nothing for several years. In 2011 corporations paid an average effective tax of 12.1% well below the individual average of around 23%. Yet another baneful cry from the fright-wing. Corporations have not paid their fair share in nearly three decades.
Republicans’ also incessantly accuse unions, healthcare, unemployment, immigration, and diplomacy for our failures instead of their policies.
Their furtive cries divert our attention from the real problems, the real culprits. They point accusing fingers at the poor, students, vets they themselves damaged, and seniors who draw Social Security and Medicare.
But the finger never points at the real frauds, those that perpetrate destructive policies and develop clandestine schemes to steal from the American people.
The real frauds? Those who ‘cry wolf’ the most often and the loudest!