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  • Writer's picturethebrinkof

The Scott scam

It wasn’t a prominently placed story in the Palm Beach Post – an inside page, three-column headline: “Scott, ACLU end fight over state drug tests.” So I wonder how many of the people who voted in November to give the Florida governor another four years saw it, or are otherwise aware of what happened. If they are aware, I doubt they’re happy. They likely are having buyer’s remorse again, like they had for a long time after he first was elected.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Did they think things would get better under Rick Scott, who had to resign as CEO of a hospital chain when the federal government investigated the corporation for Medicare fraud? We’re talking about a man who postures an opposition to government assistance for just about anything. A classic case of hypocrisy.

Brain-dead voters

Proposed Florida bullet train

And still, by election time four years later, the voters had forgotten that. They also had forgotten that he turned down $2.4 billion from the federal government to implement a bullet train between Tampa and Orlando, then Orlando to Miami, sacrificing 24,000 jobs. They had forgotten that he cut the already low pay of the state’s teachers and boosted charter schools, which take money away from public schools. They had forgotten that he instituted drug testing for state employees and welfare recipients, after which it was discovered that the rate of drug use among the welfare crowd was 2.67 percent, half for marijuana use, compared with 5.2 percent for the general population. Scott didn’t appeal lower court rulings against the welfare-recipient testing, but it still cost taxpayers in the neighborhood of $400,000 in legal charges. It was a policy that Howard Simon, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida’s head honcho, called “a shameless exploitation of the worst stereotypes and prejudices of the applicants for assistance.”

Howard Simon, executive director, ACLU of Florida

But Scott kept appealing court rulings against the employee testing, going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the appeal. This week, we learned that he and the ACLU settled to end their fight over the testing, and it will continue for only 7,000 out of 34,000 employees who might be in “safety-sensitive” positions. The final cost to taxpayers? At least $675,000.

Medicaid fiasco

But the $1 million-plus that Florida citizens pay for the governor’s folly pales beside the millions he is costing us for his refusal to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid, which has caused untold suffering for the state’s poor and disabled. It’s a double whammy. Because of his refusal to provide adequate help to these downtrodden souls, the feds are ending payments to Florida hospitals to help finance treatment of low-income people who can’t afford to pay their bills. So now he says he’s going to sue the federal government. And guess who gets to pay for that. We, the taxpayers.


A great job of bilking taxpayers

On Thursday, a letter-to-the-editor to the Palm Beach Post from a man named Jake Casey of Stuart, Florida, said, “Scott has done a great job for this state.” He was praising the governor for his job-poaching mission to California, needed because corporations such as OfficeDepot/Staples have decided to leave the state, doubtless over Scott’s anti-education policies.

One takes a deep breath, sighs, and thinks: “Can the human condition become any more deplorable?”

#USSupremeCourt #PalmBeachPost #Medicaid #ACLU #bullettrain #HowardSimon #RickScott

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