From the party that claims to be fiscally conservative when it comes to cutting things like Social Security and unemployment benefits, but who think nothing of adding a big ole’ black hole to the deficit to preserve tax cuts for the rich as well as tax breaks for corporations so they can outsource more jobs, there are some new numbers for you to take a peek at.
In Florida, for some unknown reason, a majority of voters chose to elect Rick Scott as the new Governor in spite of his history. Yes, they elected a guy who says he wants to run Florida like a business. Never mind that one business he owned and ran holds a record for the largest fines in Medicare fraud. Even overlooking that, this is a guy who wants to cut everything from state employees pay to Medicaid, and seems to think that stimulus money for things like high-speed rail should be turned down in spite of the jobs those projects would create in Florida.
On the other hand, he recently gave a private speech to unveil his agenda to businesses, not voters or the press. Not that it was a total surprise that he wants to give big businesses a tax break, freeze state business regulations, sympathizes with the insurance companies “hardships” due to the slow hurricane seasons of the past few years, wants to protect doctors from lawsuits, and wants to hand over just about everything else to the private sector like education and Medicaid. (Shocking, that last one, huh?)
Yes, he is absolutely Mr. Fiscal Responsibility! Except when he isn’t.
With unemployment so high in Florida, foreclosures through the roof, literally, among our other problems, and with an “Outsider” Governor who plans to practically cut everything that won’t turn a profit for private businesses, you would think that something like a Governor’s inauguration might be a somewhat modest affair.
But you would be wrong:
Scott is now soliciting donations of up to $25,000 to pay for his inauguration. Price of admission to the ball: $95 per person, a hair less than the $100 ticket price that had been set initially for Crist’s ball in 2007, after the self-proclaimed “People’s Governor” had campaigned on a populist message to lower property insurance rates and tax bills. Crist took a shellacking in the press for soliciting donations as high as $500,000 before deciding in December to scrap the ball, return the biggest checks and lower the donation threshold to $10,000
Yes, Rick the “Outsider” has even outdone Charlie the “Most Definitely An Insider” Crist when it comes to the lavish affair of an inauguration. Not to worry though, Eddie Haskell’s inaugural committee has a perfectly good explanation for those high-priced donations:
“The people of Florida have plenty to celebrate with the inauguration of our state’s new governor, Rick Scott, including the implementation of an aggressive jobs plan and a new focus on revitalizing the state’s economy. Floridians are invited to participate in the inaugural festivities, many free and open to the public, as Rick Scott prepares to forge a new path towards prosperity for all Floridians.
Again, see my translation for “jobs plan and revitalizing the economy-speak” above.
“The Inaugural Committee is organizing a dozen events in Tallahassee on Jan. 3 and 4 surrounding the official swearing in ceremony, many of them free and open to the public. These events will be funded through the generosity of private contributors (contributions are capped at $25,000). All proceeds, after costs have been paid, will go to an organization the Governor Elect is very excited to partner with and we look forward to making that announcement in the coming days.”
How thoughtful. Free events so that the small-folk may grovel and give thanks to our scary new Gov., just to name a few:
- “Tribute To The First Lady.” (We don’t know her, but I guess a tribute will make her feel like….royalty?)
- “Salute to Women In Leadership Breakfast (You may now salute those two women you also elected, Pam-Health-Care-Not-So-Fast-Bondi and Jennifer-I-Didn’t-Care-For-Scott-Until-He-Picked-Me-As-Lt.-Gov.-Carroll.)
- “Forging A Path To Prosperity Reception” (So you may mingle with the private sector who will perhaps be outsourcing the job you hold now, if you have one.)
Hey, what do you want? They’re free!
UPDATE: The donors list for the inauguration so far can be seen here.
Now let’s take a look at another big event we have coming up in Florida: The 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.
In that department, Mr. Big Spender himself, RNC Chairman Michael Steele is doing his best to keep his reputation intact as one who can burn up cash faster than a compulsive gambler on steroids after a six pack of Four Loko in Vegas. Leave it to him to have already thrown $636,800 into the wind since September, and it’s only 2010! That means there’s still plenty of time for him to put the Republicans even further into the red than he already has. (Well, not counting the donations courtesy of Karl Rove, Dick Armey and the Chamber Of Commerce and others from “Whoever” thanks to SCOTUS and the Citizens United ruling.)
No sir, don’t you even suggest that he pace himself! He be da’ man!
Spending through September topped $636,800, according to figures in a report to the Federal Election Commission. That is 18 times the amount spent in a comparable period four years ago.
At a time when Steele and the RNC have come under fire for what critics call financial mismanagement, the convention spending has raised questions about oversight and financial controls inside the committee.
“I can’t imagine what you’d spend $636,000 on at this point,” said David Norcross, a former national committeeman from New Jersey. In 2004, Norcross chaired the RNC’s Committee on Arrangements, which oversees national conventions. “Is it possible that it’s early spending that would have to take place anyway? It’s possible, but I can’t imagine what it would be.”
Lucky for Mr. Norcross and others in the party, there’s plenty of time left for them to exercise their imagination while they watch Steele make many more of those dollars disappear between now and the summer of 2012, or before they find a new chairman. Whichever comes first.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, the Republicans are putting everything, including extending unemployment benefits, and our national security on the back burner while they do whatever it takes to make sure those Bush tax cuts for the rich don’t expire.
You see, the Republican-Tea Bagger Party really ARE fiscally responsible. It’s all about priorities. Gaining wealth while “gaming” elections just happen to be at the top of their list. There’s your “fiscal.”
They just choose to shift the “responsibility” part of the equation to you and me.
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