Government opportunists: “The world is dangerous! Do what we say, and we’ll help you.”
The master-of-disaster governors of the U.S. states love nothing more than a photo op—except perhaps a sales-tax holiday. “Help people shop, and voters will beat a path to your door,” is their cynical motto.
Of course, the pomp and circumstance requires each governor to stand at a podium emblazoned with the state seal, flanked by minor officials and a sign-language interpreter. Sleeves rolled up, he’s the man where the buck stops—quite literally, in his wallet, specifically, more often than we’d like to think.
Hurricane season began on June 1st for us here in Florida. So, this weekend, the governor rolled up his sleeves for the cameras and rolled out the bill he signed declaring a tax holiday on “disaster supplies.” If you’re in the disaster business, that means a huge boost in sales over a couple of days. If you need food assistance or medical care, the governor could care less. Everyday wellness for everyday citizens = bad. Looming disaster to increase fear and boost sales for opportunistic businesses = good. And we wonder why “the world” seems to go further awry daily. Look no further than Tallahassee!
The breed of politician to which I refer sees everything, good or bad, as an opportunity to get votes, money for him/herself, or both. That includes national disasters that kill hundreds. When these things happen—or in anticipation of their happening, as in the case of the tax holiday—Tallahassee is looking for an angle. It’s nothing new, and it’s nothing more than the Mafia philosophy of life: Get what you can while the getting is good.
The problem is that it’s nowhere near the way states or cities or nations are meant to be run in democracies. These plutocratic kleptocracies are pure, distilled, 200 proof corruption. The “secret” kept from constituents in these states is that having Mafia bosses in the governors’ mansions causes real harm for millions of Americans. The favorite bait of the kleptocrats: “lower taxes.” (Remember the tax holiday?)
There exists no agency, governmental or otherwise, tasked with auditing the governor of Florida’s (for example) finances when he leaves office. Millions upon millions from disaster/medical supply corporations (check where he made his money before leeching onto Florida taxpayers), insurance companies, railroads, and on down the line can flow freely into his personal bank account—no questions asked. This too-easy work-around for politicians on the take—basically, “Pay me when nobody’s looking”—should be called the “dirty golden parachute.” And we the people should be protected against them by the FBI, among others.
In the meantime, let’s acknowledge the cynical propaganda of disaster. The “danger approaches, let us protect you” scam is the oldest one in the book.
My upcoming novel, ULTIMATE ERROR, is about truth vs. fiction in all the varied and sundry ways the collide—and concur. We, in America, are way too quick to offer benefit-of-the-doubt to the rich and/or famous. How do you think so many of them got there?