As we head off to join family and friends this holiday to give thanks for all that we have, we also owe thanks to Republicans and their policies. Because of them, there are a lot more of those who will have less this Thanksgiving. The poor are rarely acknowledged, the middle class is gone, and chances are the next to go will be the "upper" middle class, because the one thing the GOP refuses to give up are little or no taxes for the rich. They can whine and complain about government spending and entitlements all they want, but those are merely empty words and they know it. More and more of us have to pay the price to keep the richest among us (including the millionaires in the House and the Senate) in the manner to which they've become accustomed. Instead, they expect everyday Americans to give up a living wage, health care, and safety nets, while the country and its infrastructure deteriorates.
Choosing one of the two talking points, or rather words, the Florida Republican Party is using in the 2014 governor's race, Jeb Bush endorsed Rick Scott today, using "economy," in spite of dubious claims about Florida's.
Well, during the week that Charlie Crist finally announced that he's running for governor again, the "acting" governor Rick Scott is naturally missing in action.
Yup. Florida's "jobs" governor is currently on another trade mission (wink, wink), this time to Japan, in search of the real job creators. (Again with the winking.)
And while he's off vacationing pretending to hunt for jobs, back home the plight of the jobless continues. Unfortunately for those who have lost their jobs, Rick Scott and his team took it upon themselves to construct a brand new unemployment website for those who are forced to seek their benefits online only, using a company with a history of problematic website creation.
The new website was launched two weeks ago, and as of yesterday 5,600 people have complained in writing, dozens more have emailed and the department has been deluged with phone calls about the botched website, and yet it still isn't working.
Government Waste: You Built That! As Close As You'll Ever Get To The Governor's Mansion (Photo: Martha Jackovics)
Last week Rick Scott (Mr. Fiscal, as he would prefer you believe) announced his budget plans for next year, and those expecting something different than all his other budgets will be disappointed. It's really just more of the same: Tax cuts for businesses paid for with cuts to things everyday Floridians want, like roads and schools.
My, my. What a difference a year or two makes when one does "business" in Rick Scott's Florida, Inc.
In Scott's haste to make Florida the "Show Me The Money State" his plans either backfire, or his hypocrisy runs free like a river before pollution from lack of environmental regulations sets in. Let's take a short trip down the memory hole involving two instances where money made a big difference for Scott's business "decisions."
It's hard to say when exactly Rick Scott began his campaign for reelection, as he's been in campaign mode since his election. That's understandable I suppose, given that his approval numbers have barely seen daylight. Still, his reelection sales pitch is up and running......into the ground along with those poll numbers:
Speaking to Republicans in one of Florida’s most heavily Democratic counties, Gov. Rick Scott tonight said the GOP should win every election if Republicans do a better job of telling their story to voters.
Putting aside the fact that Scott was preaching to the choir here, I say go ahead and give us the sales pitch Gov. Scott. Do tell us the Republican story. Give it your best shot.
“I have not met one Floridian that should be anything but a Republican,” said Scott.
Forgive me, but I've got to interrupt the narrative right here for a moment. If Scott has "not met one Floridian that should be anything but a Republican" that's probably because Republicans are the only people he talks to. He simply ignores anyone who isn't, ignores anyone who disagrees with him, and ignores their needs to boot. But please, do go on:
The GOP is the party of job creators, Scott said, and he said it should also be the party of people who rely on government social programs.
“Let’s say that you need a safety net,” Scott said. “Let’s say you need unemployment insurance or you need something to take care of you while times are hard before you get back on your feet, whether that’s health care, whether that’s unemployment insurance, whatever it is. Who pays for it? People that have jobs. So if you need anything from the government, any government, you should absolutely be a Republican because it won’t be there if it wasn’t for people who had jobs and build businesses.”
Wow. OK, let's unpack this, shall we? First, are we really going to continue this "job creator" charade? Because that argument has been debunked so often that no one really buys it anymore. While Scott may feel he has to rely on it because he's busy handing out tax breaks to any big corporation that so much as sneezes in his direction, it's hogwash, pure and simple. (And no, that's not a Disney World "work sick or else" pun, but more on that later.) If this were true, Florida wouldn't have an unemployment problem.
Second, that next comment is the most jarring statement he's made yet. I'm not sure how or why, exactly, Scott claims the GOP could possibly be the party of the voter who relies on a social safety net. Nationally the party favors the Paul Ryan budget, whose only provision for a safety net is scissors to cut it with, cuts that perhaps Ayn Rand herself might have thought were a tad severe, given her own reliance on them.
Beyond that, let's examine how Scott has addressed the other safety nets and social programs in his sales pitch. Unemployment insurance? Scott cut those benefits off early for Floridians. Heath care? Seriously. I don't even have to explain the absurdity of that comment.
To say that none of those things would be there if not for big business "Who pays for it?" Please. Aside from the fact that many employers these days don't offer health insurance benefits or cut hours to avoid having to provide them, what jobs would those be? Rick "Let's-Get-To-Work" Scott hasfallen rather short on his job creation promises, which is why he's no longer using that particular slogan. No matter how many times Scott rolls out the "big businesses create jobs" nonsense, there's little return on those forced tax break investments courtesy of Florida taxpayers. Many of those very beneficiaries took the tax cuts and ran, and yet Scott is still handing them out like Santa Claus at a Koch brothers Christmas Party.
Scott's little narrative is ridiculous on its face. If his claim that he as a Republican "savior" of the people were serious, there are things he could do to prove it right now.
He would call for a special session to expand Medicaid, which he opposed until he was forced to embrace it earlier in the year. The legislature ended this year's session without doing anything towards that end, and yet Gov."Now-I-Loves-Me-Some-Medicaid" has shown he really doesn't. He's been silent ever since he chose to embrace it as a political football. I predicted that he seized it as a chance to have his cake and eat it too: Pretend he favored it while knowing the legislature would never go for it, giving him political cover. He can't pull it off though because he's just as bad an actor as he is a governor.
“It’s in their best interest. There’s nobody that shouldn’t be a Republican. If they’re not, it’s our fault. It’s our fault that we’re not telling our story.”
It's your fault all right, but telling the story better isn't the problem. It's the story itself. Floridians don't have to be told your story, they're living it, and suffering for it. They reject it and the GOP, and they can't wait to prove it to you at the polls in 2014.
Florida Shortens Yellow Traffic Lights For Profit: Florida is "tweaking" the rules on time intervals for yellow traffic lights, and ignoring national standards, which means big profits for some, at the expense of unsuspecting ticketed motorists, who may face an even bigger fine if they contest their citations. There's also the potential for danger when the lights are shortened in some cases. You can thank the Legislature, The FDOT and lobbyists for camera companies. See the full story here.
Forget That Empty Chair, The RPOF Will Now Run Against Cardboard: Apparently Lenny Curry, the not so bright driver of the Republican Party of Florida's clown car, thinks that's the only way to win. Actually, he's fixated on Nancy Pelosi and Appalachian Trail enthusiast and former absentee Governor Mark Sanford's recent win over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Curry seems to be under the illusion that because Sanford "debated" a cardboard cutout of Pelosi, that caused Colbert Busch's loss, so he's going to drive that narrative right off a cliff. Never mind that it would be difficult for any Democrat to win in the Red state, nor that Pelosi isn't nearly as scary to voters as he thinks she is. Let him have his dreams...