Rick Scott made millions for his company buying and selling hospitals using profits generated by defrauding the American public of Medicare money intended to help the sickest and poorest of this country’s elderly. Eventually, with the feds sniffing around, Scott was forced out so the company could claim a new leaf had been turned. Even so, he was paid hundreds of millions in dollars and stocks and looked back only long enough to deny all allegations that he knew anything illegal was going on.
It could be argued that the hundreds of millions he was paid were the same dollars ripped illegally from the Medicare system. Ultimately, the Federal justice system fined the company over a billion dollars for the company’s billing practices of charging for medical procedures never provided or over-billing for those that were, all of which occurred under Scott’s command and control before he left the company. The fine was one of the largest such punitive judgments ever levied.
Then, Scott, with the massive pay-off in his pocket, decided to run for Governor of the State of Florida and even though he was virtually unknown at the time and totally devoid of suitable experience, successfully bought enough tea bagger votes to actually win the race. For all practical purposes, he spent over $70 million of that money to “buy” the seat.
If you’re like me, it makes one’s stomach churn to realize what happened. Here’s a guy whose company ripped off billions of taxpayer dollars, got paid hundreds of millions of those same dollars even though it happened under his leadership and left denying he knew anything about it. Then, armed with a wagon load of indignant denial and arrogance, he used the money to buy the governorship of Florida. Nausea is the term that comes to mind for the way it makes one feel.
Unbelievably, Scott is back buying votes in order to get him where he wants to be using money that isn’t his. Only this time, vying for a second term, he’s using state coffers to buy the votes of those constituencies he stupidly angered over the last two years. He has started with the teachers and the environmentalists.
Media accounts have him declaring there is now such a surplus in state revenues that he can give all K-12 teachers a $2500 raise and more for other education purposes. For the environmentalists, who have skewered him relentlessly for his regressive and destructive environmental policies, he is offering to return some of the conservation land acquisition money he stripped from the budgets of the past two years and to begin “restoring” the state’s freshwater springs.
Both the teachers and environmentalists are savvy to what is happening. With his facing election for a second term, the CEO-centric governor is again simply trying to buy votes. Sadly, they can only acknowledge this turn-about by smiling and saying thanks knowing full well it is nothing more than pandering at its worst, totally inadequate, clearly self-serving, and worse, bald faced cynicism. Instead they should be working furiously to get him un-elected for all he has done despite the certainty of retribution should he nevertheless win. It is the ugly side of politics.
He deserves no thanks for anything. His newfound largesse is no indication he has suffered some revelation and now miraculously realizes that the qualities of the state’s educational and natural systems truly are important to its future. No, this is nothing more than the same arrogant Rick Scott continuing to do what he does best, using the money of others to achieve his personal goals, full speed, oblivious of the obvious.
It will take years to re-establish the state’s capacity to properly protect what’s left of its natural systems and to re-institute the laws that require developers to expand their focus beyond the bottom line to broader matters of public concern. Technical competence of and confidence in the state’s regulatory agencies has been seriously decimated. Getting back thin and meaningless morsels of what was taken has nothing to do with a newly enlightened governor or a brighter future for Florida. It’s all about Rick Scott and his supporters who find his incompetence useful.