Damn, Rick Scott *Really* Hates Poor People!
Last month, Senator Rick Scott of Florida unveiled his 11-Point Plan for America. In doing this, he achieved the impossible. He actually came up with a plan so terrible that Mitch McConnell, known lover of terrible ideas, had to agree that it went a bit too far. McConnell criticized the plan this week, saying, "We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years."
Naturally, Scott has taken to the Wall Street Journal to defend his terrible plan in a terrible op-ed, in which he whines about no one wanting to go along with his ideas and says some pretty terrible things about poor people.
But he begins with drama.
I have committed heresy in Washington. I’ve been in the Senate for only three years, and I have released an 11-point plan with 128 ideas on what Republicans should do after we win the coming elections and take control of the Senate and House. In the real world beyond the Beltway, Republicans and independents demand bold action and a plan to save our nation. They see no point in taking control of Congress if we are simply going to return to business as usual.
Technically, "in the real world beyond the Beltway," Republicans mostly seem to care about getting to see mass arrests of Democrats, and some action to be taken against Bill Gates for trying to put the Mark of the Beast into everybody. But sure, probably a lot of them would be thrilled to get rid of Social Security and Medicare entirely, so long as they get to keep their Social Security and Medicare.
We are losing this country. The militant left has seized control of the federal government, the news media, big tech, academia, Hollywood, the Democratic Party, most corporate boardrooms and even some of our top military leaders. The elites atop our nation’s institutions are working hard to redefine America and silence their opponents. They want to end the American experiment and replace it with a woke socialist utopia, and we are sitting around watching it happen.
Yes, who among us would want to live in a woke socialist utopia where everyone has health care and is able to get a well-paying job that allows them to eat and pay rent and people aren't discriminated against? Fools, really. Why try to make things nice for everyone when we could all be miserable instead?
If we have no bigger plan than to be a speed bump on the road to socialism, we don’t deserve to govern. Most Republicans in Congress agree, but many live in fear of speaking the truth in Washington. If you do, the Democrats will attack you and use it against you. Therefore, they tell us, it’s best to keep your head down, vote as directed, and be quiet. But Americans have never had more information than they do today. They demand and deserve the truth, and it’s time to give it to them.
Yes, the problem with Republicans is that they are always voting for things that Democrats want and being too quiet. Especially when they're speaking at white nationalist conferences.
I’ve been told there are unwritten rules in Washington about what you can and cannot say. You can’t tell the public that Social Security and Medicare are going bankrupt. You can’t talk about term limits, because, while voters want them, nobody in Washington does. You can’t talk about balancing the budget or shrinking the debt.
If those rules exist, written or not, it's difficult to find any examples of anyone following them, particularly Republicans, who say these things regularly whether they are true or a good idea or not. Social Security is not going bankrupt, because the majority of benefits are funded by payroll taxes, which will obviously continue to exist well into the future. Medicare is also not going bankrupt.
It turns out you also can’t point out that the federal government has figured out how to disconnect many Americans from fiscal reality. Politicians peddle a fiction that they can waste as much money as they want with no downside. They even have a fancy name for it—“modern monetary theory”—and President Biden’s crowd pushes it like crazy. Their plan is to give away money borrowed from your grandkids, get re-elected, and never pay a penalty for their irresponsibility.
First of all, you have to spend money to make money. The programs Democrats push for are things that will allow people to make more money, live well and invest in their futures — which means that they will then be able to pay more money in taxes. No one is being helped out by people having piles of medical debt and student debt, no one is being helped out by absurdly expensive childcare, and it's certainly not clear what good any of that is doing anyone's grandkids. Does Rick Scott imagine that these supposed grandkids will have to live lives of austerity to make up for whatever spending we're doing now? What does he actually think these grandkids will have to deal with? Because neither he nor anyone else who makes this claim ever actually explains that.
So, I went out and made a statement that got me in trouble. I said that all Americans need to have some skin in the game. Even if it is just a few bucks, everyone needs to know what it is like to pay some taxes. It hit a nerve. Part of the deception is achieved by disconnecting so many Americans from taxation. It’s a genius political move. And it is bankrupting us.
Everyone does know what it is like to pay some taxes, including those who are too poor to pay federal income taxes. But as you may be guessing, the next paragraph is where Scott rages against the masses of imaginary poor people he claims are stealing all of your tax money because they are too lazy to work.
I’m a tax cutter—always have been, always will be. I cut taxes more than 100 times as governor of Florida. But now Chuck Schumer and the Democrats are faking outrage about my plan. Yet Americans want everyone to pay their fair share. Working Americans already pay taxes on their income, and retirees have paid plenty. The change we need is to require those who are able-bodied but won’t work to pay a small amount so we’re all in this together. That means both free-loaders who abuse the welfare system and billionaires who pay lawyers and lobbyists to help them get around the tax laws. This may be a scary statement in Washington, but in the real world it’s common sense.
This idea that there are just millions of able-bodied Americans out there who aren't working and instead just abusing the welfare system is absurd. First of all, we have work requirements for most forms of public assistance, despite the fact that study after study has shown that work requirements are actually a bad idea. We have them because they make stupid people feel good, so it would be nice if those people could acknowledge that they exist.
Second, we simply do not have enough living wage jobs in this country for everyone to have one. As long as we are playing this game of musical chairs with people's lives, we have to figure something out that allows for everyone to survive. If we had enough living wage jobs for everyone to have one, then perhaps we could talk about all of these supposedly able-bodied-but-lazy people who are abusing the welfare system. Right now we can't.
It’s hard to say which Biden policy has been the most corrosive for America, but paying people not to work is near the top. Disconnecting paychecks from work is cultural cancer. There is honor and dignity in work.
Which Biden policy would that even be? Would it be the one that also happened during the Trump administration, that allowed people who lost their jobs during the pandemic to get additional unemployment benefits? Or is it one that exists solely in the imagination of Rick Scott?
I learned this growing up in public housing in a very poor family. My mom often worked multiple jobs, and she taught us that the only way up was to work your way up. But left-wing policies have sent jobs overseas and replaced them with checks from a federal government that has amassed the largest debt in human history.
What does Rick Scott think public housing is? For that matter, what does he think the GI Bill is? Because that's how he went to college. Does he imagine that tax money is not used to fund either of these things? That they are benefits that appear out of thin air? Or is it different because he and his mother were somehow morally superior to others who rely on government benefits to survive?
Additionally — let's be clear, again, that NAFTA was a Republican project. It was negotiated by George HW Bush. Bill Clinton was obligated to sign it, but actually added two side-accords — the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) — beforehand so it was slightly less terrible for American workers than the original Republican version.
If our government were actually as "woke" as Scott fears they are, we would not allow imports from countries that use sweatshop labor and we would not allow American corporations to use overseas sweatshop labor, child labor, or slave labor. We would have strong unions, strong labor protections, no at-will employment, and no Right-To-Work-For-Less nonsense.
The working class, the middle class, are the heroes of America, and they have been carrying the burden alone, while others—including both woke “victims” and some billionaires—pay nothing.
There will be many more attacks on me and this plan from careerists in Washington, who personally profit while ruining this country. Bring it on. The American people are fed up, and they will show that at the ballot box this November.
Billionaires? Yeah. They do not pay their fair share, and they should. As far as "woke victims" go ... who would that even be? Is he just playing Mad Libs now? It seems quite clear Scott is just making shit up that he thinks sounds good and that he thinks will enrage the people he needs to motivate to get out there and vote for him and his fellow Republicans. It also seems worthwhile to note that the man complaining about "careerists" in the US government has had a career in the US government for over a decade now, first as governor of Florida and now as a US senator from Florida. If he feels so strongly about people not having careers in government, perhaps he should take this opportunity to end his own.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse