on Thanksgiving thinking,
"What are those things in her hair?"
You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch
You're the king of sinful sots
Your heart's a dead tomato
splotched with moldy purple spots
You're a three-decker sauerkraut
and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!
--The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (1966)
"It is required of every man,"
the ghost returned,
"that the spirit within him should
walk abroad among his fellow-men"
--A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
"Me and my old school pals
had some mighty high times down here
And what happened to you
poor black folks, well it just ain't fair"
He took a look around, gave a little pep talk,
said "I'm with you" then he took a little walk
--How Can a Poor Man Stand
Such Times and Live?,
Blind Alfred Reed
Florida's Governor "Pink Slip Rick" Scott is so utterly unctuous, so venomous to those most vulnerable in his state that it defies description. Posing for a photo op at a Naples shelter providing Thanksgiving meals, Scott said he "cared completely" about programs for the homeless, but his care is in the form of de-funding them so, presumably, they (the homeless) will go away (maybe to Missouri -- isn't that where they sent a lot of the Katrina refugees?)
Says Scott, “We've got to make this a place people can do well.” Apparently, there is no room in that plan for rehabilitation or giving someone one-down a leg up.
One Jacksonville homeless shelter official noted that Scott “zeroed out all homeless funding” — $7 million worth — in his budget proposal. That funding supported programs dedicated to homelessness prevention, housing initiatives, and programs that “re-house” people once they’re on the street. “Not only that, he took out the line items so it can never be funded again,” said the official.
To show how much he cares about the homeless, Scott went further by vetoing $12 million in funding that state legislature had passed to support homeless veterans. There are an estimated 17,000 homeless veterans in Florida — the second highest in the nation. Overall, a record 17.2 million Americans went hungry last year (Rick Scott says "I Care Completely" About Homelessness).
Earlier this year, Scott meanly proposed to eradicate Homeless Awareness Day and eliminate the $7 million funding for the Office of the Homeless which worked with housing coalitions around the state to innovate solutions for the state's estimated 58,000 homeless.
Meanwhile, 16.1% of Floridians suffer "food insufficiency", a nice way of saying they go to bed hungry, and there has been a surge in the numbers of children eligible for free school lunches. Florida was one of 11 states that had over a 25% increase in program participation over the last four years.
The NYT's reports, "Millions of American schoolchildren are receiving free or low-cost meals for the first time as their parents, many once solidly middle class, have lost jobs or homes during the economic crisis, qualifying their families for the decades-old safety-net program" (Lines Grow Long for Free School Meals, Thanks to Economy). It is a federal program, but I'm sure Mr. Scott, caring so completely in his own special way, would ax it if he could, in the name of making this a place "where people can do well."
The thing Scott misses is, the state needs to create a middle class to patronize the businesses he has so unspectacularly not drawn to the state. It should be in his state's interest to support those in need of the social safety net lest they go under completely.
To those staunch Objectivists: Your gated communities will not keep you safe from the abject desperation of your fellows.
[h/t to reader Deryle for the Thanksgiving piece.]