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Monday, March 28, 2011

Rick Scott's undeclared war on the private sector

From the Orlando

by Alex Sonne

In Rick Scott’s undeclared war on basic public services, the pride of American culture and the driving reason behind America once being baptized “the land of opportunity”, he plans to defeat his enemy as Nixon wanted to defeat his: by indiscriminately bombing it to ash. Unfortunately, the college boys caught up in this experiment are coming home in boxes as Florida’s unemployment rate continues to spike.

As has been show in studies, if it was not already apparent, success and failure are not strongly correlated with an individual’s behavior or the merit of their ideas. The strongest correlation with success is an individual’s position within a successful social group. Public services, such as education, libraries, transportation, unemployment, and disability, have provided generations with the security-net needed to take risks, fail, and bounce back to try again and again. Lack of persistence (or the ability to persist) is most correlated with failure. [1]

Just to name a precious few, the Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck was a beneficiary of President Roosevelt’s Great Depression Era “Federal Writer’s Project”, J.K. Rowling was a dole recipient before she finished her runaway hit, “Harry Potter”, Larry David was chronically collecting unemployment benefits before creating the Seinfeld series, and the vast majority of the explosion in innovation following World War II is a direct result of massive Federal funding of scientists (scientists given grants and no direction). The most important and influential work of the human species — creating — is not a result of business connections gleaned from mixers at an Ivy League university or pumping the value of preexisting assets in high finance.

With few exceptions, Rick Scott not being one of them, the exceptionally wealthy are wealthy as a result of their utilization of the inventions and insights of the creative. Business elites are not known for being exceptionally intelligent or for being visionaries — they are known for a pronounced resistance to shame and lack of ethical constraints. When they are given runaway control, they tend to maximize this quarter’s profits by alienating the very individuals who make those profits possible.

This “how much profit can I amass in the next 3 months” mentality is diametrically opposed to the role of State and Federal government. Businesses will always have their immediate bottom-line well taken care of (rightly so); it is the role of the government to see to the long-term solvency of the State and the Nation, even when that means running a reasonable deficit to support individual opportunity.

Neoliberals such as Scott, whether they embrace the term or only the ideology, believe that the world should be privately owned in its entirety. Every stream and mountain, every ocean and inlet, every square foot of land, every bit of infrastructure, and every natural resource (including rainwater) should be privately owned. [2] The individuals then running the economy should control the nation (corporate polyarchy, although they shy away from this term). The spurious justification for this is that only when everything is privately owned will it be cared for properly. In reality, there is no exception to the outright rape that occurs when corporations own or even lease property — show me a company that would do anything but clear, farm, and pave the Amazon to generate 1 generation of profits if it were up for sale.

Rick Scott is now in the process of crippling a Hospital community in Orlando while pushing through legislation that would directly benefit his privately owned chain of clinics: Solantic.

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