Abusing the Trust

Scott Walker, 45th Governor of WisconsinMadison – Gov. Scott Walker announced a plan Wednesday to lift the enrollment cap on a state long-term care program – a move he made two weeks after federal authorities told his administration it had to take that step.

Walker touted the $80 million plan with advocates for the elderly and disabled at a Capitol news conference, but he made no mention of a recent order from the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, or CMS, directing his administration to lift the cap in the Family Care program.

Abusers are punitive. They get away with it by being selective in their targets, so those who escape feel grateful to have been spared, or by not carrying through on threats to create the impression they’re being magnanimous.

That’s the pattern conservative politicians have been using to retain their official positions. During a period of economic recession, typically occasioned by mismanagement in the private sector, public officials can, not unlike Pontius Pilate, claim to have clean hands, garnering plaudits for having tried.

Scott Walker, apparently has the routine down pat. What he didn’t count on was the federal government coming to the rescue of Wisconsin’s elderly infirm (in 15 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties), nor that his half-truths would be challenged by the press. Thereby providing us with a good example of why “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” is so important.

While embellishments of the truth by politicians, who aren’t under oath in a court of law, is pretty much expected, half truths, because they are often more deceptive than a lie (lies being relatively easy to disprove) alert us there’s mischief afoot. The benefit of the doubt being extended by some of Walker’s political colleagues “because the cap on the Family Care program had always been temporary” is basically a non sequitur–not a valid explanation, considering that nothing is eternal, other than death. Unless, as is the case when care of the elderly is the issue, the burdensome cost is anticipated to be dealt with by just waiting until more people die off.

We keep being reminded of Florida Congressman Alan Grayson’s assertion that the conservative agenda for health care is that the sick and injured should simply “die quickly.” However, in this instance that’s not quite correct, since the alternative to Family Care is typically to put the elderly in nursing homes–i.e. to expand one of the flavors of human husbandry. Human husbandry, I’ll remind you, is the exploitation of humans by their own kind to their detriment. That is, the exploiters benefit (get paid), while their “patients,” get to suffer both emotional and physical distress until they finally expire.

The reason conservative politicians don’t consider the higher cost and family resources-depletion associated with nursing homes a persuasive argument is because that’s the point. Deprivation is the name of the conservative game. It’s what they get their power fix from. So what if they tell a lie?

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Scott Walker Photo: via WisPolitics.com's flickr photostream. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."