Sunday, October 9, 2022

Ron DeSantis and “waste, fraud, and abuse”

  Republicans and conservatives are still celebrating Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s immigration antic with respect to his shipping and dumping immigrants in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. They are convinced that what DeSantis did was a brilliant political move because it supposedly exposed the hypocrisy of rich, elite progressives/liberals/Democrats who say they favor immigrants but then won’t take them into their homes to live.

  There is no doubt that when it comes to immigration, progressives/liberals/Democrats are every bit as hypocritical as Republicans and conservatives, but not for the reason that DeSantis claims. But before focusing on the immigration hypocrisy of those on the left, let’s first focus on the immigration hypocrisy of those on the right, including those who are celebrating DeSantis’s act of clownish thuggery.

  One of the most popular mantras of the conservative movement and the Republican Party is “We need to remove waste, fraud, and abuse from government programs.” It’s a mantra that these people have employed for decades. It’s found in their speeches, articles, books, websites, and political campaigns. It’s their way of claiming that they are opposed to out-of-control federal spending, debt, and monetary debauchery. 

  According to an article in the Intercept, DeSantis spent $615,000 to ship those 50 immigrants from Dallas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. That’s more than half-a-million dollars! To ship and dump only 50 people for a distance of around 1800 miles. 

  How is that possible? $615,000! The cost of airfare from Dallas to Martha’s Vineyard can’t be more than $500 per person. If we multiply $500 times 50, we get $25,000. That’s an enormous difference! $615,000 versus $25,000. Bus fare would have been even cheaper. 

  So, how did DeSantis end up spending $615,000 instead of $25,000 to perform his immigration antic? He chartered a special private plane to ship and dump those 50 immigrants! That’s how much it cost him — or actually, not him, but Florida taxpayers — to perform his political antic.

  And guess who he chartered that plane from. You got it: from a political crony who donates to the Republican Party! I wonder how much profit that crony got as a result of that $615,000 taxpayer-funded flight. 

  It would be difficult to find a better example of “waste” than that. And yet, how many of DeSantis’s conservative/Republican cohorts, all of whom subscribe to the “waste, fraud, and abuse” mantra, have taken him to task for wasting more than half-a-million dollars in taxpayer money? None! Not one single one. How’s that for immigration hypocrisy?

  The right-wing hypocrisy gets better. To perform his antic, DeSantis used money that had been extracted from Florida taxpayers. The Florida Legislature limited the use of this tax money to the removal of illegal immigrants from Florida, which obviously meant covering the costs of deportations. 

  Yet, the 50 immigrants DeSantis shipped and dumped in Martha’s Vineyard were located in Texas. Knowing that he was likely abusing the authority that had been given him, DeSantis had that expensive flight swing around to Florida and make a landing there before proceeding to Martha’s Vineyard. Apparently, he felt that that would enable him to claim, with a straight face, that he was complying with the restrictions that the Florida Legislature had placed on him. How much money did that little diversion cost? We don’t know, but one thing is for certain: It was totally unnecessary. You’d again have a hard time finding a better example of “waste” than that. 

  How many critiques have come in from the right with respect to that diversion to Florida? None! Not a single one.

  The news media is reporting that a woman named Perla misrepresented facts to those 50 immigrants as a way to induce them to “voluntarily” get onto that $615,000 plane. That’s what the law calls fraud. It seems that Perla, a tall blond woman who speaks broken Spanish, has now gone into hiding. If DeSantis knows where she is, he ain’t talking.

  How many right-wing supporters of DeSantis are expressing outrage at this apparent fraud? None! Not a single one.

  And finally, there is the abuse of those 50 poor, vulnerable individuals who have committed the heinous “crime” of seeking asylum here in the United States — people who trusted Perla when she was apparently defrauding them. 

  And here’s the kicker, many of those immigrants came from Venezuela, where the U.S. government, with the full support of Republicans and conservatives, has imposed one of the world’s most brutal set of economic sanctions. The sanctions target the Venezuelan people with death, suffering, and impoverishment, with the aim of getting regime change in Venezuela. Thus, in the eyes of the American right-wing,  Venezuelan immigrants are bad people for refusing to stay in Venezuela and die instead of coming here to the United States in the hope of surviving through labor. 

  So much for the conservative/Republican mantra of “ending waste, fraud, and abuse” in government programs. 

  But as I indicated earlier, DeSantis and his conservative cohorts are not the only ones who suffer from severe immigration hypocrisy. The hypocrisy of progressives/liberals/Democrats is manifested not by their refusal to take immigrants into their homes, as right-wingers claim. It is manifested by their love of welfare-state programs, which, they say, help “the poor, needy, and disadvantaged,” while, at the same time, by their support of America’s immigration-control system, which they know brings death, suffering, misery, and humiliation to poor people.

  There is only one immigration system that comes without immigration hypocrisy. That system is libertarianism, which encompasses open borders — genuine open borders — that is, the abolition of the Border Patrol, ICE, the immigration police state, and all other restrictions and controls on the free movements of goods, services, and people across political borders. It is also the only system that is consistent with life, liberty, vitality, the pursuit of happiness, morality, religion, harmony, peace, prosperity, and integrity.

  About the author: Jacob G. Hornberger is the Founder and President of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

  This article was published by The Future of Freedom Foundation.

No comments:

Post a Comment