July 28, 2015 Community news from the prairie to the lakes  
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  Opinion  
  Greed never sleeps
  by BRIAN WOJTALEWICZ, The Appleton Press
 

Why is it that the rich and powerful feel the need to steal and otherwise rip off the American people? Perhaps its because their wealth and power put them in a position where they seldom, if ever, get caught and have to pay the price.

For instance, recently former President George W. Bush charged $100,000 to a wounded veteran’s charity for the privilege of hearing him speak. This was on top of the $20,000 private jet bill he charged. The speech, by the way, was in Texas, the state he lives in.

Perhaps its just that the Bush family has trouble relating to the little people. Last week, presidential candidate Jeb Bush, announced that the remedy for struggling American families is that they should work more hours.

We are also learning that the number one funder of right-wing political candidates, the Koch brothers, have pledged to spend $100 million to elect Jeb Bush or Scott Walker to the office of President. They are also spending millions to have our national parks privatized and sold off, perhaps for mineral, oil or timber interests.

It seems greed never sleeps.

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, from New Jersey, has arranged for the mega-bank, JP Morgan Chase, to get $180 million in New Jersey tax breaks. Christie’s presidential campaign theme is “job creator.” I wonder how many jobs could have been created with that money?

Next we learn that Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker of Wisconsin and his Republican allies in the Wisconsin legislature eliminated the Wisconsin False Claims Act. Abe Lincoln and the Civil War Congress passed a False Claims Act when they discovered that union contractors were cheating the Army with boots made of cardboard, mules that were near dead, even shells that were filled with sawdust. The False Claims Act gave a reward to any citizen who turned in a cheating contractor.

These days, citizen whistle-blowers have helped our Federal Department of justice, collect more than $30 billion over the last 20 years from cheating corporations like big drug companies that cheat on Medicaid and Medicare, military contractors, road and bridge builders, etc.

Most state governments have adopted their own false claims acts so they could pursue cheating contractors that were swindling state government. The Attorney Generals office of Wisconsin has recovered millions of dollars against cheating corporations with its state false claims act. Walker has now eliminated this important law, so do you need any more evidence on what side he is on?

Of course it’s not only conservative Republican politicians who are on the take. Hollywood star and NRA spokesman Tom Selleck has been caught stealing water from the hydrant of a small California town near his big ranch.

If we don’t put some courageous, honest, leaders in positions of power in this country, the forces of greed are going to completely destroy it from the inside.
   
 
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July 28, 2015