The Texas GOP, since taking control of all the levers of government in Texas, has been doing everything they can to move taxpayer money into the hands of their campaign contributors, in the form of privatization schemes – aka Public Private Partnerships or P3′s. Instead of government being a pay as you go, non profit system, it’s turned into a system of privatized profits and socialized losses.
They’ve tried it and somewhat succeeded with toll roads, although the biggest boondoggle, the Trans Texas Corridor, mostly failed. They tried privatizing state services which imploded, see Accenture and IBM. They haven’t yet been able to get their hooks completely into public education, but a new attempt is coming in January. And more then likely Kyle Janek will be putting forward some kind of scheme soon.
The reason this is important is because another one for Gov. Rick Perry’s great “achievements” has become nothing more than an give-away to his wealthy corporate contributors. This article from James Moore at Progress Texas PAC points out the latest atrocity, Cancer and Crony Capitalism in Texas.
It is a growing scandal that could forever change Texas politics. As national political players look toward turning red Texas blue, something that would put the electoral college out of Republicans’ reach for years, many see the scandal as the beginning of the end of GOP dominance in Texas.
Republican Gov. Rick Perry and his cronies in and out of public office have diverted funds intended for cutting-edge cancer research into the campaign pockets of Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. You read that right. Proceeds from millions in taxpayer-backed bonds awarded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) have fallen victim to corruption and cronyism. Cronies get the state money; the cronies give some of the money back to Perry and others.
The agency might better be named the Crony Capitalist Research Institute as searches for cancer prevention, treatment and cure are sacrificed to the feeble political ambitions of a few petty politicians and greedy plutocrats. It is hard to imagine a greater moral failing. Unless, of course, you remember that Perry and his cronies are the very same people fighting against the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. People are going to get sick and die because of the actions of Perry and others. That is not hyperbole or political spin.
CPRIT is the nation’s second largest source of cancer research money, behind only the federal government. Texas voters approved the agency’s bonding authority in November 2007 (a few days later, wannabe recipients of the largesse were lavishng money on Perry and Dewhurst). The agency could spend $3 billion over ten years.
Amid calls for state and federal criminal investigations (I filed one of the state complaints under the auspices of Progress Texas PAC), agency officials are scrambling. Now it has been revealed that key emails among those officials have disappeared. That is a sign that evidence is being destroyed and that a coverup is underway.
The players involved include such stalwart Perry-ites as James Leininger and Jimmy Mansour. They have also been central players in the right wing’s nationwide effort to privatize public education. Even though he once held stock in a company that received CPRIT funding, Mansour remains chairman of the agency’s Oversight Committee. Other Oversight Committee members include Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and State Comptroller Susan Combs. Perry, Dewhurst and the Texas House Speaker appoint the others.
This scandal opens a window into the crony capitalists’ privatization mania. What will happen to public education when the greedy and morally unmoored get their hands on taxpayer money through school privatization? Or through Medicare vouchers? Or Social Security private accounts?
If these people will sacrifice victims of cancer to further their own wealth and power, it is doubtful they’ll resist the temptation to destroy education or raid our earned savings and health care insurance. If crimes have been committed, maybe the perps will get to spend some time in a private prison. That might end privatization mania forever.
Recently reelected Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis is on the case, Senator Davis Calls On Perry To Fast Track Reform Of Cancer Agency.
This is just the way our dysfunctional government malfunctions with our current leadership at the helm. Rick Perry as the longest serving Texas governor in Texas history, by far, has more control over Texas than any governor ever. In modern history he is the only governor to serve at least two consecutive four year terms. There are Perry loyalists in every nook can cranny of Texas government. He, essentially, owns them all.
All of this proves that the Texas GOP’s plan since taking over the levers of power in Texas is to shift taxpayer money to their corporate sponsors through privatization schemes. It the scam that’s always been there for everyone to see.