Just like gold-plated television evangelists driving Rolls Royces and preaching the so-called “prosperity gospel” to their dirt-poor parishioners, right-wing media figures are constantly coming up with different ways to insist that God wants rich people to be rich.
Take, for example, Ben Shapiro, who took that route when he defended Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, who has so many houses he can remember the exact number.
The Daily Wire’s [Shapiro] offered a novel defense of Dr. Mehmet Oz on Friday, arguing that independently wealthy candidates are not “elitist,” but actually more like Biblical prophets.
“The real campaign issue in Pennsylvania, according to everybody, is Dr. Mehmet Oz is an elitist. Elitist. And we know if you earn money in the United States, that makes you unqualified for office,” Shapiro said of Oz — the Trump-backed GOP nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania.
“So, sure. The original founders of the country tended to be overwhelmingly wealthy men because again, the idea here is that if you don’t want people in politics or demagogues, then it’s good for them to have an outside source of income,” Shapiro argued.
“You want to cut down on corruption. It’s good for people to be independently wealthy before they’re in office. It’s not a bad thing,” Shapiro continued.
“It gives you the ability to say things that are actually on your mind because you have less to lose. This is why, biblically speaking, most of the prophets were actually kind of wealthy, because if you’re wealthy, you don’t have much to lose in any case,” Shapiro argued.
Yes, there have been wealthy members of Congress whose wealth allows them to speak up about issues of the common citizen, and perhaps even argue for policies that could actually make them less wealthy. But they had names like Kennedy and they have consistently been Democrats.
Wealthy congressional Republicans, meanwhile, have been exemplified by The Walking Dead extra U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), about whom Wikipedia says:
[Scott] co-founded Columbia Hospital Corporation. Columbia later merged with another corporation to form Columbia/HCA, which eventually became the nation’s largest private for-profit health care company. Scott was pressured to resign as chief executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997. During his tenure as chief executive, the company defrauded Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs. The Department of Justice ultimately fined the company $1.7 billion in what was at the time the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history.
Wikipedia also notes:
In 2017, Scott and his wife held stocks in firms that did business with the Maduro regime in Venezuela and a shipping firm with close ties to the Putin regime in Russia. Scott had been a harsh critic of the Maduro regime and chastised companies that invested in Venezuela, saying, “Any organization that does business with the Maduro regime cannot do business with the state of Florida.” By 2018, Scott and his wife no longer held stocks in the firms with links to the Maduro and Putin regimes.
In a July 2018 financial disclosure statement, Scott and his wife reported earnings of at least $2.9 million in hedge funds registered in the Cayman Islands, a well-known tax haven. The financial statement said that the assets were held in a blind trust and a 2018 campaign spokesperson said Scott did not have a role in selecting particular investments.
Scott and his wife invested at least $3 million in the parent company of All Aboard Florida, a rail investment company that proposed to build high-speed rail between Orlando and Tampa. In 2018, Scott supported the efforts of the company to build the rail and get taxpayer-financing. He had previously, early in his tenure as governor, rejected $2.3 billion in federal funding to develop high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando. Scott stated the original project was fiscally irresponsible given the recession, and he supported a public-private partnership approach when the state’s finances were in order.
Scott was an investor in the firm Conduent Inc., which was awarded a $287 million Florida contract in 2015 to manage SunPass, the toll program in the state of Florida. Due to glitches in SunPass, motorists were charged bank fees and overdraft charges, and the Florida Department of Transportation was criticized for failing to take action. Scott, a Conduent investor, defended the department’s handling of the SunPass controversy.
Well, gol durn it, if that doesn’t prove Shapiro’s point about “you want to cut down on corruption. It’s good for people to be independently wealthy before they’re in office,” I don’t know what does.
Sen. Scott has been a walking, talking advertisement in favor of corruption every single day of his health care and senate careers, and he’s also now the leader of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). His Wikipedia page reads like a How-To manual for people who want to make the levers of government work for the wealthy and against average citizens.
Yes, and Florida residents elected him. Which explains why Florida’s health care system is ranked 48th in the nation.