Wednesday, December 30, 2009
During the 1980’s, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar built a global cocaine cartel of unrivaled power and influence based on a simple philosophy, Plato O Plomo.
Translated literally that means “silver or lead,” but every Colombian knew what it really meant – “money or bullets.” Either you took Escobar’s bribe, or you dealt with Escobar’s wrath.
Today, these thuggish tactics are alive and well in – of all places – Washington, D.C., a city where two decades ago officials were busy hunting down criminals like Escobar. Meanwhile elsewhere in the United States, stealing from Medicaid has replaced cocaine dealing as the most practiced, most profitable form of white collar crime – another reason Barack Obama and his Congressional allies should think long and hard before they expand governmental “control” of this industry.
Yet as another unprecedented Washington power grab takes shape, Plato O Plomo indeed appears to have been adopted by Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate President Harry Reid as their modus operandi for passing an un-American socialized medicine proposal that America doesn’t want and cannot afford.
In fact, these so-called “leaders” are perpetrating the ultimate in “white collar” Medicaid fraud – dipping into this taxpayer-funded slush fund to pad the pockets of lawmakers whose votes they need for the larger, $2.5 trillion heist.
Take the proposed $300 million Medicaid payout offered to the state of Louisiana in a (successful) effort to secure the vote of Sen. Mary Landrieu. This provision was inserted into the 2,700-page bill as Landrieu was waffling on whether or not to bring the legislation to the floor for debate.
“After a thorough review of the bill, I have decided there are enough significant reforms and safeguards in this bill to move forward …” Landrieu said from the Senate floor shortly after accepting this glorified bribe.
And while Landrieu claimed at the time that there was “more work to be done” on the legislation, she has since changed her tune and voted to shut down debate on further amendments.
Next in line was another fence-sitter, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who was offered millions of dollars in Medicaid payments for his home state beginning in 2017 and extending forever.
That’s right – the federal government is offering to pay 100% of Nebraska’s Medicaid cost increases from here to eternity, a deal no other state is getting but one which every other state must finance.
Of course there have been sticks associated with these carrots, too.
At every stage of socialized medicine’s march through the legislative process, these taxpayer-funded bribes have been accompanied by
Sen. Nelson, for example, was reportedly told that Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha would be placed on a base closure list if he didn’t take the deal he was being offered.
That’s vintage Plato O Plomo.
Similarly in the U.S. House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly received more requests for “passes” on the socialized medicine vote from House Democrats than she could handle, which is said to have prompted a massive behind-the-scenes Plato O Plomo campaign in which everything – pork barrel spending, committee chairmanships, electoral support - was placed on the table in an effort to move a sufficient number of votes into the “Yes” column.
Even then, the legislation was just three votes away from being defeated.
Fortunately, these despicable tactics are no longer hidden behind closed doors. The Landrieu and Nelson payoffs in particular have attracted substantial media attention and public outrage, and states which are being forced to pay for these bribes are demanding investigations.
Already leery of this massive government power-grab, Americans are now keenly aware of the Gangland tactics that are being used to drag it kicking and screaming across the finish line.
And that’s the ultimate lesson of Plato O Plomo – the plan falls apart as soon as people realize they can stand up to the gangsters.
Howard Rich is the Chairman of Americans for Limited Government and Liberty Features Syndicated writer.
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