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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Shot in the Arm

By Keith Schmitz
Did a trip to the Truman Museum a couple of weeks ago. Stirring experience to see the great decisions that took place under this presidency, though today many of Truman’s viewpoints would be considered to be “quaint”, especially the idea that people who serve in government are public servants and not there to enrich themselves. Truman himself had to borrow money from Dean Achinson to move back to Independence from the White House.

The new model seems to be our ex-governor Tommy Thompson.

The Washington Post reports today that apparently some of Tommy’s business connections stand to benefit from his tenure as head of health and human services.
According to the article:

Thompson, who served during President Bush's first term, is on the board of Centene Corp., a St. Louis-based company that operates Medicaid-funded health maintenance organizations in Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. His proposals to move more Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured people onto such plans could improve the company's bottom line.

The article goes on to talk about how Tommy’s ties with Deloitte and Touche and the company which makes implantable RFID chips VeriChip stand to benefit as well.

Incidentally these chips, which carry your medical data get injected right into your arm. Marvelous or scary depending upon your viewpoint.

This argument of course can play either way. Admittedly, these companies could do some very beneficial things for the government through their expertise. But then this situation calls into the question the special edge these companies have in their dealings with the government versus their competition which may do these same things better and cheaper. Because of this relationship the chance to find this out gets a bit blunted.

In fairness, I am happy to point out that many Democratic officials and legislators do this as well.

I don’t think this is a discussion we are really having in light of all the sweetheart deals that seem to be tumbling out of the federal government. And unlike Truman who launched his commission that aggressively went after contracts set up by a DEMOCRATIC administration, our current congress seems allergic to exercising any oversight whatsoever.

Gotta tweak the Journal here. Now think about if this was Jim Doyle. In the first place doubt if this story about Tommy will see light of day in the Milwaukee Journal, which slept while under Tommy the state morph from boring squeaky clean to something that almost makes Illinois blush.

No, Tommy wasn’t totally responsible but as we all know, the boy from Elroy loomed large over state politics in the 80’s and 90’s when we saw our own version of climate change.

For Doyle, the Journal head would probably run “Doyle Stands to Bilk US out of Billions for Business Friends.”

At any rate, we have come a long way since Harry Truman. Now instead of having to borrow money to leave the White House, many of our ex-politicians can probably now afford to buy the White House. It’s your money.

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