Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Real Villains

Could those of you who list Congressman Paul Ryan and Governor Scott Walker as the most "Evil People in the World" for wanting to rein in the cost of social programs also add Latasha Jackson to your rankings?  Jackson is not a Republican lawmaker, she is not a Billionaire Wall Street businessperson, and she is not a Conservative Talk Show Host with the highest ratings in the country.  She IS a scam artist who was directly stealing money from the working poor.

Latasha Jackson is the Milwaukee County woman who ran fake day care centers in order to collect more than THREE-MILLION DOLLARS in subsidies from a state program designed to help low-income parents pay for babysitting so they could go to work.  For TEN YEARS Jackson billed the state for providing day care to kids that either didn't exist, were actually her relatives or were the kids of the people who basically just sat around at the "day care centers" pretending to be "teachers". 

And Jackson would probably still be running that scam today--if it were not for a series of investigative reporting articles that won the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel a Pulitzer Prize.  Articles that found state regulators had long suspected that Jackson was running a scam--but never did the proper follow up to confirm it.  It was only after the VERY embarrassing J-S articles that her flow of money was cut off.  Why didn't those regulators do anything before that?  Probably because "it's not their money" and secondly, it seemed like there was still plenty of money to go around.

To add insult to injury, the plea agreement filed in Milwaukee Federal Court this week calls for Jackson (who bought a 76-hundred square foot mansion in the suburbs and drove around in a new Jaguar with her ill-gotten gains) will be required to pay just 333-thousand dollars in restitution.  Barely one-tenth of the money she stole from poor parents.

Those Journal-Sentinel articles actually uncovered hundreds of phony and shady operations that were defrauding the day care subsidy program of $45-MILLION DOLLARS--in a program that would annually spend 350-million.  A full 13% of the money that should have been going to help working families was instead being stolen.  But when Congressman Ryan or Governor Walker propose freezing spending on such programs, or cutting the funding by five percent, they are portrayed as being cold, evil, heartless men in a series of press releases, protests and TV ads.

So where is the TV ad featuring Latasha Jackson?  Where will the protesters be demanding "social justice" when she and others who ran the same scam return to court for their plea and sentencing hearings?  And when will we start hearing the demands for accountability in all of the programs that would provide PLENTY for the less-fortunate--if we would just make sure that those that actually need it are the only ones getting it?

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