Commentary & Opinion
12:50 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Paul Elisha: Pious Fraud

One of this commentator’s  favorite  pundits was the great progressive pamphleteer, Thomas Paine, whose lack of moderation in rhetoric perhaps did more to incite the American Revolution, than any other literary wordsmith of his time, with his fiery 50 page pamphlet: “Common Sense.” Paine’s answer to his critics was simple and straightforward, “Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice,” he wrote.

One of Paine’s penetrating truths came to mind, with the recent receipt of a questionable political diatribe, mailed to constituents at their own expense, by the venerable New York Republican State Senator Hugh T. Farley, whose tenure has been long enough, one would think, for him to know better.  But perhaps as Paine would have described it: ”It is with a pious fraud as with a bad action; it begets a calamitous necessity of going on.”

In this case, Farley’s taxpayer-paid for ‘SOS’ camouflaged as his effort to save our “Tax Dollars,” as Paine pointed out, is a truly: “Pious fraud.”  In it, he urges us to support a petition drive he’s initiated, for a bill to punish welfare recipients, using EBT cards for the purchase of “tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets and ATM cash withdrawals at liquor stores or casinos.”

Surely, this Senator must know [or should] that all of the forgoing items are already unavailable to recipients for purchase with food stamps or other official tender, under the existing welfare law.

Could this possibly reflect a glimmer of guilt, on the conscience of the Senator, for his own flagrant use of taxpayer funds to mail blatant political propaganda, disguised as legislative reports, to comply with the Senate postal imprint, affixed to official material, which for years, has also been underwritten by constituent taxpayers, without budget restriction or reported cost?

If, by some miraculous conversion of conscience, the Senator now proposes to initiate a petition for a bill, to report on and regulate all expenditures by Senators, unbudgeted as member items and annually enumerated as such, in reports to taxpayers, this is one constituent taxpayer happy to affix the Senator’s name to the “Public Officers Integrity Act” and lend his lobbying support to its passage.

As for Senator Farley’s current legislative effort, it’s as Tom Paine noted in ”The Age of Reason:”  “----With a pious fraud as with a bad action; it begets a calamitous necessity of going on.”

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