Scrooges of the Year in WA State: Ballmer, Allen, and Bezos


Paul Allen’s yacht, the Octopus, has two submarines, two heli-pads, a pool, and a basketball court.  He co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates III, and now owns Vulcan.  He got a nice chunk of corporate welfare by conning the voters into building a stadium for his Seattle Seahawks football team. 

Paul Allen, CEO Vulcan, Inc.

However, when Bill Gates, Sr. suggested the billionaires of Washington State kick in their fair share of taxes, Paul Allen again conned the voters into voting against the initiative.  Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos joined Mr. Allen in a battle of billionaires.  Bill Gates III, who now runs the Gates Foundation, backed his father.

Mr. Gates III is the richest man in America according to Forbes with a net worth of $54 billion.  Mr. Ballmer is #16 on the list with $13.1 billion; Mr. Allen is #17 with $12.7 billion; and Mr. Bezos is #18 with $12.6 billion.  That’s $92.4 billion in combined net worth.  In other words, four of the top 20 richest people in America live in the Seattle area.  We have more billionaires on the top 20 list than any other state.  New York and California tie at three each.  The Walton family (heirs to the WalMart fortune) hold four of the top 10 spots.

Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft

After the voters fell for this con job which was funded in part by $425,000 from Mr. Ballmer, he announced he planned to liquidate $2 billion in Microsoft stock.  Why?  To limit his tax liability.  Mr. Ballmer will make $1.34 million this year.  Mr. Bezos earned $1.78 million in 2009.

Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com

I’m guessing that none of these billionaires pay 10% of their gross annual income to fund their medical insurance.  And, I’m pretty sure none of them has ever been compelled to choose between food and prescription drugs.

The Holocaust Created By These Scrooges’ Greed

Washington State is also home to disabled people who struggle to make ends meet with gross annual incomes well below the poverty level.  Anyone who makes more than $694/month is required to kick in 10% of their gross income to pay for medical insurance, 30% to pay for a roof over their heads, and most aren’t eligible for food stamps.  Their incomes have been frozen for two years. 

In essence, their total monthly income wouldn’t fuel Mr. Allen’s yacht for a minute.  Yet, the greed of the Ballmer-Allen-Bezos trio means that many disabled people will die because they can no longer afford medical care or prescription drugs.

I’ve often wondered how the German people could be lulled into the Holocaust ~ Hitler’s efforts to create the perfect Aryan race ~ disabled people were among the first to visit the gas chambers.  But, I get it now.

The Ballmer-Allen-Bezos trio didn’t bother to tell the voters that the consequences of falling for their con job would be that Washington State’s most vulnerable citizens would experience a Holocaust.  It’s too late now for those naive and gullible folks to go back to the polls for a do-over.

Debb Snyder checks out the cost of her prescriptions

Debb Snyder’s Personal Holocaust

While Mr. Ballmer was busy cashing in $2 billion in Microsoft stock, Debb Snyder in Vancouver was trying to figure out how she would survive without the drug that has been keeping her alive for the past 20 years.  It costs $627/month ~ likely 90% of her monthly income.  She’s tried the generic.  It doesn’t work.  She knows of two people who died shortly after being cut off from the drug.

Dr. Jeff Thompson, the chief medical officer for DSHS, decides which optional Medicaid benefits will get cut.  He’s taken a 3% cut via furlough days, but his rich benefit package remains intact.  His high-paying job appears to be quite secure.

When he faced off with Medicaid recipients at Tacoma Medical Center yesterday, KING5’s Joe Fryer reported on a question from Margaret Rollins, who has crippling arthritis and can’t afford Christmas.  She learned at the meeting that Medicare Part D and visits to her foot doctor would no longer be covered.  She’s gone two years without an increase in Social Security:

That’s why I haven’t done no shopping yet or nothing, cause by the time you pay the bills, you don’t have nothing left.  I don’t have money for nothing else.  And I’m a good shopper.  I scrape, I do the best I can.  But you can’t save something you don’t have.

No kidding.  DSHS’ top doc’s response was more “let them eat cake” than the kind of “first do no harm” one would expect from a physician:

To your point, I mean, we can’t spend what we don’t have.  So somebody has to make a decision.

He expects the state’s most vulnerable citizens to figure out how to dodge the Holocaust that’s going to get worse when Gov. Chris Gregoire implements more budget cuts.

Q-13Fox expanded on Dr. Thompson’s “let them eat cake” arrogance:

He says getting a flu shot, taking medications for chronic conditions, and taking care of yourself in every way you feasibly can, may prevent ER visits and hospital stays.  Those actions in themselves, could save the state thousands of dollars every year. Dr. Thompson says if we all took better care of ourselves, we may be able to save programs like the ones that are being eliminated now.

He was more honest with The Columbian in November:

We do know that there will be extreme impacts.  There is a possibility that there would be a public health crisis.

According to DSHS’ Medicaid Purchasing Administration it doesn’t appear these draconian cuts will actually save the government money:

Inpatient hospitalizations and emergency room visits may increase for treatment of infections that have reached a severity where they now require IV antibiotics. Hospitalization may also be the alternative care for clients who do not have access to insulin, mental health medications, respiratory and cardiac medications, anti-coagulants and other life supporting medications.  There will be a decline in health status and an increase in costs associated with more intensive services required to treat the more severely ill.

When these draconian cuts bring us to our deathbeds, we won’t get hospice care.  It’s been cut too.

As one woman opined on the news, “it would be kinder if they would just shoot us.”  It would also be more honest.

The next time Mr. Allen takes the Octopus out for a sail, I hope he gets a visit from Dicken’s Christmas ghosts.

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