November 3, 2022

Snake Oil Fraud

By Glenn

Leadership requires correctly identifying problems and developing solutions. Demagogues often recognize when others are in pain, but they then exploit the pain for personal gain.  This technique helps the politician gain, and solidify, power. 

Demagogues behave exactly like snake oil salesmen.  Before the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906), capitalists crisscrossed the country offering a shimmering liquid to hopeful customers.  The pain experienced by the buyer was often real enough; the “cure” wasn’t.

Snake oil left the underlining medical condition.  If the consumer suffered from a degenerative disease, the person would get sick and die.  The Food and Drug Administration deemed this behavior a fraud and outlawed the sale of snake oil as medicine.

Snake Oil Doesn’t Work for Public Education Either

The First Amendment prevents making similar laws for politicians.  Demagogues are free to peddle their snake oil.  Voters have to educate themselves about competing candidate claims.  In a virtuous debate both sides would stick to reality.

But what happens when one side becomes untethered to reality?  What happens when one side just makes stuff up?  Are we really supposed to pretend that a snake oil politician and an educated politician are the same?

For example, the Biden Administration has arrested 1.7 million people trying to cross the US-Mexican border illegally.  How does this fact compare to campaign claims?  Greg Abbott falsely accuses President Joe Biden of having an open border. Beto O’Rouke says Abbott is duplicating federal efforts and draining the Texas National Guard resources and morale.

Compared to the Biden’s 1.7 million arrests, Abbott claims to have detained 21,000 people.   The cost of this snake oil continues to climb. Abbott has wasted $4 billion of our tax dollars and recently diverted an additional $359.6 million from Texas prisons.

At one point during this sales pitch, Abbott duplicated the check points for commercial traffic along the border.  State troopers disrupted the economy in a futile search for immigrants.  The stunt tied up traffic and cost businesses $9 billion dollars in less than ten days.

We have known about these problems for decades. Congress has increased the Federal border patrol budget from $263 million in 1990 to $4 billion in 2020This money hired an additional 16,000 agents.

Who was more fiscally responsible?  The Federal Government spent $4 billion and stopped 1.7 illegal crossing.  Abbott spent $4 billion and only stopped 21,000.  On top of that Abbott cost US businesses $9 billion.

Can we please stop buying this snake oil? We need real immigration reform that defines legal crossing that would work for Texas families and businesses.  Snake oil only works for politicians, not us.

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