Hillary, New Square and Billionaire Class

To the Editor,

Readers may remember the fictitious college program used by at least six of New Square’s leaders to steal $11 million in federal funds from Rockland Community College. Readers may also remember that Hillary was in a difficult position. She was moving to New York State to run for the senate and she needed political allies to support her campaigns for first the primary and then the general election.

Not surprisingly when Bill commuted the sentences of the four New Square leaders who had not fled there were charges that this was done to curry favor with this community. And equally unsurprising an investigation concluded there was no evidence that Bill’s generosity had anything to do with the overwhelming political support Hillary received from New Square. Other Hasidic communities supported her opponent who, unlike Hillary, was strongly opposed to abortion.

The leaders of the Hasidic community often argue that lots of folks steal money so why is there such a focus on “a few bad apples” in their community. The obvious answer is that the efforts of these “few bad apples” were actually members of the community’s leadership. In this particular case it was also suggested that since the money that was stolen was shared by the entire community the theft should be excused. As far as I know this self-serving claim has never been investigated.

Leaders of the Hasidic community also like to point out that white collar crime is not unique to their community. That is certainly true. In fact, the Panama papers suggest that greed and fraud are endemic within what Bernie refers to as the billionaire class.

Why is this stuff relevant today? Hillary and Bernie are taking off their gloves and looking for knockout punches. Each of them has now implied or actually stated the other is not qualified to be president–Hillary, because the Clintons have become multi-millionaires who are paid a fortune for their speeches, and Bernie, because he has never been involved in the day to day compromises that are necessary to govern effectively.

Meanwhile we look forward to revelations involving the participation of our own wealthy citizens, the billionaire class, in the financial maneuvers now being uncovered in the Panama papers.


Robert I. Rhodes

Chairman, Preserve Ramapo

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