At the Green Room at Hot Air, Angela Lash’s piece, “The True Cost of Polygamy,” reviews Jon Krakauer’s book on Mormon polygamy Under the Banner of Heaven. Krakauer explains how polygamists have their own version of the Cloward-Piven scheme:
“To avoid prosecution [for polygamy], typically men in Colorado City will legally marry only the first of their wives; subsequent wives, although “spiritually married,” to their husband by Uncle Rulon, thus remain single mothers in the eyes of the state. This has the added benefit of allowing the enormous families in town to qualify for welfare and other forms of government assistance. Despite the fact that Uncle Rulon and his followers regard the governments of Arizona, Utah and the United States as Satanic forces out to destroy the UEP, their polygamous community receives more than $6 million a year in public funds.
More than $4 million…flows each year into the Colorado City public school district – which, according to the Phoenix New Times “is operated primarily for the financial benefit of the FLDS church and for the personal enrichment of FLDS school district leaders.” Reporter John Dougherty determined that school administrators have “plundered the district’s treasury by running up thousands of dollars in personal expenses on district credit cards, purchasing expensive vehicles for their personal use and engaging in extensive travel. The spending spree culminated in December , when the district purchased a $220,000 Cessna 210 airplane to facilitate trips by district personnel to cities across Arizona…The federal government built a $2.8 million airport that serves almost no one beyond the fundamentalist community.
In 2002, seventy-eight percent of the town’s residents living on the Arizona side received food stamps. Currently the residents of Colorado City receive eight dollars in government services for every dollar they pay in taxes; by comparison, residents in the rest of Mohave County, Arizona, receive just over a dollar in services per tax dollar paid.
“Uncle Rulon justifies all that assistance from the wicked government by explaining that really the money is coming from the Lord,” says DeLoy Bateman. “We’re taught that it’s the Lord’s way of manipulating the system to take care of His chosen people.” Fundamentalists call defrauding the government “bleeding the beast” and regard it as a “virtuous act.”