Obama bashes corporate welfare — ignores the one-year anniversary of Solyndra’s bankruptcy
Obama drew scorn from Republicans on Thursday when he targeted “corporate welfare” and oil companies during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, which also happened to be the one-year anniversary of Solyndra’s bankruptcy.
“Unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers,’’ said President Obama.
Republicans quickly responded to the President’s hypocritical statements by releasing a scathing video detailing the Obama administration’s conflict-ridden “investment” (aka corporate welfare) in Solyndra.
Once heralded by President Obama as a shining example of success, Solyndra quickly fell into financial ruin in August 2011, after receiving $535 million in taxpayer dollars through the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan program.
The bankruptcy ignited a storm of controversy, and spurred various investigations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as well as the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Both of these investigations concluded that the DOE’s decision to fund Solyndra was hastily made and represented a poor “investment” of taxpayer dollars.
Frank Rusco, author of the GAO’s report, told various media outlets that the DOE loan process lacked transparency and didn’t have a clear process for treating applicants with consistent levels of scrutiny.
“I think it’s problematic for [the Department of Energy],” Rusco said. “I think they need to have a systematic, transparent and equitable process. And I think if they’re not seen to have that, it’s going to create issues.”
While many appeared baffled by the DOE’s Solyndra blunder, and failed to understand the lack of transparency involved in the loan guarantee process, there is a simple and pointed explanation for the problem.
That answer is CRONY CAPITALISM.
Tulsa billionaire and Democratic fundraiser, George Kaiser, owned the failed solar panel producer, and his family foundation as well as his investment firm, Argonaut Private Equity, were major funders and stakeholders in the Solyndra project. Kaiser was also a frequent White House visitor in 2009, and a well-known Obama bundler for the President’s 2008 campaign.
Kaiser denies that his ties to the White House had anything to do with Solyndra receiving loan guarantees, and the DOE’s lack of transparency or clear rules made it impossible for the GAO investigation to know exactly how much of a role Kaiser’s prominence played in securing the loan. But few would deny that the relationship between Kaiser and the Obama administration is a little too close for comfort.
For those who remain unconvinced, later investigations and testimony have revealed that over 70 percent of the DOE’s green energy loan guarantees have gone to companies or projects with Obama bundlers and donors in high-ranking positions, as noted by Peter Schweizer in his book, Throw Them All Out.
It is true that both parties have been guilty of cronyism in the past, and Republicans are not blameless; however, President Obama should watch his tongue before he so hastily calls the kettle black.
There is no doubt that crony capitalism is a pervasive problem throughout our political system, but contrary to the rhetoric of Democrats, Occupy Wall Street and other leftist groups, government oversight will not fix the problem.
In fact, growth of government regulations and oversight proves counterproductive in the fight against cronyism.
A bigger government, with more regulations and involvement in the daily lives of businesses and individuals, only opens more entry points for large and powerful firms to assert their lobbying power and political influence into the governing process and oversight. The union between big government and big business breaks down free markets, which eventually stifles competition from smaller, more competitive businesses and entrepreneurs. The end result is large and powerful businesses that succeed based not on the value they create, but how much political influence they can cull through campaign donations, bundling, fundraisers, etc.
On the other hand, a truly free market economy would reward businesses based on the quality of their product(s) and the value they create for consumers.
In sum, Democrats preach that only a large, paternalistic government will save us, but in the end, such government results in theft from individuals and responsible businesses, leading to the redistribution of governmental plunder to our nation’s cronies.