Obama Cronyism Destroys Job Creation

To paraphrase an old adage, “You can take Obama out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of Obama.”

As President Barack Obama plied the streets of his Southside Chicago neighborhood rounding up votes for the “Chicago Machine,” he became a quick study of the “Chicago Way” of unbridled cronyism. This is perhaps the most important period of his “hands-on business” education.

There’s a Chicago saying that goes: “Nobody wants to talk to anybody that nobody sent.” In other words, if you don’t have political connections with the Mayor’s office, don’t bother to ask for a favor.

This was Obama’s orientation to politics, as well as that of his top advisers, most of whom have strong Chicago roots.

Obama’s crash course in cronyism now permeates his administration.

The most recent episode involves Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law who got a $737 million taxpayer loan for another “green” initiative that if it were viable would not require public funding.

This follows the saga of the now defunct Solyndra that received some $535 million in taxpayer money for their money-losing solar panel operation, which was tied to pressure from the Kaiser Foundation, a big Obama campaign supporter. This foray into cronyism is paired with Obama’s maddening habit of deflecting criticism.

In a recent TV interview, Obama said “he had no regrets about the loan because some failure was to be expected on risky projects.” What was really risky is that the failure of Solyndra put 1,100 workers out on the street.

Here’s what Obama said at the time he visited the plant to trumpet the program: “We are poised to generate countless new jobs, good-paying middle-class jobs, right here in the United States of America. That’s the promise of clean energy. And thanks to the men and women here today — and the innovators and the workers all across America — it’s a promise that we’ve already begun to fulfill.” Another bad choice that started with a behind-the-door deal with a donor.

Henry Ford invented the mass produced motor car when the time was right, not because the government ordained it. It was private money, not public money that decided the time had come for a transformational moment in transportation. The same is true with Bill Gates introduction of the Microsoft operating system for personal computers.

The time for alternative energy will come. It will be the private economy that decides when, not government bureaucrats handing out billions to reward political supporters.

But as they say in the late night infomercials: Wait, there’s more! It isn’t a coincidence Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE was named by Obama as the “jobs czar.” GE has been a big beneficiary of government bailouts and GE has helped raise millions of dollars for Obama. But another Obama pal has let the country down, since it appears that Immelt has been more adept at creating jobs for his employees in China, than for his own country.

We should have been wary of the Obama administration’s devotion to cronyism as early as 2009, when Obama picked former Citigroup vice-president and big Democratic fundraiser Louis Susman as the Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Susman is an investment banker by trade who has no real diplomatic experience.

Instead, he has strong ties to the Chicago Machine, and is known in some circles as the “Vacuum Cleaner,” for his ability to suck up donations for Democratic politicians. News reports from Britain at the time were that the U.K. government was furious that a neophyte had been given this important position.

If you want to see cronyism in action, look no further than the chummy relationship Obama has with U.S. trade unions. Let’s go back to the U.S. auto bailout of 2008 and 2009, when Obama let the United Auto Workers gain priority for its unsecured claims over those of secured bondholders. Financial experts declared it “an unprecedented alteration of bankruptcy law that violated bondholders’ legal rights.” This is pure payola for electoral support.

When we have millions of unemployed workers and a tanking economy, this isn’t the time to dole out favors to cronies. This is the time for strong leadership that takes bold action to move this country in the right direction. It calls for fiscal responsibility, devoting funds only to those initiatives that will create sustainable jobs, not to feather the nests of favorite Democratic fundraisers. Cronyism and job creation cannot coexist.

David Stockman, President Reagan’s Director of the Office of Budget Management said in an interview last year: “What now exists at the heart of the U.S. economy is “cronyism” — a system that benefits and even rigs the system in favor of America’s banks and bankers at the cost of average Americans. It’s a system built on the back of government-issued bailouts and free money. ”

It’s also built on the backs of small business owners and entrepreneurs who are sitting on the sidelines, uncertain if tax increases and a struggling economy will continue to put their future in jeopardy. And with it, the hopes of millions of American workers looking for jobs.

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