Cronyism Steals Taxpayer Money and International Prestige

The Constitution gives Congress the power to raise funds (tax) and appropriate (spend) those funds to check the power of the executive branch by controlling the resources of the president. The thinking was that it would prevent the president from abusing the means to serve his own ends.

Somewhere along the line this process has gone terribly wrong, especially under the Obama administration, which gives its “friends” enormous amounts of money and privileges without any semblance of oversight. The administration treats taxpayer money as if it was a credit card for the Democratic Party — with no spending limit.

Cronyism, or “pork barrel” politics, was not invented under President Obama, but he has taken it to new heights. The term pork barrel politics traces its origin to the 1860s, when it became synonymous with using taxpayer money to reward a politician or constituent for his vote or donation.

But back then, they could not have foreseen how it would become even more corrupt.

It’s hard to ignore the administration’s selection of new ambassadors based solely on their ability to bundle campaign donations. Following the hearings for these new ambassadors is a tragicomedy.

The most recent group of nominees admitted that they had never even been to the country for which they had been assigned. In most cases, they do not speak the language or have any knowledge or connection to the country’s laws, culture or politics.

How much does an ambassadorship cost these days? Colleen Bell, a soap opera producer, raised more than $500,000 and was nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to Hungary.

Long Island hotelier George Tsunis, who raised nearly $1 million for Obama, was nominated to be the ambassador of Norway, although he didn’t know it was a monarchy.

Obama friend Robert Barber, who has never visited Iceland, was nominated as the ambassador to Iceland, as a reward for helping to raise $500,000 (some reports put that number at nearly $3 million).

Finally, Max Baucus, the former senator from Montana who agreed to give up his senate seat so that another Democrat could run, was given the ambassadorship to China, although in his hearing he admitted he was “no real expert on China.”

While these posts don’t cost taxpayers money directly, down the road these unqualified ambassadors will hurt our standing internationally and could have serious trade implications that could cost billions of dollars.

What does cost taxpayers directly is the numerous grants and loans given to Obama’s friends that have had no Congressional oversight. The height of cronyism.

The poster child, of course, is the now defunct Solyndra that received some $535 million in taxpayer money for its money-losing solar panel operation — orchestrated by billionaire George Kaiser of the Kaiser Foundation, a big Obama campaign supporter.

In fact, as Obama careens down the endless road of his green energy initiative, this administration has never come across a green energy program run by friends that they weren’t willing to fund.

The latest boondoggle is a $1.6 billion loan to BrightSource Energy, a solar thermal technology company, to build a five-square mile solar farm in California. It is no coincidence that every major director of this company worked in the Obama administration.

This unabated cronyism must stop. It steals taxpayer money, and worse, when these ill-fated investments fail, they put workers on the street. The only people getting jobs are the bundlers, who are being given ambassadorships.

My question is: Where is the moral outrage? Why aren’t the millions of unemployed demanding our financial resources be used to create good-paying, sustainable jobs? Why isn’t Congress asking questions?

The discussion in America today is the battle between the haves and the have-nots. This isn’t about race or geographic location anymore. It’s about the fact that the haves have strong ties to the Democratic Party. When one party controls a nation, it’s no longer a republic — it’s socialism.

We should be living in a nation that puts more credence on what you know, instead of who you know. Maybe then people with education and skills can get a job — with no strings attached. They deserve it, and we deserve a country that plays by the rules.

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