The late, great Chicago columnist Mike Royko coined the city’s unofficial motto “Ubi Est Mea,” which translates as “Where’s Mine?” and appears to be extant to this day for a certain denizen of the windy city.
You may have heard about the 733 union and corporate insurers who were granted waivers from ObamaCare’s “mandate” to provide a minimum level of health insurance to employees. (Maybe it shouldn’t be called a law, but a suggestion.)
Guess who was given the very first exemption to those “tough” new EPA greenhouse gases rules? If you guessed anything other than General Electric, whose CEO Jeff Immelt was recently appointed Obama’s jobs czar, go sit in the corner with your dunce cap. (The job czar’s company cut 34,000 U.S. jobs in the past decade, by the way.)
An Investor’s Business Daily editorial today — under the headline “Crony Capitalism Or Raw Corruption?" — tells us California’s Avenal Energy project has been given a pass. The plant, coincidentally, uses two natural gas-fired General Electric turbines and a GE steam turbine to generate electricity. The plant failed to pass carbon dioxide muster under the new rules.
With bailouts, exemptions, buyouts and the like, Obama’s State of the Union talk about working with private business takes on a revealing hue. IBD quotes Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, new chairman of the House Budget Committee, as saying, crony capitalists "get ahead through subsidies, special tax breaks, regulatory favors and other forms of political favoritism."
“The insidiousness of this is obvious,” IBD says. “First, make businesses and their owners totally dependent on the whims of bureaucrats. Then, make them beholden to you — partners, if you will, in the corruption of government favoritism.
“This distorts markets and makes our economy less efficient. It also makes all of us a lot less free.
“Think also of the Chevy Volt, which couldn’t exist in a free market. It’s a child of subsidies paid to government and union-controlled and owned General Motors Corp.
“How about ethanol? We now use something like 40% of all our corn for fuel, even as food prices soar to record highs. Big agriculture companies, which give millions in political contributions each election cycle, are no doubt grateful.”
And the hits keep on coming.
A Heritage Foundation blog reports, “The manufacturing industry is not the only sector of the economy where the Administration has installed a bailout revolving door. Over just the last two months, the Obama White House has sent budget director Peter Orszag to Citibank ($306 billion bailout), taken in Gene Sperling as NEC director from Goldman Sachs (beneficiary of the $173 billion AIG bailout), and added former Fannie Mae ($135 billion bailout so far) lobbyist and JPMorgan ($12 billion bailout) executive Bill Daley as President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff. There is a phrase for an economy that is so dependent on close relationships between business people and government officials: crony capitalism. And it is strangling our economic recovery.”
The Washington Examiner reports GE has spent $65.7 million lobbying the Obama administration, the most of any company.
About those jobs the czar is supposed to create: According to the World Bank Group, GE plans to make more of its refrigerators in China, as well as those aforementioned gas turbines. No need for an EPA waiver in China.