When does legally authorized theft become illegal theft?
While “crony capitalism” has been a problem in Washington for more than a century, it has been more often the ethically challenged but legally authorized variety of theft that characterizes so many politicized regimes. It’s beginning to become obvious that under the Obama Administration we have gone beyond crony capitalism to what can only be described as a full blown criminal enterprise, blessed, sanctioned and supported by the political operatives in the White House.
Revelations surrounding the improper guarantee of more than half a billion dollars in Stimulus loans to the now bankrupt “green job” Solyndra solar panel manufacturer by the Obama Administration suggest what many of us have suspected for a long time. Loan guarantees for “green companies”–a bad idea from a public policy perspective, but nonetheless legal–are supposed to follow certain guidelines. Such was not the case with Solyndra, whose main investor–venture capitalist George Kaiser–was a politically connected “bundler” who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign. Immediately after Obama’s inauguration, Kaiser and his cronies began lobbying the White House and Vice President Biden to “expedite” a half a billion dollar loan for their failing solar company.
Everyone knew it was a bad deal. Analysts at the Department of Energy had run the numbers and concluded that Solyndra would run out of cash in September 2011, even if it secured the half a billion in government guaranteed loans. Why? They were selling their products at a price that was half the cost it took to produce them. If you’re losing money on every sale, you can’t make a profit by increasing the volume!
According to a caller to Mark Levin’s program yesterday, everyone who worked at the Solyndra plant knew these flawed economics made their shiny new plant obsolete and doomed from the outset. These economic facts did not dissuade the political operatives in the White House from forcing the loan guarantee through. When Solyndra declared bankruptcy earlier this month, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the half a billion dollars in guaranteed loans, no one was surprised, not even the political operatives who rushed the deal through.
It’s the Chicago way, apparently. Al Capone would have loved this setup. Talk about return on investment! Just bundle a few hundred thousand dollars for the Obama Campaign, and voila, you get to use half a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money as you see fit…until it runs out.
Look for more true stories of illegal crony capitalism to be exposed for the remainder of the Obama Administration. Today’s business press reports that Solyndra may be only the tip of the iceberg are likely just the beginning.
All of this is to suggest an excellent follow up topic to Amy Handlin’s upcoming Voices of the Tea Party e-book, Crony Capitalists in Our Back Yards. I would like to see an e-book on Crony Capitalists in the Oval Office.
Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series and co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition. His new e-book, I, Light Bulb: A Death Row Testimonial, was published in July. His new book, Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement, will be published by Broadside Books in spring, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .