Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cronyism is Part of What has Broken Washington

A big part of the problem with Washington these days is the extensive cronyism which permeates the political process. Congressmen and Senators take advantage of inside trader information, donors get special access to government grant programs, former "government" employees (read that "political") get hired for big salaried corporate jobs because of their "special knowledge" (read that "friends in government"). In the end, contracts and grants are handed out like candy -not to the most deserving or most promising, but to those with the best connections. And President Obama, although he is new to the world of Washington politics, is a fast learner. A very fast learner. President Obama’s most recent green energy fixation—algae—suffers from the cronyism that has plagued his broader effort to promote non-fossil fuel energy sources through massive federal subsidies.

According to an article in FOX Nation, Solazyme, a San Francisco-based firm that specializes in the plant matter, has received more than $25 million in federal grants and contracts as part of the Obama administration’s controversial stimulus package, and is poised to receive millions more as part of the president’s recent efforts to promote green bio-fuels such as algae.

This time the firm employs a former member of the Obama-Biden transition team who, according to one online bio, “played a key role in developing the energy provisions in the economic stimulus bill.”

I am all for developing alternative energy sources and bio-fuels may be one viable answer. What bothers me is the millions and billions of taxpayer dollars that get handed out when the technology is still years away from being a viable alternative -especially when those dollars are not being handed out to those that have the best ideas and best chance of success. They are being handed out to those with the most political influence. The result is that we see one company after another get huge amounts of cash from our taxes, the investors make big profits, the management get big salaries and the company goes bankrupt, and the employees lose their jobs leaving us picking up the bill.

Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of this. It is ingrained in our political system. Obama has just learned to take advantage of it in record time. We need to force Congress to stop the practice by making tougher laws against it and by enforcing those laws - and it's time for a few of the Congressmen, Senators and Federal Employees that engage in this to go to jail along with the investors that have been profiting from it.

Live Long and Prosper...

No comments: