Posts Tagged ‘crony’
April 29th, 2014 at 1:56 pm
Free Market Fairness

Ben Domenech says that one way for conservatives to reframe their economic message before the 2014 midterms is to start using the phrase, “free market fairness.”

“Those on the right should be prepared to make the case that the warped relationship between Wall Street and Washington needs to be fixed, that socialized risks and privatized profits are fundamentally unfair, and that… equality-focused policy solutions, and those of the left, would hurt income mobility and systematically destroy wealth and growth,” he writes in the Wall Street Journal.

Free market fairness can be thought of as the alternative to crony capitalism. The latter can be defined as “government efforts to tilt markets in favor of preferred firms [to] reward political connections and lobbying money.” Troy’s recent article on eliminating the elite-driven Export-Import Bank is an excellent example of how conservatives can show they are serious about removing barriers to equal economic opportunities.

Adopting the free market fairness frame also strengthens the GOP’s insistence on a government dedicated to the rule of law. As Solyndra and other Recovery Act era abuses fade from memory, the rule of law critique has been increasingly focused on abuses of executive discretion like Deferred Action for illegal immigrants, Justice Department refusals to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and the growing litany of delays and waivers of ObamaCare. Refocusing on how crony capitalism picks winners and losers would bring the rule of law argument full circle.

Maintaining a fair playing field isn’t the same as giving one team extra points. The only way the American dream can remain open to everyone is if the people in charge of the rule book fairly to all participants.

August 15th, 2013 at 6:25 pm
ObamaCare Navigators Could Make $20-48 an Hour Registering Voters

Today, the Obama administration announced $67 million in grants to 105 groups nationwide who will assist people trying to find health insurance on an ObamaCare exchange, according to Politico.

The groups are non-insurance organizations that will in turn employ so-called “navigators” to help insurance seekers fill out an ObamaCare application, obtain insurance, and yes, even register to vote.

Some of the groups receiving grants include Planned Parenthood affiliates and various community organizers and activists. Care to speculate which political party they’ll steer registrants to?

The likely pay isn’t bad either.

In a proposed regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid two weeks ago, it is suggested that the groups employing navigators pay between $20 and $48 an hour. (Navigators are prohibited by law from being paid by insurance companies, so compensation is expected to come from grant recipients.)

You’ve got to hand it to liberals. Not only do they manage to find a way to pay themselves to grow an entitlement, they get to grow their political support too.

What’s that line about democracy lasting only until the people discover they can vote themselves the treasury…?

May 16th, 2013 at 8:05 pm
Sebelius’s ObamaCare Lobbying Funds Liberal Political Groups

As I discuss in my column this week, the primary beneficiary of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s legally suspect lobbying of private health companies is the non-profit community organizing outfit Enroll America.

The group’s Advisory Council includes several members of the liberal establishment such as NAACP, La Raza, Planned Parenthood, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

But wait, there’s more:

“Enroll America’s board of directors is made up of insurers and hospital organizations that will benefit from enrolling millions of people in Obamacare. But its management is 100 percent political. Its president is Anne Filipic, formerly deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, where she networked with community organizers. Before that, she had a top job at the Democratic National Committee, and before that she managed Obama’s victorious 2008 Iowa Caucus bid,” according to the Boston Herald.

“To design a media campaign, Enroll America hired Lake Research, which also manages messaging for ACORN,, LaRaza and 39 members of Congress, all Democrats”

At least now we know how Sebelius is feathering her post-HHS nest – by funneling money to just about every radical liberal group in America.

May 13th, 2013 at 5:46 pm
Sebelius Already Raised at Least $10.5 Million from Health Industry

On the heels of a Washington Post report that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is actively soliciting health industry executives for six- to seven-figure “donations” to help publicize ObamaCare, the New York Times reveals how much she’s netted in pledges so far: $10.5 million.

And that’s just from two groups. One is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which bills itself as the largest public health philanthropy. It pledged $10 million. The other is the for-profit tax preparation company H&R Block who, according to the Times, “sees a large role for itself in helping low- and middle-income people apply for tax credits that can be used to buy private health insurance.” It promised $500,000 for the propaganda outreach effort.

An unbiased observer could look at this and easily see at least the probability if not the certainty of a quid pro quo arrangement where payment to an HHS-backed initiative now means preferential treatment later.

And remember, these two transactions are only the tip of the iceberg. Once more health industry entities confirm their involvement Sebelius’ project we’ll be able to see which firms will reap the lion’s share of benefits of ObamaCare’s corrupt pay-to-play scheme.

Crony capitalism is alive and well in the Obama Administration.

October 12th, 2012 at 12:05 pm
Obamaphone Provider Also a Major Campaign Donor

The Fox affiliate in D.C. reports that Carlos Slim, a Mexican telecom billionaire and at $70 billion the world’s richest man, is adding to his net worth by owning a controlling stake in a company that specializes in making $10 off of every “Obamaphone” it distributes to eligible Americans.

But although Slim himself is said to have donated to President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, it’s the mogul’s American-based surrogate, Frederick “F.J.” Pollack, who seems to be greasing the skids.  Per Fox:

Pollak has donated at least $156,500 to Democratic candidates and committees this cycle, including at least $50,000 to the Obama campaign. His wife, Abigail, is a campaign bundler for Obama and has raised more than $632,000 for the president this cycle, and more than $1.5 million since 2007. She has personally contributed more than $200,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since 2008.

The Pollaks hosted Obama at their Miami Beach home in June for a $40,000-per-plate fundraising dinner, and hosted a similar event with Michelle Obama in July 2008. The couple personally donated a combined $66,200 to Obama’s re-election effort that year.

With 3.8 million customers receiving Obamaphones at $10 a pop, the Pollacks are getting several times their money’s worth for Slim in campaign donations.

November 11th, 2011 at 8:01 pm
Biden Chiseling Secret Service for Rent While They Protect Him

If you’ve ever wondered how career politicians make money while in office, here’s an answer to file away with “marry a lobbyist” and “have a trust fund.”

The Washington Times confirms that even after six months of bad press, Vice President Joe Biden will continue to charge rent from the Secret Service for the agents who live on his Delaware property to protect his life.  The Times notes that Secret Service officials can’t recall another public official charging rent from his protectors – essentially a double tax on taxpayers who’ve been subsidizing Biden’s lifestyle since he was elected to the Senate 36 years ago at the age of 31.

The amount of rent Biden will receive from the Secret Service next year – $26,400 or $2,200 a month – is a pittance compared to the trillions being wasted by the Obama Administration on its assorted boondoggles.  But it’s the way this transaction looks to have occurred that should really irk taxpayers.  From the Times report:

According to Mr. Biden’s office, the cottage had been occupied by Mr. Biden’s mother, Jean Biden, who died in 2010 at 92.

After her death, Mr. Biden asked the Secret Service about renting the property, but the agency declined and a private tenant whose identity has not been disclosed moved in. When that tenant moved out, however, the Secret Service reconsidered, approached Mr. Biden about renting the property and moved in, paying the same $2,200 per-month rate charged to the previous occupant.

Hard to believe that the Secret Service suddenly had a change of heart about granting Biden’s wish to make money off of a service offered to him by a generous nation and dedicated personnel.  Instead, it looks like the mystery tenant was just a stand-in to establish a rental price that Biden could claim was fair market value when he cajoled the Secret Service into accepting his offer.

What’s next; Biden charging AMTRAK for the privilege of ferrying him between D.C. and Delaware?