Our View: Obama’s Crony Socialism and the Green Lobby

July 18, 2012

CRONY SOCIALISM? It seems that almost no one in America is better off than they were four years ago – with the exception of Mr. Obama’s friends in the environmental industry

After 41 straight months of unemployment above 8 per cent, a paltry 80,000 jobs created last month, a record number of long-term unemployed, plummeting incomes for workers across the board, and an explosion of slackers and loafers living on government handouts, it seems that almost no one in America is better off than they were four years ago.

The one exception seems to be Mr. Obama’s friends in the Green Lobby, who are enjoying the kind of lucrative salaries and return on investment that would make Gordon Gekko blush.

The Republican National Committee has taken aim at the phenomenon with a new ad that exposes President Obama’s unique blend of “Crony Socialism” by highlighting the case of Obama bundler Steve Westly.

Westly, a venture capitalist raised a half million dollars for Mr. Obama in 2008, was rewarded with a seat on Energy Secretary Stephen Chu’s advisory board.  But that’s not all.

According to a February report in the Washington Post, “Westly’s firm also fared well in the agency’s distribution of loans and grants.  Its portfolio companies received $600 million in funding.

Raise a half million dollars for the President’s campaign, receive a half billion dollars from the taxpayer.  We aren’t financial wizards here at The Observer, but Mr. Westly’s 1,000 percent rate of return on investment looks pretty good next to the average Joe Sixpack’s 401k statement.

A little closer to home, one of Colorado’s most prolific bundlers, billionaire left-wing heiress Pat Styker, appears to have received similar rewards after doling out money to Democrat politicians.

As we reported back in March, Ms. Stryker, a major backer of the now infamous solar panel firm Abound through her firm Bohemian Companies, donated to Mr. Obama’s campaign, as well as the campaigns of every Democrat member of the Colorado Congressional delegation.

Those Members of Congress reciprocated by writing letters to administration officials backing additional taxpayer support for the doomed company, which received $12.6 million in federal stimulus and a $400 million federal loan guarantee before ultimately collapsing.

Former Congresswoman Betsy Markey even got the added benefit of campaign commercials thanking her, paid for in part by Abound.

And the web of green energy money doesn’t end with fundraisers and politicians, but can be found in the homes of elected officials as well.

Maggie Fox, wife of U.S. Senator Mark Udall and CEO of the Climate Research Project, for example, made a whopping $181,891 in 2009 according to IRS documents – more than her husband’s comfortable $174,000 Senate salary.   But that’s not all.  Ms. Fox evidently did such a fine job in 2009 that she received a $102,000 raise in 2010, when IRS documents show that she was paid a salary of more than $283,000.

Considering the majority of the Udall family income appears to come from sources that have a specific legislative agenda in mind, it’s worth asking what the Climate Research Project is getting out of Senator Udall.

Unfortunately, we have come to expect these kinds of apparent conflicts of interest in our politics.  But expecting doesn’t mean accepting, and the appearance of it all explains why a plurality of voters believe most Members of Congress are corrupt.

But such is life, and the way of the world in Mr. Obama’s “new energy economy”.  It is a place where government picks economic winners and losers, and political cronyism seems to be the best gig in town.

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