Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bipartisan Political Cronyism ... Wasting Taxpayer Money ... "Solyndra Stuff" Needs to End

In 1787 James Madison in Federalist No. 10 warned about the problems with political factions. Today we have something called political cronyism which is very close to what Madison warned us about. But whatever we call this practice of "misrepresenting" the best interests of We the People, it has no legitimate place when government spends money wastefully on local or special projects that don't pass the "We the People as a Whole" smell test.

Madison's Federalist No. 10 is perhaps the best evidence of all that the federal government was not intended by the Founding Fathers to be partisan in nature. But as we painfully know all too well by now, things didn't quite work out that way.

This "bipartisan" and well entrenched habit of engaging in politically wasteful "scratch each other's back" spending of taxpayer money is a simple case of wasting taxpayers' money that the government doesn't have to waste.

First, it borrows the money from the Chinese. Then it proceeds to waste it on various "back scratching" projects.

After being "scratched," the initial "scratchor" becomes the subsequent "scratchee." And so on. It's congressional OPM spending at its absolute worst, in other words.

Our elected representatives are supposed to serve in a fiduciary capacity and that means, at least to me, that they are to represent both their individual constituents and We the People as a whole.

The GOP's Solyndra Wing says this about "bipartisanship" of a wrongheaded nature:

"If Republicans are remotely serious about cutting the federal budget, one litmus test should be eliminating the $34 billion loan program that produced Solyndra—the solar company that went bankrupt after receiving $500 million of taxpayer subsidies.

Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee will vote on a bill sponsored by Chairman Fred Upton called the No More Solyndras Act. This would defund the Energy Department loan guarantee program. But some Republicans are teaming up with Democrats to save the subsidies for wind, solar, nuclear and advanced coal projects that are in their own backyards.

Republicans Joe Barton and Michael Burgess of Texas and Phil Gingrey of Georgia have defended this politicized venture capital operation. Messrs. Burgess and Gingrey didn't return our calls, but Mr. Gingrey said in one hearing that "I'm not ready to say we should throw the baby out with the bathwater and just eliminate the loan programs entirely." If not after four years of $1 trillion deficits, when? Mr. Barton has been one of the staunchest advocates of the subsidies and he told Politico last week: "I don't think we need to throw out the whole program. I think we can clean it up."

Clean it up? He'll need a bigger hose. The program began in the late, not-so-great days of the Bush Administration. Since March 2009, DOE has received $47 billion in loan guarantee authority, and three of the first five companies receiving guarantees have already gone belly up, including Abound Solar, Beacon Power and Solyndra.

Bloomberg reports that half the solar companies that have received loan guarantees have gone bankrupt. Renewable energy deserves every chance to compete in the open marketplace backed by private investors. But DOE's taxpayer bet on alternative energy is looking steadily worse over time, as abundant natural gas for electricity generation is making renewable energy less competitive even with subsidies.

Republicans will be fiscal frauds if they renew the very money-losing energy programs they attacked Barack Obama for. When the next Solyndra goes bankrupt, voters will have more than Mr. Obama to blame."

My Take

Scratching each other's back with taxpayer money is a game that must end in Washington.

The way it works is that a few care greatly about stiffing the many, and the many don't recognize what's happening behind their backs. Thus, in a perverted way, the less money involved in a particular "back scratching" case , the easier it is to fleece the taxpayers as a whole. We the People won't even notice. So politician A helps B, B helps A, C helps A, A helps C and so on.

They do this in small parts and under the radar screen. When it's added together, taxpayers get a big bill.

Even worse, these pols don't even try to represent We the People as a whole. They just want to stay elected, and the best way to do that, as the game is played today, is to help the "home team" at the expense of the All-American team of We the People.

And that, my fellow Americans, is another example of why politics sucks.

Thanks. Bob.

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