Tad DeHaven

The Obama campaign is trying to hang so-called “vulture” capitalism around Mitt Romney’s neck, but as two excellent opinion pieces explain, it’s the administration’s crony capitalism that’s the really disturbing story.

The first piece, written by the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel, explains the difference:

Like Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama has presided over bankruptcies, layoffs, lost pensions, run-ups in debt. Yet unlike Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama’s C-suite required billions in taxpayer dollars and subsidies, as well as mandates, regulations, union payoffs and moral hazard.

Strassel singles out the Solyndra debacle and the administration’s bailout of the unions General Motors. She notes that the alternative to profit-driven free enterprise, which the president is critical of, “is an Obama capitalism that is driven by political favoritism, government subsidies, mandates, and billions in taxpayer underwriting.”

In the second piece, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen says that “if Romney’s record in private equity is fair game, then so is Obama’s record in public equity—and that record is not pretty.” Thiessen lists numerous examples of companies that the administration gambled on with taxpayer money and lost. But what’s really disturbing is the administration’s cronyism:

Amazingly, Obama has declared that all the projects received funding “based solely on their merits.” But as Hoover Institution scholar Peter Schweizer reported in his book, “Throw Them All Out,” fully 71 percent of the Obama Energy Department’s grants and loans went to “individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.” Collectively, these Obama cronies raised $457,834 for his campaign, and they were in turn approved for grants or loans of nearly $11.35 billion. Obama said this week it’s not the president’s job “to make a lot of money for investors.” Well, he sure seems to have made a lot of (taxpayer) money for investors in his political machine.


Tad DeHaven

Tad DeHaven is a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Previously he was a deputy director of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget. DeHaven also worked as a budget policy advisor to Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK).