Obama Administration = Waste, Corruption, Corporate Welfare

Obama Administration = Waste, Corruption, Corporate Welfare

June 15, 2009
Originally published in Opposing Views

Rapidly-rising Medicare spending already threatens “to crush the
federal budget,” and much Medicare spending is wasteful, yet the Obama
Administration claims it can somehow save money by creating
Medicare-like programs to cover all Americans. In the New York Times,
economics professor Tyler Cowan calls it “the new voodoo economics.”
Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson concludes that Obama’s
health-care plan “is naive, hypocritical or simply dishonest. Probably
all three.”

Obama is firing an inspector general who exposed
wrongdoing by one of his supporters, and previously uncovered millions
of dollars in waste and fraud in the troubled AmeriCorps program, whose
budget is being dramatically increased by the Obama Administration.
Inspector General Gerald Walpin was fired after he uncovered misuse of
federal “stimulus money.” The recently-passed stimulus package repealed
welfare reform, and it subsidizes waste and corruption.

Congress
is moving towards passing a “cash for clunkers” bill that would give
people tax credits, but only if they own an old gas-guzzler that they
are trading in for a new car. So if you bought a fuel-efficient car in
the past, your tax dollars will be used for welfare for people who
bought inefficient cars (cars with less than 18 MPG).
The bill will increase the national debt (and thus future taxes) by
billions of dollars. As Mike Budnick notes in the Wall Street Journal,
“This type of legislation rewards people who have made poor decisions
and penalizes only people who have already made good choices. Not the
kind of incentive that we should propagate. Let the market work.”

Taxpayers
are being ripped off to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to
enrich wealthy buyers of so-called “toxic assets.” Meanwhile, the Obama
Administration’s $787 billion stimulus package is actually killing jobs
and shrinking the economy.

Congress passed an FDA
tobacco regulation bill, but not without adding insidious provisions
that will reduce competition in the tobacco industry, and actually make
it harder to introduce products that reduce the harms and health risks
of tobacco, notes the Wall Street Journal. We earlier described the
bill’s pitfalls and counterproductive provisions. Obama has said he
will sign the bill into law.

Billions of tax dollars are
being spent on bailing out carmakers, but the primary beneficiaries of
this corporate welfare are not the car companies themselves, which
could have survived without federal bailouts by simply abrogating their
collective bargaining agreements and dealer-contracts in a standard
bankruptcy-court reorganization, but the United Auto Workers Union,
which spent millions electing Obama and is now calling the shots.
Taxpayers and pension funds are being ripped off to enrich the UAW, which enjoys wages much higher than the average American.

A
similar government bailout of the auto industry actually backfired in
England in the 1970s, destroying its carmakers by leaving them with
excessive wages, inefficiency, and political meddling in car design.

Now,
even liberal commentators are questioning whether the mushrooming auto
bailouts pass constitutional muster, such as Charles Lane in today’s
Washington Post. (Lane is so liberal and pro-government that in a front
page article in 2003, he characterized the Supreme Court’s 2003
decisions as collectively being great for “civil liberties,” even
though he admitted that the Supreme Court had rejected free speech
claims in 7 out of its 8 First Amendment cases that term, largely
because Lane approved of its decision upholding the University of
Michigan Law School’s race-based affirmative action plan — even though
legally permissible affirmative-action plans are a discretionary
government function, not an individual right or civil-liberty).

Conservative
columnist George Will also has a column today criticizing the auto
bailouts. He points out that the Administration’s current claim that it
can use TARP bank-bailout money for an auto
bailout is at odds with the Treasury Department’s past admissions to
the contrary: “Last September, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
testified to the Senate that TARP money was
necessary for ailing ‘financial institutions.’ Nowhere in the bill’s
169 pages was there any reference to government funding of ‘automobile’
or ‘manufacturing’ companies. In November, Paulson told a House
committee: ‘I’ve said to you very clearly that I believe that the auto
companies fall outside of [TARP’s] purpose.’”

Earlier,
commentators like the Heritage Foundation, Clinton Administration Labor
Secretary Robert Reich, and liberal journalist Andrew Sullivan all
agreed that the auto bailouts are illegal or unconstitutional.