Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I admit, three years ago I had hopes that the Obama administration would not do this sort of thing:
SolyndraGate was no isolated case of corrupt government misspending. The U.S. Navy was just forced to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuels from an Obama-connected firm at an outrageous $16 per gallon.
The massive Obama stimulus was supposed to generate millions of jobs, but the $535 million loan guarantee it gave to solar panel maker Solyndra on the eve of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy illustrated the fundamental incompetence of Obama's neo-Keynesian economic ideology.
Now we find the Navy partnering with the Agriculture Department to purchase hundreds of thousands of gallons of alternative biofuel in place of standard JP-5 fuel for Navy aircraft — the biggest federal purchase of biofuel ever.
It's part of the White House's "we can't wait for Congress" strategy as the 2012 election year looms. But JP-5 typically costs less than $4 a gallon. If a family on a budget started filling up with $16-a-gallon gas, it might want to adopt the motto, "we can't wait to go broke."
We tend to forgive corruption in boom times, mostly because we have better things to do. When times are tough and every day is a slog in no small part because of intrusive and vague regulation, sweetheart inside deals for the friends of politicians are just galling.
And, of course, the Democrats who forced the Department of Defense to pay four times the going rate for fuel to pander to their green constituents are the same people who complain about defense spending being too high.
Where's the outrage? Is it because we think someone else -- not us -- will pick up the tab? Or is it because there's just too much thievery going on. It's like New York City on the night of July 13, 1977 -- everywhere you look some guy is carrying a TV set. You feel stupid for not getting your own free TV set because the lights went out.
Our current national politics may be a compressed version of the New York City politics I saw play out over 25 years. Obama is a cross between John Vliet Lindsay and David Dinkins. We need a national version of Rudy.
At the end of the debacle of the Lindsay-Beame years the City floated a huge bond issue for new infrastucture including a mythical Second Avenue subway. The proceeds were looted to cover current expenses. Sound familiar? For awhile in the 1970s a handful of municipal union heads dictated terms because they called wildcat strikes. Then we went broke.
Rudy lost to Dinkins narrowly the first time in 1989 because the local religious right ran a Conservative against him. Dinkins proved a disaster -- not a bad guy, but an absentee landlord. Corruption continued. The crack epidemic hit. The low point for me was when a young crusading assistant attorney general got shot and killed outside a bodega near the Bronx courthouse not far from Yankee Stadium. NYPD spent a few days trying to determine which drug lord had put out the hit, only to conclude that the guy had just caught a stray bullet. Murders hit 2,200.
Rudy only narrowly won the second time around in 1993 even though the City was on the brink. Not enough people cared to vote the right way. Rudy only won the City because he won the Staten Island vote by 10 to 1. In NYC, Staten Island is our own Red State flyover country.
There's a happy ending. Crime's never been lower. The City works reasonably well. We turned it around. We're even building the Second Avenue subway, for real this time.
"And, of course, the Democrats who forced the Department of Defense to pay four times the going rate for fuel to pander to their green constituents are the same people who complain about defense spending being too high."
This is a great sentence. We should have it bronzed and sent to the President, the Senate and the Congress.
Well, for one thing, the purchase costs all of $12 million. Regardless of your feelings on biofuels, that's not even a drop in the bucket of the current defense spending.