Only The Cronies Can Play

The Economic Advisory Board is dead, but don’t worry, the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness will take its place.  It’s all part of the latest in a long string of “hard pivots” to jobs, which have left President Obama twirling across the ruined landscape of double-digit unemployment like Natalie Portman going for that Oscar in her ballerina movie.

Clearly, the key to prosperity is the endless creation of councils, boards, committees, and summits.  If nothing else, they create or save plenty of jobs for councilors, board members, committeemen, and summiteers, to say nothing of the catering jobs produced by their splashy debut parties.  In the America of the near future, everyone will have a job, as councils are convened to draft the rules for board meetings where committee agendas will be set, in order to prepare for the next summit meeting.

Heading up the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is faithful Obama crony Jeff Immelt, whose General Electric has received billions in taxpayer bailout money – some of which it used to pay fines for securities fraud last summer.  Immelt is a big believer in “green” jobs, which can only exist when government forces them into existence, at a cost that can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars per job. 

Immelt is an admirer of China’s authoritarian crony capitalism, in which he sees “an incredible unanimity of purpose from top to bottom,” as quoted in the Washington Examiner.  Of course, if he can transition that system to America, he’ll be at the top along with Obama and other top politicians, and you will be forever pinned at the bottom, so you can see why it looks so much more attractive to him.

The Examiner also mentions a letter Immelt wrote to GE shareholders back in 2008, in which he advised: “The interaction between government and business will change forever. In a reset economy, the government will be a regulator; and also an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner.”  Well, that all turned out to be a complete disaster, and it left us with a dead economy, interred beneath trillions in debt.  Can we have another “reset” now, and does anyone really think Jeff Immelt is the guy to push the button?

One of the distinguishing features of crony capitalism is that politicians can make a select group of their friends very, very rich, and promote them as glittering successes, to hide the aspects of their performance they don’t want the public to examine too closely.  That’s why every authoritarian system can boast of fabulous accomplishments that set the hearts of New York Times columnists aflutter, from the old Soviet Union to modern China. 

Have a look at the Constitution, and let me know where it says the central government is supposed to be “an industry policy champion, financier and key partner.”  Immelt is praising a partnership in which the “senior” partner can seize unlimited funds to cover its errors, use its power to slant the market in favor of its special friends, and blame its private-sector junior partners for every catastrophe.  There will always be a few top-dollar cronies eager to take that ride, but the rest will be crushed beneath its wheels.

We don’t need more blue-ribbon commissions and five-star spokesmen from this government.  We don’t need more “messaging” and spin that run completely contrary to what they’re actually doing.  We need a humble apology for its failures, an effort to return the money and freedom it has taken from us, and a stable market in which we can get to work.  We’ll let the President and his friends know how many “green jobs” we come up with.