by Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard
First President Bush, then President Obama poured billions into General Motors and Chrysler to keep the companies alive but barely breathing. That was just for starters. Next came Obama’s creation of an Auto Task Force to oversee the auto companies. To head the task force, the president picked Steve Rattner, a Wall Street investor with no experience in automaking but lots in raising campaign money for Obama and Democrats.
GM and Chrysler were quickly restructured, mostly to the benefit of the United Auto Workers, the union which spent millions in 2008 to elect Obama and Democrats. The UAW now owns 17.5 percent of GM and 55 percent of Chrysler–quite a return on an investment of zero dollars. Obama said all parties should “sacrifice,” but only bondholders did. They got a fraction of what they were legally entitled to receive. UAW retirees, in contrast, got a gift of $9.5 billion at GM and $14.2 billion at Chrysler.
There’s an epilogue. Delphi, the auto parts manufacturer once owned by GM and still its biggest supplier, has been in bankruptcy for four years. To acquire its assets and run the company, Delphi and Obama’s Auto Task Force picked an affiliate of the private equity firm Platinum Equity. There was no auction or competitive bidding, though Platinum stands to make millions in the deal. Why Platinum? The UAW favored it, sources said.
There’s a name for all this: crony capitalism. Obama insists he believes in capitalism, but it’s not the free market variety that he’s been promoting since he became president. Obamanomics is a different strain entirely.
Recall that he flatly stated private industry couldn’t accept government cash and hold soirees in Vegas, but he never prohibited himself from taking such pleasures. Though he managed to quadruple the deficit in less than 100 days, leaving the taxpayer on the hook for $1.8 trillion more than the government will collect in taxes this year, the President’s most pressing pursuit yesterday was passing time at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas to prompt liberal idealogues to part with $2,000,000 to prop up Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) place in the Democratic party. This little party will cost the taxpayer a paltry $265,000.
Now all Presidents pass time protecting their parties by pandering for funds, but at the moment more pressing problems are plaguing the US.
You’ve likely read here that N. Korea tested a long range missile last month and here the same rogue nation tested a nuclear device and here the test was followed by more missile launches, all aggressive acts that defy Obama’s vain attempts to coddle the Communist state into compliance with international demands. Today, the inhospitable neighbor to our two most valuable allies in the region cranked the crisis up a notch (while Obama traverses the US to shore up the coffers of his political allies stateside) by making clear it is abandoning the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean Conflict and threatened a return to a state of war.
South Korea reported an increase in patrols by North Korean fighter jets on the border between the two states and there were reports of naval exercises close to the sites of previous skirmishes with the South Korean Navy.