Political ties are choking the economy
“Entrepreneur” used to refer to someone who assumed the risk of a business venture with the expectation of making a profit. In the political world, however, our overregulated economy has spawned a new type of entrepreneur: the political entrepreneur, who exploits the regulatory and legislative process for profit and whose assumed risk is mitigated or even eliminated by political and government connections. Cooperation with government for financial gain all too often leads to crony capitalism, and we have a bad case of it.
A recent New York Times article — “Ties to Obama Aided in Access for Big Utility” — documented how Exelon Corp., a Chicago-based utility, used its political support of President Obama for access and profit. According to the Times, Exelon was one of six utilities that received the maximum $200 million stimulus grant. It also got a $600 million renewable-energy grant and a $646 million loan guarantee for a solar project in Los Angeles. One of Exelon’s subsidiaries received a $200 million grant to install “smart meters” in the Philadelphia area.
(Source: Washington Times, 9/19/12, “U.S. has a bad case of crony capitalism,” by William O’Keefe, CEO of the George C. Marshall Institute)