How Do You Say “Crony Capitalist” in Spanish?

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How do you say “crony capitalist” in Spanish?crony lead

Abengoa will do.

This Spanish company is the export equivalent of Solyndra – the $536 million (and counting) “investment” – with your tax dollars – in not-ready-for-prime-time alternative energy.

Solyndra made extravagant promises about its supposedly revolutionary-design tubular solar panels, which the government thought would be a great idea to “stimulate” the manufacture of using other people’s money (yours and mine).

No one bothered to ask the obvious question:

If these tubular panels are such a great idea – and work as efficiently as Solyndra claimed – then why is government “help” necessary? Surely, if the panels are as capable of reducing the cost of electricity to homeowners and businesses as Solyndra says, then homeowners and businesses would be lining up to buy them… right?

Wrong, as it turns out.

And that should have called a halt to the “loans” – which by the way were (and are) nothing of the kind. When the government takes your money and gives it to others, it is a transfer payment – to put it gently.

Theft, to put it honestly.crony 2

But at least Solyndra was an American company fleecing Americans. Kind of like your brother filching a $20 out of your wallet when you weren’t looking.

But how about robbing American taxpayers to “help” foreign companies?

Meet Abengoa.

It is a Spanish “renewable energy” company that – so far – has lifted $230 million from the wallets of American taxpayers, courtesy of their own government. Like Solyndra, Abengoa gained access to our money via the federal Department of Energy’s Renewable Fuels Standard, a creation of the Obama regime (also responsible for the Solyndra debacle) that pays companies to produce what the free economy isn’t interested in buying.

The RFS “helps” the domestic ethanol and “biofuels”  lobby – and now, it turns out, foreign “biofuels” and “green energy” companies like Abengoa, too.

But wait, there’s more.crony phoney

Reportedly, Abengoa was able – via the ministrations of former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson  –  to secure almost $200 million in financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank (another creature of Washington) to fund – surprise, surprise – the export of solar panels to Spain and South Africa

It turns Richardson had an interest in these proceedings.

That’s Beltway-ese for paid shill.

A former politician whose “connections” and “influence” are of value – in exactly the same way that having Don Corleone as your friend can be of value.   

The former (and potentially, future) Clinton crony and ex-governor of New Mexico not only sat on Abengoa’s International Advisory Board (see here) he also sat on the advisory board of the Export-Import bank (see here).

One hand washes the other – and sometimes, both.richardson pic

Ordinarily – in the free market – such a conflict of interest would not only raise eyebrows, it might be construed as criminal fraud. But when government does it – per Richard Nixon – it’s a-ok by definition.

Well, “legal,” at any rate.

It ought not to be.

Abengoa’s corporate mission statement is Innovate Technology Solutions for Sustainability.

Parsing that, it appears to mean that Abengoa feels entailed to sustain itself via innovative forms of legalized plunder.

If that sounds harsh, it’s meant to be.

Most people would not have anything to do with an individual person they knew to have “sticky fingers” – much less an individual person who actually held them up for money at gunpoint rather than just slipped a few bills in his pocket when no one was watching.taxes pic

Why is it less objectionable when the same thing is done on an organized level, by a business? Paying taxes, after all, is not a voluntary activity.

Taxpayers are under duress.

Call it “investment,” “help,” or “stimulus” all you like. These are fundamentally euphemisms that attempt to mask an ugly truth. Companies with political pull – and politicians on the payroll – are using the power of the government to line their pockets at your expense.

Some may reply that Abengoa – or Solyndra – had honest intentions. Was trying to produce an “innovative” product that would ultimately benefit the public. But if you or I steal money from someone – and use it to build our business, which ultimately produces some product or service that people find valuable – is the theft any less theft?

Will such an argument keep us out prison?

And fundamentally, a product or service that’s of value to people ought not to require “help” at gunpoint. Henry Ford – and Steve Jobs – worked long hours on the Model T (and Apple computer) until they got it right on their own nickel. They took risks. They didn’t expect the taxpaying public to do that for them. The Model T and the Apple computer had to face the crucible of the free market, to succeed – or fail – on the merits.

Isn’t that the way it ought to be in America?  

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Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia.

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