Guess who is making out like a bandit on Obamaphones?
Well, well, well, roughly a quarter of the 2.2 billion dollars being spent on Obamaphones, has gone to a company owned by Carlos Slim. Todd Shields of Bloomberg reports:
Slim's TracFone Wireless Inc. received about a quarter of the funds from the U.S. government's Lifeline program, according to the latest figures. Today, a House subcommitteeasked why the program, paid for by fees charged to U.S. phone subscribers, tripled in cost since 2008.
How many other markets have grown 300% in the years since the crash?
Slim is often called the richest man in the world, and owns the cell phone monopoly in Mexico, where consumers pay far more than they do in America. Slim also provided some critical financing (a loan at 14%) to keep the New York Times from financial distress and became the third largest shareholder in the company in 2008, and raising his investment in 2011, to over 7% of the equity.
A quarter of 2.2 billion works out to 550 million, which puts the annual gift to Slim in the Solyndra/Fisker ballpark. Every year, at the current pace.
Slim's ability to acquire the cell phone monopoly in Mexico reveals a man able to play politics on a grand scale, in a land renowned for political corruption. Who knows? Maybe those skills work eslewhere.