Obama's Chicago crony capitalists target the 'little guy'
The utter cynicism of the Obama inner circle, if the media ever chose to reveal it to the American public, would stun those who think that Obama stands up for the "little guy." When it comes to paying for electricity, the Chicago cabal that thrust a former back bencher in the Illinois state senate into the Oval Office in the span of three years hjas a long and continuing history of squeezing money from hard-pressed households who have no choice but to pay up or see the lights (and refrigerator and television) go out.
From Andrew Evans at the Washington Free Beacon:
A Chicago-based power company with ties to the Obama administration faced questions about its ties to Obama officials Tuesday morning at a shareholders meeting.
A representative for the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), a Washington-based think tank that holds stock in utilities company Exelon Corp., attended Exelon's shareholder meeting and asked CEO Chris Crane about the company's relationship to the Obama administration and the wisdom in taking government money.
Exelon officials used their connections to the White House to shape environmental policies in order to hurt their competitors, according to a New York Times article cited by NCPPR representative Cherylyn Harley LeBon at the meeting. Exelon also secured favorable loans from the government for an already-financed project.
Exelon projected that it would earn an additional $400 million per year due to the pressure that the tighter environmental regulations would place on coal plants, the Times noted.
The representative from the NCPPR asked a question that was basically ignored by the Exelon executive:
"So my question is: how much money has the company actually made by surreptitiously eliminating much of its coal-based competition; and do you think that sum was worth the livelihoods of the up to 17,000 coal employees that will be put out of work in the coming years," LeBon asked. "And during this time of massive federal deficits, and record government spending, is it prudent for our company to use its political connections to take such massive sums from the American taxpayers?"
Two years ago, I wrote about the benefits flowing to Exelon-and the massive harm being done in Coal Country-due to Exelon's crony connections to Obama (see Crony Capitalism and Obama's Anti-Coal Crusade; also see this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column) .
Both David Axelrod, Obama's campaign strategist, and Rahm Emanuel (who served as Obama's of Chief of Staff) earned millions while working for Exelon. Axelrod's firm ran an AstroTurf campaign (fake grassroots advocacy campaign) for Commonwealth Edison (the company that later became with the purchase of other utilities, Exelon) that made it seem that citizens were rallying for an increase in utility rates. This work was done on the sly and was afterwards came to light.
Should it surprise us that Axelrod had the audacity to promote a relatively unknown Senator as President? Should it surprise us that the ever-cynical Axelrod, who ran a presidential campaign targeting the "little people," sold his services to a multi-billion dollar utility so they can charge the "little people" more money? Should it be a surprise that Axelrod last year bought a $1.7 million condo in the iconic Water Tower Place (home to Oprah Winfrey and other celebs and corporate execs)?
As Evans writes:
David Axelrod, formerly Obama's senior adviser, worked for Exelon. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's first chief of staff and current mayor of Chicago, was intimately involved in the company's creation.
Exelon employees have also been among the strongest supporters of Obama throughout his political career, the Free Beacon reported last year.
Rahm Emanuel "earned" millions while doing work for Exelon using his crony connections to smooth the way for Exelon to go on a buying spree, purchasing utilities across the country as this modern-day Octopus took control over a lot of power purchased at high prices by Americans beholden to the monopoly in its midst. And these three babbled endlessly during both Obama campaigns about being concerned about the common man. As they say in Chicago, Yeah, right.
From Axelrod to Emanuel to Obama, crony capitalism is alive and well in Obama's America.