Energy & Environment

The Most Important Man In America

George Kaiser is, according to the Tulsa World, the “wealthiest man in Oklahoma, and the 31st richest in the country.”  He’s got a net worth of $10 billion dollars.

He runs a family foundation “dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services, and civic enhancement.”  Speaking to the Rotary Club of Tulsa in 2009 about his foundation’s efforts to obtain “stimulus” funds, he said approvingly of the trillion-dollar Obama stimulus package: “There’s never been more money shoved out the government’s door in world history, and there probably never will be again.” 

Kaiser is a top Obama donor, having raised somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 for the Obama 2008 campaign, along with a personal donation of $53,500.  He’s the primary investor in a company whose executives and board members kicked in a total of $87,050 to get Barack Obama elected.  This kind of campaign loot earned Kaiser a remarkable level of White House access.  He’s visited the White House sixteen times since 2009.

He’s been interested in moving America away from fossil fuels for a long time, despite having made his fortune from oil and gas.  Americans will not be given any say in the matter, of course.  Here’s a Kaiser policy suggestion, as described by Forbes:

For a taste, consider his proposal that the federal government create a “feebate” (fee+rebate) on all oil and other liquid hydrocarbons like gasoline. On the front end would be a graduated tax that would start at 8 cents a gallon and rise to $1.80 in 20 years. All the fees collected would go into a pot, then once or twice a year the government would divvy up the pot and send an “energy security dividend” check to every man, woman and child. Every citizen would get the same amount–about $100 the first year, rising to $1,500 in 2030. The payouts would much more than offset the tax for those families with fuel efficient cars who live close to work. Drive an all-electric car and you’ll, in effect, be collecting cash from gas-guzzler lovers.

Kaiser calls the feebate the most powerful policy recommendation but also the most politically radioactive, with good reason: it’s been 17 years since the last increase in the federal oil tax. But this wouldn’t be a tax because the funds collected would be sent back to the people. “Yes it’s redistribution, but it’s redistribution based on energy profligacy and dependence,” says Kaiser. “It’s a tax on the excess users of liquid hydrocarbons and a reward to lesser users. It puts the incentive exactly at the right spot.”

(Emphasis mine.)  Wealth redistribution is the only truly “renewable” supply of energy, because arrogant liberals never stop coming up with wonderful plans to spread other people’s money around.  Let’s drop an escalating surtax on gas, then redistribute the money to people who don’t buy gas!  Billionaire liberals know what’s best for you, and it’s about time you stopped nattering on about your precious “liberties” and got with the program.

Americans use about 380 millon gallons of gas per day, which means even the initial eight cent “feebate” would siphon over $11 billion per year into the federal treasury.  Twenty years from now, it would be pushing $250 billion per year, assuming Kaiser’s plan hadn’t achieved its intended goal of crushing Americans’ freedom of movement and reducing gas consumption.  (To say nothing of wiping out the American auto industry we just paid so much to bail out.  Sorry, auto makers!)  Would the “pot” Kaiser had in mind for all this lovely tax revenue be as secure as the Social Security “lockbox?”

The “green energy” company he invested in has become famous around the world, but not for the reasons Kaiser intended.  That company is Solyndra, and you gave them half a billion dollars, before they went bankrupt.  Of course, you were not consulted about this “investment.”  Kaiser had no reason to ask you, not when he could get sixteen meetings with the Administration he worked so hard to put in power.  Solyndra’s executives still don’t have anything to say to you, having invoked the Fifth Amendment when called before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Kaiser denies he used his immense political influence to secure the Solyndra loan.  Doubtless the investment geniuses at the White House were hypnotized by the patently absurd business model of his corporation: the real-world model of the old joke about a business that loses money on every sale, but hopes to make it up in volume.  ABC News explains just how fast Obama moved to put your money into George Kaiser’s hands:

Obama’s desire to shift the nation into more environmentally friendly sources of energy while creating jobs during a recession have fueled a raft of projects involving billions of federal dollars.

Against that backdrop, Solyndra was to be an early prototype for government-boosted private sector innovation. The company was the first recipient of an energy loan guarantee through the Obama administration’s $787 billion package of economic stimulus programs. It was the Energy Department’s first loan guarantee since the 1980s.

When announcing the Solyndra loan guarantee two months after Obama took office, the Energy Department boasted of its speed. Secretary Chu had set a target of May — three months into his own tenure — to announce his initial loan commitment, “but today’s announcement significantly outpaces that aggressive timeline,” the Energy Department noted in a press release.

“Secretary Chu credited the Department’s loan team for their work accelerating the process to offer this conditional commitment in less than two months, demonstrating the power of teamwork and the speed at which the Department can operate when barriers to success are removed,” it said.

Let’s hear it for that high-speed Energy Department bureaucracy!  Hip, hip, hooray!

Crony capitalism and socialist compulsion go together nicely.  Socialist rhetoric provides valuable moral cover for the crony arrangements.  It’s all about “transforming” America, as Barack Obama put it.  Social transformation is an act of aggression that does not seek individual consent.  It’s all about forcing people to change their lives, with subsidies for desirable behavior and stiff penalties for acting against the wishes of the elite.  Of course there will be “special relationships” with the bold and visionary few who share the President’s enthusiasm for hammering benighted flyover America into sustainable, obedient, low-growth shape!  You’ll buy plenty of electric cars and solar panels when the alternative is standing in line to buy expensive gas, while the people who “do the right thing” are milking a direct cash “freebate” subsidy from the people who don’t!

So there you have it, folks: billionaires are greedy and evil, except for the brilliant ones with excellent Party credentials, whose business plans we must be compelled to subsidize.  Based on the amount of money pumped into Solyndra, and the number of corners cut to get it there, George Kaiser is the most important man in America.  It’s a shame we didn’t get to know him better before we all took a bath with him.

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