One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
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The federal government spends a whopping four trillion dollars per year. And prior to the Donald Trump Administration’s most overdue and much appreciated mass regulatory reductions – the federal government regulated at a compliance cost of two trillion dollars per year.
That’s six trillion dollars per year worth of power – lorded over a country whose per annum Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $20 trillion. The Feds held sway over 30% of our nation’s entire economic activity.
Which is, of course, obscene. And when The Feds wield that much influence – the influence peddling is just as massive.
It’s a federal firing squad. Armed with machine guns. Aimed at We the Taxpayers.
It’s a really nasty vicious circle. Politicians want campaign cash to get elected. Cronies want large chunks of the money politicians take from us in taxes.
With four trillion dollars a year to throw around – the return on crony investment is extraordinary.
Donate $50,000 to Congressman X – get a $5 billion crony project from Congressman X. Can’t get returns like that in the private sector.
Note: This is absolutely not an argument for anti-First Amendment campaign finance “reform.” Thinking Americans should find it disquieting to have elected officials passing laws limiting the possibility of their losing elections.
This is absolutely an argument for a massive reduction in federal spending – and thus power. You bribe Mike Tyson. You don’t bribe the president of the Chess Club.
President Trump was elected in no small part to address this massive cronyism. Chants of “Drain the Swamp” were routine at his campaign rallies.
How does President Trump drain so massive a swamp? Incrementally, of course:
“As I’m sure the late Captain Edward Smith would tell you – you can’t turn The Titanic on a dime.
“What we need to practice – is incrementalism. Many, many small steps – rather than one mighty leap.
“How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
The world’s longest de-cronyism journey – begins with cutting off a single crony. And with what better crony to start – than the biggest crony of them all.
Biggest Crony of All Amazon – has pending perhaps the biggest crony hookup of them all.
Trump presidential predecessor Barack Obama – was perhaps the all-time federal cronyism king.
Obama set the table for Amazon – and only Amazon – to receive a $10 billion Defense Department (DoD) cloud computing contract.
How crony is it? Obama established within the DoD a technology procurement agency. And chose as its head a man by the name of Deap Ubhi.
Ubhi’s gig immediately prior to the Obama hire – was with Amazon Web Services. Which is Amazon’s cloud computing company.
Ubhi drafted the DoD cloud computing contractor description in so specific and crony a way – only Amazon Web Services qualified.
That’s certainly helpful for Amazon. Not so much for We the Taxpayers.
The Trump Administration – smelled a Swamp rat.
The DoD had been on the verge of awarding Amazon a basically no-bid $10 billion deal. Based upon Obama Administration holdover crony inertia. The Trump Administration – backed off the imminence.
But most unfortunately, Amazon remains the prime candidate (SWIDT?) to win the massive contract.
We don’t know if Amazon is the most qualified company offering the best deal – because those weren’t the criteria the DoD used to make Amazon the prime candidate. It was straight cronyism, baby.
We should reset entirely the DoD cloud computing contractor-choosing process. Start again – fresh and clean.
And we should seriously consider excluding Amazon entirely from consideration. As punishment for its very many cronyism crimes.
We really need to stop feeding the hands that bite us.
How does one stop cronyism? One crony at a time.
[Originally Published at RedState]