George Kaiser to the Rotary Club on the Obama "stimulus"

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There's been some uproar on the web over a video clip from George Kaiser's speech to the Rotary Club of Tulsa on July 8, 2009. Here's the video and the text of the clip, as transcribed by Reason Hit and Run:

The last major initiative is the federal Stimulus package. Jim East and Bev Anderson are working with us full-time for a while to reflect the fact that there's never been more money shoved out of the government's door in world history and probably never will be again than in the last few months and the next 18 months. And our selfish parochial goal is to get as much of it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can.

[Applause]

So we've helped a number of entities try to make effective grant requests for this funding. We've secured more than $40 million extra for Tulsa so far. We've made multiple trips to Washington to tell the story in education and health care and energy to the respective cabinet secretaries in each of those areas and almost all the key players in the west wing of the White House. So that will be a strong effort going forward.

We're trying to get Tulsa selected as a pilot project in various programs like Promise Neighborhoods, Race To the Top, innovation initiatives, challenge grants for early childhood education and so forth. And we have the almost unique advantage in that we can say, "Whatever you do we'll match with private funding and we'll watch over it, because we don't want to be embarrassed with the way our money is spent and so we won't make you be embarrassed with the way your money is spent either."

This is plenty disturbing, but it's not some sort of smoking gun for the Solyndra scandal. Kaiser is clearly referring to assisting local non-profits to apply for federal grants.

Wouldn't it have been wonderful to hear Kaiser say something like this: "I've spoken to my friend President Obama, and I've been successful in persuading him that a massive expansion of government pork barrel spending is the worst thing we can do for our economy. Instead, the President will be pushing for a free-market-oriented reform of our health care industry, relieving employers of their worries about impact of health care reform on the cost of hiring and keeping employees on the payroll." But that didn't happen.

The most disturbing aspect of this clip is that Tulsa's business leaders applauded and cheered at the idea of robbing future generations to fund Kaiser-favored projects.

John Sexton of Verum Serum writes:

Frankly I can think of no better condemnation of the corruption and utter futility of the Obama stimulus then the fact that here you have one of the wealthiest philanthropists in America, a man with nearly $10 billion in personal assets, openly stating his intention to grab as much stimulus money as he possibly could, like every other pig at the trough. Is this the proper role of government, to take hard-earned dollars from tax payers (and their children and grandchildren) to fund the vanity projects of multi-billionaires, well-intentioned or not, who just so happen to have the right political connections?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 21, 2011 12:50 PM.

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