Big Government's Cronies

The real reason politicians like complicated tax and regulatory schemes

Many window-making companies struggle because of the recession's effect on home building. But one little window company, Serious Materials, is "booming," says Fortune. "On a roll," according to Inc. magazine, which put Serious' CEO on its cover, with a story titled: "How to Build a Great Company."

The Minnesota Freedom Foundation tells me that this same little window company also gets serious attention from the most visible people in America.

Vice President Joe Biden appeared at the opening of one of its plants. CEO Kevin Surace thanked him for his "unwavering support." "Without you and the recovery ("stimulus") act, this would not have been possible," Surace said.

Biden returned the compliment: "You are not just churning out windows; you are making some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world. I would argue the most energy-efficient windows in the world."

Gee, other window-makers say their windows are just as energy efficient, but the vice president didn't visit them.

Biden laid it on pretty thick for Serious Materials: "This is a story of how a new economy predicated on innovation and efficiency is not only helping us today but inspiring a better tomorrow."

Serious doesn't just have the vice president in his corner. It's got President Obama himself.

Company board member Paul Holland had the rare of honor of introducing Obama at a "green energy" event. Obama then said: "Serious Materials just reopened ... a manufacturing plant outside of Pittsburgh. These workers will now have a new mission: producing some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world."

How many companies get endorsed by the president of the United States?

When the CEO said that opening his factory wouldn't have been possible without the Obama administration, he may have known something we didn't. Last month, Obama announced a new set of tax credits for so-called green companies. One window company was on the list: Serious Materials. This must be one very special company.

But wait, it gets even more interesting.

On my Fox Business Network show on "crony capitalism," I displayed a picture of administration officials and so-called "energy leaders" taken at the U.S. Department of Energy. Standing front and center was Cathy Zoi, who oversees $16.8 billion in stimulus funds, much of it for weatherization programs that benefit Serious.

The interesting twist is that Zoi happens to be the wife of Robin Roy, who happens to be vice president of "policy" at Serious Windows.

Of all the window companies in America, maybe it's a coincidence that the one which gets presidential and vice presidential attention and a special tax credit is one whose company executives give thousands of dollars to the Obama campaign and where the policy officer spends nights at home with the Energy Department's weatherization boss.

Or maybe not.

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  • Suki||

    Wait, wait, wait! You mean it's not Teh Corporashinz forcing the government to do all these things with their bribes, blackmail and police power?

  • ||

    And their ability to vote, marry, have young, and die in combat for their country.

  • Suki||

    Yes, I forgot. Thanks for reminding me that they are people too. Next thing you know, Exxon will be president and IBM will be first lady.

  • ||

    Will be? You poor, naïve fool!

  • Suki||

    Did I miss an election? Ok, next we will see Microsoft as president and Apple as first lady.

  • Banjos Kick Ass!||

    I definitely see Apple as the feminine one between the two.

  • ||

    I see banjos as the man amongst the three.

  • gossip girl season 4 episodes||

    Very disappointed on the lack of alt text for that pic.

  • Solanum||

    Very disappointed on the lack of alt text for that pic.

  • Suki||

    Plucking something appropriate from this should be easy.


    "I think one of the odds on favorites...is um, is uh, this uh, this, this, this new program that I looked at and wished I was seeing it in 3-D, and you sit there and you watch this science-fiction thing unfold in front of you," said Biden, before Mitchell quickly stepped in with a reminder of the movie's title (hint: It's 'Avatar.')
  • Suki||

    Or try the Jezebel version.

  • Rich||

    The man seems incapable of engaging his brain before he speaks.

  • ||

    "Brain and brain! What is brain?"

  • ||

    Finally! Justification for that horrible episode. Perhaps it was produced solely as a comment on future VP Joe "The Delaware Destroyer" Biden.

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    "I think one of the odds on favorites...is um, is uh, this uh, this, this, this new program that I looked at and wished I was seeing it in 3-D

  • Commander Keen||

    Suki, show some self respect.

    Jezebel is only slightly to the right of the Huff Po(whom they collaborate with sometimes).

    To paraphrase the great Richard Nixon, "My wife reads a blog. It's a plain, simple, html blog. A good Republican blog."

    I don't have a wife, but the idea remains. Read a good, simple, libertarian blog

  • Suki||

    CK,

    But I didn't find the quote from His Bidenness on a Libertarian blog. I found it on Moviefone and SugarFree's second favorite evah, Jezebel.

  • Ha, Ha, Ha!||

    Trooper: Deputy locked in dog cage after DUI stop:

    BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee sheriff’s deputy arrested on a drunken driving charge wound up in a dog house before he was taken to the big house. The Kingsport Times-News reported the details of a Tennessee Highway Patrol arrest report, which said 47-year-old Samuel Monroe Bledsoe was kicking the windows of a trooper’s cruiser on his way to a hospital for a blood test.

    The report said Bledsoe was then locked inside the cruiser’s K-9 cage for his safety.

    Trooper David Osborne said in the report that Bledsoe performed poorly during a field sobriety test — even after it was explained to Bledsoe 18 times.

    http://dailycaller.com/2010/02.....-dui-stop/

  • ||

    That is gold.

  • Ratko||

    Not the mature lady-like behavior one would expect from a Blountvillian.

  • ||

    "Even my good friend Stephen King here would receive a tax break under the Democratic plan."

  • BakedPenguin||

    Actually, I thought it was "Gavin" from the Kids in the Hall.

    "wieeeeener flavorum!"

  • BakedPenguin||

    The link.

  • ||

  • BakedPenguin||

    "Screw You, Taxpayer!" is one of the best sketches evah.

  • ||

    "I could eat a chair for you but it would take many days of munching and snacking."

  • ||

    You mother fucker...you beat me to the Gavin reference. Damn you!

    "These guys...they smoke."

  • ||

    "And in the garage is a skeleton of a coyote. And it's one of those real valuable ones, and that guy from the news already tried to buy it three times."

  • ||

    "My mom says that if there's a depression, that I'll have to enter a dance marathon."

  • ||

    "In England, everyone only has one spoon."

  • ||

    "Oh, okay. There's this kid in my class, and she lives on her own without any parents or guardians, and she's eight. And she took the number off her house so the cops can't find her to take her to jail, and also, she took off the mailbox, so they can't send her a letter and say she's in trouble and has to go to jail...and she's eight like I say."

  • BakedPenguin||

    "Now I must sweat to the oldies, because if you're fat, you wind up living in a trailer park, gossiping, and craving country and western music."

  • ||

    How much do you think my head weighs. Like if I weighed it on the scale, you know if the angle was right?

  • Spoonman||

    Killing John Lennon gets tax breaks now?

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    The report said Bledsoe was then locked inside the cruiser’s K-9 cage for his safety.

    Trooper David Osborne said in the report that Bledsoe performed poorly during a field sobriety test — even after it was explained to Bledsoe 18 times.

  • DADIODADDY||

    wait, dems in cahoots with big business? that's just wrong on so many levels. what's next men marrying each other?

  • ||

    It would be more efficient to cut taxes across the board.

    And more transparent.

    Later she called to say that my story is "full of lies." But she wouldn't say what those lies are.

    Oh, this isn't going to end well.

  • ||

    Meanwhile,

    President Obama bemoaned the "erosion of civility" in the nation's political debate

    ....

    "At times, it seems like we're unable to listen to one another, to have at once a serious and civil debate.

    WaPo

    These things just happen. It's baffling.

  • ||

    There's no principled dissent from my position du jour! None! Only people who engage in human sacrifice would oppose me!

    Can't we all just get along?

  • ||

    Screw you, kiddie diddler! You're just wrong-wrong-wrong! I'll make sure the IRS audits you and your family for the next 5 generations!

    Why can't you be more like my esteemed and much more agreeable colleague? Why, he's only resorted to cannibalism once since leaving his position as Grand Wizard of the Klan.

  • ||

    Good article by Stossel. Could have been longer. More illustration of how political favoritism meshes with big government. Maybe profile some of 'Serious Windows' comptetitors and an analysis of how they stack up. Are they really making "the most energy efficient windows" in the world? Is the added efficiency cost-effective, relative to similar windows?
    How much money has been spent? Could we acheive more energy savings by purchasing more slight-ly less efficient windows from a different company?

  • Roger Murdock||

    But, this one goes to 11?!

  • ||

    We know they are making the "most energy efficient windows" in the world because our government tells us so. And what's this "cost-effective" stuff?
    Compare? The windows go with your energy efficient light bulbs. Now stop asking questions and pay your taxes like a good patriot!

  • Dan||

    Actually he did go into a lot of that on his TV program on Fox Business Channel and he stated that Pella and Anderson have stated that Serious' windows are no more energy efficient then thiers.

  • ||

    Which union covers the workers at Serious(!) Windows?

  • ||

    Something's wrong! Biden didn't make me laugh at how stupid he is!

  • ||

    Sometimes it takes him a while to warm-up! Give it time.

    .

  • IceTrey||

    If what's on the Serious website is true, this article loses a bit of it's punch.

  • skr||

    and what might that be specifically?

  • ||

    FYI:

    All Gawker blogs suck.

    Absolutely, completely, irredeemably.

    SUUUUUUCK.

  • ||

    I dunno. Once you get past the very obvious and emasculating gay porn, Fleshbot isn't so bad.

  • Boston||

    In case you are serious all you have to do it put /straight at the end of the address.

  • smartass sob||

    Why should there be favoritism?

    Because politicians like it. Big, complicated government gives them opportunities to do favors for their friends.

    It's called love of power. There are those who get an almost sexual thrill from some poor schnook having to come with hat in hand, to "beg a boon." They all want to be the Godfather.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    The Green Menace would be a joke.

  • Old Mexican||

    On my Fox Business Network show on "crony capitalism," I displayed a picture of administration officials and so-called "energy leaders" taken at the U.S. Department of Energy. Standing front and center was Cathy Zoi, who oversees $16.8 billion in stimulus funds, much of it for weatherization programs that benefit Serious.

    The interesting twist is that Zoi happens to be the wife of Robin Roy, who happens to be vice president of "policy" at Serious Windows.


    .

    What's Family for, if not to help themselves?

  • Old Mexican||

    There may be nothing illegal about this. Zoi did disclose her marriage and said she would recuse herself from any matter that had a predictable effect on her financial interests.

    Like, for instance, her husband keeping his job in and during this Depression? Isn't that in itself something that would affect her financial interest, positively?

  • No Name Guy||

    Corruption, plain and simple.

  • Reality Bites||

    This story is SO not a story. Special tax credit - several other window and glass manufacturers qualify for it, not just Serious. I saw this on Serious' blog - they link to the whole list where you see who qualifies for what. And it's a tax credit if these companies buy new manufacturing equipment. It's pretty easy to figure out and compare windows - look em up on the NFRC database. I install windows for a living and Serious windows are 2x better than the basic Anderson and Marvin. Obviously Stossel just believes what he's told from one source and doesn't do his own digging.

  • ||

    So its all just a big coinkydink that a window company just happens to have a vice president of "policy" (there's something wrong with that, right there) who just happens to be married to the person who just happens to oversee a big slush fund that the window company just happens to be dipping into.

    Nothing to see here, move along!

    Seriously, the fact that its a really big slush fund, big enough to accomodate other companies, somehow makes it OK?

  • IceTrey||

    Did you read the Serious post? They aren't dipping into anything. The tax credit doesn't come out the the money Roi overseas. Any company that meets the criteria can get it.

  • Old Mexican||

    I install windows for a living and Serious windows are 2x better than the basic Anderson and Marvin.

    I only purchase windows that allow me to see through walls.

  • skr||

    probably can't compare a super efficient window to a basic Anderson. You wouldn't compare a basic Marvin window to a Fleetwood window would you?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Reality Bites,

    Special tax credit - several other window and glass manufacturers qualify for it, not just Serious.

    That's not the point. Why the credits and why for "energy efficient" window manufacturers, and why is the DC government so keen in having Serious reps and managers on all photo ops? Seems too tailor-made a tax credit to be innocent.

  • ||

    My Maybach is just as nice as any Cadillac, I'll have you know.

  • ||

    Recruitment for indoctrination:

    http://www.exposeobama.com/201.....h-schools/

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stossel is a prude who hates the past, tonight on Stossel!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Gordon Gekko was a luddite. With a totally lame cell phone.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    They're ganging up on Alan.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Boudreaux looks like he's ready to come through the screen. AT ME!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Tonelson scoffs at your free trade talk, Brooks.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "I don't like Communism as much as the next guy."

    The next guy is Alan Tonelson.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    John is playing devil's advocate with the subtlety of an Enzyte commercial.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Betsy, playing the crowd like a fiddle.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Nobody complains if we go to more football games."

    Husbands disagree.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh, here we go. Fatty bashing.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Anecdote Al gets them fired up.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    John's clever editing proves how manipulative advocacy media be.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm pretty sure Chris Flavin is Henry Waxman in disguise.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You, in the sweater back there, pay attention.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Hayward is arguing that regulations aren't regulatory enough to get the job done.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Steve is anti-fireplace.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Don't give Chris a pass, Steve!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ha, no one focuses on the market like government officials, Chris.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Sponsors like ChildFund disagree with the premise of tonight's show, John.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Someone has a high opinion of itself.

    -The Terrorists to Manhattan

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If you're that scared of a guy who walked through the wrong door, lady, maybe you shouldn't have left home.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "In the post-9/11 world" is something this guy uses to preface his breakfast order at Denny's.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So the low probability - high consequences thought process now has me afraid of space aliens to the point of catatonia.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    John Meuller = terrorists win.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Clark is a Marvel fan.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Not erring on the side of Buddha. That would just be stupid.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The bloodlust in John's audience shocking.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You lost me at "studies out of Harvard".

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Kurt Loder? Really?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Good tactic, throw statistics out when they're not helpful.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Kurt is throwing out the data on teen sex now, too.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    MSNBC doesn't think it's so nice.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh, John, you're like one of those airheads you interview on the street, only your doom isn't the environment, it's government spending.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Get every non-libertarian you know to watch Stossel, everyone. He sells it.

  • Ratko||

    Thanks for the link, John, no TV here and it's been difficult to find the video of your show on the Fox Business site.

    Not surprised Biden would argue a window, he never was too bright, it would come as even less of surprise to hear the window easily won.

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