The Atlas Society has announced the winners of its first Atlas Shrugged Crony Contest.
At a dinner at the organization’s annual Atlas Summit, this year in Nashua, New Hampshire, the organization “dishonored” those who use government to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers and competitors as well as those with political power who empower these cronies.
TAS CEO Aaron Day explained the origins of the contest. Nick Sorrentino, a contest advisor and operator of the againstcronycapitalism.com website, gave the keynote address documenting the current crony plague. And TAS scholar Edward Hudgins announced the winners. (Pictured at right.)
In the category of individuals, George Soros (at left), financier of many leftist causes took the top prize. He profited from policies of his buddy President Obama which allowed him to sell idle oil extraction equipment to Brazil. Soros beat out Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway, who used political pull to exempt himself from government financial regulations that he pushed on others, and Sheldon Adelson, the big-bucks GOP donor and casino operator who pushes online gambling bans to get rid of his competition.
In the category of private companies or entities, AARP, which supposedly looks out for the interests of retirees, won for sucking up government grants, opposing Social Security reform, and pushing hard for Obamacare, which could further fill its coffers. It beat out the Federal Reserve, which has seriously damaged the economy by manipulating lending markets, and the AFL-CIO, which gets the government to allow it to take money from the paychecks of workers who don’t want the union to represent them.
In the category of politicians, Barack Obama was crowned king of the crony enablers. He beat out a bipartisan duo of dishonor, Senate Democrat Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Republican Speaker John Boehner (at right).
The most crony votes went to an entry in the government agency category. The IRS was the most loathed of all. It is crony central, with every line of the tax code a product of political pressure and now the IRS using its power openly against Obama’s political opponents. Coming in second and third respectively in this category were the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) which had a major role in destroying housing markets, and the Export-Import Bank, which hands out support for politically-connected American exporters.
The Atlas Society’s contest was conducted through a website to take crony nominations from all comers. Over 300 submissions were received. After duplicates and those not meeting the crony criteria were removed, some 133 nominees were listed for the contest primary. Online voting determined the final twelve and the winners were selected via the web and phone call votes.