People like the New York Times' Paul Krugman who want the government to spend a ton more money on all sorts of things often seem to think that this will be done outside the reach of the special interests. When Krugman noticed what he thought was cronyism in the UK's stimulus push, he called it, laughably, "a new wrinkle in policy that I hereby dub Crony Keynesianism."
Does Krugman think 2009 stimulus money wasn't directed to well-connected special interests by both Congress and the executive branch? Doe his minions believe cash-for-clunkers and cash-for-caulkers weren't shaped and pushed mostly by the groups benefitting from them? Do they also not count the government-employee unions as special interests?
It's not about Obama. It's about government spending. When government spends money, it generally ends up in the hands of those with political connections.
Krugman, and everyone else who both (1) minds corruption and cronyism, but (2) still supports more government spending, should read this essay by James DeLong at the American.
As government has grown, its functions have necessarily been divided and delegated to subunits. These become juicy targets for capture, and “welfare state” also means one in which pieces of the government are parceled out among various special interests, with each then allowed to use the power of its captive to promote private agendas through spending, regulation, taxation, and law. What we have created is not really a welfare state, it is a “Big SIS,” with SIS standing for “Special Interest State.”
DeLong is publishing a book on this, and I want to read it. I think DeLong goes easy on the corporatists -- the regulatory robber barons and the subsdy sucklers -- in this essay. I think big business is the primary bad guy when it comes to increasing government in the special interest and against the public interest.