Banks: Rescued, but Evil

President Obama’s approval rating has been suffering, so he’s falling back on what comes natural to a Chicago politician: taxation and demagoguery.

“My determination to achieve this goal is only heightened when I see reports of massive profits and obscene bonuses at some of the very firms who owe their continued existence to the American people,” Obama said at the White House. “We want our money back, and we’re going to get it.”

Yeah! Stick it to those money-lending SOBs!

Even companies that didn’t receive TARP funds would face the fee. The administration is using the argument that that [Typo in original – Ed.] every major financial firm in the U.S. is a beneficiary of government steps to bolster the industry.

“The tax will penalize the firms who repaid TARP with interest and those who never even accepted it to begin with,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president of government affairs for the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents large banks. “It will decrease the availability of loans and limit economic recovery.”

This fat cat clearly knows nothing about economic recovery – that’s what the stimulus bill is for! I’m as disgusted by huge banking exec bonuses as the next guy, and I’m sure some percentage of those executives are genuine scumbags. However, if our options are industry-leading scum or government scum, I’m much more comfortable with the former making the business decisions. Please keep in mind that the Democrats’ go-to guy for financial policy is Barney Frank, a terrible little man who redefines hypocrisy anew each day.

Senator Frank at a family gathering

This photo has been altered, but only slightly.

While many banks repaid the money, “in almost every case, they engaged in practices that made this all necessary,” Frank said. “Every one of those institutions was engaged in the kind of activity that led to the problem.”

And how could I forget the favoritism, a vital ingredient of intelligent governance? This is actually another UAW bailout, masquerading as populism:

General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, which also got aid from the bailout fund, would be exempt, as would smaller banks. As such, the fee will leave the country’s largest financial firms to cover losses from the government’s bailout of the automakers.

The levy also won’t be assessed on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-supported companies seized by regulators in 2008. The administration concluded charging Fannie and Freddie the fee wouldn’t be in taxpayers’ interest.

Emphasis mine. Lenders and the government made a long series of bad decisions. Some private companies screwed up so horribly that they had to come to Uncle Sam, hat in hand. Surprise! There were strings attached to the money they borrowed – and, mysteriously, strings attached for those who didn’t need a bailout. No strings, of course, for the UAW or leftist pet banks.

A parting word from White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. He always knows what to say to cheer us up!

“Americans have a choice in where they bank,” Gibbs said, suggesting that consumers who face higher fees move their money “to any number of small and community banks throughout this country that somehow got by all these years playing by the rules.”

The messages, while mixed, are shockingly clear. Private banks will be punished with a new fee, even though it wasn’t part of the TARP agreement; even if they’ve repaid their TARP loans; even if they weren’t involved in TARP at all. This fee’s costs will not be passed on to customers, because President Obama says so. But if the fees are passed on to customers, screw those banks, because they didn’t play by “the rules” according to Barney Frank and the White House. Companies run by the government will, of course, be exempt, because companies run by the government are good.

Together now: Private bad. Government good.

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