Diary

It's not about the money, after all

President Barack Obama has refused to receive repayment of TARP funds from several banks. Stuart Varney at WSJ reports,

Some $340 million in TARP cash flowed back this week from four small banks in Louisiana, New York, Indiana and California. This isn’t much when we routinely talk in trillions, but clearly that money has not been wasted or otherwise sunk down Wall Street’s black hole… The chairman offers to write a check, now, with interest. He’s been sitting on the cash for months and has felt the dead hand of government threatening to run his business and dictate pay scales. He sees the writing on the wall and he wants out. But the Obama team says no, since unlike the smaller banks that gave their TARP money back, this bank is far more prominent. The bank has also been threatened with “adverse” consequences if its chairman persists. That’s politics talking, not economics.

The bank bailout was a sketchy deal anyway. Several banks who didn’t want the funds were forced to take them by then President Bush to avoid runs on the banks that really needed them by fear-filled Americans. That’s a silly little game, since we ended up knowing which banks didn’t need them or want them (Wells Fargo). Today, we see a great model of fiscal responsibility in the age of corporate greed. We see financial institutions that didn’t want money in the first place, proving that in spite of it all, they can STILL be financially responsible and fiscally solvent. What a great role model for the rest of the companies who took TARP funds.

The unwanted, unnecessary TARP funds had a big impact on Wells Fargo. They agreed to suspend executive bonuses after receiving this letter from Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA, uber-liberal, and the ugliest man in government). Wells Fargo is just one example of a bank that didn’t want the money, but was forced to take it, in the name of fairness justice diplomacy strategery or some other vague national value. I don’t think Wells Fargo was one of the banks trying to return the money, I use them only as an example of the absurdity of Bush’s whole banking bailout issue, and the implications it’s NOW having under a liberal government.

So why wouldn’t President Obama want the money back? It’s only $340 Million, but what a great opportunity to say, “it’s working! Look everybody, the banks are doing alright!” Why not herald these banks as beacons of light, signalling the end of the darkness? Mr. Varney has an idea:

My answer: The government wants to control the banks, just as it now controls GM and Chrysler, and will surely control the health industry in the not-too-distant future. Keeping them TARP-stuffed is the key to control. And for this intensely political president, mere influence is not enough. The White House wants to tell ’em what to do. Control. Direct. Command.

Government control of the banks: telling them who can make what, who can take what vacations, how they can get there and what they can spend their money on. Government control of the auto industry: firing and appointing chief executives, mandating when and under what terms “bankruptcy” will enter the picture, dictating mergers with foreign auto makers. Government control of the health industry (pending): mandating centralization of all our medical records in a, yep, government database, mandating health insurance for everyone under a certain age to a certain level.

I thought socialism was where the government owned and controlled the means of production and industry. Something else must be happening here, because all I hear from people on the left and especially the administration is derisive laughter and mocking, elitist scorn whenever the question is put to them. President Obama himself denies the claim, stutteringly so, but a denial none the less.

Crossposted at realityunwound