Are You Threatening Us, Mr. President?

Although it is doubtful that anyone in the room had the courage to ask that question, it would appear that had they, the answer would have been, “yes”.  The story is beginning to emerge from the recent meeting between Obama, and the CEO’s of the banks receiving TARP money.  Initially described by all as “cordial”, we now are learning that a more apt description might have been “frosty“.

But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

Is that the part where the administration stirs the public into a frenzy, and ACORN rents buses for the now frenzied masses to pay a “visit” to the CEO’s homes, a la AIG?    Whether you were in favor of TARP or not, it is unconscionable to think that unless the banks do what the administration orders, the CEO’s will be exposing themselves and their families to mob violence.

But, this is how far we have come in only a few short months.  The government now controls our banking system.  To be sure, the government has always regulated the banking system, but the banks themselves have been controlled by their shareholders, and the free market system.  No longer.

Well, you say, let them pay back the TARP money and the government won’t control them anymore.  Besides, wouldn’t it be great for the taxpayers to have that money back?  Not so fast…

In a column in the April 4, 2009 Wall Street Journal, Stuart Varney (often a guest on Sound Off Connecticut) gives us the details of an even more chilling plan.

It is not for nothing that rage has been turned on those wicked financiers. The banks are at the core of the administration’s thrust: By managing the money, government can steer the whole economy even more firmly down the left fork in the road.

And here is how that is accomplished.  All the government needs to do is refuse to accept a return of TARP money, and, believe it or not, that has already happened.  According to that column, one bank (whose identity has not been revealed to prevent “retaliation”) has already offered to repay the TARP money, with interest, but the administration has said, “no”, threatening the bank with “adverse consequences” if the bank continues to try to repay the money!

Pitchforks, retaliation, adverse consequences?  This is beginning to sound like what we have come to refer to as “Illinois political thuggery” at its finest.  Only this time the stakes are much higher.  What better way to redistribute wealth, than to control our systems of wealth.  Should Congress pass the bill giving the Secretary of the Treasury the power to set the salaries of TARP recipients bright young financiers will leave, only to be replaced by government bureaucrats.

  Mission accomplished.

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Bill on April 5, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Totalitarianism with a smile:

    The opening segment of 'Saturday Night Live' had the Obama impersonator enumerating with commentary the list of companies which would be allowed to exist and those which would be eliminated.   Of course the studio audience laughed, perhaps a bit nervously toward the end.

    Is this art imitating life?  Will we be lead laughing to the gulag or will we turn the pitchforks on our truly guilty political elite?

  2. Dimsdale on April 5, 2009 at 2:20 am

    That's not threatening, that's community organizing!  It is the only "skill" this neophyte, this tyro, brought to the Presidency!   Right out of the $harpton/Jack$on/Wright/Ayers/Alinsky playbook.  It's a protection racket right out of a 1930's gangster movie, except the actors are really bad.  Dare I say, it is a thugocracy?  The AIG home tours were just a shot across the bow.

    Wanna bet he tried it in Europe?

  3. DemGeorge on April 5, 2009 at 5:06 am

    "The government now controls our banking system."

    From where I sit, it is exactly the opposite.  From Summers, Paulson, Giethner et al, we have seen a revolving door from The Wall Street Mega Banks to The FED and Treasury.  Obama, to my great dismay and great disappointment, has thrown his lot in with these crooks.

    "To be sure, the government has always regulated the banking system…"

    If you consider regulationto be  allowing Wall Street to write the rules, or better still, erase the rules.  Wall Street used is considerable power and influence to pull the cops off the street.  Now they are using tat same power and influence to cover their tracks and their you know what's.

    "…but the banks themselves have been controlled by their shareholders, and the free market system.  No longer."

    Receivership is an important part of our free market system.  Let's use it.

  4. DemGeorge on April 5, 2009 at 5:25 am

    "What better way to redistribute wealth, than to control our systems of wealth. "

    Again, from my vantage point, all the wealth of our nation is being redistributed solely in Wall Street's direction.  12+ trillion in direct aid and guaranties.  12 Trillion! 

    That makes all the "socialist" programs you're so petrified of seem like penny candy.

    BTW, Wall Street does not create wealth.  Hard working, go-getters and entrepeneurs create wealth.  Wall Street's only reason for existence is to facilitate that end.   Whenever Wall Street puts that cart before that horse, we end up where we are today. 

  5. Anne-EH on April 5, 2009 at 8:43 am

    From my vantage point, the only large crowds of people I have seen have been those who have attended the "tea party" rallies.

  6. porschepete on April 5, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Obama has to be careful because those pitchforkes maybe turned back

    to where real weasels are. He  should remember " you can fool some of

    people some of the time, but  you can't fool all the people all the time.'

    Now where did I leave my pitchfork?

  7. Dimsdale on April 6, 2009 at 8:30 am

    The wealth may be being redistributed in the direction of Wall Street, but when Obambi controls the businesses that get the money, taking de facto control, then it is socialism.   GM is much further along than Wall St., but the template has been laid.

    Bring back Glass Smeagal for starters!

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