The Bailout That Never Ends
The $700 billion Wall Street bailout last year proved exceedingly unpopular with regular Americans. Nevertheless, House Democrats, with their tin ears to the ground, are looking to make bailouts the status quo by creating a permanent bailout fund.
The financial regulation bill cooked up by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the “Barney Bill,” offers a smorgasbord of bad policies that will affect every American. The Barney is yet another leg of the Giant Government Takeover of major industries pushed through the House this year. If your appetite for bigger government wasn’t satiated by the Car Takeover (GM and Chrysler), the Energy Takeover (cap and trade) or the Health Care Takeover, Barney has something designed just for you: The Financial System Takeover.
There are many reasons to oppose the financial regulatory overhaul bill on the floor this week, but the major reasons are that it will further tighten credit, allow bureaucrats to chop up U.S. businesses they deem “too big,” cost consumers more and kill jobs.
When I operated my own business as a builder, I had to face tough and sometimes scary risks. I might leverage all I could to buy $3 million to $5 million worth of land and then face borrowing millions more for building costs. If there was a demand for my product, I could profit handsomely. If I failed miserably, I might lose not only my business but also everything I needed to provide for my family. I couldn’t risk my business or my family’s prospects on the mere hope of profit. I had to study. I had to hedge my bets.
That common-sense business model appears to be the “old way.” A permanent bailout fund sends the bigwigs on Wall Street a dangerous message: Take risks without consequences. It’s the truism of bailouts: Heads Wall Street wins, tails taxpayers lose.
The permanent bailout fund will hold $150 billion, raised from financial institutions with assets of more of $50 billion. This tax will affect approximately 30 banks, hitting each for about $4.5 billion, even though the majority of them played no role in the financial crisis and pose no threat to the system. Barney and his buddies will say this is merely a tax on Big Business meant to protect the American consumer.
That line of thinking should provoke laughter. These banks won’t just absorb a $150 billion loss. They’ll pass this cost along to everybody who uses a bank through higher fees and other costs. It’ll also mean removing those billions out of the marketplace; in other words, banks won’t have that money to lend to small businesses looking to expand or to cover their payroll. GOP members of the House Financial Services Committee say a tax this size could reduce overall lending by $55 billion and cause the loss of as many as 450,000 jobs.
The Barney Bill would further restrict credit by implementing a “credit czar.” The credit czar would determine what lending practices are acceptable and which aren’t. This effort to help the “little guy” will end up preventing the “little guy” from ever getting a loan. If banks can’t charge higher risk borrowers more, they just simply won’t make the loan (or they’ll charge the low-risk borrower more.)
The irony of these big government policies put forth by the Democrats is that they end up hurting most the people they are originally intended to aid.
When the government picks winners and losers, everybody loses. We have to restore the power of capital in capitalism. Businesses must succeed on their own – or be allowed to fail. Instead of a permanent bailout fund, we need a plan that permanently ends the Bailout Era and restores personal responsibility in our free markets