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Tone Deaf Populism

Attempting to get his mojo back after Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, President Obama is testing his populist chops:

“We want our money back,” Barack Obama has told US banks, announcing a levy on large financial institutions to help repay the notorious bailout he imposed last year.”

Some backround:

“The Treasury estimated net losses on its $700 billion bailout program at $68.5 billion for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2009.”

How much of this loss is from banks?

“A senior Treasury official said the bank investments will ultimately produce a positive return for taxpayers.”

So, the president is taxing banks to recoup losses incurred by other TARP recipients. To make matters worse, those taxes will be passed on to average Americans in the form of higher bank fees. Nice job Mr. President, you aim for fatcats and hit the middle and working classes. As populism goes this is pretty close to being termed an epic fail. Fear not though, the American public is angry and wants its money back. You just have to pick a better target for their ire. As it happens, I have a few suggestions to get you started.

First up, Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner:

“The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, while led by Geithner, pressured AIG not to disclose payments it made to such banks as Goldman Sachs Group and Deutsche Bank, to settle swap contracts at the height of the financial crisis, according to a Bloomberg report this morning.”

“Emails between Geithner’s Fed and AIG lawyers show that the embattled insurer originally included the information about the swaps in a draft securities filing. But under review by the Fed, AIG was told to cross out references to the swap payments, which were made at 100 cents on the dollar.
The Fed and AIG have taken heat for months about the secrecy surrounding the swap payments, which totaled $62 billion and have been criticized as a “back door bail out” of banks. When asked about the lack of disclosure during a congressional hearing last year, a New York Fed official said that releasing such information at the height of the financial crisis would have hurt AIG’s ability to operate.”

There you go Mr. President. Here’s a guy who made sure that Wall St. and European fatcats took the American taxpayers for a cool $62 billion. Can’t you just feel the populist juices flowing? The best part is that he works for your administration, so firing him will be a snap. You have the added bonus that he’s a tax cheat and Americans can’t stand the idea that taxes are only something the little people have to pay. With Timmy you get a populist two-fer, but I understand he’s your buddy and you’d hate to fire him in the current job market.

Next up, the architects of that $787 billion taxpayer swindle of a “stimulus” bill.

You had three administration officials give three different numbers for jobs “saved or created” this past weekend. The only number that really matters though, is that unemployment is at 10% nationally. You claimed that without the stimulus unemployment would reach 8%. It’s time to kill this boondoggle before it wastes even more money.

“Absolutely amazing poll results from CNN today about the $787 stimulus package: nearly three out of four Americans think the money has been wasted.”

On second thought, I see that you brought David Plouffe back to right the ship and he intends to campaign this fall on the stimulus being the signature achievement of year One of Obama.

Okay, so far I’m 0-2, but this last one’s gold. Go after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their former head honcho, Jim Johnson. Now that your administration has decided to remove the previous $2oo billion (each) caps for these two entities the American taxpayer is now liable for their $5 trillion of sub-prime mortgage holdings.

“New research by Edward Pinto, a former chief credit officer for Fannie Mae and a housing expert, has found that from the time Fannie and Freddie began buying risky loans as early as 1993, they routinely misrepresented the mortgages they were acquiring, reporting them as prime when they had characteristics that made them clearly subprime or Alt-A. [Emphasis added] “

You can explain how community activist groups like ACORN pushed for the Community Re-Investment Act (CRA) that required banks to make risky loans in the name of fairness. You can then explain how noted fixers and prominent Democrats Jim Johnson and Frank Raines made tens of millions while defrauding banks into thinking they were making safe investments, the infamous credit default swaps. Don’t forget to mention how Bernake kept interest rates nice and low, allowing a great big housing bubble to form and why you think this qualifies him to another term. Then, BOOM the housing bubble bursts, wiping out jobs and 401K’s in one fell swoop.

The American public would cheer as you had Johnson frog-marched out of whatever corporate boardroom he’s currently ensconced in. Every media market would cover you as their local ACORN offices were padlocked.

On second thought Mr. President, populism may not be for you after all. The thing of it is, the American people are angry at policies your administration enacted or you supported personally. Your best bet may be to try humility. You see, the American people just don’t cling to their guns and their faith. The American people are pretty partial to Freedom and don’t look kindly on those who want to take it away. Believe it or not sir, a huge majority of Americans are proud of their country and don’t believe our elected leader should be apologizing to every two-bit dictator with a grudge.

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