RUSH: I say it and they do it. Earlier in this program I warned you people that Obama and his regime were soon to revive blaming Wall Street for all of our economic ills as a means of advancing support for a financial regulatory reform bill that would give him unilateral power to shut down or fire any of the board of directors or executive officers of any financial institution he wanted, based on any arbitrary feeling he had that they posed a threat. They know that everybody hates the Wall Street bankers. They’re going to ramp up and they’re going to start running against Wall Street, as they push for this legislation. We mentioned last week that Chris Van Hollen, running the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee, said (paraphrased), ‘Yeah, we’re going to run against Reagan. We’re going to run, we’re going to say we run for seats in November. We’re going to say, ‘We cannot continue these policies of the past.” That means Reagan. No sooner do I say it on this program this morning than later, an hour later at the White House, Austan Goolsbee, the White House economist for the economic recovery board went on with Andrea Mitchell (NBC News, Washington). She said, ‘What makes you think in the end it will be a bipartisan bill’ meaning the regulatory reform bill, ‘Because seems to me that both sides are choosing to stick to their talking points on this?’
GOOLSBEE: We’re going to go to the American people, and they’re going to look at the bill, and it’s now been more than two years since Bear Stearns collapsed. Given what’s happened in the job market, what’s happened to industry, nobody wants this to happen again — and they know perfectly well that when the big banks are funding tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in lobbying, giving money to Republicans to get them to oppose the measures the president’s calling for, I think they’re going to be a lot of members of, uhh, Congress that maybe they aren’t the leadership that are going to say, ‘W-whoa, wait a minute, I — I — I — I don’t want this to happen again,’ r-r-regardless of what party they’re in.
RUSH: Okay, so there they are. This is Austan Goolsbee, less than an hour after I warned you what the strategery would be coming out and saying, ‘Oh, yeah! These banks, these Wall Street banks spend tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in lobbying, giving money to Republicans to get ’em to oppose the measures, the president’s calling for.’ What he of course doesn’t say is that all these people elected Obama! All these people donated to Obama in droves. Now that they say what Obama has in store for them — basically with a stroke of the pen being able to take over their bank — of course they’re donating to Republicans to try to stop this. So they’re going to try to recreate in people’s mind that nothing’s changed. ‘Wall Street never liked Obama. Wall Street’s always hated our president. Wall Street and big money has always hated our guy because they know our guy is for the little guy. Our guy is for Main Street, and now the Republicans have joined forces with the bankers to try to stop our beloved president from saving the economy.’ That’s going to be the campaign, and that’s just been announced there by Austan Goolsbee, who himself has never held a job in the private sector, he’s another one of these eggheads sitting around the Harvard faculty lounge throwing ideas around like spitballs in theoretical discussions.
RUSH: I say it, and they do it. Timothy Geithner this afternoon in Washington at the White House daily press briefing. The tax cheat spoke to reporters about Obama’s bipartisan meeting today with Congress on financial regulatory reform, and during the Q&A Helen Thomas: ‘Is this a permanent answer now with more control of some financial institutions?’
GEITHNER: This is going to be the most sweeping set of reforms since those put in place after the Great Depression. But we let our system (pause) — a system designed for a different era — fall way behind the curve of risk and innovation in this market. Never should have let that happen. This is a very strong package of reforms. Again, I think we’re very, very close. I think we’re going to have very broad support for this because it’s so important. Again, I think it’s very hard for anybody to argue that — that we can look at the devastation caused by this crisis and not say we — we all share a huge responsibility to fix what was broken.
RUSH: So there’s Timothy Geithner talking about the financial regulatory reform bill, Chris Dodd’s bill, basically. Mitch McConnell came out of the White House today and said (summarized), ‘You know, the president pulled the rug out from under the Democrats and said, ‘To hell with bipartisanship. You guys just go get it done. Forget the Republicans, just go get it done.’ He thinks they’ve got enough support.’ I don’t know what the Republicans are doing there. Mitch said, ‘Well, we think we should be allowed to negotiate here’. I know they can’t stop anything with numbers, but they want to negotiate? Why even accept the premise that we need this kind of sweeping financial regulatory reform? Dick Morris has written pretty well about this in TheHill.com.
‘If the financial regulation bill that passed the House last year becomes law, President Obama and his Treasury Secretary will acquire the right to take over any financial institution they wish to, provided that, in their sole opinion, it is both “too big to fail” and on the brink of insolvency. The House bill provides for no judicial review and does not require any objective evidence of imminent failure to trigger the takeover provisions.’ It just allows the president and Geithner to take over any financial institution they want even if they have to make up some threat that it’s about to become insolvent. They can fire the board of directors, they can fire management (snapping fingers) Like that, folks! Just like that.
If they get all this stuff done, one of these days a Republican is going to be elected president and is going to have all these powers at his disposal and that’s what the Drive-Bys will call him a dictator. That’s when the Drive-Bys will say that we have a dictatorship. ‘Once the government takes over such a company, it will acquire the right to replace the entire board of directors, fire the management of the company, wipe out stockholder equity and even sell off divisions of the company. Essentially, this bill permits the government to launch an unfriendly takeover of any financial institution it wishes without risk and with no poison pill or other counter-measures possible. This legislation, essentially, confers on the federal government police powers that, under our system, are the exclusive preserve of state and local government.
‘The blank check the bill gives the Feds to take over any financial institution is really more of an exercise of eminent domain than it is an extension of traditional federal regulatory power.’ There’s no other way to describe this. This is fascism. This is the government taking over companies. The companies will continue to be run like GM and Chrysler are by so-called private citizens, but they’re owned by the government. That’s not fascism. Command-and-control is what it is. Fascism was privately-owned, government-run. This is government’s going to own it all! Any financial institution it wants it can just take over — and the Democrats are going to run for reelection on the notion that we have to have this to protect ourselves from the dangers of Bush policies which led us here. Do you remember all the hoopla about Bush taking away our liberties under the Patriot Act?
Nobody — back then, nobody — could name one damn way in which anybody’s rights were effectively limited in any meaningful way. Meanwhile, Obama is running roughshod over a thousand rights a day, and nobody who was concerned about Bush is raising an eyelash about this. This grant of power to the executive branch is unprecedented and potentially totalitarian. Consider. ‘Will Obama, or any future president, target companies that are particularly vocal in their opposition to his policies’ Yes! ‘or generous in funding his political opponents?’ Yes! ‘Will the fact that Obama would have this power force companies, investors, CEOs and managers to self-censor their opinions and political involvement because they fear the wrath of a vengeful president?’ Yes! ‘Will this grant of authority force companies to hesitate before they grow and expand?
‘Will it function the same way the antitrust powers of the Justice Department do in making companies re-examine mergers and acquisitions with a view toward what Justice will think of their resulting market share? In antitrust situations, where a specific action brings companies under scrutiny — like a merger — such concern is not unreasonable. But when the simple act of making money, showing a profit and expanding in size puts a company in federal crosshairs, does this not have the potential to attenuate the capitalist focus on growth? In an environment where the Feds are looking over the shoulder of every financial institution to see if they should take it over and shut it down, will this not force financial companies to follow the most risk-averse lending policies possible?
‘Doesn’t this mean that it only makes sense to buy government paper, since consumer loans, mortgages and business lending could be considered risky and lead to a federal takeover? Isn’t this policy precisely the opposite of what we need to catalyze economic growth? In a political world where contributions from financial institutions are sought and widely given, doesn’t this power give the president and his party unlimited fundraising ability, simply by baring its teeth and showing the power it has to take anybody over and fire anybody? Given the fact that Goldman-Sachs was the second-largest donor to Obama’s campaign, giving $954,795, doesn’t this new power raise the specter that the federal government could take over financial institutions so as to make the competition lighter for its donors?
‘Already, there is considerable evidence … that Goldman profited handsomely from the decision of its former CEO — Bush’s Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson — to allow Lehman Brothers to fail. Now that the Treasury secretary will have the takeover power, might it not be used as irresponsibly and with as many bad consequences as Paulson used his power in the Lehman crisis? While the focus on the regulatory bill has been on the consumer protection provisions, which I tend to support, there has been far less scrutiny on these horrific expansions of federal power,’ and they are horrific. Dick Morris concludes: ‘Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez could only dream of this power.’ We are a nation hanging by a thread here, folks — and this has passed the House. Financial regulatory reform has passed Pelosi’s House.
None of this that Dick Morris says is untrue. Obama and Geithner can take over any company they want for any reason under the guise that they are protecting it from going belly up or because its board of directors is corrupt or because the management’s making mistakes or simply because they don’t like them. They’ll never say that’s the reason. There is not a process to appeal if your company is targeted. There is no judicial review, Mr. Snerdley. There is zero judicial review of anything in this regulatory bill. This is essentially a death penalty for companies if they don’t behave as Obama wants them to in every way, shape, manner, or form: From their political donations to the work they do for Obama’s friends versus enemies. Dick Morris did not lightly use the word ‘totalitarian’ when describing the financial regulatory reform bill.
See, this is also how Obama will blunt a recent Supreme Court ruling which allows corporations to donate directly to political campaigns. Do you know how much they hate that? They’re already working on legislation to try to stop that. They hate that. That’s part of McCain-Feingold that got turned back, overturned. So now corporations can make political donations and the left is up in arms. Because to them all corporations are corrupt. Well, this puts Obama in charge of corporations. If he doesn’t like who they are donating to or who they are funding — and he makes it known to them he doesn’t like it and he might take their company over and fire the management, fire the board of directors — what is the guy running the company likely to do? Stop donating to political opponents of Obama.
In this case the regime, the Democrats. And notice here that financial reform was pretty much forgotten until that surprise Supreme Court ruling a couple months ago. Then suddenly this went back on the front burner. This sort of got put behind health care, put behind cap and trade. It was even behind amnesty. Now this thing has leapfrogged ahead of all of them. It is priority number one because of that Supreme Court ruling, and that Supreme Court ruling is instant, meaning in this upcoming election cycle in November corporations can be involved in the political process for the first time in a long time. They can’t donate to candidates, but they can donate to causes, run TV ads. I think Chuck-U Schumer. Chuck, get this!
Chuck-U Schumer is working on legislation that will require any such ads to have a picture of the CEO in the ad, either a print ad or a television ad. So this thing is has leapfrogged ahead of every other legislative priority since that Supreme Court ruling. Whether they ‘go green’ or not, by the way. Whether these companies go green, doesn’t matter. Fox News just reported that the Henry Waxman show trials on health care costs have been canceled. We mentioned this mere moments ago. Somebody somewhere on his committee read the law and they realized that companies are required to take the huge charges they have been taking now due to accounting laws. This is why I essentially started calling these guys ‘the regime,’ ’cause they were obeying the law. Okay, the health care law passes, and they gotta take the charge in the quarter the bill passes, not when it’s implemented.
So they did that and Waxman said, ‘No, no, no! This is going to lower costs. I don’t know what you guys are doing but I summon you here,’ and he sent out a letter, basically a subpoena. ‘You bring your e-mail records with you, bring your books, you come up here and we’re going to make you explain to us what the hell you’re doing trying to sabotage our great health care bill.’ So you obey the law on one side and then if they regime doesn’t like it they come for you on the other side. But now what we have is Waxman canceling this because somebody obviously told him, ‘I don’t know what you’re going to do here, Nostrilitis. They obeyed the law.’ So that’s gone. Now all they care about is financial regulatory reform, and Mitch McConnell said, ‘Basically we were kicked out of the negotiations today.’ Obama said, ‘Look, you Democrats, just go ahead and ram this thing through.’ They want this done now to blunt the Supreme Court ruling. They know how hated and despised they are right now. They know. They can read their own polling data. They know it’s bad. They know it’s a bloodbath happening in November. They want to get as much of this stuff done before November as they can, and they think they’ve got the votes to do it even with Scott Brown over there in the Senate.