The Right Questions From an Unlikely Source

In case you don’t recognize him, or cannot for some reason read either the name-plate or graphics in the video, the elected official quizzing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed, unapologetic, out-of-the closet socialist — or, as Reuters describes him, “an independent who usually votes with the Democrats.”

In this case, however, Sanders–who voted against the original TARP bailout plan, proving his colleagues in the Democratic Party to be caucusing left of a proud socialist–was taking a hard line in asking Bernanke about the institutions which received more than $2.2 trillion in taxpayer money since March 2008 through loans made outside the TARP program, including the name of the banks, the Fed’s reasons for lending, and the type, amount, date and terms of the loans in question.

Bernanke refused, saying that publicly disclosing the names of such firms would weaken the desired effects of such lending, and would be unfair to the banks which took advantage of taxpayer money.

“Isn’t that too bad,” Sanders said. “They took the money, but they don’t want to be public about the fact that they received it.”

Kids, as much as I hate to say it, in this situation the socialist is right. More than two trillion dollars of taxpayer money, money belonging to you and to me, money for which our children and children’s children will be responsible, has been lent to various financial institutions with no transparency whatsoever and, I think it’s fair to say, little or no oversight. Now, my worldview may be miles apart from Sen. Sanders’ perspective, but I agree with him one thousand percent that we must know where our taxpayer money is going and why.

Last week, if you’ll remember, Northern Trust received a boatload of bad press for sponsoring a PGA golf event, as well as other related events and parties meant to cater to the high-end clients which make that bank a viable, financially stable entity. They received the bad press not because they also hold the Tony Rezko-secured loan for Barack Obama’s Chicago home (though that is interesting), but because Northern Trust accepted $1.6 billion in taxpayer money. By the end of the week, however, it became apparent that Northern Trust was indeed viable, and indeed wanted to give back the money that they were apparently forced by the Bush Administration to take, forced into doing so because the administration didn’t want the institutions which needed the money and took it to look bad.

Northern Trust certainly wasn’t the only one. We are forcing banks to take taxpayer money, and it’s only fair that we as Americans are permitted to know how much was lent, on what terms, and what sort of quid pro quo was involved. As a conservative, I feel as though I’m bound, gagged and locked in the trunk of a car being driven toward a precipice by the Democrat leadership in Washington; personally, I’d much rather have a window seat — that way, should we survive, we’ll know exactly how to get back to the place from which we came.

We already established that the Russian prime minister gets what’s going on. Now we see that Sanders, a socialist, gets it. Why don’t the Democrats?

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Comments

  1. CAL says:

    Jeff,
    I do not blame the banks. I blame the government. Many of these banks like Northern Trust, Wells Fargo and US Bank were forced to take this money. Then they are bad mouthed for doing what they normally do to drum up business and thank their clients – have conferences and sponsor events like professional golf tournaments. Also, I want to point out that when banks sponsor these events, hotels, restaurants, airlines, cab drivers and many other professions make money from the people attending the event. Having these events is good for business – not just the bank’s business. This also goes for Citicorp’s sponsoring the new baseball stadium. When corporations sponsor the building of new stadiums, that means that taxpayers do not have to fund the construction of these venues. These new stadiums also bring economic development to areas where they are built which helps the cities and its citizens. People need to lay off corporate America and stop biting the hand that feeds them. Corporations do far more for the welfare of this country than government ever did.
    If people want to get mad about the mortgage mess, I suggest they talk to Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, Franklin Raines, Jaime Gorelick and Jim Johnson.

  2. elspeth says:

    Jeff,

    If you feel this is inappropriate here, please use it however you like (BTW, Thank you, and I love your site):

    545 vs. 300,000,000

    Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

    545 PEOPLE vs. 300,000,000+ PEOPLE
    By Charlie Reese

    Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

    Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

    Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

    You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does.

    You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

    You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

    You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

    You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

    One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

    I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

    I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

    Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

    What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

    The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the Speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

    It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

    If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

    If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

    If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ .

    If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

    There are no insoluble government problems.

    Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.

    Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

    Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

    They, and they alone, have the power.

    They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

    Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

    We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

    –Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

  3. Jeff Schreiber says:

    CAL,

    I don’t blame the banks either. Certainly everybody from the top on down had a hand in this, but at the end of the day it all boils down the realized perils of an overreaching federal government.

    If the government would allow the free market to work, all of this would be worked out naturally.

    – Jeff

  4. Anonymous says:

    jeff schreiber,

    I am the “anonymous” of several days ago, who asked you to let us in on the good news that made you so happy the other day.

    Do any of these recent articles have anything to do with that, or was I mistakenly expecting something bigger?

  5. Anonymous says:

    CAL:

    Bravo!!! The reason that everyone (esp. Congress) is blaming the banks is b/c they are COMPLETELY IGNORANT OF THE ROOTS OF THIS CRISIS!

    People know about banks…we interact with them on a daily basis!

    But how many citizens have much knowledge or direct dealing with the FED?

    The above mentioned politicians are very much to blame, of course.

    But as much to blame if not more is the FED! They have been manipulating and interfering in our free market for almost a century….and let me tell you, their intentions have been less than innocent. Their damaging actions were not a result of ignorance or stupidity, but actions founded in an ideology of power and globalism!

    WE MUST ALL BEGIN SCREAMING ABOUT THE DANGER OF THE FED!!!

    They are not elected, but appointed. Not public, but private barrons who seek global power.

    MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE IF AMERICA DOES NOT WAKE UP AND BEGIN TO LEARN AND EXPOSE THE FED!

    Manipulation of interest rates and monetary supply cause the boom-bust cycle! A true free market does not cycle like this…it is manipulated to benefit the invisible power brokers.

    What do you think about this, CAL?

  6. MaryAlice says:

    Watch this: CNBC commentator states
    Obama uses Saul Alinksly methods

    see 1:30 into the commentary

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1051894813&play=1

  7. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Anonymous said…

    jeff schreiber,

    I am the “anonymous” of several days ago, who asked you to let us in on the good news that made you so happy the other day.

    Do any of these recent articles have anything to do with that, or was I mistakenly expecting something bigger?

    No. These articles have nothing to do with that — I’m still working on the piece in question, and need a little more cooperation before it comes out.

    Listen … don’t raise your expectations too much, and certainly don’t expect that it has anything to do with the eligibility issue.

    As soon as it’s put together–IF I get the cooperation I need–you’ll see it.

    Sorry to drag it out a bit. I was expecting things to materialize quicker than this.

    – Jeff

  8. STALIN says:

    COMRADES!

  9. Dee says:

    Our friend works in a local bank. She told us that they were told that they had to give mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them. She was also told that ACORN had threatened several other banks for not doing so. Her bank was told that they had no choice. It has now been taken over by a bigger bank and she is not sure how long she will have a job.
    We are being told that we all have to cut back and not expect to live as we have in the past. I do not see one member of the administration cutting back, sharing their wealth, selling their huge houses, or eating at McDonald’s. BO entertains on Wednesdays and serves beef that costs $100 per pound. I do hope that my tax dollars are not paying for that.
    Thank you all once again for your thoughts.

  10. REBOOT AMERICA says:

    Bernanke, nothing but a WEASEL ! How embarassing, not only to HIM, but to how this country is run.

  11. Anonymous says:

    from a vulgar point of view, dc looks like if the daltonĀ“s brothers have arrived and are going to leave the country empty for eaons, our children and our gradchildren will be living in necessity without option of the american dream
    from a political point of view is a totalitarian take over by the book, how can in less than 2 moth, so much change, the constitution is on the borderline, disrespect for the citizens, cvr armored, no citizen has the right to know about his records, ARE WE IN A DEMOCRACY????

  12. CAL says:

    Anonymous,

    I do not know enough about how the Federal Reserve works to comment on your post. I do know that many think that Greenspan’s meddling with interest rates was not helpful and helped to fuel the housing bubble.
    I do agree with you that markets need to be free. You can look at any market in which government has intervened and see distortion that has taken place. The high price of health care is due to government intervention. So is the high cost of college. Look at what welfare does to people. Government intervention is not helpful and only serves to increase the power of the politicians.

  13. sharon says:

    Okay, I am confused. What 2 trillion dollars? Is this over the last few years? I thought we had TARP at 750B and then the anti stimulus at 850B & now the budget at 450B…. Oh my God this is crazy – but what 2 trillion is he speaking of?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Jeff Schreiber,

    I am anon. Thank you for your reply. I wasn’t thinking of the BC issue. Just hoping for something really good. I want to feel happy too.

  15. Anonymous says:

    To the question of secretive power brokers manipulating the FED for global stability ? could these
    shadowy maneuverings be part of the Bildeberg Elite who meet annually in secrecy ? It is what it is – George Soros whose name appears an awful lot – is a regular attendee – the money that disappeared from the US coffers in September has not been accounted for$500 billion – that is the magic number used to keep stability / money flowing – and where do all of the funds come from – why won’t the money used for BO pres race be revealed – who were his donors – what kind of roll do these federally funded groups really play in elections and distorting the true picture – pay for play ? conflict ?
    misrepresentation – In the FAR federal book of regulations – Conflicts and misrepresentations – misleading – are punishable -……. the book is 5-6 inches thick – Transparency is another lawyered word for exposing the truth / exposing how we have been lied to / how we are being hood winked by snakeoil salesmen and carpet baggers !!!
    While we all are raped by skyrocketing interest by credit card co., car loans and mortages , gas taxes, sales taxes , property taxes , utility taxes , fees for depositing a check , fees for cashing you paycheck ,not to mention late fees , over the limit fees , return check fees , business license fees , …it goes on and on and the banks receive 0 interest on supposed collateral loans forced on them which is our tax money – am I CRAZY or are we just plain idiots and would it work better if we all punched a clock / received no actual currency and just had all of our needs met by Big Daddy – certainly would alleviate wasting paper and save trees !!! I agree we need to fire 545 thieves and replace them with we the people ! We are getting ready to have our air Taxed with Carbon emissions tax ?! is there anything left ? not to mention elimination of certain tax deductions / and we can’t drill for our own off shore source of energy ????? are we freaking CRAZY ! we have been so;ld down the river !!!!!! and we are about to be thrown out of the boat without life preservers !!!!!!!Are your eyes open wide now , mine have been ! REVOLUTION – over – Taxes – been there done that – French Revolution – Revolutionary War – Civil War ( States Rights – get history straight -slavery became the manipulative way to motivate mens souls – but it was really over tarriff issues )
    Silver lining – I think everybody knows we have lost our moral compass and that where our salvation lies – in the Constitution and our Bill of Rights . We must stop this black whole from sucking us into an infinity of hell .

  16. PAUL REVERE says:

    1 if by WALL STREET, 2 if by WHITE HOUSE.
    Patriots rise up !

  17. Anonymous says:

    When the Republicans retake both houses of congress, and they will, I hope one of the first things they do is defund Acorn! What a dark, ugly stain on the nation that outfit is.

    JV

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