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?