By Rick Saunders & Jeff Schreiber
Well, the Obama/Geithner kamikaze pirouette continues, and with each passing day the dance is looking more and more like something from the cutting room floor at the Bolshoi in Moscow. As in the Moscow in Russia, not Idaho.
Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner floated the spectacularly breathtaking notion to the House Financial Services Committee that the Treasury Department (a.k.a. “Toxic Tim’s Sandbox”) should be given sweeping and unprecedented–not to mention probably unconstitutional–new powers to regulate (Obamaspeak for “subjugate”) and even take over (Obamaspeak for “seize”) private financial and other businesses whose “too big to fail” size would make their collapse a perceived threat to the entire economy. With the now-expected help of TOTUS, President Obama chimed in, adding that he hopes “it doesn’t take too long to convince Congress” of the need for such expansive powers.
So what we now have, on the heels of (1) an Obama ten-year budget black hole plan which would suck the life out of the faltering economy and drive the deficit to at least $9.3 trillion with annual deficits that even Obama’s Budget Director, Peter Orszag, concedes are “not sustainable,” (2) a populist AIG bonus scandal facilitated, if not engineered, by administration officials through one of their many senatorial flacks on the Hill, Connecticut Democrat Chris Dodd, and (3) an Obama-inspired “stimulus” bill that seems to be having exactly the opposite effect is a proposal for pre-nationalizing the economy. That is a characteristic of socialistic and communistic regimes and is likely NOT what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they created this Republic.
Hence what Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said in the video clip above about the “lurch” toward socialism. It was Bachmann, by the way, whose questions yesterday about constitutionality were ducked and dodged by Geithner as though he were George W. Bush facing a size 10 Iraqi loafer.
Last night, The Chosen One followed up on Geithner’s trial balloon by noting to reporters at the White House: “We are already hard at work in putting forward a detailed proposal. We will work in consultation with members of Congress. That will be just one phase of a broader regulatory framework that we’re going to have to put in place to prevent these kinds of crises from happening again.”
Quick point: whenever Obama says he will be working “in consultation with members of Congress,” he means “I will twist the arms of any Democrat who doesn’t see it my way–and don’t think I won’t use Rahm and his Taser if I have to–but I will ignore the concerns of the Republicans because [flash the megawatt smile] I won . . . and their guy didn’t.”
How quintessentially presidential. How on Earth did the Republic survive so long without this guy?
Obama’s idea of negotiation, of course, is that you come to his position and all will be well, but if you think his position will change and move closer to yours–as in “compromise” or “give”–you are probably indulging in a controlled substance. Think of the process this way — it’s akin to Nancy Pelosi’s assurance when she ascended to the position of Speaker of the House that the relationship with President Bush and her fellow congressmen would be one of “partnership, not partisanship.” Yeah, that one’s workin’ out really well, don’tcha think?
Democrat Congressman Barney “Freddie’s Fannie is Basically Sound” Frank, the committee chairman, supplemented Obama’s remarks by adding that “when nonbank [sic] major financial institutions need to be put out of their misery, we need to give somebody the authority to do what the FDIC can do with banks.” Now, a cynic might be tempted to observe that there are some things in this country that are more in need of being euthanized than “nonbank major financial institutions.” Frank even elicited from Fed Chairman Bernanke that these powers, to be effective, would likely need to extend to private institutions regardless of whether they were the recipients of federal bailout monies.
Point: when Barney Frank suggests that some sweeping new powers need to be engrafted onto Toxic Tim’s biceps “when nonbank major financial institutions need to be put out of their misery,” he is really saying that “anything we, the omniscient Democrats in Congress can do, because we run the table, to facilitate the destruction of capitalism in order to speed the redistribution of the wealth and the creation of a combo Zimbabwe/worker’s paradise here–as long as it is not homophobic–we will do.” Not that it matters to Obots like Frank, be they straight or be they gay, but the mechanism for which he seems to be groping, albeit clumsily, is not nationalization and has been around for years. It is called bankruptcy.
Ah, but bankruptcy is too slow, too uncertain and too dependent upon analysis and logic dispensed by people in that “other” inferior appendage of the government, judges schooled in bankruptcy law. Besides, to quote Obama from the opening days of his administration: “We won.”
Hey, if the Treasury Department is given the powers that Geithner and Obama are seeking–again, ignoring those pesky constitutional questions, an arabesque which is becoming a hallmark characteristic of the Obama administration–actions could be taken on a moment’s notice to seize and nationalize those terrible “nonbank” major financial institutions. Surely, there’s no problem investing trust in Geithner to decide which companies are healthy and not healthy, which companies pose a threat to the economy as a whole. So what that he essentially pleaded ignorance to tax cheating allegations, claiming that that he couldn’t handle TurboTax?
Although, in all honestly, what’s going on here is much, much deeper than Timothy Geithner. As Treasury Secretary, Geithner isn’t supposed to weigh constitutional aspects of his authority — his job is to carry out that authority granted to him by those in Congress, elected officials which took an oath to protect and defend the United States Constitution. That was the brilliance in Michele Bachman’s interaction with Geithner yesterday; Bachmann wasn’t looking necessarily to embarrass Geithner, who couldn’t point to provisions in the Constitution which would back up the authority he was given . . . by asking those questions, Bachmann was rightfully and effectively excoriating those in Congress who have been advocating the abrogation of our founding principles.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution provides Congress with limited powers, but controlling businesses, buying and selling assets, renegotiating and repudiating existing contracts are not among them. Even the potential argument that these expanded powers are “necessary and proper” to carry out the enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8 would be unfounded, as the authority and likely consequences would run afoul of not only the limitations on ex post facto government action in Article I, Section 9, but also the inherent limitation in government interference in private business as well as the Fifth Amendment restriction against “taking,” confiscatory action through which private property is taken without just compensation.
As much as any constitutional criticism will likely be passed on to Geithner, the inevitable whipping boy when things go further south, the real dereliction of duty is on the part of the congressional Democrats who abandoned the Constitution in the first place.
As previously noted here, Hugo Chavez, el presidente of Venezuela and a big fan of nationalization of private businesses, has called upon Obama to forge ahead on the road to socialism. With Geithner’s testimony yesterday, it could be argued that Obama is taking that advice to heart. Heck, even Sweden is telling us to slow down in terms of our path to socialism.
One thing is certain — if the species of “changes” that Obama is proposing, both himself and through surrogates like Geithner, is any indication of what the future holds for the nation, it is a bleak and dark one indeed. Very bleak. Very dark. And Tim Geithner’s proposal to seize private enterprise if he deems it in the best interests of the economy is but one more glimpse into the nation’s problematic future. So, to reiterate a point made a few days ago here at America’s Right, this nation now more than ever needs a lot more statesmen and a lot fewer politicians. With apologies to Lord Acton: “Power corrupts, but absolute power in the hands of government is tyranny.”
Rick Saunders is a freelance writer who splits his time between endeavors in southern California and the American southwest. He began writing for America’s Right in December 2008. Jeff Schreiber started America’s Right in January 2008.