Last week, I took a swipe at President Obama’s planned “big bank tax” plan, pointing out its underlying socialist/communist premises.
I didn’t look at it carefully enough, but my blog-buddy Rob Port set me straight. It’s even worse.
The tax, justified as a way to recoup the money loaned to banks under TARP, is being collected almost entirely from those that have already repaid it. “Almost entirely” meaning a few exceptions: one bank that hasn’t repaid it it also included, as well as some banks that didn’t take any. Excluded are several institutions that haven’t repaid it at all — such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Let’s imagine the conversations that occurred during this little event. First, though, cue up some appropriate music:
Hey, Mr. Big Bank, some of your competitors are in big trouble. We gotta bail them out.
Fine with me. We’re doing OK, so it’s not much skin off our nose.
Thing is, we don’t wanna say which banks are in trouble. So youse gotta take some of dis bailout money, too, so’s we can hide the ones in the worst jams.
We don’t need it, and we don’t want it.
That’s too bad. We think you might need it. And if you say no, then we’ll have to go through your books to make sure you ain’t in trouble. All your books. Very slowly. Very carefully. Very publicly.
I tell you, we don’t want it and don’t need it! I don’t want to have to explain to our depositors and investors and owners why we took on this kind of debt when we didn’t need it!
Look, it’ll just be for a little while. You can pay it back in a little while. And then we’ll owe youse a favor.
Sigh… Oh, all right. We’ll sign on.
Hey, Mr. Government, the crisis is over. And we don’t like how you’re talking about the banks that took the money, so we’re going to pay it back right now.
Not so fast, Mr. Big Bank. Are you sure you’re on solid enough ground to give back the money?
Quite certain. We just stuck it in an escrow account — we never touched it.
Just the same, why don’t you hang on to it for just a little longer? You can’t be too careful these days.
Look, Mr. Government, we didn’t want your money in the first place, and we certainly don’t want it any longer. Here it is. Just take it, and get the hell out of here.
Hiya, Mr. Big Bank. Remember me?
Trust me, sir, I’ll never forget you.
Well, I’m here about that TARP bailout money we lent youse a while ago.
What about it? We paid it back! Every penny! Plus interest! And we didn’t want it in the first place! We should have just given you the interest up front, and never taken the money in the first place!
Yeah, you did pay it back, and we really appreciate that. But it seems that quite a few other banks didn’t pay it back, and we need that money.
So? Sounds like you did just what got them into trouble — loaned a lot of money to people who wouldn’t be able to pay it back. That’s hardly my problem.
Well, that’s where you’re kinda wrong. We need that money back, so we’re gonna collect the money from all of you big banks.
Wait a minute — they screwed up, not us. You saved them, you did squat for us. And we repaid you. Now we gotta pay again?
That’s how it works, pally. But not quite.
What do you mean, “not quite?”
Them that ain’t paid it back ain’t in any shape to pay this additional tax, so you gotta cover their share too.
Sorry, pal, but them’s the breaks. We gotta get our money, and they ain’t got any. You do. So we get it from you.
You can not be serious.
Oh, we’re serious, pal. And what’s more, we don’t want any more big banks to get into this kind of trouble again, so we’re gonna put all kinds of new rules and restrictions on all of youse boys to keep youse from getting into that big a jam again.
BUT WE NEVER GOT INTO THAT MUCH TROUBLE IN THE FIRST PLACE!
So youse was lucky.
It wasn’t luck, we weren’t stupid! They were, and they paid the price for it!
Whatever. Anyhoo, I’ll send one of our boys by next Tuesday with the new rules, and you can have the money for him. Nothing bigger than twenties, no marked bills, and none of them dye packs.
Sorry, forget that last part. Force of habit.
In the comments to my previous article, longtime Wizbang community member (under a variety of names) JamesH stated that he had a lot of trouble having much sympathy for the big banks. He’s right, and so do I.
But it isn’t a matter of sympathy, but of principle. Sympathy is of the heart, principle of the mind. This isn’t an emotional issue, but an intellectual one.
And even extremely unsympathetic people like big bankers don’t deserve to be screwed over.