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FOX News' Charles Payne: We Could Soon Be Seeing The Socialist States Of America

Reported by Ellen - February 8, 2009 -

Here we go with FOX News Plan B again: Painting Barack Obama as a socialist. (As I've previously stated, Plan A is to paint him as a terrorism enabler.) Surely, FOX News and FOX Business contributor Charles Payne knows that Obama is not really a socialist. As do the FOX News producers. But instead of just debating Obama's capping of executive pay for CEO's who accept bailout money, they chose Payne's words as a “Cavuto mark” of a headline for the discussion. Even Neil Cavuto, the man who put the “Cavuto” in “Cavuto mark” seemed to find the statement over the top.

Without offering any grounds for his fears, Payne suggested that pay caps would trickle down to the rest of society. "This is just the first step in something. I really sense it's going to get a lot bigger, it's going to get broader. It's going to cover the entire – First it will cover the banking and all the other evil sectors."

Cavuto said, “What if it doesn't? ...Look, you go to the government, well, you play by the government rules. All bets are off once you do that.”

Panelist Adam Lashinsky of Fortune Magazine responded: "We're starting a big public, national public policy debate here. The American people have looked at these people making $20, 30, 40, 100 million for years, and they've been pissed off about it, and now we have the opportunity to have our say as a country about it. And does somebody who's working for an institution that we the people own deserve to make 10 or 20 times what the president of the United States makes?"

Cavuto then furthered the meme by wondering if pay for Ben Affleck would be the next one capped. Cavuto asked, “Where do you draw the line?”

It seems pretty clear that Obama already drew the line - at institutions that receive government bailout money and not even all of them. FOXNews.com noted that point.

The administration's most restrictive limits would apply only to struggling large firms that receive "exceptional" assistance in the future. Healthy banks that receive government infusions of capital would have more leeway.

Under the plan, firms that want to pay executives above the $500,000 threshold would have to compensate them with stock that could not be sold or liquidated until they pay back the government funds.

In addition, under the plan banks would face tougher restrictions on so-called golden parachutes and tougher transparency rules on expenses such as office renovations, entertainment and conferences.

Panelist Dagen McDowell agreed with Lashinsky, saying, "This is so not socialism.” Noting that it was business as usual for lenders to place conditions on mortgages and other loans, she said, “What if the government, though, takes a stake in an institution, shouldn't we the taxpayers have some sort of say? In any normal, reasonable transaction, it would be that way."

Guest Ben Stein sided with Payne: "It is a dictat by an overwhelming, overbearing government. We've had experience with wage and price controls... It didn't work. They're not gonna work this time."

“There's a difference between an ownership interest and doing business,” McDowell pointed out.

Instead of debating McDowell's point, Stein took a slap at her. He called her "jealous” because other people make more money. There was derisive laughter off-camera.

I suspect Stein is the one who was jealous – of McDowell's common-sense persuasiveness. As our reader and guest blogger Brian, whose help was invaluable in preparing this post, pointed out, the last president who called for wage and price controls was Stein's former boss, Richard Nixon.

Payne and Stein were engaging in baseless fear mongering. And FOX News helped them to do so.

Guest blogger Brian contributed to this post.