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Fair And Balanced? Fox News Discusses Obama's TARP Fee Proposal With Two Anti-Obama Commenters

Reported by Ellen - January 13, 2010 -

Co-authored by Brian

On Tuesday’s (1/12/10) Your World, Dave Ramsey came on to rip discuss President Obama's plan to levy fees on banks that benefitted from TARP as an effort to lower the deficit. Predictably, both Ramsey and host Neil Cavuto were against the plan, took a few gratuitous swipes at the Obama administration and neglected to discuss in any depth the other side of the story. So much for fair and balanced. With video.

Cavuto started by saying by saying the proposal is "Just odd. I know everyone likes to bust the banks, but man, they can't win for even paying the money back."

Ramsey said the Obama administration’s thinking is, “Let's keep (the banks) open, why? So that we can punish them later for doing what they do… It all kind of comes back to this bonus thing that's out there floating around too… If it's private industry now, if they paid the loans back, they’re no longer owned by ‘We the People.’ Leave them alone!"

In an editorial in favor of the plan, The New York Times wrote,

"Let’s be clear, the crisis spawned by banks’ recklessness has cost the country a lot more than $120 billion. Any calculation must also include the deepest recession since the 1930s and the loss of more than seven million jobs. What profits banks have made since then have not come from lending to credit-strapped businesses. They are trading profits made possible by trillions of dollars in cheap financing from the Federal Reserve.

The crisis occurred because banks that had grown too big to fail came too close to failure — driven by a reckless pursuit of risk and profit. Credit froze, and the government was forced to put enormous public resources at their disposal to keep them afloat.

Though all that public money has pulled banks back from the brink, some too-big-to-fail banks have since got even bigger by swallowing their weaker brethren. That means, if they get in trouble, they could wreak even greater havoc on the economy.

A levy on these financial giants would help by putting a brake on this consolidation — making the largest banks somewhat less profitable and steering investment and other resources into smaller banks, which, if they failed, wouldn’t take the rest of us with them.”

But none of that reasoning was offered to the “we report, you decide” network’s viewers.

Cavuto groused, "We were told we were going to leave them alone, and they were going to leave them alone if they paid the money back, but still on the apron string, I guess."

"It’s more continuation of the old story of let's punish anyone who's successful,” Ramsey said. “I'm not a fan of Citibank and Bank of America, they’re not my favorite people on the planet. But they are a free standing, private organization, and why are they being singled out for taxes? If they're going to be singled out for special punitive taxes, who’s next? Well, somebody's got to pay for this debacle called Washington, D.C. And they’re figuring out more and more creative ways to do it. And it’s just kind of scary stuff. "

Cavuto added, "The way it’s framed, we're going to charge the banks a boatload to help us bring down this deficit. As if they're the sole reason why we have these ballooning deficits. In other words, scapegoat, creating a villain, saying it's not Washington and all this spending, it’s the evil bankers."

Ramsey called that a "valid observation."

In reality, neither Cavuto nor Ramsey know that the fees will be huge. As The Times reported, "The Obama administration has not specified either the size or the type of levy it would impose on the nation’s big banks. Officials are reportedly considering a tax on profits of the largest banks and a tax based on the size of their assets.”