I think it’s safe to say that most Americans were less than pleased with the TARP program and the tax dollar giveaway that has ensued over the last few months. Now some banks want to give the money back, because they don’t want to submit to the controls that Obama and his good buddy Timmy Geithner want to place on those funds. Fair, enough, give the money back and let’s get on with life.

Not so fast. Obama and company are refusing to take back the money. Stuart Varney, in an op-ed from Friday’s (April 4, 2009) Wall Street Journal explains why.

So why no cheering as the cash comes back? My [Varney’s] answer: The government wants to control the banks, just as it now controls GM and Chrysler, and will surely control the health industry in the not-too-distant future. Keeping them TARP-stuffed is the key to control. And for this intensely political president, mere influence is not enough. The White House wants to tell ’em what to do. Control. Direct. Command.

He opines further:

The banks are at the core of the administration’s thrust: By managing the money, government can steer the whole economy even more firmly down the left fork in the road. If the banks are forced to keep TARP cash — which was often forced on them in the first place — the Obama team can work its will on the financial system to unprecedented degree. That’s what’s happening right now.

I love how he has called it a left fork in the road. This is where Obama and his admin have gone wrong. They did win, and the Dems continue to control the Congress, but this is far from the mandate they think it is. Americans are a moderate people. Sure we have people on both ends of the political spectrum, but for the most part, we are willing to compromise and work it out with each other. I don’t think Obama gets this. He is ramming his agenda through too fast and with out enough examination. If the banks want to give back their TARP money, they should be allowed to, with no retribution or punishment. I know it would make this tax-paying, housewife happy.

Like any industry, if the government controls the banks, quality will suffer, investment will go elsewhere, and innovation will cease to exist. Varney continues:

“Think about it: If Rick Wagoner can be fired and compact cars can be mandated, why can’t a bank with a vault full of TARP money be told where to lend? And since politics drives this administration, why can’t special loans and terms be offered to favored constituents, favored industries, or even favored regions? Our prosperity has never been based on the political allocation of credit — until now.”

Of course Obama won’t spin it this way. He’ll say this is “fair” and “the right thing to do” or that he’s just “leveling the playing field”, and that this is the only way to control and punish the “evil” bankers and greed-mongers on Wall Street, or some similar non-sense. He’ll let groups like ACORN do his dirty work – pressure these banks to make loans to “the right kind of people”. And then when we are faced with yet another banking-home-mortgage-financial-meltdown-because-banks-were-pressured-and-forced-into-doing-things-they-didn’t-want-to-do-and-shouldn’t-have-done type of crisis (and it most surely will happen), Obama will wave his hands, deny any involvement, or find some one to demonize and throw people under the bus (a-la Jeremiah Wright), and will use that crisis to seize more power, and thus it becomes a never ending cycle, a never ending trip on that left fork of the road. It’s kind of scary to think that now our banking industry is going to be a political organ, and if you’re not willing to play the Obama game, you’re going to be shut out, or punished, or demonized, or just cast aside as one of the chattering classes.

In the end Varney mentions he can’t believe Americans are just “sitting by” and “letting this happen”. I am not, I have not. I have my Congressman and Senators on speed dial, and I know my name is very familiar to the poor grunts who answer the phones in their respective offices. However, these three individuals seem to be very happy towing their party’s line, which happens to be the President’s line as well. I’m not sure what else I can do, other than take my money out of the bank if it’s accepted TARP funds and try to stay as far away from this game as possible, for as long as I can.