Dan Gainor

The media just loved Obama describing “fat cat bankers.” His quote made it everywhere in mainstream news and even on “The Daily Show.” It was a carefully designed PR move to boost Obama’s newly flagging numbers with a little old-fashioned class warfare.

Even Cokie Roberts told NPR’s “Morning Edition” audience Dec. 14 that “the president also needs a little shoring up with his own liberal base after his decision to add more troops to Afghanistan and the continued economic bad times. So, going after the banks is a good way to sort of rev up his popular supporters.”

This is the perennial theme for both Democrats and journalists – businessmen are evil. Everybody else – from the homeless to government employees – must then be good by comparison.

And while it’s news, it’s certainly not new. CNN’s foot-in-the-mouth anchor Rick Sanchez railed on businesspeople back in an Oct. 23, “Campbell Brown” appearance. “This week, the president of the United States went after the fat cats on Wall Street, limiting their bonuses and cutting their pay by as much as 90 percent in some cases.”

ABC’s Terry Moran went even further during a “Nightline” segment in September. The anchor’s report was titled “Is Capitalism Evil?” and featured lefty filmmaking propagandist Michael Moore. Moran did as journalists often do and turned to the movie “Wall Street” to describe the industry by the same name. “Well, remember Gordon Gekko, the fictional fat cat who famously said, 'greed is good?" Now let's hear from a real life rabble-rouser who's got exactly the opposite message about capitalism.” That mixture of populist rhetoric has policy impact. The White House approach is that other well paid people must suffer. Obama’s pay czar Kenneth Feinberg has been coming down hard “on pay packages at four companies rescued with taxpayer money,” according to ABC.

The media and the administration are doing their best to spread that lack of wealth throughout top jobs around the nation. And they’re doing nothing to rein in the huge pay hikes in government service.

Ironically, Reuters reported that the IRS has hired “hundreds” of people “to catch rich tax cheats.” Perhaps Obama could spend some time introducing the new IRS workers to their compatriots in other departments – like Transportation. As USA Today explained, “when the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.”

Isn’t it great when government creates wealth with our tax dollars?


Dan Gainor

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and director of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.