Citigroup, one the world's largest banks, was bailed out with some $45 billion of U.S. taxpayer funds and we taxpayers -- you and I -- still own a little over one quarter of the company.
Do you recall making this investment? I don't.
Nevertheless, in testimony before a panel appointed by Congress to oversee management of the $700 billion TARP fund which financed the Citigroup bailout, the bank's CEO, Vikram Pandit, thanked all of us.
"I want to thank our Government for providing Citi with TARP funds....Citi owes a large debt of gratitude to American taxpayers."
The rest of Pandit's testimony amounted to genuflecting before his government welfare officers and endorsing sweeping new government regulation of the financial services industry that Democrats in the House and Senate are championing.
"I strongly believe that consumer protection can and should be strengthened at the federal regulatory level," testified Pandit.
The $700 billion TARP fund used to bail out Citigroup, along with others, was a check written on American taxpayers that Congress gave then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to spend however he wanted.
At the center of the financial collapse that brought down these banks was the illusion of infinitely rising housing prices fueled by trillions of dollars of free flowing credit, artificially cheap because it was backed by us taxpayers through FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
In other words, the heart of our crisis can be explained by Margaret Thatcher's famous summary of the problem with socialism: sooner or later you run out of other people's money.
Of course we need protection. But American consumers are also American taxpayers and its American citizens and taxpayers that need to be protected from their government.
The tea party grassroots revolt that has sprouted across our country is a basic expression of recognition that we have lost control of our own government and that if we are going to be a free and prosperous people, this can't go on.
This year some 45 percent of our GDP, the economic production of the American people, will be taken by local, state, and federal government.
Since 1970, federal government spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased by 221 percent compared to a 32-percent increase in median household income.
No, we don't need a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. We need restoration of the rule of law, basic protections for private property essential for any free society, and recognition of the limited role of the federal government, as enumerated in our constitution.
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