President Obama spent this week's address trying to justify his newly minted bank fee. He blamed the banks for most of the problems we currently face. He said that the tax payers came to their rescue in their time of need. Finally he said that it is now time to make sure the tax payers are made whole.
That's all good and well however he's going about it in a bull headed way. President Obama is placing a fee on all "risky" transactions of all banks with assets of $50 billion and more. Most of these institutions have already paid TARP back with interest. Some didn't even want the TARP funds. Yet, they are now charged with paying this fee.
In fact, the bigger the firm, the more it will pay. Of course, this is totally absurd, entirely unfair, and wrought with unintended consequences. Since $50 billion is the break point, you can bet that all banks that are close will make sure to get under. Second, this fee will only hinder profits which means less lending. Third, you're now punishing the wrong guys. Fannie/Freddie, AIG, and the autos are into the tax payer for more than $200 billion. Yet, all of them are exempt. Goldman Sachs and Chase have paid all of TARP back with interest and yet they have to pay the fee? That's not fair and it's stupid. Frankly, this will never pass. (it's become a point of contention in the Massachusetts Senate race as well)
Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware delivered the Republican address. He recently travelled to Afghanistan and he spoke for a few minutes about his observations.
Castle said little that I haven't heard. We need to build up the Afghan military and police, we need to confront the poppy production, and we need to coordinate with the "international community".
Ultimately, in Afghanistan, the way to victory is simple but not easy. It's simple to condense what we need to do into a soundbite. It's not that easy to execute a plan that will make those soundbites a reality. We have the best in the world on the ground in Afghanistan and they've only begun to implement this plan. We should all have the highest confidence in all of them.