Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Now we see the strings

WASHINGTON (AP) - Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) (WFC) abruptly canceled Tuesday a pricey Las Vegas casino junket for employees after a torrent of criticism that it was misusing $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money.

The company initially defended the trip after The Associated Press reported it had booked 12 nights beginning Friday at the Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore Las Vegas. But within hours, investigators and lawmakers on Capitol Hill had scorned the bank, and the company canceled.

The conference is a Wells Fargo tradition. Previous all-expense-paid trips have included helicopter rides, wine tasting, horseback riding in Puerto Rico and a private Jimmy Buffett concert in the Bahamas for more than 1,000 of the company's top employees and guests.

"In light of the current environment, we have now decided to cancel this event as well," the company said Tuesday night in a news release that also said the it had never planned to use taxpayer bailout money for the trip.

A little History lesson is in order. Remember back when the bailout money was first being handed out? Wells Fargo never asked for a dime of taxpayer money. They didn't need it. That bank had been well managed and had avoided the kind of toxic lending practices which the federal government had been encouraging for years in the name of driving up poor/minority home ownership.

Yet in the meeting called in Washington which the Wells Fargo CEO was required to attend he was told that his bank would not be able to opt out of the bailout. He was bullied and browbeaten and told that it was essentially his "patriotic duty" to accept a large chunk of taxpayer cash that his bank did not want or need (think of Czechoslovakia "negotiating" with Nazi Germany over the Sudetenland - hint, Wells Fargo is Czechoslovakia).

At the time many of us wondered why the government would be so keen to waste bailout money by forcing it on a well managed bank that was begging not to have to take it.

Now we know the reason.

As long as Wells Fargo or any other bank took one dime of bailout money, willingly or unwillingly, they opened the door to the government sitting in judgment on every aspect of their business practices.

This is what the left wants for all American businesses and all American citizens. To make us all dependent in some way or other upon government largess so that dictate to all of us the terms under which we will be allowed to live our lives and earn our livings.

Is that what the American people really intended when they went to the polls last November; to turn the USA into an Obama/Pelosi "worker's paradise"?