First came the government's civil-fraud charges against Goldman Sachs just as the White House was pushing a bank overhaul.
Next came the show trial of Goldman execs being harangued by congressional know-nothings.
And now the Justice Department has started a criminal probe of Goldman.
I'm no cynic, and these clockwork assaults are no coincidence. It's war.
Only instead of fighting our problems, Washington has declared war on capitalism and those who dare reap its benefits. The government is apparently willing to use every weapon it has to crush their animal spirits.
As President Obama said last week about the banks, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money."
There you have it, Wall Street. Big Brother has spoken.
It is a strange mission, this aim to bring to heel the nation's engine of wealth creation. With nearly 15 million Americans out of work entirely or limited to part-time jobs and with national and household debt at staggering levels, the goal should be to expand jobs and opportunities. Healthy banks are key to that expansion.
But that would be a rational response. As Obama has shown repeatedly in both foreign and domestic issues, he doesn't attack problems as much as use them as an excuse to carry out a sweeping agenda to remake America.
It's what he did with the stimulus upon taking office. The $862 billion of borrowed money didn't stimulate private-job creation, but it did subsidize state payrolls and fund the wish list of liberal programs Democrats wanted.
It's what Obama did with health care. The consensus on fixing the areas that clearly needed reform was insufficient for his goal of universal care. He declared the entire system "broken," despite 80 percent of the public saying they were happy with their insurance and doctors, and launched a federal takeover that will turn insurance firms into regulated utilities.
Now it's the banks' turn. The near-collapse of the financial system revealed numerous flaws that must be remedied. There is a strong consensus for requiring transparency for derivatives trading and setting limits on borrowing so banks can be allowed to fail without bringing down the entire system.
But that's not what's happening. The attacks on Goldman -- which have sliced its stock price by 40 points, and reduced its market value to shareholders by $21 billion -- are not about the needed reforms.
They are demonizing and punishing the fires of American capitalism and aim to turn the financial system into a tool for sharing the benefits. On its surface, rounding the edges and flattening the curves can almost sound reasonable.
Why, for example, should bankers be taking home millions in bonuses when millions of Americans are out of work? Shouldn't everybody get an egg from the golden goose?
Or, as a Teamster from Long Island put it during Thursday's union-led demonstration on Wall Street, "We need banks to do the right thing." By his definition, that means giving money "to people who've been struggling."
Now where did he get that idea? Oh, wait. Maybe from a president who also said last week it's "the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow our economy."
Or maybe from a candidate who said, "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Yep, that guy, the same guy. The one for whom the only acceptable self-interest is his own.
So here we are, spreading the wealth around. Or as they must be chanting in the Oval Office: Spread, baby, spread.
Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. Click here to continue reading his column.
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