Published January 13, 2015
By Judge Andrew NapolitanoFOX News Senior Judicial Analyst
We are in the midst of a new class warfare and our constitutional rights are eroding before our very eyes. The government has an ideological predilection toward egalitarianism -- or forced equality. The president has stated in numerous interviews that he wants to "spread the wealth around." His chief of staff ruminated that one should never "waste" a crisis. The administration is willing to shift tax burdens from some large groups to other small groups. The government thinks it can make poor people rich by making rich people poor. From this it follows that the government's principal interest in using the TARP funds is acquisition of control: Control over bankers, over banks and over vast sectors of the economy.
Unfortunately, we will all suffer before the government realizes that our financial prosperity has come from private, uninhibited initiative, not from Soviet-style central planning.
Once the government has acquired stock in banks, whether by voluntary purchase or by bullying the bank into selling, the government can keep the stock for as long as it wishes. Just as the sale to the government resulted from a meeting of the minds (however one of the minds may have beenthreatenedto come to that meeting), so, too, the sale back to the bank can only come about voluntarily through a meeting of the minds. In the real world, one as to which the government is not a party, if the corporation wants its stock back, it just keeps raising its offering price, until the owner of the stock can't resist, and agrees to sell. Unfortunately, that will not work for the government. It writes its own rules. It uses tax dollars obtained by force. It makes decisions based on politics, rather than business judgments.
Perhaps a federal judge and jury might be so outraged at the coercion involved in the government acquisition of the stock that it would order the government to return it.