March 18, 2008
During their Power Lunch segment today, CNBC had a discussion with three guests on the backlash from the Bear Sterns Bailout. The guest included Republican Strategist Jack Berkman, Andrew Jakobovics from the Center for American Progress, and CNBC’s own John Harwood. Each of them was ask to express their sentiments on the government bailout.
Andrew Jakobovics and John Hardwood supported the government bailout, but what surprised me was that Jack Berkman, a Republican, was completely against it. When was the last time you heard that from a Republican? He left no doubt he was squarely against our government saving banking institutions and Wall Street. Typically, Berkman is a very far right Republican in his views.
Beckman said that what happened was a bunch of gamblers at Bear Sterns took advantage of cheap money. Then they doubled down, doubled down, and doubled down until they got to the odds of a blackjack table. He went on to say that instead of the feds letting the market work, they come in and encourage this gambling habit to continue. It was at this point that Beckman was basically cut off by CNBC host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. She didn’t appear to want Berkman to finish his comments, although she had allowed the other two to complete theirs. She cut Beckman off twice in an effort to get him to agree with what she was saying. And when Jakobovics injected that this bailout was good for the street, Beckman intervened and said let me translated who “the street” is. He said the street was the feds taking care of their buddies on Wall Street. He ended by saying this was some of the worst corporate welfare ever generated in this country.
Until our news media wakes up and, as an industry, start insisting that our government quit supporting only the wealthy and powerful, the American public is going to be divided on these issues, and nothing will ever be done. But, then again, the main stream news media is part of the wealthy and powerful, so I don’t expect that to happen.
Watch the video of the interview.
Never underestimate the difficulty of changing false beliefs [with] facts.
Economist Henry Rosovsky