Continuing their desperate campaign to paint President Obama as anti-capitalist, the right-wing media have seized on comments Obama made during an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos to claim that Obama was attacking the free market. Obama was answering a question about whether the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be able regulate bank fees. Fox Nation framed Obama's response this way:
And CNN's Erick Erickson wrote, in a post on the blog RedState:
George Stephanoupolos asked Barack Obama about banks and their new fees. Of course, Obama could not accept any responsibility for that at all. And along the way he said something pretty damn amazing.
“You don't have some inherent right just to- you know, get a certain amount of profit.
Actually, in the free market, on the supply and demand curve, you do have an inherent right to get a certain amount of profit -- that certain amount of profit that you derive from your business practices that draw in the maximum amount of profit possible before customers decide you are charging too much or they are not getting value enough to justify their continued business with you.
Barack Obama has spent three years as President punishing those who take risks and taking from those whose risk leads to reward.
In this one quote we see everything wrong with Barack Obama's world view and how it has broken the American job creation engine.
He's not just a political loser, he seems more and more an economic dolt.
In fact, Obama didn't say that he can “stop Bank of America from making 'a certain amount of profit,' ” and Erickson cut Obama's full quote in half.
Here's what Obama actually said during the interview:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You might have a new issue on your plate over the weekend. Bank of America announced a new $5 service fee for using your debit card. It's drawn a lot of outrage, a lot of questions.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Basically the questions boil down to ... these are the type of things government should get involved in and put a stop to. Can you put a stop to that?
OBAMA: What we did was, we put a stop through the financial reform act of them charging fees for credit cards.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the banks are saying it's creating these new charges.
OBAMA: Well, what the banks are saying is, that rather than take a little bit less of a profit, rather than paying multi-million dollar bonuses, let's treat our customers right. And this is exactly why we need this Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that we set up, that is ready to go. And what we need is a confirmation of the person I've appointed, Richard Cordray, treasurer of Ohio. Back in Ohio, Republicans and Democrats both think he's terrific and he's fair. But this is exactly why we need somebody whose sole job it is to prevent this kind of thing from happening.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you stop this service charge?
OBAMA: Well, you can stop it because -- if you say to the banks, you don't have some inherent right just to, you know, get a certain amount of profit if your customers are being mistreated -- that you have to treat them fairly and transparently. And my hope is, is that you're going to see a bunch of the banks who say to themselves, “You know what? This is actually not good business practice.” Banks can make money, they can succeed the old-fashioned way -- by earning it. By lending to small businesses. By lending to consumers. By making sure that, you know, that we are building the economy together.
But, you know, without the kinds of protections that we're starting to see -- the Republicans try to roll back -- we're going to continue to have these kinds of problems. And this is exactly the sort of stuff that folks are frustrated by.
This, by the way, is an example of the contrasting visions that we have. If the Republican party believes that we should do nothing to curb abuses on Wall Street and roll back regulations put in place to prevent the next big financial crisis, well, I've got a big difference with them. And I think the American people are going to be on my side on that.
So Obama said that banks “don't have some inherent right just to ... get a certain amount of profit if your customers are being mistreated ... you have to treat them fairly and transparently.” Yet Fox Nation and Erickson managed to twist Obama's words to make this sound ominous.