Purporting to report “evidence of socialism” in President Obama's policies, Glenn Beck cited Obama “taking over” the auto industry, the banking industry, and AIG, as well as the supposed “total government control of our health care industry” and “control of the entire student loan industry” established through recent legislation. But aside from the fact that those policies are not socialist, many of them began under President Bush, while others retain significant involvement from private industry.
From the April 6 broadcast of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
Tonight we're taking on Barack Obama's impossible challenge to find some evidence of socialism in his policies. Apart from his childhood teenage years and adult childhood spent with radicals, Marxists, and communists, and attending a Marxist church for twenty years with a Marxist pastor, what has he done lately?
Well there is the tiny matter of him taking over the auto industry. No big deal, GM is just been taken over. Sixty-one percent. Thats...
And then of course the nagging little detail of that the government now controls much of America's banking industry. We -- we have that.
And of course there's AIG Insurance, the insurance giant that we also -- we also took those over. Those are fantastic.
And yes, he has taken the first step towards socialization. Total government control of our health care system. I had a appointment with my doctor today, and he was thrilled about that.
And you know, controlling the entire health care industry, it's only one sixth, don't worry about that.
Oh, he's also seized control of the entire student loan industry. Just wiped that industry out.
Supposed “taking over [of] the auto industry” began with action by President Bush
Bush administration: "[T]he only way to avoid a collapse of the U.S. auto industry is for the executive branch to step in." On December 19, 2008 President Bush announced that his administration would authorize loans to the auto industry. In a statement from the White House, President Bush said “This means the only way to avoid a collapse of the U.S. auto industry is for the executive branch to step in. The American people want the auto companies to succeed, and so do I. So today, I'm announcing that the federal government will grant loans to auto companies under conditions similar to those Congress considered last week.” [White House release, 12/19/2008]
Bush authorized $13.4 billion from TARP as a loan to GM and Chrysler. A December 19, 2008 New York Times article reported: “The plan pumps $13.4 billion by mid-January into the companies from the fund that Congress authorized to rescue the financial industry”
Bush initiated bank bailouts
TARP passed under Bush in October 2008. President Bush signed into law the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program on October 3, 2008. Vast majority of funds to AIG authorized during Bush administration
Vast majority of funds to AIG authorized during Bush administration
Fed agreed to lend up to $85 billion to AIG in Sept. 2008. On September 16, 2008, the Federal Reserve Board, with the support of the Treasury Department, authorized the Federal Reserve of New York to lend up to $85 billion to the American International Group (AIG), stating that “in current circumstances, a disorderly failure of AIG could add to already significant levels of financial market fragility and lead to substantially higher borrowing costs, reduced household wealth, and materially weaker economic performance.”
Fed increased AIG bailout by $37.8 billion in Oct. 2008. The Federal Reserve Board authorized the increase of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's loan to AIG by $37.8 billion on October 8, 2008.
AIG bailout reached $150 billion in Nov. 2008. On November 10, 2008, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department announced a restructuring of AIG's bailout, increasing its total loan package to $150 billion.
Obama administration added $30 billion to AIG bailout in March 2009. On March 2, 2009, the Treasury Department stated that it would loan up to an additional $30 billion to AIG.
Under health care reform law, non-elderly Americans overwhelmingly covered by private insurance
More than 175 million Americans covered under private plans. Contrary to Beck's claim that Obama has initiated the “total government control of our health care system” and will be “controlling the entire health care industry,” according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, in 2019 under the new law, 159 million non-elderly Americans would be covered under private employer-based health plans and 24 million would be covered under private exchange-based plans. The law would add 16 million to the ranks of the federal insurance programs Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program.
Factcheck.org: Claim of “government-run health care” among the “biggest falsehoods” of health care debate. Factcheck.org included “It's government-run health care” among the “biggest falsehoods” of the health care debate, writing:
Despite the fact that the federal health insurance plan (a.k.a. the “public option”) is now gone from the bill, Republicans and conservative groups have continued to claim that the bill institutes a system like the one in the United Kingdom, or Canada, or otherwise amounts to a government takeover. It doesn't. A pure government-run system was never among the leading Democratic proposals, much to the chagrin of single-payer advocates. Instead, the bill builds on our current system of private insurance, and in fact, drums up more business for private companies by mandating that individuals buy coverage and giving many subsidies to do so. There would be increased government regulation of the insurance industry, however, to require companies to cover preexisting conditions, for example.
Student loan reform doesn't “wipe ... out” “the entire student loan industry”
Student loan reform law eliminated private institutions' ability to distribute federal loans. The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, or SAFRA, was included in the health care reconciliation package that President Obama signed into law March 30. The bill eliminated the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, which allowed banks and other lending institutions to issue student loans that are insured by the federal government.
AP: “Private lenders still will make student loans that are not backed by the government.” The Associated Press reported that “Private lenders still will make student loans that are not backed by the government, and they still will have contracts to service some federal loans. But the change reflected in the new law represents a significant loss in what has been a $70 billion business for the banking industry.”