Will U.S. be forced to nationalize banks?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. government's latest bank rescue, this time a multi-billion dollar lifeline handed to Bank of America, has led to more talk of what once would have been unthinkable -- European-style nationalization of major American banks.

Few see the government nationalizing the entire banking system the way Sweden did in the 1990s, but the U.S. is growing more willing to put significant pressure on the largest banks.

Over time, the government could exercise the same day-to-day control over major U.S. banks as with IndyMac Bank, a failed California thrift that the U.S. government operated for much of last year.

"We're nationalizing banks one at a time now. The real question is, will the biggest ones need to be nationalized?," said Roy Smith, professor at New York University's Stern School of Business.

The U.S. banking system desperately needs capital. Estimates of the shortfall range from $700 billion to more than $2 trillion.

That money will not come from the private sector as long as the pending losses are all but impossible to estimate.

Without private investors bailing out the sector, whose functioning is key to reviving an economy mired in recession, the U.S. government will have little option but to step up.

In earlier stages of the meltdown, the United States tried to penalize investors to the smallest extent possible when it intervened.

When Bear Stearns & Cos Inc failed, the government brokered a deal that ultimately resulted in Bear shareholders getting money, while debt holders lost nothing.

After that deal, regulators got tough, and let Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc fail. Chaos ensued.

Two months later, when the market lost confidence in Citigroup, the government bought preferred shares and warrants, giving it exposure similar to owning shares without diluting shareholders.

The transition team of president-elect Barack Obama, who takes office on Tuesday, has said it will seek more concessions from banks seeking capital than the Bush administration did.

Lawrence Summers, director-designate of the National Economic Council, promised congressional leaders this week to limit dividend payments and executive compensation at banks that are bailed out.

And there are signs that Citigroup (C.N) is facing significant government pressure. It has sold off a stake in the brokerage business that Chief Executive Vikram Pandit said he "loved" just a few weeks ago.

And the bank broke with the rest of the industry and supported bankruptcy legislation that detractors say will give consumers an incentive to file for bankruptcy.

People familiar with the situation said that regulators have been exerting more pressure on the bank since late November, when Citigroup got a second round of funding under the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

That $20 billion was on top of the $25 billion that Citigroup and other banks received in October.

And Bank of America, which received more help from the government in an anticipated announcement late on Thursday, is expected to face more government scrutiny as well.

A FAR CRY

But this sort of quiet exertion of authority is a far cry from full nationalization, where the government seizes all or nearly all of a bank's shares, and makes day-to-day decisions and explicitly guarantees the company's liabilities.

There are reasons to question whether full nationalization of the biggest banks is likely any time soon.

Nationalizing just one of JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, or Citigroup, which together have about half the assets in the banking system, would double the Federal Reserve's balance sheet instantly.

That could weigh on the dollar, which has already fallen some 17 percent against the Japanese yen since August.

And if the government were to nationalize one large lender, shareholders would likely lose confidence in other marginal banks.

"If you nationalize Citigroup, you'll have to nationalize 10 other banks. It won't just stop with one," said Marc Snyder, senior financial stock analyst at Symphony Asset Management in San Francisco.

The banking industry itself is obviously opposed to nationalization.

"If it weren't for the political power of the industry, nationalizing is what you'd want to do. It's almost a no-brainer," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

But over time, the government will likely have little choice but to step in more completely, said Sean Egan, founding principal at rating agency Egan-Jones Ratings.

"It's a slow-moving train wreck, and nothing can be done," he said.

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"What's your climate credit score?" That's a question Americans may have to answer if the green global elites get their way.

While the media has distracted us with Orange Man Bad! and Russia, Russia, Russia!, the Left has been busy working on the fundamental transformation of America with a primary pressure point — YOUR money through YOUR bank. Democrats, forgetting the words of MLK, like to group people into categories. They judge you based on what skin color you have, your religion, occupation, your ideology, and now … your carbon footprint.

On his Wednesday night TV special this week, Glenn Beck exposes how they're now planning, not only to categorize you, but to give you a score. It'll determine everything for you: whether you can buy a home, get a new car, open a business … EVERYTHING. And if you don't bend the knee? You'll be blacklisted. But this isn't some far-off conspiracy theory. Multiple big U.S. banks are part of a private U.S. financial group enacting these policies now. It's here, and we're ALL at risk.

Watch the full episode below:

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Unlike the mainstream media, we at the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" decided to actually do the research and get to the bottom of CPAC's controversial stage design, which many on the Left have suggested was purposefully shaped like an obscure Nazi symbol. We got our answers straight from the source — and it's not what the media is suggesting.

American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp joined Glenn on Wednesday to share the real story of the stage design, who designed it, and why he's taking legal options against those smearing the Conservative Political Action Conference's name seriously.

Matt told Glenn he'd never heard of the alleged Nazi insignia, noting that even a staff member who "studied anti-Semitism in college" did not recognize the obscure symbol. He went on to explain how the stage designing firm, Design Foundry, and Hyatt Hotels worked collaboratively with CPAC event organizers for months throughout the designing and construction of the stage. However, when pressured by the cancel culture mob on social media, both companies "ran for the tall grass."

"Both the Hyatt and [Design Foundry] looked to CPAC and said [they] had nothing to do with this stage. That's outrageous," Matt stated. "This whole process takes months ... everybody saw this. Everybody had to figure out how to construct this. Everybody had eyes on it from every angle. And nobody in that process ever raised their hand and said, 'Oh, you know, I took a European history class, and I noticed [that the stage design looked like a Nazi symbol.] Nobody."

Matt went on to add that, while CPAC expects attacks from the Left, they also have every intention of standing up for themselves, the conservative community, the Jewish community, and all the people who love America.

"We're fine with taking the hits. We always take the hits, it's part of being a prominent conservative group. We'll take the hits, but we won't let people lie," Matt said.

"I can't tell you how many people have called me during the course of this most tumultuous of years and said, at what point does the conservative community, do the 74 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump, do the people who love America, and think it's okay to read Dr. Seuss, and love Thomas Jefferson and Mount Rushmore, at what point do they start pushing back on the cancel culture? At what point do they say, this is a line you can't cross? I think we're at that line," he added.

"We called our conference, 'America Uncanceled.' The whole thing became about them canceling us. At what point do we not have the right to say,' you can't treat us this way'? You're disparaging us. You're destroying our reputation. You're destroying our ability to be respected members of our community. So, I'm taking your challenge of pursuing our legal options very seriously. And I think we have to go broader. We can't let these companies just follow the woke mob. We can't do it."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

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CNN reporter Jim Acosta was confronted at CPAC by The Federalist reporter David Marcus with a valid question: "When are you guys going to start covering Cuomo?" His answer — or, really, lack of an answer — perfectly demonstrates why he was earlier surrounded by CPAC attendees chanting, "CNN sucks!"

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Tuesday, Glenn and producer Stu Burguiere react to a video clip of the exchange with Acosta, as well as the mainstream media's double standards when it comes to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Watch the video below:

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Glenn Beck can't help but wonder, "What is wrong with us?" in light of the Left's latest move — canceling six Dr. Seuss books due to "hurtful and wrong" illustrations — that takes America one step closer to complete insanity. And now, school districts are jumping on board after President Joe Biden seems to have dropped Dr. Seuss from the White House's annual "Read Across America Day" proclamation.

On the radio program Tuesday, Glenn argued that deleting books is the perfect example of fascism, and asked when we as a country will finally realize it.

"They are banning Dr. Seuss books. How much more do you need to see before all of America wakes up? ... This is fascism!" Glenn said. "We don't destroy books. What is wrong with us, America?"

Watch the video below to hear more from Glenn:


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