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White House seeks new fees from banks, source says

By Michael D. Shear
The budget President Obama submits next month is likely to include fees on banks and other financial institutions as the White House seeks to demonstrate their eagerness to trim the federal deficit, an administration official said.

Such a fee would also continue the administration's attempts to recover the billions of dollars the federal treasury lent to the institutions during the financial crisis last year.

Key details remain unresolved, including the size of the fees and how to ensure that the fees are not simply passed along to bank customers.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined today to discuss specifics about the president's budget after the idea of a fee was first reported on Politico's website. But Gibbs said Obama has long favored finding ways to make sure taxpayers are paid back.

"The president has talked on a number of occasions about insisting that the money the taxpayers put up ... is paid back in full," Gibbs said.

The idea of a fee on the nation's biggest banks could be a politically popular move, coming at a time when those same institutions are poised to offer tens of billions of dollars in bonuses to executives.

Obama tried to rein in bonuses at the banks which took large amounts of federal money, but many of those banks have now paid the U.S. Treasury back. Gibbs said that the size of the bonuses nonetheless offends the sensibilities of the president and the American people.

Gibbs called the bank executives: "Folks who continue to just not get it."

In that context, a fee could serve to bolster the administration's focus on "Main Street" concerns, and to emphasize the president's proposals to reform the financial system.

But it is not clear how a fee could be imposed without hurting the very people White House officials want to be seen trying to advocate for. Some officials have said they worry that a tax on financial transactions -- like a withdrawal or deposit -- could be too easily passed on to customers.

If the White House includes a fee in the budget, officials could attempt to portray it as a deficit-reduction measure. Obama is under pressure to demonstrate his conviction to slowing the growth of the nation's debt after record-breaking spending during his first year.

By Sara Goo  |  January 11, 2010; 1:52 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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It appears that once again Obama is holding true to his word...but not really. No tax increases... just fees to increase revenue...fees which costs banks will be sure to pass on to their customers. So no tax increases, just new fees.

This is nothing more than another scam to widen Obamas "Spread The Wealth" ideology. In this case it is spreading the wealth in from banking industry into government, and in the process attempting to pull the results of Obamas fiscal ineptitude our of the tank. Rather than hitting the banks for "fees", why didn't Obama, keep the interest on the loans, rather than allow Congress to earmark it for more overspending?

Posted by: jonweiss1 | January 11, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

. . . PATHETIC, in the meantime, . . . .


America still waits for promises of speeches, given during the most expensive Presidential campaign in history, to materialize into actions that will be positive for a Nation facing unprecedented debt, deficits and unemployment.

America is still looking for a leader.

Posted by: JamesRaider | January 11, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I've read it twice, and I think I get the jist of it's either a very early April Fool's Day article or you are inaugurating a new Mad Comics feature....well, at least you got the best bro you could find to elaborate on the subject, Gibbs.

Posted by: connyankee1 | January 11, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Britain just leveed a one time banker's bonuses tax and France is considering doing the same. Obama would like to do this also, but must call it something else in order to get it done. Thus it won't likely be passed on to customers, but taken from the offensive executive bonuses, because that's the point.

Posted by: Whys | January 11, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse


As long as the bankers control the Treasury Department, and the financial system is used by secretive government security agencies to conduct ideologically-driven, cult-like witch hunts of "dissidents" and "undesirables," all of President Obama's good intentions are for naught.

The Obama administration has yet to restore the rule of law in a nation whose Constitution was eviscerated during eight years of the Bush-Cheney Reign of Terror...

...and now Team Obama is engaged in covering up crimes against humanity committed by Bush-Cheney -- and his leave-behinds.

See: (Groups -- Reporting): "U.S. Silently Tortures Americans with Cell Tower Microwaves" and "GESTAPO USA: Fed-Funded Vigilante Network Terrorizes America" OR

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 11, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Fees are not the solution to Wall streets greed. Strict federal and state oversight and new banking regulations that create transparency are much needed and overdue. If bank executives are always under a spotlight they are less likely to raid the publics piggy banks.

Posted by: joe100821 | January 11, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

This administration has had some dumb ideas, but this one is stupid. Let's worry about how we can close Fannie and Freddie in the next decade and get government out of the mortgage business.

Posted by: FriendofCapitalism | January 11, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"Key details remain unresolved, including the size of the fees and how to ensure that the fees are not simply passed along to bank customers."

Hello!!??? Does ANYONE in the administration understand how to read an income statement and balance sheet??? The cost of doing business is paid for by the CUSTOMERS of the corporation providing the service. Is Obama's team of economic rocket scientists so out of touch with the way a business works in the real world that they think the business can simply create money, like the Federal government??

I don't care what accounting tricks are employed, how clever the name of the "fee" is, it doesn't matter. Customers of the bank will be paying it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | January 11, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

And the cost will just be passed on the consumer. Obama is just trying to make the banks look like the bad guys. Cut spending and everyone will be happier. No smoke and mirror please.

Posted by: richard36 | January 11, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

WaPo prints nothing but lies and BS. The majority of banks that borrowed from the tax payers have paid back the loans. So the Posts assertion this is "Such a fee would also continue the administration's attempts to recover the billions of dollars the federal treasury lent to the institutions" is a bald face lie. Obama is the biggest joke to ever be elected president. More fees passed onto the customers. That's all this is about. Obama clearly has no clue what he's doing and should be removed from office immediately. Obumbler is handing the REPS the houses in 2010. His presidency is finished. He’s a one term loser. I just feel bad for the African American’s as they will not see another black man elected in their life times.

Posted by: askgees | January 11, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Rest assured the fee will not 'simply' be passed on to consumers, but will be 'cleverly' disguised as something else. For those who remember, I satirically see Joe Isuzu as the spokesman to explain it to all us dumb Americans.

Posted by: LieToMe | January 11, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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