Meet The New Brownshirts

Intimidation, home invasion and the not-too-subtle threat of physical violence – by community organizers closely allied with governmental power and receiving taxpayer money. It’s not a pretty combination:

Bruce Marks doesn’t bother being diplomatic. A campaigner on behalf of homeowners facing foreclosure, he was on the phone one day in March to a loan executive at Bank of America Corp.
“I’m tired of borrowers being screwed!” Mr. Marks yelled into the phone. “You’re incompetent!” Before hanging up, he threatened to call bank CEO Kenneth Lewis at home to complain about the loan executive.
Mr. Marks’s nonprofit organization, Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, has emerged as one of the loudest scourges of the banking industry in the post-bubble economy. It salts its Web site with photos of executives it accuses of standing in the way of helping homeowners — emblazoning “Predator” across their photos, picturing their homes and sometimes including home phone numbers. In February, NACA, as it’s called, protested at the home of a mortgage investor by scattering furniture on his lawn, to give him a taste of what it feels like to be evicted.
In the 1990s, Mr. Marks leaked details of a banker’s divorce to the press and organized a protest at the school of another banker’s child. He says he would use such tactics again. “We have to terrorize these bankers,” Mr. Marks says.
Though some bankers privately deplore his tactics, Mr. Marks is a growing influence in the lending industry and the effort to curb foreclosures. NACA has signed agreements with the four largest U.S. mortgage lenders …in which they agree to work with his counselors on a regular basis to try to arrange lower payments for struggling borrowers. NACA has made powerful political friends, such as House majority whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, and it receives federal money to counsel homeowners.

The goal of this sort of thing, of course, is to thoroughly politicize business decisions from top to bottom of the economy, squeezing out as far as possible the role of independent business judgment and for the benefit of favored constituencies and politicians (see here for one of the more egregious examples by one of the nation’s most notorious practitioners of political extortion, and here for a similar example of the use of strong-arm street tactics). And the results will be predictable: together with the move to limit credit card fees, the Democrats and their activist allies will put businesses to the choice of (1) extending bad credit in exchange for insufficient returns to cover the risks, for the purpose of currying political favor and keeping the brownshirts away from their homes and families, or (2) getting out of the business altogether. (Allahpundit notes the third choice of shifting costs onto good credit risks, but there’s only so much blood to squeeze from that stone directly, except insofar as it’s done indirectly by using taxpayer money to bribe the banks).
It’s not a good thing for liberty, not a good thing for the economy, and ultimately not a good thing for the integrity of a government that gets too comfortable pulling the strings.

5 thoughts on “Meet The New Brownshirts”

  1. Boy, don’t you miss the good old days of crony capitalism under W? The imbalance in power between a bank and an individual, especially an individual in financial stress is enormous. (Not that you and your ditto-heads care, but . . .)
    Protesting at a child’s school goes too far, but otherwise it’s air game. Also, if all these banks don’t want to sticks that come with bailout money, don’t take the money.

  2. You do know that several banks had that shoved down their throat, and can’t even give the money back now if they wanted to?

  3. This Marks POS is no less a domestic terrorist than McVeigh.
    Not sure if you understand this concept, but banks are in business to make money. They do that by loaning money to people and businesses who in turn pay the money back with interest. Because of that, banks oddly enough prefer to loan money to people who will actually pay it back. How do they know who will pay it back? Well, you can’t KNOW for sure so they have a system of evaluating someone’s credit worthiness – called a credit score. A high score means you have a good record of paying money back that you’ve borrowed. A low score means you’re not too good at paying your bills. Would you loan money to someone who is not likely to pay it back? Probably not.

  4. largebill,
    I am not sure if you understand the concept, but banks are able to make money (by having people let them “use” their money) by “insuring” deposits. Form those to whom much is given, much is expected.

  5. Banks (like other businesses) are in the business of privatizing profits while socializing costs and risks.
    Now largebill’s statement is fixed.

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