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BB&T CEO singled out on CBS Evening News tonight

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Tonight, on CBS nightly news, of the 116 banks which took TARP funds, they singled out BB&T CEO Allison in a report about how - apparently - there has been widespread abuse of what I guess the MSM believes were clearly defined spending guidlines because banks have been buying other banks with the tax money.

They broadcast an out of context quote from Allison that was from one of the BB&T's board meetings. It was something to the effect of "... well, this money is a relatively inexpensive way to raise capital."

I found it quite frightening that, of all of the allegedly hypocritical capitalists who took this money, they choose to tar and feather the one individual in this whole mess who has been the most effecatious, consistent, and fundamental defender of the economic system advocated by Ayn Rand. They really did paint him as a nefarious, conniving individual.

It was a little, but a very disturbing pre-emptive strike. It seems that the high-ups in the liberal media really do have organized Objectivism on their enemies list.

As that socialist upstart from Louisiana, Huey Long (well, Sean Penn, at least), once said "Bring Down the Lion and the Rest of the Jungle Will Quake in Fear." It's starting.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Should we take this as a lesson about integrity? No one forced Allison to take that money at gunpoint.

I don't think any of us know nearly enough to be very certain as to what Allison could have or should have done, and really it's no one's business but the company's. Nevertheless, the "not at gunpoint" argument was tested over at Nicholas Provenzo's _Rule of Reason_ blog, and I didn't get the sense that there was much of a consensus there. I hope truth will out, but in the meantime... I'm willing to give Mr. Allison the benefit of the doubt.

I think one of the possible various weaknesses in the "not at gunpoint" argument comes in the form of the question-begging fallacy. There is more than one way to skin a Capitalist, and it's not exactly news around here that businesses can and already have been heavily regulated. Maybe Allison took a calculated risk, or maybe the Feds leveled one or several other threats which no one outside of those meetings knows about. I'm willing to bet my life that the government isn't giving the full story; _that_ would be too unlike them to offer full context.

Consequently, most any news story is going to amount to speculation. Whether anything of substance can be gleaned from such stories is debatable. On the other hand, it would be better to go to the source, but whether or not Allison or any other BB and T executive is even allowed to be forthcoming in a relevant respect is an open question as well.

Of course, even all of the above is rather tangential since the real burden is on the Federal regulators themselves. They have much more to answer for than any business executive ever could. That is, if there has been an actual act of fraud committed by a bank employee, then the SEC or whoever should offer a complete explanation if such charges were to be taken seriously, but then what bank execs are being charged now?

Let the SEC et al. go fish or go to Hell. Let's not forget who is doing the "social engineering" here if anyone is.

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Should we take this as a lesson about integrity? No one forced Allison to take that money at gunpoint.

No. It's nowhere near clear to me that BB&T should've refused to deal with the government, which is the only source of money. The reason for this piece is the lack of integrity at CBS News. It is not a presentation of the facts, it's a deliberate lie.

Allison's decisions (right or wrong) could not cause an independent party to lie, so he's not responsible for the wrongs committed by these newsmen. The responsibility lies with CBS, and with their viewers, if they choose to believe the lie in the face of, to you and me for instance (and we have no special info unavailable to CBS audiences), very obvious signs that it is propaganda.

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First and foremost, you have to distinguish between John Allison and BB&T. BB&T is not Allison's personal property, and he is legally required not only to do what the board of directors and/or stockholders command, but also must act to preserve the economic interest of the corporation even without a direct order from the owners. If I see clear evidence that Allison was advocating this immoral bank-bailout then I would condemn him on those grounds. But I have not seen that evidence, and I am skeptical that it exists. The argument "But the government meddles in the economy anyhow, so morality is impossible" is simply wrong.

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John Allison was the speaker at the last official ARC lecture. I don't think Yaron Brook would let Mr. Allison speak on behalf of ARC if Yaron even remotely suspected Mr. Allison had compromised his ethics.

Did anyone ask him about his role in BB&T's accepting the funds? Even if he has a good reason to accept the funds, why isn't he using his position to publicly condemn the bailouts?

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Did anyone ask him about his role in BB&T's accepting the funds? Even if he has a good reason to accept the funds, why isn't he using his position to publicly condemn the bailouts?

I think you should give him more leeway, given his track record. I have heard, btw, that the government uses strong arm tactics to force banks to take government money.

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I think you should give him more leeway, given his track record. I have heard, btw, that the government uses strong arm tactics to force banks to take government money.

Not that I doubt your statement, but do you have any examples of this?

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There was a good article about it written up on CNN Money recently Noodlefood had linked. The article isn't up anymore, but here it is from Google's web cache.

Edited for weird grammar.

Software Nerd and IchorFigure, thanks for the links.

This is a key quote from IchorFigure's link:

"Though he allowed that there have been benefits from the government cash, Allison said that BB&T unwilling agreed to the infusion because it was prodded hard by its regulators. The bank was also moved to apply for the cash for fear of being placed at a competitive disadvantage, he said."

It's hard to make decisions at the point of a gun.

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