2012 GOP presidential contender and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been plummeting in the polls recently, with the latest numbers showing him at 8 percent in South Carolina and just 2 percent in Florida. In an apparent attempt to revive his campaign, Perry has decided that espousing anti-bank populism is the right approach. Perry said in a speech in New Hampshire today that the bankers who wrecked the economy should be thrown in jail and that he opposes executives at bailed out banks receiving bonuses.
However, his solution to the problem of banks’ undue influence in the economy is to simply promise “no more bailouts” and then have Congress pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution:
Not the large banks that were overleveraged. Not the insurance company that took on too much risk. Not even executives who continued to get these huge bonuses even after the walls had crumbled down. No, the people that are paying the price are average Americans. Main Street businesses. It’s our children who stand to inherit the worst fiscal mess in the history of this country. It is wrong, it is unfair, it is unjust. We shouldn’t be awarding taxpayer funded bonuses to Wall Street executives who defrauded those very same taxpayers. We ought to be locking ‘em up.
Mr. Speaker, when I’m the President of the United States, we will clean up corruption from K Street to Wall Street so that they can not gamble with our childrens’ future again. And it starts with a simple promise. No more bailouts, whether we’re talking about bailing out bankers in America or we’re talking about bankers in Europe. No more bailouts. It continues with my pledge to end wasteful earmarks. And I won’t stop until Congress and the American people pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution.
It’s entirely unclear how Perry thinks that a BBA — one of the worst ideas in Washington, for a whole host of reasons — would help rein in the biggest banks. Perhaps he thinks it will prevent the government from spending money in a TARP-like fashion? And for someone professing such a concern for the power of Wall Street, Perry is on record calling for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. “This president does not understand how to free up the small businessmen and women or, for that matter, Wall Street,” Perry has said.
This isn’t the first time that Perry has gone populist when it comes to Wall Street, saying in 2008 that the banking industry “has too often been run on greed.” But when it comes to solutions, Perry suggests a favorite GOP budget gimmick that has nothing to do with the problem at hand.