Fox News Channel Interview with Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on Banking Industry - Transcript


By:  Pete King
Date: Feb. 11, 2009
Location: Unknown


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MR. SMITH: With us now from Capitol Hill one of the congressmen in today's hearing, the Republican from New York, Peter King.

Sir, good to see you. Thank you.

REP. KING: Good to be with you, Shepard.

MR. SMITH: Okay. The way I understand this, these banks made bad bets and they lost. They've come to us for money and we're giving it to them. What happened to capitalism? And as Newsweek puts it, how do we like socialism?

REP. KING: Yeah. My goal is to stay away from socialism. I still believe that we did have to infuse the system with cash, but we should try to get out of this as quickly as possible. I salute those banks who want to repay their money as quickly as possible, I mean, last September and October from what we were told by Secretary Paulson and by Ben Bernanke and there was a general consensus was there was a real credit crisis, but it should be short-term and, again, there was some theatrics today.

MR. SMITH: Some theatrics, Congressman King, we all know, I mean, anybody whose read deeply into this knows the way CEOs and the rest get from place to place and get work done quickly to make the best use of their expensive time is on those planes, sometimes it's the best way to get around and everybody knows that these bonuses are an infinitesimally small part of all this. Now, are the people riled up about it? Of course they are, it's a nice distraction, right?

REP. KING: Yeah. Again, I'm pretty much on your side of this. I try to avoid theatrics in my questions. I was asking Mr. Mack and others what should be done for the future, how could that be avoided what happened in the past as part of having a super regulator for the future, and, again, I think it important though for the taxpayers to get some reassurance that money is not going to be wasted. Having said that, I agree with you, it's an infinitesimally portion of the overall issue. The important thing is to get the banks healthy, to get credit back into the system and to enable small businesses to get started again and to enable mortgages to go out to homeowners.

So that's why some of us did try to avoid the theatrics, did try to focus on what's going on, but also it is important, I think, for the CEOs to realize --

MR. SMITH: Who is the boss?

REP. KING: The boss right here is the taxpayer, but --

MR. SMITH: But the bosses are wondering congressman, what happened to all the hundreds of billions of dollars we already gave them and we don't seem to be getting that answer.

REP. KING: Actually, we are getting some of the answers and that's why it's essential. That is the key thing they have to do. They do have to provide us with detailing, I believe, of how the money was spent. The other stuff is the theatrics, the planes, the vacations, whatever they talk about, those things are the theatrics. The key thing is how the money was spent? What went right and what went wrong?

I have no doubt that a lot went wrong, but we have so much money going in such a short period of time there are going to be mistakes. Let's find out what went wrong, what we have to do for the future, and again, try to get the system as unsocialized as quickly as possible and get back to free market, capitalism ingenuity.

MR. SMITH: Peter King, Republican from New York. Sir, good to see you. Thanks. Good luck in there.

REP. KING: Thank you, Shepard.


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