The Corner

Frank Luntz Responds to Memo Attacks

Frank Luntz responds to the White House’s criticism of his recent memo on financial reform:

My job is to review legislation, advertising and communication and suggest the strongest arguments both for and against.  I examine every side of the issue from every perspective, but more importantly, I listen to the American people and what they want.  Maybe that’s why my memos attract so much attention — it’s really the language of America.

That’s exactly what I did for health care and now for the so-called Financial Reform bill.  I firmly believe the public has a right to know the details of any legislation involving their taxpayer dollars, and when it comes to defending economic freedom, I am a soldier in that effort.

When we presented dial session participants the Financial Reform legislation as it was written in the House, they reacted most negatively to the bailout provisions contained within the bill.  This shouldn’t be surprising.  In the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and other major financial publications — as well as from some of this country’s leading economic experts — they too have highlighted the bailout provisions and called the legislation a “gift to big banks.”

But no one would have known this unless and until some economists and then a few Republicans stood up and started asking questions — publicly.  By holding the Democrat majority accountable, these Republicans who spoke out are just doing their job.  By the way, it’s time to hold Wall Street equally accountable, but there are better ways than creating yet another Washington bureaucracy.  It requires better enforcement, not new laws.

Unfortunately, the leaders of this Congress are hell-bent on pushing through legislation without reasonable public information, and that has to stop.  Too many mistakes are made when important legislation is rushed.  Even President Obama, who first denied there was a bailout, is now asking that the $50 billion bailout administrative fund be eliminated from the Senate bill.

Why eliminate a bailout fund if it didn’t exist?  Because the legislative process was slowed, people got a chance to read it, review it and comment on it.  Better to do it right than do it fast. 

The fact is, there was no health-care language to oppose the government takeover, so I wrote it.  And there was no language to stop these permanent bailouts, so I wrote it.

And I will continue to write language in favor of economic freedom as long as it is under attack.  Economic freedom and accountability aren’t Democrat issues or Republican issues.  (It may surprise you but I do meet with Democrats on Capitol Hill from time to time.)  These are American issues, and they deserve a full and comprehensive discussion.  Americans demand it.  Listen to them.


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