Did taxpayers bail out the banks? That's a question with more than one answer. Some banks, yes, of course. For others, it was more of a "hog tie 'em and shove this money down their throat" type of maneuver.

A recent article in Bloomberg explains the latter. In transcripts from last fall's meeting in Washington that "bailed out" nine big banks with TARP funds, it's now undeniably evident that the banks had no say in the matter, even if they wanted to downright refuse the money.

"If a capital infusion is not appealing, you should be aware that your regulator will require it in any circumstance," said then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). "We don't believe it is tenable to opt out because doing so would leave you vulnerable and exposed," he added.

We're not asking you, we're telling you. Sit down. Shut up. Take the money. We'll make you an offer you can't refuse. Have a nice day.

This is an important point to make, because the way banks have been vilified as one collective insolvent body isn't fair to those that kept their companies in order.

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) -- a bank that insists it didn't need bailout funds to begin with -- is a prime example. Last week, Hartmarx, an Illinois suit maker that's now bankrupt, staged a protest and gained massive press attention by claiming Wells Fargo -- which disclosed that Hartmarx owes $114 million -- has an obligation and responsibility to stop doing what banks are supposed to do: collect money from those it lends to. Why? Because Wells Fargo is the recipient of taxpayer money.

"Wells Fargo is getting both state and federal taxpayer dollars, and it is imperative that they invest in American jobs and workers," said Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

Invest in American jobs? That's the duty of a bank? On what planet? The duty of a bank is to make a profit for its shareholders.  

Now, I can understand demanding certain behavior from banks like Citigroup (NYSE:C) Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and AIG (NYSE:AIG), because taxpayer infusions were quite literally imperative to their survival, and the behavior that put them in that position was entirely their own doing.

But when an otherwise healthy bank that was forced to take taxpayer money it didn't want is ridiculed by a state treasurer for not acting like a "bailed out bank," we're taking one problem (weak banks making stupid loans) and forcing it down the throat of a more serious problem (the government forcing healthy banks to make stupid loans).

Does anyone else think that's dangerous?                                 

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