Amongst the record-breaking number of executive actions taken by President Joe Biden was one related to a little-known, frightening Obama-era program called Operation Choke Point. The program, dubbed so under former Attorney General Eric Holder, uses the power of the federal government to target legal yet leftist-disfavored businesses.
Under Operation Choke Point, federal regulators instructed banks to do the opposite — to openly discriminate against entire industries the Obama administration found objectionable. Weaponizing the power of banking regulators at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, the Obama administration realized it could block entire industries from the banking system that it didn’t like. This made it difficult — if not impossible — for politically unfavored businesses such as gun sellers and short-term lenders to operate.
Essentially, by using the power of federal banking regulators to intimidate banks from providing their services to these industries, the administration choked off their access to the financial system, leaving them paying more for essential banking services, or unable to use a bank at all.
Whereas seven years ago the idea of using the powers of the federal government to choke certain Americans from public life was controversial enough for the Obama administration to deny wrongdoing, in today’s era of social justice and cancel culture, it’s applauded.
Signs of Operation Choke Point’s formal resurrection are symbolic of the larger attempt by government actors to choke politically disfavored industries and individuals from the mainstream. While cancel culture has led to a politicized economy, the federal government’s arbitrarily targeting of individuals, groups, and entire companies will increase the politicization of the country, where the only acceptable views are from those in power.