I was enjoying Michael Reagan’s article Our Clueless President, until I reached the part where Mr. Reagan called Bill Clinton an economically savvy President. Those are much too kind of words for Mr. Clinton, as I remember.
Putting aside his known penchant for debauchery and deceit for which he became only the second President in the history of America to have been impeached (for perjury and obstruction of justice as well as being held in contempt of court by U. S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright for giving intentionally false testimony during a hearing in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit), it behooves us to consider a few of then President Bill Clinton’s “economically savvy” decisions.
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In 1995, President Clinton appointed Robert Rubin as his Secretary of the Treasury Department. Yes, that was the same Robert Rubin who was an employee of Goldman Sachs for 26 years and co-chairman of Goldman Sachs from 1990-1992. Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stone opined this way about Goldman Sachs: “(T)he history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who’s Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.”
Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Goldman Sachs donated over $1 million dollars to help elect President Obama in 2008.
Looking back to 1995, that was the year that Clinton and Company loosened financial industry underwriting guidelines by rewriting the Community Reinvestment Act, which put pressure on banks to lend to low-income neighborhoods (and ultimately led to the great housing crisis of 2008.) This also marked the beginning of the end of private lending as we know it with the cruel and unusual punishment of the Dodd/Frank legislation that is being used even today to crush the private mortgage industry into oblivion. So I would not necessarily consider the hiring of one of the Big Guys from Goldman Sachs an “economically savvy” decision.
That said, I am uncertain that any of us will ever know the true cost of President Clinton’s policy of converting stable long-term higher interest rate debt into risky short-term interest rate debt because it is impossible to find any information on the outcome of that decision. But that is exactly what Clinton and Company did in the late 90s to mask the financial burden that was being foisted upon us.
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Then in 1999, President Clinton signed into law the Gramm Leach Bliley Act, a 386 page text filled with the typical “Section 4 (c) 8 amendment of the Bank Holding Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1843 c 8)” jargon that makes our modern day legislation impossible to read, let alone understand. In effect, the law allowed big banks to merge, thereby causing the ancient hanger-on Representative John Dingell of Michigan to coin the phrase “this will make the banks too big to fail.” And we certainly have discovered who foots the bill when “too big to fail” banks fail … it’s you and me, the “economically unsavvy” taxpayers.
And even though the final version of the 262 page Community Futures Modernization Act (which exempted credit-default swaps from regulation) was passed in the Bush years by being tucked into an 11,000 page conference report that was never read before it was voted upon, the legislation was written by Clinton and Company. They just couldn’t get it passed on its own accord. I wonder why.
It was also under the Clinton administration that the NAFTA agreement was signed into law, in 1994. The end result of that “free trade” agreement was that millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and Mexico has seen increased instability and mass deportation.
So in real-people speak, the Clinton administration set the stage for massive economic instability, increased income inequality, a heightened level of embarrassment to our Nation, and the greatest war on women that we have seen in our lifetimes.
Hey Mike, Bill Clinton might well be savvy, but I would say … a savvy scoundrel.
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