Clinton and the banks


Yesterday, Hillary Clinton appeared on the Late Show with Steven Colbert, hoping to highlight that fun-loving side of her personality we are constantly assured actually exists.

Clinton was asked about the role of government in protecting the banking industry from financial crises (discussion begins at 26:08). Focusing on the bailouts that polarized the country in 2008, the host asked: “If you’re president and the banks are failing, do we let them fail?” Without hesitation, Clinton responded emphatically: “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.”

She didn’t stop there. Clinton promised a new tax on banks (a “risk fee”) and stricter enforcement of the Volcker Rule, which separates banks’ speculative activities from their retail banking.

These are grand promises sure to inspire her fans on the far left. But will she follow through? Unlike most candidates, we need not take Clinton at her word about bank bailouts. We have evidence: in 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, authorizing the government bailout that became known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, came before the Senate. It passed the Senate by a vote of 74 to 25. Did the Senator from New York side with her Wall Street backers?

The answer will not surprise you: she did. Along with then-Senator Barack Obama, Clinton voted to authorize the bailout. Speaking on behalf of the bill, Clinton was enthusiastic in her endorsement of government action:

This is a sink or swim moment for our country. We cannot merely catch our breath. We must swim for the shores and we must do so together…. There is so much work to be done in America, so many investments that make us richer and stronger and safer and smarter that will enable us to look in the eyes of our children and grandchildren and tell them we are leaving our country in as good, in fact, better shape than when we found it.

That is quite an endorsement for a bill that did the exact thing she now inveighs against. Is this more Clintonian mendacity, or has she truly had a change of heart and embraced the Occupy Wall Street mindset? Again, we need not speculate. Let’s look at the evidence in her list of campaign donors. Who’s on the list? Morgan Stanley. J.P. Morgan Chase. Bank of America.

Either these bankers decided to enable a candidate who promises to leave them high and dry, or they know that this is all just hot air. I’ll bet on the latter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *