Sunday, April 10, 2016

As Hillary Clinton caters to the wealthy and shuts the public out with a noise machine, Bernie Sanders brings aboard a tough-on-crime bank regulator

(Ferdinand Pecora, at left, 1937. Roosevelt and his fellow New Deal policymakers had no problem bringing aboard people who would be tough on white collar crime. After exposing the greed and fraud of Wall Street in the early 1930s, Pecora was made a commissioner of the newly-created Securities and Exchange Commission. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

At a recent outdoor event to raise funds from the wealthy, Hillary Clinton and her team apparently turned on a noise machine to block the press (and therefore, the public) from hearing her speech. We'll probably never know what she said but, like her secret speeches to Goldman Sachs, she almost certainly assured her wealthy backers (either directly or tacitly) that she wouldn't raise their taxes, wouldn't regulate their financial behavior, and wouldn't hold them accountable for fraud, tax evasion, or a little cooking the books here and there. She almost certainly praised their "entrepreneurship" and their role as "job creators" (even as worker wages have stagnated for decades). 

Meanwhile, as Hillary was blocking out the public (which is a precursor to how she will govern if she's elected president), the Bernie Sanders campaign brought aboard William Black, a former bank regulator, a current professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas, and the man who helped expose the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980s.

Hillary would never hire or appoint someone like Black, of course, because she's beholden to Corporate America. By taking millions of their dollars she's effectively swore an oath of allegiance to them. And that oath goes something like this: "If I become president, I swear to always hold your interests above everyone else's interest. I promise to obfuscate the national dialogue when you swindle the public. I promise to defend your greed to the best of my ability." In other words, Hillary will continue the tradition of President Obama. As Black has noted, Obama took loads of Wall Street money and failed to rein in corporate wrongdoers:

"the Obama administration has not taken any fundamental action to end the corrupt culture of Wall Street. It has not prosecuted.  It has not forced the systemically dangerous institutions that pose global systemic risks to shrink to the point that they no longer pose a global systemic risk.  It has not fundamentally changed executive and professional compensation even though they are intensely criminogenic. Obama has appointed a series of weak regulatory leaders. Yes, Dodd-Frank allowed Obama and his regulators to take more effective actions. But Obama and those he appointed have lacked the will to even try to make fundamental changes and restore the rule of law to Wall Street. Wall Street remains rigged and its central business strategy remains fraud and ripping off its customers."

Black also noted the observations of a colleague: "Tom predicted that Obama would win the nomination and the election – and would reject emulating President Roosevelt’s 'New Deal' and its transformation of finance. All three predictions proved accurate" (emphasis added).

So, there's your choice America: A candidate who will shut you out with a noise machine, pamper the wealthy, and appoint and nominate Wall Street insiders to important positions of power; or, a candidate who talks the talk and walks the walk. How you decide has important implications with respect to issues like wealth inequality, child homelessness, wage stagnation, crumbling infrastructure, student loan debt, white collar crime, perpetual war, etc. 

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