Senator Elizabeth Warren applauds Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid, and says, “I think that Bernie Sanders is going to play out a vision for America and that it is important for people to hear what he has to say.” Progressive Democrats have been urging Senator Warren to make a bid for the presidency as well. However, she and Sanders see eye-to-eye on many issues, including the banking issue.
In a recent Bloomberg Politics interview, Sanders said, “I voted for the Dodd-Frank legislation, but let us not kid ourselves.…it was a modest piece of legislation…it did not end much of the “casino style gambling” that takes place on Wall Street.”
“In fact,” he says, “much of this reckless activity is still going on today. In the midst of all this grotesque wealth-income inequality sits Wall Street. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. And that is the bottom line.”
But is it, really? While Sanders may believe this, and is being very outspoken in distancing himself from Wall Street, let’s keep in mind that for years other presidential candidates and presidents, Democrats, as well as Republicans, have cozied up to Wall Street. Hillary Clinton, another candidate who, like Sanders, claims she wants to be a “champion” for the American people, has past involvement with Wall Street, as did Bill Clinton.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@RichardMBowen”]Remember, for years, several presidential candidates and presidents have cozied up to Wall Street.[/tweetthis]
Nomi Prins, a former Wall Street executive, a distinguished senior fellow at the non-partisan public policy institute Demos, and the author of All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power (Nation Books), sheds some light on the on-going involvement presidents and presidential candidates have had with Wall Street.
She says, “The past, especially the political past, doesn’t just provide clues to the present. In the realm of the presidency and Wall Street, it provides an ongoing pathway for political-financial relationships and policies that remain a threat to the American economy going forward.”
Ms. Prins talks about Hillary Clinton’s distancing herself from some of her husband’s policies. However, her (Clinton’s) comments invite speculation as to how far can a candidate distance him or her self from Wall Street. Perhaps there are too many incestuous ties.
In an article about her work, Prin says, “Bill Clinton did not become president without sharing the friendships, associations, and ideologies of the elite banking sect, nor will Hillary Clinton. Such relationships run too deep and are too longstanding.”
To grasp the dangers that the Big Six banks (JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley) presently pose to the financial stability of our nation and the world, you need to understand their history in Washington, starting with the Clinton years of the 1990s.
Alliances established then (not exclusively with Democrats, since bankers are bipartisan by nature) enabled these firms to become as politically powerful as they are today and to exert that power over an unprecedented amount of capital. Rest assured of one thing: their past and present CEOs will prove as critical in backing a Hillary Clinton presidency as they were in enabling her husband’s years in office.
In return, today’s titans of finance and their hordes of lobbyists, more than half of whom held prior positions in the government, exact certain requirements from Washington. They need to know that a safety net or bailout will always be available in times of emergency and that the regulatory road will be open to whatever practices they deem most profitable. To date, “Hillary Clinton has not publicly condemned Wall Street or any individual Wall Street leader,” says Prins.
Regardless of who throws their hat in the ring, watching what they do, not what they say, and asking more questions about their past relationships with banks may well be the bottom line we, the voter, needs to follow.