19 April 2016

Good Point, But Wrong

Over at The New Republic, David Dayen observes that observes that that transcripts from Hillary Clinton's speeches to the Vampire Squid are irrelevant, because she has always been in Wall Street's pocket anyway:
I don’t want to see the transcripts from Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches.


The actual transcript is unnecessary because we already have enough in the public domain to know the real issue with these speeches: the rapport and camaraderie between political leaders and financial institutions, which results in a frame of mind that accepts their arguments and privileges their views. In fact, the best example of this comes from a speech that Clinton habitually touts as an example of her get-tough approach to Wall Street.

On the stump and in debates, including last week’s in Brooklyn, Clinton highlights a speech she made at Nasdaq in December 2007, in the thick of the foreclosure crisis. “When I was serving as the senator from New York, I did stand up to the banks,” Clinton said last week. “I did make it clear that their behavior would not be excused.”

In the speech, available here, she castigated Wall Street for “playing a significant role in the current problems,” for fueling irresponsible mortgage lending through securitization, and for having “shifted risk away from people who knew what was going on onto the people who did not.” Clinton has been criticized for this speech, however, because of a few lines where she said “there’s plenty of blame to go around” for the housing bubble, and that “homebuyers who paid extra fees to avoid documenting their income should have known they were getting in over their heads.”

You can read this as a throwaway nod to personal responsibility, a typical politician’s remark, when the thrust of the speech indicts Wall Street. I would argue that spreading around responsibility for something that was a demonstrably criminal action by lenders fits with Wall Street’s moralizing about deadbeat borrowers who should have known the risks. It’s a form of public shaming. And it arguably led to the lack of accountability we saw for the financial crisis—after all, if everybody is responsible, then ultimately nobody is responsible


When something could have been done to pressure mortgage servicers, Hillary Clinton, like many politicians, adopted their argument that they were prevented from helping homeowners. She believed their claims that they were hamstrung, when they weren’t. And I have to believe that’s attributable to proximity, access, and whose arguments get priority of place.

Wall Street purchases that priority of place simply by donating to campaigns, bringing politicians in for chats, marinating them in its worldview. Finance executives can make very compelling arguments about the complex intricacies of the financial system. They can sound charming and smart and logical. And in a moment of truth, they can get the payoff, when a powerful politician like Hillary Clinton makes a reasonable-sounding statement about mortgage servicers needing legal immunity.
On a strictly factual level, DDay is right:  We do not have to read her transcripts in order to know that she is, always has been, and likely always will be be Wall Street's stooge.

The only question is whether Hillary and her Evil Minions or not she will be a bigger stooge than Barack and his Evil Minions.

Needless to say, this sucks like 1000 Hoovers all going at once.

That being said, her the fact that she is a suck up to Wall Street means nothing without sound bites for the press to make it a real issue for most of the voting public.

That is the reality of our culture, media, and political system,


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