Politicians often acting in their best interests

Bernie consistently polls nationally among American voters as the candidate more likely to defeat Trump, rather than Hillary. Logically, the Democratic National Committee would promote Bernie as the more viable Democratic candidate. The DNC, however, rather than challenge the power of money in politics, has embraced it, and has moved away from the traditional democratic platform which supports working men and women — like endorsing unions … or wait, that was Eisenhower.

Hillary confidently embraces Bill Clinton’s economic legacy, and has proudly and frequently declared that she comes from “the Clinton school of economics.” I’m not convinced: NAFTA wasn’t about trade — we’d been trading with Canada and Mexico for centuries; the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 deregulated derivatives; the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has resulted in six corporations now controlling over 90 percent of the media.

Perhaps the most devastating “modernization” to regulations protecting our economy and democracy was the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. According to previously restricted papers from Bill Clinton’s presidential library, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and senior advisers including John Podesta aggressively pushed Wall Street deregulation. Before prevailing in 1999 to convince President Clinton to back a repeal of Glass-Steagall, in 1995 and 1997 his advisers gave the president three days each time to decide whether to support their proposals.

John Podesta now serves as chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. The rationale behind the TARP bailout of October 2008 was that Treasury would buy $700 billion of troubled mortgages from the banks and then “facilitate loan modifications to prevent avoidable foreclosures.” In the few short months when the first $350 billion went to bail out banks and businesses, and none was used to help struggling homeowners, Congress was furious.

In February 2009, Treasury outlined a massive $2 trillion plan to replace TARP and meant to stabilize the nation’s banking sector and restore the public’s faith in the government’s ability to handle the crisis. To put that $2 trillion into perspective, that’s enough money to outright buy eight million homes at $250,000 each. The TARP 2.0 plan committed approximately $46 billion (2.3 percent) to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. As of November of 2012, $4 billion had been spent for loan modifications and other homeowner aid.

Subprime mortgages were marketed disproportionately to African Americans and Latinos, even when they could have qualified for prime mortgages. Wall Street’s foreclosure crisis forced millions of homeowners from their homes; nationally African Americans lost 53 percent of their wealth; Latinos lost 66 percent of their wealth; the bottom 90 percent of Americans saw one-third of their wealth wiped out between 2007 and 2009.

In April 2010, the Senate subcommittee investigating the causes of the financial meltdown read Goldman staffer mails disclosing that Goldman knowingly marketed shoddy mortgage-backed securities (bundled subprime mortgages) and sold the “shitty deals” to investors. “The firm’s traders later bet against those deals to make even more money. Contempt, thy name is Goldman.” After Goldman has paid Hillary $225,000 apiece for three speeches, plus what she’s brought in through other speeches and fundraisers sponsored by Wall Street, I do not believe Hillary will advocate for great Wall Street reform. Indeed, she said she will break up the banks “if they deserve it.”

Millions of working Americans have felt betrayed by neoliberal (less regulation) politicians failing to advocate in our best interests.


Susan Oakley is a resident of Kapaa


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