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Sheep in Wolf's Clothing: Clinton's Closeness With Wall Street Insiders May Mean Her Economic Reforms Have No Bite

Updated on July 26, 2015

Despite Sounding More Progressive, is Clinton Still Close to Wall Street?

Two top Clinton aides during her tenure as Secretary of State were Wall Street bigwigs.
Two top Clinton aides during her tenure as Secretary of State were Wall Street bigwigs. | Source

Are Clinton's Proposed Economic Reforms Mainly Smoke-and-Mirrors?

While the Democratic and Republican parties do not begin voting, state by state, to determine their respective presidential nominees until early next year, candidates begin campaigning earlier and earlier each cycle. Now that the initial excitement of "who's gonna run for president" has faded, we're heading into the long stretch of pre-primary autumn. Most candidates will avoid proposing anything specific, lest they be analyzed and criticized, and instead we will wait for verbal gaffes in speeches or juicy past scandals to be dredged up and reported by the media.

Only Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, a left-leaning progressive, has been forthcoming about specific policy proposals. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, evidently surprised by Sanders' surging popularity, has begun proposing her own specific policy initiatives as well. Moving to the political left, Clinton has spoken out against corporate "short-termism" and lack of profit-sharing with rank-and-file employees. To date, Clinton has proposed raising the capital gains tax on short-term (i.e. less than six years) investments by wealthy investors and offering tax breaks for profit-sharing by firms.

These economic reforms are far lighter than those proposed by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who wants higher taxes on the wealthy to be unequivocal. Many progressives have criticized Clinton's proposals as insufficient. While Clinton may soon bow to pressure to craft meatier economic reform proposals, the Guardian reports on a new worry for progressives: Two prominent Clinton insiders are also Wall Street insiders.

While Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, two of her top aides were Wall Street bigwigs who vocally advocated for pro-business stances. Tom Nides and Robert Hormats, who worked for big investment firms, lobbied the Obama administration to avoid criticizing the financial sector in the wake of the 2008 meltdown and supported the idea of privatizing Social Security. Clinton's campaign, when asked her stance on the "revolving door" between the finance industry and government, in which finance executives often took government posts for temporary periods before returning to the private sector, did not respond.

Progressives worry that Clinton's closeness with Wall Street insiders, and Wall Street donors, is resulting in economic reform proposals that lack teeth. They sound good on the surface, but will bring about little meaningful change. Wall Street insiders know how to lobby for "reforms" that will appeal to the public, at least in written form, but not affect corporate profit margins. Is Clinton trying to play both sides by sounding progressive while keeping Wall Street advisers close by?

Look for Bernie Sanders' supporters to bring up Clinton's continued closeness with Wall Street, especially as the primaries draw closer. Trying to play both sides may ultimately result in Clinton being stranded atop the divide, supported by neither side.

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    • lovemychris profile image

      Cape Wind Girl 2 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      "Along with credit default swaps and other exotic instruments, the total notional derivatives value is about $1.5 quadrillion – about 20% more than in 2008, beyond what anyone can conceive, let alone control if unexpected turmoil strikes.

      The late Bob Chapman predicted it. So does Paul Craig Roberts. It could “destroy Western civilization,” he believes. Financial deregulation turned Wall Street into a casino with no rules except unrestrained making money. Catastrophic failure awaits. It’s just a matter of time."

      --global research

      we still blaming welfare moms and seniors??

      thought so.

    • claptona profile image

      John D Wilson 2 years ago from Earth

      Clinton will never have any bite - her goal is to get elected, and what she does after that will be determined by those that financed her campaign.

      No different than Obama.

      He put in place Holder, who had worked for a bank lobbying firm.

      Then he let all the bankers pay fines, pursuing none for prosecution for money laundering, rigging markets, fraud, etc.

      In fact, the lobbying firm kept a vacant office vacant for Holder.

      Sanders will do the same - there's no way to effectively stop the power grab from the banks.

      Anyone that thinks either a demoncrap or a republitard will change things has got no idea of the grasp the banks and military industrial complex hold of politics in america.

      A total revamp is needed, and it ain't going to happen with either party in control.

      The worst is yet to be seen in amerika.

      The stranglehold on government and the loss of freedom to americans will continue for decades to come.

      Amercikans will not do anything to stop it.

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