Bill Clinton Is Responsible For Our Current Mess - And Response (4)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just as I have been saying all along, this current economic mess in which we find ourselves lies at the feet of Bill Clinton. While I have known this for some time from evidence found through various sources, the fact was driven home last night on a television special. Was it on Fox News? Far from it. It was on the PBS show, "Frontline." Long story short is that the deregulation of the financial industry under Clinton and his Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, along with their complete refusal to even acknowledge the possibility of a financial meltdown through the unregulated over the counter derivatives markets caused this entire situation.

Despite a major lawsuit by Proctor & Gamble over a derivatives investment scandal in 1994, Clinton and Rubin looked the other way with full knowledge of the fact that the scandal was the tip of the iceberg. In 1998, the new chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Brooksley Born, brought to the attention of Congress as well as Rubin and Clinton the growing investment by banks in the unregulated over the counter derivatives markets. Rubin and Clinton resoundingly rejected Born's proposal for regulating derivatives despite yet another derivatives scandal of billions of dollars at Long Term Capital Management (LTCM.)

When Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which then allowed investment banks to merge with commercial banks, the final piece of the puzzle was in place as normally conservative investing banks could then invest heavily in over the counter derivatives markets, much of which was in the form of speculative credit derivatives closely tied to real estate. Much of that real estate had been financed with sub-prime financing with borrowers who could barely buy a doughnut, let alone a house. Thank Barney Frank, D-MA, for this trend.

Once so many bad borrowers had their rates adjusted, the house of cards started to come tumbling down. The default rate started to grow rapidly while many derivatives sold to banks and large institutional investors were based on credit derivatives, basically betting that people and companies would not default on their mortgages. There was little or nothing that George W. Bush could have done as the pieces were already in place for this catastrophe.

Perhaps the severity could have been mitigated somewhat, but the bullet had left the gun long before and there was no bringing it back. How does one "undo" the unregulated, highly speculative investment of hundreds of trillions of dollars by the largest banks and investment banks in the world? The fact is that had Clinton and Rubin simply looked at what was going on and listened to those trying to prevent this disaster, we would be in a far better situation.

You may ask what happened to those in the Treasury who sat by while this happened. Robert Rubin only recently left Citibank after pocketing an estimated $40,000,000 during his time there. Tim Geither, the #3 man at the Treasury while this was going on, is now our illustrious, tax-evading Treasury Secretary. The #2 man under Rubin, Larry Summers, is now serving as the Chief Economic Advisor to Barack Obama. The prisoners are definitely running the jail. Oh, did I mention that Clinton was also given the precise location of Osama bin Laden while military personnel were waiting to launch missiles into that location? He could not be bothered during his fund-raising event as written about by his Nation Security Advisor, Sandy Berger. He failed to do anything to prevent the biggest disasters of the last 80 years. Is there any other way to see it?

Joel Walker

* * *

Mr. Walker makes some good points, but with all due respect, "We the People" are responsible for our current mess: not Clinton, Bush, Obama or any number of corrupt Senators and Congressmen. Tens of millions of Americans voted for these people, putting them in a position to bankrupt the country. Like it or not, many, if not most, voters pay scant attention to what actually goes on in the halls of power after an election, and they are gullible enough to believe the campaign promises of often self-serving, dishonest, and unprincipled politicians. Does anyone remember: "Read my lips, no new taxes," "the era of Big Government is over,"the "Contract with America," no more "nation-building," the "most ethical Congress in history," or "Hope and Change"?

In most elections, the largely uninformed electorate sends upwards of 75% of incumbents back to Washington D.C. and their respective state capitals. You want change? How about not sending the same people back into office every few years to "fix" the very problems that they themselves created?

This year and in the future, in the absence of principled constitutionalists (sometimes called "libertarians") on the ballot for whom I may actually want to vote, I'll be following the advice a wise older man once gave me by voting against the incumbents, regardless of party. Right or Left, Conservative or Liberal, people who want to leave us alone don't generally run for office. Most just want our money, and they want more power and perks for themselves. Republicans, in general, are no more serious about limited government than Democrats; they just want to spend our money on different things. (See: Republican Congress '95-'07, G.W. Bush '01-'09)

It is said that power corrupts. That's often true, but remember that any power an elected official wields is in fact the people's power; we just loan it to them. Don't let them hold onto it for too long or "We the People" may not get it back.

Sam Deaton
North Chattanooga

* * *

Mess? Which one? What part of the economy has deregulation not affected? The Democrats pushing deregulation? Surely you jest.

The Republicans were in control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate during the period covered on the Frontline segment on the financial meltdown. The Frontline segment I watched on PBS concerning the financial meltdown showed Sen. Phil Gramm (Republican) from Texas calling the Federal Trade Commissioners claim "absurd" that the valuation of derivatives were too complicated and risky.

If we are going to use deregulation as a point to lay blame, then it would definitely go to President Reagan. All governmental regulations have been rolled back since the Reagan Administration, and now we the people are getting the full effects of the foxes running the hen house for the past 30 years. Of course, this has all been brought on by "conservative" laissez-faire politics.

I ask you: when it comes to protecting your financial nest egg from predatory financial wizards do you want more or less protection? Hey, I've got another "conservative" idea. Let's try something we know hasn't worked 100 other times, but lets try it one more time because I think its going to work this time.

Stephen Durham (freethinker1963@yahoo.com)

* * *

Can Republicans please stop blaming Clinton? He's not the president anymore. Also, can Democrats stop blaming Bush? Last time I checked he wasn't not the president anymore either. Can you people just move on?

Ben Schulz

* * *

Unfortunately the neo-liberals bought into Reagan's voodoo economics. Thirty years of disastrous deregulation and fetish of putting Wall Street before Main Street have brought this country to its knees,
and both corporate parties are at fault.

We need to separate regular banks from investment banks. It was no accident that we didn't have major bank failures between FDR to
Reagan. Once Reagan got in we had the Savings & Loan debacle. And let us not forget BCCI.

We need more populist on the left and right involved in politics.

R.W. Young
Green Party Member


Time For Tennessee To Act On Climate This Earth Day

Tennessee will join the rest of the southeast region, the nation and countries across the world in celebrating Earth Day on April 22. The entire month of April is a great time to reflect on the strides we have made to reduce pollution over the last 44 years, and assess current environmental conditions while evaluating our personal responsibility to a cleaner environment.  ... (click for more)

Tim Boyd Will Represent The Common Man

I would like to show my support for Tim Boyd for our District 8 commissioner.  He deserves to have our support because he has stood up to represent the common man and not the super block of politicians.    He tells it like it is and I believe he deserves another term.  I also believe that the average voting citizen will see the way he has represented our district ... (click for more)

Haslam Signs Bill Ending Forced Annexation And Giving Tennesseans Right To Vote

Governor Bill Haslam signed HB 2371/SB2464 on Wednesday. The law ends forced annexation and gives Tennesseans the right to vote. The law now requires cities to annex by consent of the landowner or through referendum approved by a majority of the landowners to be annexed. As an additional protection to farmers, land primarily used for agriculture purposes may not be annexed by any ... (click for more)

One Of "Worst Of The Worst" Gets 10-Month Federal Sentence

One of the men labeled as the "worst of the worst" in a Chattanooga round up was sentenced Tuesday to 10 months and three years supervised release after he plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Guy Wilkerson told Federal Judge Sandy Mattice, "I'm just a young father and I want the best for my kids." He said he apologized and that he knew what he ... (click for more)

Cuonzo Martin Leaves Tennessee For Job At California

Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin apparently took his name out of the coaching search at Marquette so he could put it in a hat at the University of California at Berkeley. On Tuesday, Martin broke ties with the Volunteers and accepted the head coaching job with the Bears. Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart admitted Martin’s move surprised him. “Not from my perspective,” ... (click for more)

Mocs Win Women's Southern Conference Championship

The Chattanooga Mocs are your Southern Conference Women’s Golf Champions. That’s five straight team titles and sophomore Emily McLennan (Queensland, Australia) made it the fourth consecutive sweep winning medalist honors. McLennan was solid shooting 222 for her 54 holes on a tough week for scoring. She won by four strokes over Furman’s Taylor Totland and was seven clear of ... (click for more)