Was Clintonomics Good for Working People?

Although I beg to differ with Robert Pollin in this Real News Network segment that financial services industry deregulation started under Clinton, it’s certainly closer to the mark to attribute it to him than to Bush the Second, as the Clinton campaign apparently is claiming. Some important measures took place in the 1970s. For instance, in 1970, the NYSE allowed public companies to be members. Later in that decade, bank regulators changed rules to help banks cope with high and volatile interest rates.

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Hi, welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay, coming today from the PERI Institute in Amherst, Massachusetts.

As the Democratic party campaign moves towards the South Carolina primary, of course the big question is, will Bernie Sanders be able to break through, particularly amongst African-Americans? And generally, nationally, will he be able to speak to African-Americans and Hispanics, Latinos, in general poor people. And there is the assumption that Hillary has the advantage there, and there is also the sort of underlying idea that the Clinton years were good for poor people, and Clinton–that is, President Bill Clinton years. And that is going to rub off on Hillary.

Well, were the Clinton years good for poor people? And that’s the subject of our next interview. Now joining us from the PERI Institute is Bob Pollin. Thanks for joining us.

POLLIN: Thank you very much, Paul, for having me.

JAY: And Bob is the co-director of the PERI Institute. He’s the author of Greening the Global Economy, and here it is. And he’s also the founder of some of the policy that Sanders, candidate Sanders is using, a transaction tax and some others. He’s been working on that policy.

So talk about Clinton economics. Were they good for poor people or not?

POLLIN: No. that’s the short answer. This is something I actually looked into. Thank you for mentioning my book. Twelve years ago I published a book called Contours of Descent that went through the experience of Clintonomics in detail. I mean, if you just want to start with one simple metric, which is the change in the official poverty rate under Clinton, okay, under Clinton the official poverty rate for individuals did go down relative to Ronald Reagan. That’s not a very high standard. It only went down, though, under Reagan, the average for eight years it was 14 percent. Under Clinton it was 13.2 percent. But even under Jimmy Carter, which was considered the, quote, “years of malaise”, the individual poverty rate was 11.9 percent.

So Clinton did much worse than Jimmy Carter did just on this simple metric of what was available for poor people.

JAY: And it’s generally considered wages went up, and things got a little better for poor people and for working people. Is that not the case?

POLLIN: Okay. So what happened under Clintonomics was, first of all, even before Clinton came into office, in the interregnum period, between the time that he was elected in November and came into office January the 20th, or thereabouts when the inauguration was, he transformed his economic agenda from what he had called as a candidate called putting people first, it was an investment in infrastructure and jobs and education, to basically doing the bidding of Wall Street. And he himself acknowledged that. So I’m, this is not–.

JAY: Acknowledged it in what way?

POLLIN: Well, he said it in–there is a book by Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter, called The Agenda, a 1994 book, which–apparently Woodward was sitting in on the meetings when they were planning the economic policy under Clinton. And he, Bill Clinton himself said, quote from Bob–I don’t have the exact quote. But basically he said, well, what we’re doing now is turning against the people that voted us in and supporting the bond market and Wall Street. This is Bill Clinton talking, this is not me talking.

And it’s true that the policies that he pursued were very much–I mean, basically the idea of deregulating finance did not start with, with George Bush.

JAY: Which is what the Clinton campaign’s been saying. Hillary Clinton’s been talking about how deregulation helped lead to the ’07-’08 crisis–

POLLIN: And it did.

JAY: –and it starts with Bush II.

POLLIN: That’s false. I mean, that’s just historically false. It was passed under Bill Clinton. It was not passed under George Bush.

JAY: What were the things that were passed that would be considered deregulation?

POLLIN: Basically the, the laws then–laws from the 1930s, the so-called Glass-Steagall act that gets referred to a lot that came in under the New Deal and did a reasonably good job of stabilizing financial markets, were repealed under Bill Clinton. Not under Bush. In fact, had the Democrats, led by Clinton, not supported financial deregulation, it never would have happened. Because of course you’re going to get the Republicans supporting that. But the main thing was that you got most of the Democrats supporting it under the leadership of Bill Clinton and his advisors, including Larry Summers.

JAY: Well, that’s another thing. Who were his advisors? Because there’s been a lot made of having Wall Street, a Wall Street finance team be your team.

POLLIN: His top advisor was Robert Rubin, who came right from Goldman Sachs. He was a co-director of Goldman Sachs. He became Clinton’s top economic advisor. So that’s, the economic program was called Clintonomics, or Rubinomics. Larry Summers, who was a Harvard professor at the time, was effectively, you know, the protege of Rubin. And in fact, the, the economic report of the president, the last one under Clinton in the year 2000 actually says that, you know, financial regulations might have been valid for the 1930s. Might have been valid for the 1930s. But are no longer necessary today.

This is, this is Clinton. This is not Reagan or Bush. So yes, so Clinton does the bidding of Wall Street, and that was, you know, consistent. And that comes forward on trade policy. You know, as soon as Clinton came in, what did he do? He tried to push through and succeeded in pushing through the North America Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, that had been initiated under Reagan and then George Bush I. And Clinton just pursued that further, with–under great protest from the labor movement. And people knew, you know, many, many people said, yes, this is a great deal for big business. It’s a terrible bill for American workers. There is no, there is no surprise there. There is no secrets.

So people knew that. He did it anyway.

JAY: But wages did go up, did they not, during the Clinton time? Unemployment did come down. And I mean, he inherited a mess from Reagan, sort of the way Obama and–.

POLLIN: Bush.

JAY: I’m sorry, from Bush I.

POLLIN: Yeah, yeah.

JAY: I mean, there was a pretty messed up economy. And then there seemed to be growth. The tech center explodes.

POLLIN: So here’s what happens. So we have this bubble economy emerging under Clinton. Under the bubble economy you do get unemployment falling and wages starting to rise by the end, by 1997, not before then. I mean, the average–if we take the eight full years under Clinton, okay, as opposed to what happened with it going up and going down, under the eight full years of Clinton, the average wage was about 10 percent lower than it was under Jimmy Carter. Okay? The average wage was 2 percent lower than it was under Reagan and Bush.

So yes, we have this image. And it is true that first things got–were worse. Then they started getting better, because we had a debt-financed bubble that was driving the economy. That bubble also collapsed two years–two months after Clinton left office, in March 2001, way before 9/11. In March the bubble collapsed. So you did have this, you did have a strong upward swing financed by a bubble.

But even if you, if you add the eight full years together, the average wage for a non-supervisory worker under Clinton was 10 percent less than it was under Jimmy Carter, 2 percent less than it was under Reagan. So I mean, I don’t see the story. And whatever benefits that we got, they collapsed with the, with the, when the bubble went down.

JAY: Well, I know you’re, you’re an economist, not a, primarily a political analyst. But why does the Clinton name seem to have, resonate amongst poor African-Americans and working-class African-Americans who–you know, if generally that’s the case that wages were actually down a little bit–.

POLLIN: Not a little bit. I mean, basically the trend line, you know, we’ve had a long-term trend line down with average wages since the early 1970s. Okay. Clinton did not reverse that. He was elected on a program to reverse that. It’s exactly what he said he was going to do. It’s called Putting People First, that was his agenda. And you know, other than the rhetoric, it did not succeed. It did–the conditions were not better for poor people. They’re not better for working people. Yes, you did have a lower unemployment rate for a period, and you did have wages going up for a period. But [inaud.] all eight years.

JAY: As you say, because it, so much of that is based on the bubble.

POLLIN: And it was all based on the bubble.

JAY: So it’s, I mean, some people suggest it’s not fair to give Hillary credit for this. She wasn’t president. Do you see a distinction between her economics and her husband’s?

POLLIN: Well, of course, you know, what are her–we don’t know what her real economics are, just like clearly we can look back in history, we didn’t know what Bill Clinton’s real economics were because as soon as he got elected he, you know, under the guidance of Robert Rubin, he developed a Wall Street agenda which was completely contrary to what he got elected on.

Now, Hillary has obviously moved in response to Bernie Sanders to developing all kinds of populist messages. What are her real, is her real economic agenda? Of course, we won’t know till she gets elected. And in the meantime, of course, to get elected she’s right now going to move left to try to compete with Sanders.

JAY: All right. Thanks very much for joining us, Bob.

POLLIN: Thank you.

JAY: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.

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25 comments

  1. hunkerdown

    “For instance, in 1970, the [] allowed public companies to be members” who or what?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, the NYSE. Sorry about that.

        And yes, the whole point was to simplify the narrative. “Deregulation” was not one event, or even a few changes. I spent a full 2 chapters on it in ECONNED, and I focused more on securities law changes and changes in practice. 13 Bankers is an entire book, and focuses on the bank side. You’re not going to get more than broad strokes in a post.

        I regard the NYSE change as extremely significant, although the prestige attached to being a partnership was so great that you didn’t see the top players (bulge bracket firms) go public till the 1980s.

        1. Oak

          Yves,
          sorry about the spelling- please read..

          the Clinton Administration’s policy mistakes have all been overlooked by the media because of dishonesty and because they are so very evil, not because they are insignificant- look at the fact that GAS was and remains- because GATS is the container or mother of all Tisas and other intentionally confusingly named T-deals- just imagine what people are going to do when they realize how we’ve all been scammed by this covert trade for jobs and mandatory privatized healthcare, as well as the abandonment of the poor to predation by lenders, and the subsequent 2008 ‘lending crisis’ which was really a shell game on a grand scale where something like a trillion dollars vanished into the pockets of the 1%- And now with TiSA they want and expect to be able to do it again- thats what we’re going to be endorsing by allowing Hillary back into the White House- instead they should be put on trial- in The Hague for their health care schemes- all three Administrations, bboth parties cooperated, seriously-i am so surprised that people have remained gullible, I suppose its – you dont want to cope with t- I understand completely, our nations heads would explode, but it has to happen soon or its going to cost each of us the quality of life which would literally make the difference fo half the country- its that bad, really.
          heed my words, GATS and the three GATS extenders- are agreements from hell- literally- By their fruit shall you know them- the great deceivers- So seen in the cold light of reason Clinton era and the Obama era are one, and likely Obama took his lessons from Clinton as to fool the whole country again and again using the same tricks over and over- Good cop bad cop, a disaster for Americans..In dozens of areas, all caused by the really horrid amoral framins which emerged with GATS, our new state religion as it were- GATS, which represented a 180-degree turn away from the previous U.S. approach to regulatory policies that regulated industries for the benefit of the consumer, and towards regulating governments for the benefit of multinational firms and industries. So, along those lines, GATS was also intended to trade jobs for markets, to lower wages, globally, for the benefit of the multinationals. Fortunately or not for us (because 20 years later THEY STILL HAVE NOT TOLD US ABOUT THIS- the Mode Four part never got traction – because GATS was positive list.. BUT, we should take NO comfort in that bc, TiSA is a full 180 degree turn to a negative list. and for that reason, it will be impossible to set any limit on the number of jobs lost, the job and wage losses will continue until a global wage equalization point is reached, Obviously, its worst effects are likely still ahead of us, and re-electing the wife of the president who signed it initially will eliminate any chance we would have of dumping the deal based on the officials corruption of fraudulent concealment-

          Also, 2 million excess deaths – that could be all of us, why? To serve as an example, buy or die, collective punishment- to delay us and prevent resolution and prop up prices while they could use their sleazy secret deals to nail down a massive theft of the whole worlds future by deception and coercion- Its against international law to perform medical economics experiments that we already know wont work on people and pretend its unintentional- 100,000, 200,000 however many deaths a year it is, the minute we realize it was in bad faith it becomes a massive unspeakbly horrible CRIME- you know I’m right- unnecessary deaths due to denial of health care needlessly (it would be cheaper to give it away) they delayed resolution of health care to force one of several fake crises that only their soon to be unveiled strong medicine will be proposed as curing. get the picture?

          The victims of this scheme are many, but we still are largely kept in the dark.. basically, its a cheme by the wealthy to send their would be upwardly mobile middle class elsewhere to allow continued high levels of corruption.

          A good example is India. the indian media has a lot of writing, an unusually candid – actually the only such writings I have ever seen anywhere in such number about GATS, the WTO and the Clinton-era one way ‘progressive liberalisation’ (one way privatization) agenda. India came back empty handed from Nairobi a few months ago. I am not an expert at all or even so well informed about the situation but neither it seems are many other Americans- All i can say is look at the Indian press.. there has been a lot of grumbling that they gave up their right to higher education for nothing. They want those Mode Four jobs that have been dangled in frnt of them for years, soon I think that the mood in the LDCs is one of wanting results, soon.. Look for India to make a backroom deal with the US which I suspect will be unveiled in the form of a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement on services. the announcement of the US’s supposed ‘victory’ in the US-India solar panel/green jobs case recently seems awfully like a staged event telling the world to disregard the Sanders campaign’s talk about returning to teh pre GATS era of forbidden local job creation and discriminatory economic stimulus. Basically, the Clinton-Obma axis gave away our rights to have another new Deal in an economic crisis in trade for the magic beans of cheap foreign labor and rights to open factories and branches in the then rapidly growing economies of Asia and South America and Africa. however, automation may shorten the period of growth a great dea, also automation here, which will be greatly accelerated by the need to send all that money out of the cuntry, will result in mass unemployment and economic implosion. or so i suspect. See the iatp.org web site for the story on Obama, WTO, USTR and indian solar power deal/case.. tell me, does that look like a sort of Obama code for ‘disregard the talk about dropping out of the progressive (one way only) liberalisation (privatization of everthing that has even one commercial competitor, like scgools healthcare, water housing and so on..

          On all these things we Americans have to get the worst deals of all because they dont want to look soft.

          There are a fairly substantial number of publications which can be found on the Public Citizen web site which emerged from their investigations into the then-ongoing 2008 financial crisis ..

          https://www.citizen.org/documents/memo-gats-conflict-with-bank-size-limits-may-10-2011.pdf

          Also on the WTO site there are sort of post-mortem analyses with an interesting mix of attendants, They might be worth looking at..

          I don’t have them handy, they are on my other computer but they are easy to find.. they have a lot of content that is only in .doc format.. here is an example:

    1. Justicia

      A good timeline of the deregulation can be found in Matthew Sherman’s paper “A Short History of Financial Deregulation in the United States” published in 2009 — before anyone was worried about giving the Clintons an alibi. Sherman’s timeline starts in 1978 with the S. Ct. decision in Marquette v. First of Omaha that blew the lid off of state usury laws.

      You can download the PDF here: http://cepr.net/publications/reports/a-short-history-of-financial-deregulation-in-the-united-states

  2. DakotabornKansan

    Bill Clinton, in 2014, said that he had been battling income inequality since his earliest years in Arkansas politics. In 1992, he campaigned as such, promising to restore the middle class after the ruinous Reagan presidency. However, as president, his economic populism vanished. “The era of big government is over,” announced Clinton. Neoliberalism had arrived, making Democrats safe for Wall Street.

    Recall that Howard Dean called Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

    As Thomas Frank once wrote, Obama (“The Audacity of Hope”) and Clinton (“The Man from Hope” – “I still believe in the promise of America. And I still believe in a place called Hope.”) both peddled a diet of hope, which allowed the Democratic Party to sell voters out over and over again:

    “Maybe ‘hope’ and these two presidents’ fecklessness actually complement and explain one another. Maybe ‘hope’ is the ideal philosophical doctrine for a party determined to dump its old constituents and chart a brave new course in a marketized world. As a slogan, ‘hope’ is vague and ethereal…but perhaps that is what makes it the consummate brand identity for a party that so often triangulates away the concerns of its rank and file.”

    “After 30 years of these pseudo Democrats—Democrats who fundraise like Republicans, Democrats who govern like Republicans, Democrats who basically become Republicans…it’s easy enough to understand why elected officials love the concept. ‘Hope’ means, forget about how you got taken last time. Think positively. Maybe this next Democrat is the one who will finally act the way you think Democrats ought to act. And when he doesn’t, ‘hope’ means you need to stick with him anyway, because…well, because he’s the one who carries hope in his back pocket and all.”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/03/23/the_hope_diet_would_the_tea_party_fall_for_this/

    Recently, Frank writes, “I thought of all the abandoned factories and postindustrial desolation in the surrounding regions, and I mused on how, in such places, the Democratic establishment was receding into terminal insignificance. It had virtually nothing to say to the people who inhabit that land of waste and futility. But for the faithful liberals at the Clinton Foundation gathering in New York, none of that mattered. The party’s deficit in relevance to average citizens was more than made up by its massive surplus in moral virtue.” https://harpers.org/blog/2016/02/nor-a-lender-be/

    Hillary Clinton is now trying to impress voters with her feelings for working people.

    Caveat emptor.

  3. Larry

    I must be a very cynical person, because I thought Clinton was a fake the minute I saw him playing the sax on some late night show. I was able to vote for the first time during Clinton’s presidential run and started a long tradition of voting for Greens and other parties. I think this article gives too much credit to Clinton for financial deregulation and not enough credit for how his administration buried labor and poor people. NAFTA and gutting welfare were two of the most destructive things that Clinton did. Hillary can’t really walk away from this record.

    I don’t really know when the pivot to pure monied interests started for Democrats. As the article points out, a lot of financial deregulation had already occurred prior to Clinton taking office. But I can’t think of a democratic presidential candidate who was not in the back pocket of multinational corporations or financial institutions. I was too young to remember what Dukakis was like for instance. Would a Dukakis administration have been the same thing we got under Clinton? I’m interested in that question.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I’m with Yves – the pivot to deregulation and financialization begins in the 70s.

      I’m not sure Dukakis would have said “the era of big government is over” but I think in most respects he would have been comparable to Clinton I.

    2. Ed

      “I must be a very cynical person, because I thought Clinton was a fake the minute I saw him playing the sax on some late night show.”

      I agree. It really puzzles me how it took decades for people to start seeing through the Clintons. I had the exact same reaction as Larry i 1992.

      It might be a generational thing. The first election where I could vote was in 1988.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “Tell a big enough lie…”

        The Clintons are such obvious grifters they can’t be as awful as they appear, or they would have been defeated.

  4. Moneta

    The US consumes something like 40% of the world’s resources and energy with 5% of the population (and this is not even counting all those used in other countries to produce goods shipped to the US). The crisis in the 70s was tied to the fact that the US was becoming a net importer and this “40%” needed to shrink. Because historically, countries have never reduced their consumption of resources and energy willingly, we can assume that the US has been fighting this global rebalancing since the late 60s, early 70s.

    And since then, all presidents have been getting stuck with the job of choosing policies that keep this ratio up artificially against incredible global forces of redistribution and rebalancing.

    It’s a systemic crisis, not a presidential one. The current choice of candidates is not the disease but a symptom.

    1. Moneta

      If your country is a net importer of hard assets, it needs to export added value hard assets or services. But if its monetary system requires significant hard asset collateral when its economy is increasingly based on services or on consuming depreciating hard assets which require more net imports to maintain them, ouch!

    2. Damian

      Keeping a strong dollar is a way to attract capital for creditors around the world to lend out. It means Finance is the principal industry which the USA promotes – other than the MIC which is immune from exchange rates when subsidized.

      The Clinton / Bush Establishment Party policy of Globalization creates poverty as it attracts capital to lend out and promotes a strong dollar to protect creditors. It is a scam on the American people.

      1. Moneta

        I agree with your point up to the scam part… I’m not sure Americans would have willingly accepted to reduce their consumption of resources and energy starting in the 70s. And I still don’t see many wanting to do so today.

        The population would have never voted for someone who came out and said that America’s consumption of global resources and energy should fall towards their share of the global population. So the population is complicit, albeit ignorant.

        1. Oak

          Moneta-

          Welcome to the global pillage. nobody asked us, its being done to us, we are the turkey and we’re being carved up on the table, its Thanksgiving and we’re the meal.

          Google “progressive liberalisation” and “disciplines on domestic regulation” and learn about the jobs for markets part of services liberalisation- and how its supposed to maximize the value in the supply chains- cheapen labor by divide and conquering everybody in a race to the bottom built on big lies- huge huge lies on things like the causes of health care problems 9GATS) the cure will of course be ending medicine as it exists now to crapify it and avoid blame-avoid the moral hazard and especially keep the tiers-tears- it would be cheaper to give it away- though, really-

          . Things are not what they seem.

          “its only just begin, to steal”.

          lets call off this shotgun wedding, now!

          Electing Hillary is being done as much to fake-legitimize their past crimes (fast, while we still are unaware of what they’ve done) as to lubricate the grand bargain to preserve the worst inequalty by throwing the former middle class to the developing world which by the way doesnt seem as comfortable with this scheme as they want- It all could change in a second by the light of truth shining in there. Web sites like Cuts-geneva.org, South centre, tradeinservices dot net are worth visiting to see how the world is gearing up for the payoff from globalization. We should ally with them and show the world that there are better ways to globalize than with lies.

          I think that the schemers have out slicked themselves this time and the result of their ‘money is everything’ future futureproofing schemes will be the end of the system that created them

  5. washunate

    The Clintons were a key part of pushing the expansion of things like financialization (both in terms of size and bailouts), incarceration (not for the rich of course), economic sanctions, small scale wars, media consolidation, corporate trade pacts, and work requirements for welfare. We knew contemporaneously that these were bad policies. We also knew they wouldn’t pass if only Republicans supported them. It’s that inflection point that is so crucial about marking the more recent start of our contemporary problems amidst the larger backdrop of issues going back to the 1970s (break of median wages from productivity) and 1940s (rise of permanent national security state and end of high denomination notes).

    It is comical how Hillary Clinton is now running on her experience and pragmatism yet on issue after issue, the Clintons were wrong. The things they did right, at least compared to 21st century fascism, like sticking with at least some level of progressive income taxation and having at least a somewhat diverse cabinet, are things Hillary Clinton today downplays. Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Reich would be crazy socialist lefties compared to the Hillary campaign of 2016.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Catholics still lined up to see Ratzinger and John Paul II long after it was apparent they were ringleaders in a massive pedophile protection racket.

      The Democratic Party much like it’s counterpart, the GOP, are largely faith based institutions. Hillary as the leader of Team Blue must represent all the qualities the believers attribute to he Democratic Party as found in “Why Mommy is a Democrat” or “The West Wing” regardless of how stupid that show was.

      1. washunate

        Well said. And something I find interesting about comparing our political institutions to our religious ones is the way in which Americans, especially but not exclusively younger Americans, are dealing with their increasing irrelevance: removing participation from the system. It’s hard to see the absence of activity, of people one by one not showing up to church and not identifying with one of the major two parties and so forth, until a critical mass is reached that spills out into broader society. But that’s what we’ve seen in activities like Occupy and Ferguson, Manning and Snowden, or to go back further, things like the Battle for Seattle and mass incarceration. There is no moral authority held by a group of elders that can address the needs, concerns, and values of Americans who fundamentally disagree with the direction of our system.

        Despite everything that was terrible about Bush and Hastert and Boehner and McConnell and now Trump and all the rest of the GOP, no more Americans identify as Democrats today than did during the 1990s Clinton years. And of course the peak days of the Kennedy years are long gone, an irony for both Catholicism and the Dems.

        http://www.people-press.org/interactives/party-id-trend/

      2. RUKidding

        Good analogy, and I agree that, for many, political party affiliation is Identity much like religious belief/affiliation.

        I was at a not-Oscar party, where the Oscars were playing the background. A work colleague of mine is a devout and active Roman Catholic (does a lot of volunteering with the RC church). When “Spotlight” was announced as the Best Picture, my friend immediately commenced to whining loudly about how Hollywood “hates the RC church” and that’s the “only reason” why Spotlight won.

        I wasn’t surprised at his reaction, but it really highlights how far down into the sand people can bury their heads about huge honking issues that demand attention but people wish fervently to remain in deep denial.

        I had a teacher once who admonished us that we needed to realize how strong and deep denial is, and how, for some, it’s next to impossible to get them to face, absorb and deal with reality no matter how obvious reality is in comparison to their denial of it.

        Denial is not just about being addicted to drugs and alcohol. Denial permeates nearly everything in life, and nearly everyone is in denial about something. Religious belief systems/dogma/philosophy is, IMO, all about a ton of denial, and ditto, especially in the USA, for identifying with a political party.

  6. jhallc

    Clinton ran against Paul Tsongas (MA), Jerry Brown (CA) and others in 1992. I recall in a debate that Tsongas called him a “Panda Bear” due to his pandering to voters. Hillary learned from one of the masters. Tsongas was a social Liberal and more of a fiscal conservative but, perhaps not as much as Clinton turned out to be.

  7. steelhead23

    It is clear that economic populism is both popular and a politically winning strategy. Yet, the last two presidents from the Democratic Party abandoned such policies, virtually before being sworn in. This suggests that money, not voters, not ideology, controls this nation’s policies. I am a Sanders supporter, in large measure because he wants to get money out of the political system, but I am both fully aware and wary of any sign of backtracking. The number one issue isn’t economic policy, although that’s way up there, it is asserting democracy where votes, not dollars, sway the day – to end this damned plutocracy.

  8. hemeantwell

    One of Krugman’s most disgusting habits is to laud Clinton for wage and job growth during his term. After I read Pollin’s Contours of Descent over time I’ve marveled at how PK will make that assertion in contexts that don’t require it. It’s like the little brother of the Big Lie, often repeated and eventually accepted as truth.

    Btw, Contours is also very good for a chapter on development economics, going into how import substitution strategies were not the dismal failures they are reputed to have been.

  9. saurabh

    Again mention of Glass Steagall repeal but no mention of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which led to Enron and other derivatives-based chicanery.

  10. Bob Pollin

    Thank you Yves for posting this recent interview with me. I completely agree, of course, that the movement toward deregulation did not start with Clinton, but had been developing since the 1970s, with support from both Republicans and Democrats. I go through that history in the 2013 work I did with James Heintz for the European Commission project FESSUD (“Financialization, Economy, Society and Sustainable Development”), among other places–STUDY OF THE U.S. FINANCIAL SYSTEM, Ch. 3: file:///C:/Users/rpollin.PROVOST/Downloads/USA-Financial-Systems-Studies10%20(4).pdf In the Real News Interview, I was trying to emphasize that the FORMAL REPEAL of Glass-Steagall would not have happened without the support of a Democratic Party president, i.e. without Clinton. Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough on that point, and thank you for catching my lack of clarity…Bob Pollin

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