Of the many low points of the Clinton presidency, one was its questionable money dealings. Remember how Hillary managed to turn $1000 into $100,000 via successful commodities trading? 70% of retail commodities traders lose money. Boy, for a newbie trader, the First Lady was clearly a natural!
A former contact of mine, low profile but with a serious reputation among professional traders, was asked to review Hillary’s trading records by some Congressmen (they apparently asked two other market professionals). Of course, it was clearly bogus, impossible even for an expert. Among other telltale signs: her trades were almost always executed at the best price of the day.
And there was the cheapening of the Presidency. Remember the monetization of the Lincoln bedroom? The rush to give big ticket speeches and ink book deals? (note Hillary’s was signed while Clinton was still President). While some recent Presidents have also used their former role as “leader of the free world” to ring the cash register (Saint Ronnie reportedly gave a speech in Japan for a cool $2.5 million), they tried to keep it below the radar. The Clintons, by contrast, have been remarkably brazen about their efforts to cash in.
So it should be no surprise given that the Clinton Global Institute has a roster of big name corporate patrons that Slick Willy is perfectly happy to carry their water. Of course, he offers some gestures to the left, as if that will camouflage what he is up to. Today’s sightings include:
Delaying the implementation of Dodd Frank. From The Hill:
Former President Clinton suggested Thursday that the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform be slowed.
As the one-year anniversary of the financial overhaul draws near, Clinton was generally positive on the law as a whole, but suggested regulators should parcel out the new rules bit by bit for the benefit of businesses.
“One way to clear that up may be to stagger [the regulations] in over a more pronounced time table,” he said on CNBC. “I think there’s only so much change that institutions can handle at one time.”
If you haven’t been following what happened during the fights over financial reform, one of the ways Dodd Frank was already hampered is a great number of its supposed changes were not hammered out, but instead were delayed by requiring studies or being fobbed off on more detailed rulemaking (beyond the degree that is typical). That gave the industry the opportunity to water it down further. And at this juncture, delay could be a monstrous boon for the banks, since if Obama loses in 2012, even more bank friendly regulators will be put in place.
It’s not as if Dodd Frank related rules are being put in place at such a quick pace that the banks can legitimately claim it is causing them headaches (as in it’s that they don’t want to be asked to do anything different at all, there is no evidence that the pace of change is compounding their work. Bitching and moaning is not tantamount to evidence). But this feeds the spurious notion that the convenience of management should take precedent over the public good.
Supporting a tax repatriation holiday. Trust me, no one who is knowledgeable and not in the pocket of banks favors this idea; see Jared Bernstein (hat tip Marcy Wheeler) for details as to why (for starters, it will cost $80 billion in tax revenues and since big multinationals don’t invest in America, will be used for really productive activities like stock buyback or dividends). But you’d never know that if you listened to Clinton via Bloomberg:
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton endorsed a tax holiday on repatriating offshore profits with conditions, taking a position contrary to the Obama administration.
“I favor it under certain circumstances,” Clinton said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Al Hunt yesterday in Chicago. He suggested an approach that would give companies a 20 percent tax rate on repatriated profits, which could be reduced to 10 percent if they “reinvest it in increasing employment in America.”
Oh, please. How exactly will we determine that they “increased employment” over what they would have done regardless? And how pray tell would a program like this be monitored? Plus, as Bernstein notes, all you do is incentivize companies to play this game all over again, since they can expect another holiday in the future. And giving them a break for hard-to-be-sure-anything-happened initiatives is a less good idea that higher tax receipts and programs that provide employment more directly (like investments in areas that are national priorities).
But this is just another example of the fish rotting from the head, or in this case a former head. And the really sad thing is that this sort of thing has become so routine that hardly anyone sits up and takes notice.