“There was a kind of inflection point during the five-year period between 1997 and 2003 — the late Clinton and/or early Bush administration — when all the rules just went away. You went from a period, a regime, where people did have at least some concern about going to jail, to a point where everything is legal, and derivatives couldn’t be regulated at all and nobody went to jail for anything. And looking back I would say that this period definitely started under Clinton. You absolutely cannot blame this on George W. Bush.” – Charles Ferguson of Inside Job
“I never had any money until I got out of the White House, you know, but I’ve done reasonably well since then.” Bill Clinton
On December 21, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a bill called the Commodities Futures Modernization Act. This law ensured that derivatives could not be regulated, setting the stage for the financial crisis. Just two months later, on February 5, 2001, Clinton received $125,000 from Morgan Stanley, in the form of a payment for a speech Clinton gave for the company in New York City. A few weeks later, Credit Suisse also hired Clinton for a speech, at a $125,000 speaking fee, also in New York. It turns out, Bill Clinton could make a lot of money, for not very much work.
Today, Clinton is worth something on the order of $80 million (probably much more, but we don’t really know), and these speeches have become a lucrative and consistent revenue stream for his family. Clinton spends his time offering policy advice, writing books, stumping for political candidates, and running a global foundation. He’s now a vegan. He makes money from books. But the speaking fee money stream keeps coming in, year after year, in larger and larger amounts.
Most activists and political operatives are under a delusion about American politics, which goes as follows. Politicians will do *anything* to get reelected, and they will pander, beg, borrow, lie, cheat and steal, just to stay in office. It’s all about their job.
This is 100% wrong. The dirty secret of American politics is that, for most politicians, getting elected is just not that important. What matters is post-election employment. It’s all about staying in the elite political class, which means being respected in a dense network of corporate-funded think tanks, high-powered law firms, banks, defense contractors, prestigious universities, and corporations. If you run a campaign based on populist themes, that’s a threat to your post-election employment prospects. This is why rising Democratic star and Newark Mayor Corey Booker reacted so strongly against criticism of private equity – he’s looking out for a potential client after his political career is over, or perhaps, during interludes between offices. Running as a vague populist is manageable, as long as you’re lying to voters. If you actually go after powerful interests while in office, then you better win, because if you don’t, you’ll have basically nowhere to go. And if you lose, but you were a team player, then you’ll have plenty of money and opportunity. The most lucrative scenario is to win and be a team player, which is what Bill and Hillary Clinton did. The Clinton’s are the best at the political game – it’s not a coincidence that deregulation accelerated in the late 1990s, as Clinton and his whole team began thinking about their post-Presidential prospects.
Corruption used to be more overt. Lyndon Johnson made money while in office, by illicitly garnering lucrative FCC licenses. It was the first neoliberal President, Jimmy Carter, who began the post-career payoff trend in the Democratic Party. In 1978, Archer Daniels Midland CEO Dwayne Andreas convinced Carter to back ethanol subsidies. After Carter lost to Reagan, he faced financial problems, as his peanut warehouse had been mismanaged and was going bankrupt. AMD stepped in, overpaying for the property. But Carter wasn’t nearly as skilled as Clinton, because he didn’t stay in the club.
Over the course of the next ten years after his Presidency, Clinton brought in roughly $8-10 million a year in speaking fees. In 2004, Clinton got $250,000 from Citigroup and $150,000 from Deutsche Bank. Goldman paid him $300,000 for two speeches, one in Paris. As the bubble peaked, in 2006, Clinton got $150,000 paydays each from Citigroup (twice), Lehman Brothers, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors. In 2007, it was Goldman again, twice, Lehman, Citigroup, and Merrill Lynch. He didn’t just reap speaking fee cash from the financial services sector – corporate titans like Oracle and outsourcing specialist Cisco paid up, as did many Israel-focused groups, Middle Eastern interests, and universities. Does this explain the finance-friendly, oil-friendly and Israel First-friendly policies pursued by the State Department under Hillary Clinton? Who knows? But if you could legally deliver millions in cash to the husband of a high-level political official, it wouldn’t hurt your policy goals.
Speaking fee money isn’t just money, it is easy money. In one appearance, for one hour, Clinton can make $125,000 to $500,000. At an hourly rate, that’s between $250 million to $1 billion annually. It isn’t the case that Clinton is a billionaire, but it is the case that Clinton can, whenever he wants, make money as quickly and as easily as a billionaire. He is awash in cash, and cash is useful. Cash finances his lifestyle. Cash helped backstop his wife’s Presidential campaign when it was on the ropes.
And these speaking fees aren’t the only money Clinton got, it’s just the easiest cash to find because of disclosure laws. Apparently, Clinton’s firm apparently had a paid $100k+ a month consulting relationship with MF Global, and Clinton and Tony Blair have teamed up to help hedge funds raise money. His daughter worked for a giant hedge fund and political ally (Avenue Capital). And Clinton has unusual relationships with billionaires and Dubai-based investors.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the best at what they do, but they aren’t the only ones who do it. In fact, this is what politics is increasingly about, not elections, but staying in the club. Erskine Bowles, former White House Chief of Staff, lost two Senate elections. But he’s on the board of Facebook and Morgan Stanley, as well as authoring the highly influential Simpson-Bowles plan to gut Social Security and Medicare. Tom Daschle, who lost a Senate race in 2004, is a millionaire who in large part crafted Obama’s health care plan. Former Senator Judd Gregg is now at Goldman Sachs. Current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made $12 million in between his stint at the Clinton White House which ended in 2000 and his election to Congress in 2002. Former Congressman Harold Ford, now at Morgan Stanley, is routinely on TV making political claims. Larry Summers is on the board of the high-flying start-up Square. Meanwhile, Russ Feingold, a Senator who did go after Wall Street, is a professor in the Midwest. Eliot Spitzer is a struggling TV host and writer.
In other words, Barack Obama and his franchise are emulating the Clinton’s, and are speaking not to voters, but to potential post-election patrons. That’s what their policy goals are organized around. So when you hear someone talking about how politicians just want to be reelected, roll your eyes. When you hear an argument about the best message or policy framework to use for reelection, stop listening. That’s not what politicians really care about. Elections in many ways are just like regular season games in basketball – they are worth winning, but it’s not worth risking an injury. The reason Obama won’t prosecute bankers, or run anything but a very mild sort of populism, is because he’s not really talking to voters. He just wants to be slightly more appealing than Romney. He’s really talking to the people who made Bill and Hillary Clinton a very wealthy couple, his future prospective clients. We don’t call it bribery, but that’s what it is. Bill Clinton made a lot of money when he signed the bill deregulating derivatives and repealed Glass-Steagall. The payout just came later, in the form of speaking fees from elite banks and their allies.
Ironically, Clinton has come to express regret about deregulating derivatives. He has not given the money back.
Nailed it, Matt. A+++
“Clinton has come to express regret about deregulating derivatives” Politicians never speak the truth when given the opportunity. This golden throat pitch man – established through mass media and propaganda established a cult of personality – may hold a candle to Ofraud, but in a younger more innocent way, even though he waged his own campaign of imperialism in the Balkans. Bubba was all about austerity when the press urged us to consider the blow job. NAFTA, CAFTA, 1996 telecom act, welfare reform, Summers, Rubin, police state mega funding. Seems appropriate the war on terror was planned for his exit. What a gangster!
See Angelo Codevilla’s “America’s Ruling Class” (American Spectator, 2010)
my bad, this was reply to Anonymous below
Yes, the Clinton’s are an example of long time preference, but there are plenty that are anointed with the short time preference version of the “Plutocracy gate fee” to just be in the game. .
Obvious examples are a serial business failure, GWB who was wholly unqualified financially and intellectually to represent a baseball team partner that extracted revenue from hitherto “reallocated” private property through eminent domain law. Or consider the less intellectually challenged but at least equally obnoxious Ballet major that was apparently an oh so briefly but apparently quite effective “investment banker” – Rham Emmanuel.
The thing is, the Plutocracy picks the “wave skippers” that jump from lucrative private sector placements that allow them flexibility of independent wealth to public sector “positions of trust” all the time.. The list is manifold… and doesn’t even consider the vampire squid appointees. ( a mental image of L Summers is coalescing )
“It’s all about staying in the elite political class”
What I’d like to read is a piece on how this club is essentially a direct transfer from a few northeastern schools and stanford, and how most departments in most of the big name schools don’t give students a serious training in anything, but instead immerse them in what amount to vapid lessons in presentation and a depraved kind of ettiquette.
People like Yves argue that the President and other politicians like him are just evil, or at least right wingers. I think there’s only a little bit of the first, and a little more of the second. The real problem is that he and many other politicians are out and out incompetents. Yves and some others don’t like that obvious answer because so much of their identities are built on the ‘I went to harvard, so that means I’m not dumb’ delusion too.
I’m not a hater — I went to big name schools myself. And anyone who’s actually paying attention in these spaces quickly recognizes them for what they are — outsize shit-sniffing factories. ‘How’s my shit smell today? Why, it smells wonderful! How’s mine?’
There are lots of different ways to enter the ruling class. Birth, the acquiring of great wealth, charisma, great beauty, and of course attending elite schools. But whatever path you take, you must ruthlessly pursue your personal agenda every step of the way. Self-promotion is a skill these people hone every day of their lives.
The point Matt is making is that membership in the club requires loyalty to the club. Those in “public service”serve their fellow club members first and foremost. Going after other members is strictly forbidden and punishable by loss of access to the clubhouse with its infinite store of free goodies and gold-egg laying geese.
And there is now an utterly brazen aspect to the whole scam, as the end of every regime turns into an auction of public goods to private interests, and the payoff comes in the form of speaking fees, outrageous publishing advances (for books that are ultimately remaindered and shredded, but then the big publishing houses are major international businesses too, aren’t they? and the same people who pay outrageous speaking fees can also pledge to buy half a million books, etc.), and “charitable” or “development” ventures that open still more floodgates for enriching oneself in the guise of doing good for the poor.
It is utterly cynical, but I believe sociopaths like Bill Clinton are fully capable of convincing themselves of the good they do, and how they fully deserve a private money printing machine.
Well I am a “hater” and want to see the whole thing, with the Northeastern clown schools (Harvard, Yale, etc) along with it, totally crashed to the ground into a dust and rubble.
I want those swine down here in the dust and mud and shit struggling to get by with the REAL humans they use as mere game pieces.
But Corey Booker has walked back his support for private equity, apparently to stay on message with Obama, who has been (sincerely or not) critical of PE. And no doubt wants it available to use against Romney.
I kind of doubt Booker’s pro PE stance was explicitly “looking out for a potential client” for after he’s out of office though, I bet he’s just absorbed the ideology and really believes it. The retraction is the political move, where he aligns with Obama’s strategy to be a good team player.
And didn’t Chelsea marry a hedge fund too?
All in the family, I suppose…
From Income Distribution to Social Mobility to Circulation of Elites
Pareto’s Circulation of Elites:
1. one can trace Pareto’s developing vision of social structure
2. discovery of regular shape of distribution of income in societies
3. developing mathematical formula for this distribution
4. distribution of income as model of social structure
(distribution of political power, privilege, . . . )
5. individuals move up & down within this structure
6. social mobility corresponds to selection process
7. elites too circulate, aristocracies do not last
8. elite replacement occurs slowly or through violent revolution
9. this cycle will not end; revolution are always led by new elites
The above, lifted from:
Matt, you are pointing out the politicians who come up from nothing, they don’t worry about being re-elected under your schema, but that does not explain Darrel Issa, R (CA) who shows up in Congress already worth $300 MILLION, or so, or Mayor Billionaire Extraordinaire For Life of NYC or those who would try for elected office, despite their super wealth e.g. Meg Whitman of Ebay fame and fortune, who lost out on being CA Governator or Ross Perot.
The vitality of America relies on new blood with talent, ambition and discipline lacking in the jaded, enfeebled and lacking in competence established elites, see George W. Bush. His lack of discipline and incompetence destroyed American Global dominance in less time than the Soviet Union could have ever dreamed of in decades. Obama is Cincinnatus become Aeneus, sober, disciplined, smart, faithful pater familias with the courage to pick up the sword and slay the Al Queda Hydra by chopping off its head in Bin Laden. And then, walk hand in hand with his daughters to the Easter Egg Hunt. He is the new proto type CEO required for helmsman of the Super Tanker America during the Uncertain Age of Tornados and Earthquakes. No colorful playboy or folksy types need apply.
The best of the best that can rise to the top must move easily and confidently with those born to the manor. Together, the rule to protect the system that maintains their wealth and power, even from competition from rival elites who try to dominate with new policies that may or may not reproduce their power and maintain the social order. Both must be done, because the platform of privilege is a stable social order. Revolution will bring new elites, and new stability, but that is always fought against by some elements of the current ruling class, even if it is against their interest.
The gratification of successful self-promotion is its own currency. You are merely talking about money. I was going to suggest that under Stoller’s (and your) thesis, perhaps we should all vote for Romney, who needs little. I bet he would rise above the post-political circuit, and move on to something else. But then he would have to get re-elected, first.
Isn’t that the Michael Bloomberg rationale?
No, my thesis isn’t about the money, but the quality of the talent to reproduce the necessary and sufficient conditions, social, political and economic to maintain wealth and power. Helpless rich kids, see George W. Bush, are fuck ups and they fuck up the system for the rest of the wealthy, so, the war for talent looks for good quality potential elites to circulate through the socialization process of running the ship of state, to be the captains of industry and so on. The Ottoman empire had similar system which allowed the leader to spend all of his time screwing around. The 40 Agas were among the highest ranking, so dealing with them meant you were dealing with the real deal. From the ranks of the Janisarries, the kidknapped youths pressed into service , the bright ones were plucked from the military service and given advanced studies leading to the august position of Aga. Similarly, the SAT and National Merit Scholars form the pool of talent for the cadre of the social order, the top 20% of the income strata of middle class professionals, academics, technicians and entrepreneurs who are the engine for most of the economy.
That is who Clinton and Obama represent, and they are the examples of the circulation of elites for this time and place. Once trained, groomed and you fight your way to the top, like a surviving gladiator, you too become one of the elite, just as Roman citizenship was granted to champions of mortal combat. The re-election process is your generalship, just as the Romans required military campaign experience to be a political actor in the Senate.
Your self-indulgent, quasi-poetic waxing on about the “talent” of Clinton and Obama in an attempt to legitimize their politics while delegitimizing the writer’s point is ill-received. Clinton, like most politicians, is an opportunist who acted in the interest of his post-political career–that was the writer’s argument. Your history lesson aside, the weakness of your argument is assuming that wanting lots of money is the only facet of this opportunism, which though requisite, is not sufficient without leveraging one’s political sway in the financial favor of one’s post-political prospective employers. The point is that being in the club is its own perk, and making money from it is just a welcome consequence.
It’s an interesting take on our politicians’ motivations, but I shouldn’t be surprised that you would discard the entire argument based on the illusory immaculation of Obama you so strongly endorse. The guy that talks out of both sides of his mouth: starts wars and calls them otherwise, adds language to NDAA that allows him to detain citizens without trial and then says he won’t do it, lies about Obamacare’s cost, won’t produce a realistic budget, plays into Sharpton’s violent race-baiting based on an unsolved case, and gladly accepts funds from PE investors at 5-figure luncheons after demonizing Romney for being an elitist PE guy–this is the guy you obsess over for getting rid of the bogeyman, something anyone is his position could have done by doing what Obama did: “Okay let’s do it.” You’re clearly a non-objective, arrogant liberal who just loves the sound of your own condescension, the smell of your own vegetable-produced moral farts, the self-satisfaction of knowing you just can’t be racist for admiring and whole-heartedly supporting the black man in the White House. It’s pathetic. I really wonder to what extent a sitting president can go before you selective-attention exhibiting, moral relativist narcissists realize the truth of the matter, that all of our recent presidents and indeed the vast majority of Congress are pathetic excuses for public officials who border on being, if they aren’t complete, traitors. So, enough with the Obama worshipping crap, please.
Actually, I thought his point that politicians like Clinton and Obama are the ostensible meritocrats who put the veneer of respectability on a plutocratic government was a good one.
You point out that Obama is failing to pull that veneer of respectability over the government.
If I were less tired I might have something else to say about this, but I think Obama’s failure to fill that legitimating role, whether due to the times or his own lack of discretion, is important.
Is that you George W.? I really liked the 9/11 interview you did for cable. It will go well with your new library. Sorry about the mission accomplished not happening til today’s NATO agreement to leave Afghanistan announced today in Chicago. Gotta love the French Socialist party for turning things around. Down goes austerity, down goes the New American Century, down down down. You know, that moral relativist sound bite is a real tell. Kind of like white socks and crew cuts in an SDS meeting. Wax poetic, I haven’t seen that written since cryptos from National Review hung out to watch their favorite Public TV broadcast with William F. Buckley. Where’s Lambert to get my back? If that is not full of corrupt Dartmouth Reviewspeak from apparatchiks in waiting, I don’t what is.
“8. elite replacement occurs slowly or through violent revolution”
True. And Americans don’t feel enough pain yet to consider violence as a necessity. Too many people are still untouched (directly) by the atrocities visited upon us. Question of time before everyone suffers enough to start uttering the R word…
That’s probably why a country of 320 million inhabitants harbors 290 millions firearms… I would venture to say that people don’t buy forearms unless they plan on using them. You wouldn’t believe how many opportunities come up as soon as one gets his hand on one… And since the heads can’t stop devising for us new opportunities, it is only a question of time.
What a crazy type of mythical reality you have going on.
Id love to see your hydra prototype super-tanker story in an animation.
“Politicians will do *anything* to get reelected, and they will pander, beg, borrow, lie, cheat and steal, just to stay in office. It’s all about their job.
This is 100% wrong. The dirty secret of American politics is that, for most politicians, getting elected is just not that important. What matters is post-election employment. ”
Well duh. The activists and political operatives aren’t 100% wrong, they’re 100% right because first, ya know, ya gotta GET elected. And that means saying and doing anything to convince the voters you’re on their side. Until politicians get over that hurdle, they’re worthless to the corporations.
Its about getting the job THEN its about abusing the office and then its about abusing the connections.
Of course it’s about getting elected, and re-elected – and why do they want to get elected and reelected? A) it gives them a power base, which is in itself quite seductive B) the longer they have it, the more they can do for their “constituents” whoever the hell they are C) the more they can do for their “constituents” the greater the reward for them, assuming, of course that their “constituents” are of the “right sort” – and the guy/gal who gets elected, does a helluva lot better than one who is defeated ..
A and B are “legitimate”, insofar as their “constituents” are the people who live in their districts – C, unfortunately, seems to be the predominant rationale among the duopoly ….
If it’s only about money, why do Presidents run for second terms then? Or even more strangely according to this, why do senators run for 4th, 5th and 6th terms?
There is certainly some shame in being a one-term President.
But there is also the craving for power and fame. Being rich is not necessarily sufficient for being as powerful and as famous as one might want to be.
Exactly. Power is intoxicating, so is fame. A 2nd term in the Oval Office is the mark of success and only the successful are welcome on the money circuit. Notice the lack of GWB references to post-elected-office money? Dude is widely regarded as a failure and there is no money for failures.
As a Senator, you get used to certain perks. Hard to give those up. Hard to give up the attention when you walk into the room. Plus, not every one of those Senators has the business skills to run a successful post-office career. But they sure do like having airports and libraries named after them.
Between leaving office and mid-2011, GWB made over 15 million dollars giving speeches.
(scroll to article’s penultimate paragraph)
I agree. That is not consistent with this remarkably foolish article however:
“So when you hear someone talking about how politicians just want to be reelected, roll your eyes. When you hear an argument about the best message or policy framework to use for reelection, stop listening.”
I just realized this isn’t Yves, so not as surprised.
Are fame, power, and money mutually exclusive? A person can only be motivated by one of these?
Please. It’s foolish to pretend that Stoller is claiming holding office is the only motivation politicians have.
The way I read this post is that Stoller is claiming people get it wrong when they think politicians will do whatever it takes to stay in office. He’s right. That’s a false notion. Politicians have to serve their masters and they will take a fall on an issue if their masters force them to.
For instance, cutting Social Security. Obama and the Dems have been ordered to steal our Social Security. Normally, if we had a sincere political system, this would be career suicide. But the Democrats are willing to risk it because it is so imporant to their elite masters. Notice that Obama and the Dems won’t risk losing office over things like single payer health care or ending our wars or taxing the rich. In those instances we are told keeping Obama and the Dems in office is super important and we have to give up those issues.
Nah. Good post by Stoller. This alleged motiviation to stay in office is used as a mind control tactic to get Democrats to accept right-wing policy.
That should be . . . .”stoller is not alleging that money is the only motivation . . . . “
Politicians serve corporate masters best by staying in office, with their hands on the levers of policy power the winners possess – that is why the “masters” back them. If they lose they aren’t of as much use – except as lobbyists, but even then they are much more useful as lobbyists to the extent they were long time “colleagues” of others still in office …
But he leaves out consideration of why others run for office, e.g, his former boss Grayson – was getting elected a minor consideration for him as well?
That’s not true. Sometimes politicians serve their masters best by staying in office, sure. But other times, politicians serve their masters best by sticking with unpopular policy and taking a political dive. Politicians serve by conditioning the public that no matter how popular some things are, they can never have liberal things. This is why the right is always feeding red meat to its base, while the Democrats always pull the red meat away fromt the teeth of its base.
For instance, there have been massive majorities that want to end wars, tax the rich, and not cut Social Security or Medicare. Also, lot’s of people want to end or curtail the drug wars. Politicians spend a lot of time convincing us that we always have to move to the right, and that liberal policy is not possible.
Tom Daschle. Harold Ford. Erskine Bowles. Rahm Emmanuel. Summers. Etc, etc.
Another example is the promise by the Progressive Caucus in 2009 or 2010, I forget now, to vote against any health care bill that did not have a public option. The progressive causus was the largest force in Congress, and the Dems had a majority and the president suppossedly had a liberal mandate . . . yet the Dem politicians and their internet lackeys were able to convince a good number of people liberal reform, even though it was popular, was not possible.
This is the progressive caucus taking a dive for their masters. Grayson is in on the scam as well. He suppossedly took a dive and is on the outside, like Kucinich. But this is simply a subtle wrinkle in the typical story. They are the few politicians that lost office by sticking to principle, the story goes . . . .
The politicians may “take a dive” on a particular issue indeed to serve their masters, but the reason they are convinced they have to is because they are told they will lose the party’s support, or even elicit it’s active opposition in the next election i.e. lose their office, if they don’t. The “taking a dive” is still about keeping their office. The irony is, if, like Kucinich, they have been perpetual burrs in the party’s saddle, even when they take a dive on an issue, as Kucinich did on health care “for the party”, they wind up getting dumped by the party anyway at the first opportunity.
Kucinich made a bad bargain – lost his seat AND his integrity ….
Any politician who runs as a D or an R, ipso facto, has signaled compromise with TPTB that run the show – you want the advantages that having a D or R franchise bestows – you will pay the franchise fee, and those who don the logo, no matter their stated intentions, understand, or quite soon learn, that and, by keeping the logo, have indicated that getting and staying elected is, indeed, important to them, more important than the principles they may have to ditch to stay “in the loop” …
Care to back up ‘remarkably foolish’ with any analysis? If not, I know who the foolish one is.
What is up with your remarkably foolish comment? Aside from the usefulness of the aspersions you cast in keeping your preferred blinders in place, what are you trying to accomplish? Wisdom is, paradoxically, staying more interested in the world around you than in your cherished opinions about it. Mr. Stoller has given us all the opportunity to try out a different thought filter; that you find that threatening in no way reflects upon his generosity.
I just realized you aren’t a thoughtful person, so not as surprised.
Eagle – as Paul Tioxon said above: “Together, they rule to protect the system that maintains their wealth and power, even from competition from rival elites who try to dominate with new policies that may or may not reproduce their power and maintain the social order.”
They are protecting their wealth and power. Some politicians make money after they’re out of politics (like Clinton), but others make it while they’re in through inside information, sitting on various boards, etc.
They are all doing their job of maintaining their wealth and power.
“Men shut their door against the setting sun.”
More money – that would be the answer. Besides, change is something for the proles.
D’accord, Monsieur Frenchie, mais quelle est la question?
Matt is not implying that all politicians are in it for the money. Far from it. But at some point they all ask themselves “what are my plans for AFTER office, and how am I going to make some serious money after decades of relative comfort but little wealth?”
Before Reagan I don’t think this was much of an issue. But after Reagan made millions speaking overseas I think that got baked into the pie. And once that expectation was baked in it became easier for plutocrats dealing with politicians to play to those desires. Politicians are used to understanding implicit quid pro quos. You do the favor before, and the reward comes long after. Then it’s not bribery at all.
Or is it?
Eagle: If it’s only about money, why do Presidents run for second terms then? Or even more strangely according to this, why do senators run for 4th, 5th and 6th terms?
Exactly. Matt Stoller makes the assertion that “The dirty secret of American politics is that, for most politicians, getting elected is just not that important. What matters is post-election employment.” But he offers no evidence or even much argument. If what he says were true, the senate wouldn’t be a gerontocracy. Nor would Hillary have bothered to run for president, since her and Bill already have the goldmine.
alex – they make money AFTER and DURING. How can they not? They’re writing the rules.
Of course they want to get elected. They’re not much use if they can’t do that. Most senators and congress clowns aren’t going to be asked to speak for $125,000.00 to $500,000.00 per hour, but presidents ARE asked.
Getting elected allows them to write laws, change laws, look the other way, and be good puppets to their corporate masters. For this they sit on various boards, committees, are given insider information.
Getting elected gives them POWER.
POWER gives them WEALTH.
They need BOTH.
Some are enablers (legislators, lobbyists), some have
charisma (touchy-feely chummy aura), and others appear
somewhat convincingly to be socalled experts …
I’d like to see a link about Clinton raising money for hedge funds. If he was doing it for a U.S. firm with U.S. prospective investors, and if he wasn’t an actual employee/partner of the HF firm, he needed to have a securities license. Are you saying that Clinton has worked as an unregistered broker-dealer?
I know that Clinton has worked for Ron Burkle/Yucaipa in the past. I have had the opportunity to observe first-hand how Burkle used him. Clinton was always the draw to get people to come to Burkle’s events. However, Clinton himself was never involved in asking investors for money.
It is only natural that presidents care about their future and their family’s future, especially when they are not billionaires before being elected for office.
The real point is the utopianism of democracy, the belief that your political leaders should be different to you mere subjects -minding your own business- and work for the good of all.
Unless the sovereign is completely impersonal, he or she will grab the privileges of political power for his or her own advantage, to the detriment of almost everyone else.
This need not be done in an overtly amoral or inmoral way. It can be wrapped inside a protective cover of ‘reasons of State’. Being a political leader allows a substantial lowering of moral standards. Things that would be repugnant for a private individual, are ok for a political leader, because it is done for ‘reasons of State’. The sovereign may even confess : ‘I will lie to you, I will listen to your private communications, I will engineer the transfer of your wealth from you to other people, but I will do all those things, for reasons of State’.
“the utopianism of democracy, the belief that your political leaders should be different to you mere subjects … and work for the good of all”
There is nothing utopian about democracy. The whole idea is that if they don’t “work for the good of all” (actually most, not all) they don’t get re-elected. The problem is with the utter lack of choice we have (throw the bums out and … get worse bums?) and the corruption that starts with the bribes (oops, I mean contributions) needed to run for office.
“There is nothing utopian about democracy. The whole idea is that if they don’t “work for the good of all” (actually most, not all) they don’t get re-elected”
The whole point of Matt’s post was that re-election is not that important. The important thing is what the self-interested individual gets from being elected to office. The fact that we are all self-interested individuals renders the whole idea of public service totally utopian.
In a sense democracy is the ultimate utopia, because it is supposed to be the only practical alternative to utopia, some kind of TINA of utopias.
People have to understand that everyone who sells their soul to the elite get their payments.
Politicians are glorified WWE actors and they are paid well for the roles that enact on the world stage.
George W. Bush=Lady Gaga
Once a person becomes a celebrity they have become a tool/weapon for the elite.
Sure, Obama tells the drone operators to pull the triggers but he couldn’t do that without the impunity that Snookie’s distrations allow him.
Clinton couldn’t be arming Al Qaeda in Syria if it weren’t for Russell Brand’s/Lady Gaga’s/Kim Kardashian’s cover.
The TPTB couldn’t steal without Obama giving them cover, acting out his role as America’s “progressive” president.
Likewise, the elite couldn’t expand their empire without Clinton giving them cover with her “spreading democracy” garbage, etc.
It’s an elaborate, layered web of play-acting.
While Anonymous is correct that students at the elite schools don’t really learn anything serious I think that it’s more than mere etiquette they are absorbing.
What he/she describes is deeper than etiquette as it is really more akin to play-acting.
It is not just how to appear to behave superficially, it is how to live entirely false lives, lives whose only purpose is to provide someone higher up on the totem pole with the necessary cover for their crimes.
Notice how no celebrity seems to have a political opinion nowadays?
Sure, there may be the throwaway comment here and there but nothing really threatening.
Rock musicians, artists, writers – nearly unanimous in their consent as they pick up their paychecks.
When even those who in times past are silent you know the whole house has been corrupted.
When even those who in times past who raised awareness and voiced concern are silent you know the whole house has been corrupted.
And those that do have political opinions have opinions that help their elite masters, e.g., Clooney and Angelina Jolie on Kony and Syria.
What’s interesting to me is the theory that many of our musicians and artists are perps. For instance, I always thought of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix being anti war musicians. But now that I look closer, they seem to be strangely unpolitical. And the politics they support just may be right wing!
The Beatles were the same way. It just seems odd to me that during the politically tumultuous period of the 60s the Beatles were so irreverent and apolitical.
And then there was a lot of anti-hippy stuff, like Zappa’s music and then operations like the Manson murders and Jim Jones’ cult murders.
“All we are saying, is give peace a chance.”
“War is over, if you want it…”
“Woman is the nigger of the world”
The Vietnamese war was still at it’s heightwhen Lennon wrote those songs. It’s widely known that he was on Nixon’s enemy list, and that they did everything they could to have him kicked out of the country, over a small amount of pot that some English police investigator claimed to have found in his house. Lennon claims it was planted.
Also, they’re not politicians. They’re not God. They’re musicians. Their revolutionary features, such as they were, were in their music.
The only political thing that I knew about Lennon saying was that he’d seen the governments of both the East and the West, and didn’t either type was worth a damn.
Oh, I forgot Working Class Hero, by Lennon.
“There’s room at the top, they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill.
A working class hero is something to be…”
The thing about the governments of the East and West was the political thing I heard by him, WHILE HE WAS A BEATLE. After that, he had a lot to say.
Assuming this official story you tell is the truth for a moment . . . . that Lennon was the political one (and there was a cute one, a funny one, etc.–ha), and that Lennon did mention a few political issues while he was a Beatle, but he really became more political after the Beatles broke up . . . .
Isn’t this suspicious? Why weren’t the Beatles more overtly political? It’s like they tried really hard to be irreverent. I can accept the idea that escape through music can be a good thing. But escape and play seems to be the primary message behind the music. [I know I’ve just stirred up a hornets’ nest with all the Beatles fans from this ear, and since I didn’t experience the Beatels I’m looking at this through the eyes of the next generation, but this can bring a fresh perpspective]
Oh, and while I may have once thought being on Nixon’s list was a sign the person was doing something right, I now view it as being suspicious. Maybe Nixon’s list was a way to give perps credibility. Kind of like any Arab leader these days wants to be on Israel’s list.
Also, didn’t Lennon admit/intimate/hint that the Beatles “invasion” was suspicious just a week before he was killed?
To me, the Beatles seemed to flirt with hippies and liberal politics, but never really went there. In my mind it could be to discredit hippies. The Beatles gave them a chance, but realized the hippies were silly, and the drugs didn’t do anything, so they quit them after they realized they were worthless. Whearas Zappa and Manson and others took a more direct attack against hippies and claimed they were stupid, etc.
Also, re Gods. Yes they are Gods. They are the closest thing we have to Gods. Just watched part of this documentary last night and it made me feel like I was at a Dead show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhd3eQf9eIw While the Dead may not be the most virtous musicians, they knew how to create another world and were music gods. Check out starting at about 36 minutes (for 5 minutes or so) for an example of how the crowd was brought into the show and how excited they were and the atmosphere the Dead created and how the music really was magick. And the Beatles had their own majick going on!
It’s no coincidence that music is such an important industry. Ever wonder why the penalties for violating a music copyright is so severe? Wonder why it’s so hard to find effective political music, like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB-vYuYhdSE
Also re Lennon . . .
You should look into his sketchy and conflicting story of how he met Ono and his inolvement in IT magazine. Of course his death occured at the same hotel where Rosemary’s baby was filmed, and Polanski’s wife was allegedly murdered by a gang that claimed to hear secret messages in Beatles music. So those are odd facts.
It’s also interesting that the Manson family appeared to have written lyrics from a Beatles song (co-wrote by Lennon) before it was released: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helter_Skelter_%28Manson_scenario%29
I don’t trust Wikipedia but that cite gives the general information. I actually wonder if Bugliosi is the original perp who changed the date the door was confiscated to protect the connection to the Beatles. He makes a big deal about it in his book, and evidently it was young detectives thatt broke the case because they picked up on the Beatles references and connected the different murders.
Bugliosi and the official story gives a few members of the Manson family an opportunity to go back to the Spahn ranch in mid November and gives them a week or two to write the now released Beatles album lyrics on the door.
But there are too many convenient and unlikely circumstances that make the story suspicious. Like how did the family get an advance copy of the album? How likely was this during a time when they were on the run for the police and trying to evade detection of their alleged crimes? Did they really take time out of going to their desert hideout to get the advance copy, and then what are the chances that the few that get out go to Spahn Ranch and write on the door? The door was found in someone’s trailer, according to Bugliosi.
Then it’s odd Bugliosi never focuses on the door. The connection with the Beatles supposedly was a big part of the case, and he showed the other “Helter Skelter” writings to the jury (he even named his book after this), so why didn’t he show the jury the freakiest evidence, the “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, all good children (go to heaven?)” line?
Was this really a clue the Beatles were dropping in their music to the Manson gang? The Beatles loved dropping clues.
Oh, and if you don’t believe me about rock stars being Gods, who was it that said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus?
Those wacky Beatles just love playin around. Looks like the start of manufactured culture wars to me. And notice the Beatles didn’t use the opportunity to deliver a real political message.
Actually there are those that do. George Clooney was just arrested for protesting at some demonstration. Others have, as well. Matt Damon narrated a movie, maybe An Inside Job, about the 2008 financial meltdown.
I’m guessing that his arrest didn’t conflict with hosting Obama at his house last week.
George Clooney is supporting a pro goverment message. He is supporting U.S. involvement in Syria and Africa.
Notice the “conspiracy” movie he was involved with, the staring at goats movie. Also the Syriana movie.
He’s a total perp. Just like Angelina Jolie. Damon probably is too, but haven’t really looked into it.
They soothe their conscience by telling themselves that they are doing well by doing good. They only have the well part nailed, though.
‘But if you could legally deliver millions in cash to the husband of a high-level political official, it wouldn’t hurt your policy goals.’
Don’t forget the option of ILLEGALLY delivering cash to family members of the president. Hillary and Roger Clinton reportedly received $400,000 in cash in a brown paper bag, in connection with Bill’s corrupt pardon of Marc Rich on Clinton’s last day in office.
Despite the bitter sentiment at the time — ‘good riddance to these venal grifters’ — the omnipresent Clintons remain relentlessly in our face, and evidently plan to continue their permanent campaign until they forsake this mortal coil. Even then, count on a resplendent state funeral which will guarantee another 72 hours of the saturation mainstream media attention which the Clintons crave.
Bush’s de facto grant of immunity to the Clintons for their well-documented felony offenses is now an unwritten rule of the Oval Office, as Obama likewise waived prosecution of the gross constitutional violations and war crimes committed by Bush. In other words, under the ossified Depublicrat duopoly, the Oval Office is now institutionally corrupt.
National government has lost its mandate. Finally. We are lucky we still have state and local governments that function to some extent. If we redesigned a new federal organization Washington DC should be dismantled, sold off and returned to honest swampland, and a new city established in the middle of the country, say Kansas City. Nothing fancy; lots of cheap housing and fast-food purveyors. Meetings can be conducted via phone and internet conferences. The same goes for the Supreme Court. People will then be free to follow their own politics and move to states that are more liberal or conservative. It will be a form of grass roots competition. Political capital. Organic gerrymandering.
You must not live in the County of Cook in the State of Illinois.
Washington is a paragon by comparison.
Actually, moving the site of federal jurisdiction might be in the national interest because rising sea levels are going to flood our DC anyway. The new site should be right on the New Madrid fault – so the new district shouldn’t be lavish – someday the Mississisppi River will also wash all its sins away.
Seriously, that cable show “BOSS”, about a Chicago mayor, I’m sure it’s understated, but even the small glimpse it provides, if it is even a shadow of reality, is more reality than usually doled out. Well, Chicago, how real to life is that show? DC a comparative paragon? How low does it go there?
Bill Clinton is alleged to have been working with the CIA in the 80s to launder drug money and import drugs into this country. George H.W. Bush was in the WH and was probaby Clinton’s boss, or colleague.
Clinton’s brother is on tape during a drug deal stating that his brother (Bill) loves the stuff (cocaine).
So it’s conceivable that the Clinton’s were getting kickbacks in the 80s and this is when they really became rich. Of course Hillary’s law firm profits were probably the biggest official source of income at this time as she probably made more than a governor back then and Clinton was in and out of office.
Some will undoubtedly remember the intrepid pilot
Barry Seal and his strange missions (before he died).
Yeah, well…everybody loves the stuff, that’s why it’s cocaine. It’s been proven in a lab and everything.
If everyone loves it then why is it illegal?
Isn’t it dumb for godless people to be neo-Purtians? All the self-denial but no reward for it in the world to come?
The Clinton’s had been scam artists long before they got into National politics. Anyone remember Hillarie’s first commodity trade? Making $100,000 on a $1000 option? Before Bill became governor. Funny how no one else could manage that one. Obviously her account was dealt the winning hand to the detriment of everyone else’s account at the brokerage house. Not really any skill or inside knowledge needed. Just a lever on someone important. They were scummy people all along, and whats remarkable is that every pres since has been scummier than their predecessors. I guess it proves that although cream may rise to the top, scum rises higher.
Oh yeah. I forgot about this part of the cover story–the explanation for the financial windfall. Good catch.
And of course the New York Times “expose” of Whitewater was probably the way to distract from this truth and send us down the blowjob route.
The previous president of gov´t in Spain, the socialist Mr. Rodriguez Zapatero, has this last action of State before he dissapeared from the public arena : he pardoned a convicted banker, the number 2 of Banco Santander, Mr. Alfredo Sáenz, the best paid banker in Spain, whom confessed on having presented fabricated evidence against four Catalonian business men whom were sent to prison based on the banker´s fabrication. The highest court in Spain has found the banker guilty, but after the pardon, he walked free of charge and resumed his position at Santander.
Talk about fat brown envelopes full of 500 euro notes.
The Clintons: Homo Americanus, Exh. A.
For a people that value money over all, certainly peace, justice, even life itself, an unsurprising outcome. Yes, corruption at the highest levels of society is a story as old as civilization. But Americans are categorically different: we have made a religion out of predation, and enthtroned our worst as our best. A nation of rank materialists who see no value in what cannot be priced and owned, we have earned our sorry fate. Notwithstanding our appalling, bloody spectacle, quite clear to the rest of the world, and freely acknowledged by those who do not have to kowtow to US power, many among us here still tout the American Way of Life as inevitable, irresistible, the only way.
The crown of creation? No and hell no. The violent, destructive, greed-crazed spawn of Europe: in deed and in fact.
To hell with the Clintons, the Obamas, and the system that created such creatures.
Tom Daschle, who lost a Senate race in 2004, is a millionaire who in large part crafted Obama’s health care plan.
The health whatever reform was crafted by the Heritage Institute and first enacted by Romney in Mass.
When NC has posts that resemble puditary inc. things have gone too far. Politicians grave power, they always did and they always will. Currently, our society oozes money for the “choosen” people; previous presidents included.
Bill Clinton changes to financial laws and regulations have caused problems. These problems were and are severly aggravated by Bush and in particular Obama. Some of Clinton’s changes were hubris of the financial success of the country during his presidency. Obama not only didn’t try to fix the problems, he made them way worse.
Bill Clinton beats every other president of after WWII in intellect, communication skills and breadth. No wonder he makes tons as a speaker. Would you pay Obama for his low level small lies? I wouldn’t.
It is tough to be a cynic in a world so openly cynical. So, I guess Matt is one hell of a realist. Uh, but Matt, about that speaking gig…
Matt, this is what the Japanese call “descent from heaven.” Richard Werner’s Princes of the Yen describes it in detail. Public administrators returning to the industries they were supposed to regulate.
I like that.
Dear Matt Stoller;
Your article, “Bill Clinton’s $80 Million Payday, or Why Politicians Don’t Care That Much About Reelection” is exceptionally well done and puts the money motivation of Washington politicians—and how the payoff is accomplished—in the spotlight.
I call this a time-delayed betraying of the public trust, by Washington politicians.
The banksters in charge have long memories, and corrupt ruthlessly, using taxpayer money and public servants as goats. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein believes, “He is doing God’s work.” Hardly!
Bill Clinton To Advise Financial Firm Run By Longtime Associates …
Former President Bill Clinton is teaming up with a top aide, a former State Department envoy, and Tony Blair to start a private equity fund and global consulting company.
read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/bill-clinton-financial-firm-doug-band-declan-kelly-hedge-fund_n_1088203.html
Bill Clinton Calls Obama an “Amateur” and “Incompetent”…Wanted Hillary to Challenge Obama in 2012 …
Obama, Bill Clinton said, “doesn’t know how to be president” and is “incompetent.”
read more: http://scottystarnes.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/bill-clinton-calls-obama-an-amateur-and-incompetent-wanted-hillary-to-challenge-obama-in-2012/
The truth about President Obama’s birth makes him a national security risk open to bribes …. are the Clintons the bribers?
Hollywood producer heard Bill Clinton say Obama ineligible
The Clintons were the original “birthers,” Viviano told WND in an interview in Los Angeles.
“Everybody who has called this a conspiracy from the Republicans or the tea party, they need to know who started it – the Democrats,” she said.
“It was Hillary and Bill, and it percolated up from there,” said Viviano, who had access to the campaign through a documentary she produced on the claims of delegates that Obama and the Democratic National Committee were stealing the nomination from Hillary.
read more: http://www.wnd.com/2012/04/hollywood-producer-heard-bill-clinton-say-obama-ineligible/
Did Bill Clinton’s welfare reforms make the Great Recession worse …
Once the the Great Recession hit in the late 2000s, single mothers — welfare’s main recipients — were left without a helping hand, largely because Clinton’s reforms made it easier for states to deny handouts and instead use federal welfare grants to plug their own budget holes. Did Clinton’s welfare overhaul actually make things worse?
read more: http://theweek.com/article/index/226565/did-bill-clintons-welfare-reforms-make-the-great-recession-worse
A year ago I would have thought this stuff was crazy. Now I see that there is something to these stories.
It’s very interesting to me that these stories about Obama were introduced by the Clintons but now it’s only suspect right-wing sources that talk about it.
Let’s see who is leading the charge looking into Obama’s birth and other history:
We have Joe Arpaio the fascist Sherrif from Arizona, World Net Daily and Joe Corsi (of Swift Boat fame) and of course the showman Donald Trump. Oh, and let’s not forget Orly what’s her name, the kooky right-wing Israeli lawyer/dentist.
At first, like most people, I discounted these sources and assumed it was a political hit job, and a poor one at that. Now I suspect that these kooks were given the task of revealing this information precisely because it may be based on a larger truth.
Obama did just send a junior lawyer sacrificial lamb to court and she did not defend the birth certificate in a way that one would if one were certain about its authenticity. Anwyay, there’s more to this story that the kooky sources would indicate.
It’s also interesting to see the help these politicians got before they became president. In both Cliton’s and Obama’s case the media and the Dem party portrayed these two as rags to riches stories. Both stories have an absent father and suppossed periods of near poverty (which I now doubt).
But both got amazing support early on, suggesting that these two were groomed for their roles, or at least had good opportunities.
Clinton became a Rhodes scholar and of course that opened him up to any law school he wanted to go to, etc., and he probably got a full ride. Clinton also started palling around with CIA guys while in England, and may have been spying on American for intelligence community. After graduation, Bill traveled Europe for a while with a CIA guy. This cover story is similar to other notable people, like Christopher Hitchens for instance. This cover story does not explain how Bill paid for these travels. The Rhodes Scholarship doesn’t pay for a year of travel, does it?
Similarly, Obama had an easy early life. He also traveled to exotic places, like Pakistan, when the State Dept. was warning U.S citizens not to travel there. Obama had Kissinger as a possible reference and ended up working for BIC, an alleged intelligince cover company. Then Obama got a 6 figure advance for a book he never had to write.
Anyway, even though both these presidents were suppossedly average upon entering the White House, I suspect they had much more money that we were told. Obama’s finances looked downright pedestrian when he entered the White House. He easily could have been underwater on his home and he was spending far more on luxuries, like private school for the girls, than he was taking in.
The Greeks distinguished between two kinds of social goods: the Goods of Excellence, which are pure, uncompromised goods in some human pursuit, and the Goods of Effectiveness, which are goods resulting from compromises that make socially desirable things happen. The best examples of those who pursue the Goods of Excellence are philosophers, prophets, artists, certain kinds of teachers.
But in order to have their full effect in a society, those people need help from practitioners of the Goods of Effectiveness: someone to run a school or church, a museum or a theater. (Artists and philosophers have no interest and are not good at those necessary activities.) Businessmen practice the Goods of Effectiveness–and they can be socially desirable good actors, though not so much lately.
Politicians are probably the foremost practitioners of the Goods of Effectiveness, and some are better at it than others; and some are better people than others.
I think Bill Clinton is more complicated than Matt’s description here–as true as it is in many respects–because of an authentic concern for the poor (go ahead, start the flames!) that comes from growing up poor himself, and because of his post-Presidential charitable work, which is fairly enormous. (His website estimates facilitating $69 billion in projects around the world through its system of commitments: say it’s only half or even a quarter, it’s still an enormous amount of positive aid, and it does actually help people, especially in Africa and Haiti, at least before the earthquake.
African-American family income also rose steadily and significantly during his presidency; and immediately started falling again under GWB, and even more under Obama.
Clinton’s complicated, obviously. I know the critiques, especially about welfare, DLC, the Internet bubble, and deregulation; but I also think it’s possible that he’s the best President a system like ours can produce under current conditions (after the Powell Memo and the presidency of Ronald Reagan). And a whole lot better than Obama!
Matt’s piece points in that direction also: he uses Clinton as his example (because he’s the best at what he does), but the real point here is to change the system that makes this kind of payoff so rampant. And if you had a better system–regulated finance, fair taxation, strong unions, social safety net, democratic schooling, universal healthcare–Bill Clinton would be the most effective in that one too, but he’d be a better person because his opportunities would have more of the Goods of Excellence intrinsic to them.
“if you had a better system–regulated finance, fair taxation, strong unions, social safety net, democratic schooling, universal healthcare–Bill Clinton would be the most effective in that one too,”
Which is why, I suppose, Clinton did his best to assure we had none of those things?
Trying to assess fairly here!
I admitted about deregulation, but in the other areas, he did raise taxes on the rich; he did some good around the edges on unions (e.g. Reich for Labor Secretary), which at least stopped the post-PATCO hemorrhaging, and is the best you’re going to do until we abolish the Senate; he sure tried to get healthcare, as badly as it turned out; and he increased education funding and started Americorps, which gives kids significant money for college.
I was fired for whistle blowing in 1998; I spent time in the unemployment office, including a hearing on my case. I can tell you from personal experience that the culture in that government office was helpful and positive, geared towards treating the unemployed with respect and giving them tools (training, email addresses) to get employed again. Culture in government comes from the top: I give Clinton credit at that level, and anecdotal evidence from the GWB era says that it changed drastically under him: denial of benefits, harsh questioning, and so on.
He also stopped Newt Gingrich, and he took a hell of a punch on impeachment–as bad as the Republicans are, they’d be even worse if they’d gotten away with that.
Look, he’s deeply flawed, OK? But who’s been better since NIxon? More important, who would be better? Until you improve all those areas I mentioned, I strongly doubt there’s anyone better for progressives who could be elected. Except maybe Hillary, but that’s another argument!
How sweet of Clinton to be kind to the unemployed – seeing as how he helped create so many of them via NAFTA/WTO …..
As for his being the best since Nixon – LOL, pretty low standards ….
Of the choices available, Nader would have been MUCH better, IMO – but he wasn’t even on your radar screen, was he?
As for impeachment – if he had been been convicted, there would have been Gore as Pres. – so what’s the diff? And the only reason they impeached him, IMO, was because he was stealing all their lunch money from TPTB which were funding Dems instead of them because he and his ilk were better, more “effective” Reps than they were … DOMA, welfare “reform”, NAFTA, financial dereg – these were all high on the Rep agenda for years, and it was a damn Dem that got them passed! – How eviscerating, this guy hadda go, but they couldn’t go after him on principles, after all his were the same as theirs – so they settled on his dropping his drawers in the WH ….
And now there are trial balloons for adding Hillary to the ticket – good grief!
I have noticed more and more of the “nostalgia for the good ole’ days of Clinton” creeping into discussions where Obama is critiqued … Lordy, are we really that amnesiac?
Super post. But hey, let’s not be so hard on the Clintons. At least they shared the take! Unlike the current administration. (And since so much of the corruption is FIRE-related, it’s not even honest graft!)
* * *
The one thing I don’t get is that the incentives seem to be a constant, not a variable. Did the corruption slow down under Bush, or accelerate, or change form? Ditto for the Obama administration.
Are we ready for the election boycotts and Constitutional rewrite yet?
Or are we going to continue validating and legitimizing with our attention and votes the self anointed elite closet fascism that — so transparently now — is responsible for propagandizing us all to the sell out secessionist corporate Noble Lie values that instill and normalize; preemptive war, fear, divisiveness, hate, racism, torture, greed is good, homelessness, extra judicial assassinations, wealth adoration, etc.
How much longer will you lend your good name to the blatant immorality of the scam electoral process? How much longer will you stay complicit in aiding and abetting the transparently illegal murders of the many by the few? When will you finally realize that Full Spectrum Dominance includes you and your loved ones?
“Clinton has come to express regret about deregulating derivatives”
Clinton is a very perceptive psychopath, he sees the lamp post coming and feebly attempts to build cover. That is also why they keep running that trashy “come back kid” crap on Propaganda Broadcasting System. Their contrived sand castle reality is rapidly being washed away by the incoming tide of truth on the internet. The pharaohs shills are working overtime.
You reap what you sow.
Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.
We need a non-violent revolution, ala Gandhi. That’s why it’s so important for the elite and their political henchmen to keep us as polarized as possible. That’s why issues like gay marriage, racism, and immigration are such important wedge issues.
Yes, divide to reign : “diviser pour reigner”.
What a great article. I don’t agree will all of it, but most of it is an interesting and, for me, new perspective. Stoller just about always bangs a very large nail squarely on the head. Good on you, Matt!
It’s amusing that the virulent Clinton haters just can’t let it go. Their comments say a lot more about them than about either the article or the Clintons. Give it a rest, y’all.
True. Cannot relate to the fine distinctions between one looting-class puppet and another. Personalizing the rot, that’s a relic of the state’s divide-and-rule propaganda. This syndrome we got, everybody understands it perfectly when it happens in diseased African dumps where kids fart dirt and ferryboats sink and drown hundreds in three feet of water. The country is what your highly trained international technocrats would term a shithole. The parasites have killed the host. Now they’re squirming out Uncle Sam’s mouth.
Hmmm, it seems to me the “Clinton haters” comments are quite in tune with the tone of the post ….
I’m trying to imagine what these people have to say that’s worth $150,000 a pop, that people would want to hear more than once. As the article implies, it’s much more important what they DON’T say – anything that essentially tells the truth, would be my prejudiced opinion.
carter the first neoliberal president.
so you’re saying carter was the first to talk about “sacrifices” and “free markets” or the first to promote”globalization”?
what a disjointed intellectually lazy post; your ‘synthesis’ a 5 year old could do.
you took one piece out of the first link off of google, did you even click the link or did you just parrot copy-paste?
you do a disservice with low quality crap like this. waste of time.
The construction of the current kleptocracy began under Carter with the repeal of the anti-usury laws. It was under Carter that anti-worker, anti-union moves like deregulation of airlines and trucking took place. It was under Carter that wages went flat, and continued to stay flat for the next 35 years as a result of the Fed treating wage gains as inherently inflationary and to be combatted. And of course, the flattening of wages marked the moment when the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich, rentier class really began. So yes, Carter does have a lot to do with this. Unsurprising really, kleptocracy has always been bipartisan in its co-optation of our political system.
What is described here is essentially how kleptocrats both create and buy our elites. This doesn’t just happen with the top politicians. Regulators, Congressional staff, and bureaucrats often get the same treatment via the revolving door. The revolving door goes both ways. Those who cycle out to the private sector will go back into government to freshen their contacts and work as agents for the law firms and companies they just left.
Of course, many receive their pay off while in the jobs they are chosen for. The media and academia are examples where this occurs. In addition, some from these sectors will be selected for the gravy train Matt describes that comes with higher office or higher visibility. Media stars will get multi-million dollar contracts, write vanity books, do the talk circuit. Academics like Summers will go back and forth between academia and government, become a college president, sit on corporate boards, and do the talk circuit.
Someone upthread asked why the Issas and Bloombergs would bother with any of this since they already have more money than God. The answer is, of course, vanity, the desire to exercise power directly and more visibly. It is also that elites and kleptocrats are not mutually exclusive sets. There is a considerable overlap between the two. Indeed this is one way the kleptocrats exert control over the elites by rubbing elbows occasionally with them, showing them what they can expect if they play their cards right.
Matt Stoller – excellent piece!!! Thank you.
I would like to also point out that the history of neoliberalism did not begin with figurehead elites such as this or that president.
So to the extent that we forgo the actual history, of the systematic dismantlement of equality, under the full spectrum dominance ‘free-market’ elites, then I think we would be better served with a longer view, if only for simple understanding of root causes.
I have posted the piece below in the past.
It is only 22 pages and it is very clear, concise and readable.
The Return of ‘Financialized’ Liberal Capitalism
Liberalized global financial markets are nothing new.
A review of the history of financial markets reveals much about their tendency to liberalize and globalize, their inherent instability and their surprising persistence, despite recurring crises.
However, it is also important to recognize that all markets are socially and politically constructed;
they are not the natural phenomenon that liberal economists seem to suppose.
The appearance of markets, their scope, operation and regulation
– and even their all too frequent failure and need of rescue –
have inevitably social and political dimensions, influenced by national culture, politics, pragmatism and force majeure.
The political dimension of markets and the way they operate plays a significant role in determining which – and the way by which – economic and social ideas inform policy.
Two thumbs up!
This is how “Trickle Up” works:
This nine-minute video shows how the pyramid works, especially since 1913 when the Federal Reserve came into being.
TOP: Elite Owners
MIDDLE: Elite Banking Layer
BOTTOM: Administrative Districts (States)
Small Banks/Non-Core Businesses
Wage Earners/Consumers/Debt and Taxpayers
The IRS funnels taxes back up to the elite owners. Notice the Constitution is missing.
The elected officials are there to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
A history that historians don’t write about!
Watch the whole Renaissance series here (it’s one hour and 45 minutes long).
While there is no doubt that Clinton’s support was instrumental in ensuring derivatives were not regulated and that Glass-Steagall was repealed, this post is heavily biased.
First, it is important to note that of the $80 million of wealth that the Clinton’s now have, only $2 million or 2.5% of the total amount came from speeches mentioned in this article. Thus, it is hardly fair to claim that those specific decisions were responsible for his wealth.
Second, those specific deregulatory decisions happened because a coalesance of a variety of events – not because of a singular stubborn deregulatory Clinton. The “wall” of separation that Glass-Steagall erected was never secure – even from the beginning. Over the years, loopholes in that bill, the Bank Holding Company Act, a few key decisions by the Federal Reserve Board, and a globalized economy without international equivalents of “Glass-Steagall’s” all set the stage for those deregulatory acts.
Did President Clinton become very wealthy after his Presidency? Absoultely. Can it be only or even largely tied to his aptitude for deregulation? Absolutely not.
While it is easy to use 20/20 vision when looking backwards, growing the economy for the middle class has been a task that NO President has been up to since the 1970s. Perhaps rather than laying blame, pointing fingers and searching for the culprits, we would be better served by looking for policies that would encourage growth for all classes and lessen the economic inequality that ccurrently exists.
“While it is easy to use 20/20 vision when looking backwards, growing the economy for the middle class has been a task that NO President has been up to since the 1970s. Perhaps rather than laying blame, pointing fingers and searching for the culprits, we would be better served by looking for policies that would encourage growth for all classes and lessen the economic inequality that ccurrently exists.”
So if we could sum up your argument in one word it might be, “forward”? Or is it further? We got the car out of the ditch, now we’re slapping a “further” bumber sticker on it, and we will never again speak about how that car went into the ditch? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Further_%28bus%29 We’re looking forward, not backward, except for the times when the elite need to look backward and hold little people responsible for their actions.
I’m noticing a trend with this administration with the imagery it uses. Instead of “change” as a slogan, they should more accurately have used “whitewash.”
the reason ‘no president has been up to growing the economy since 1970’ is because when finance capitalism took over, asset stripping was used to pay back the debt hat was sued to take over a company.
This method, guarantees profits to the few, while relegating most everyone else involved to poverty.
In that regard, it is ruthlessly efficient.
Also, it is correct to point out that this was a multi-decades long process that continues today
(see the sham that sarb-ox has become and the douchebaggery by Dimon et al to kill the lincoln amendment of D-F)
long before glass-steagal was pulled.
For example, as Bill Black often points out the St. Germain Act of 1982 which did to the S&L industry what the repeal of G-S did to retail and commercial banking.
Excerpt from: (read the entire article if you want an understanding, rather than a 800-900 word water-cooler chat piece, that is, take some action, the onus is on you, not Stoller, he’s already done his job by writing and pointing the way, you have to seek out more, i hate to long post, but by the comments, it doesn’t look like people are reading)
The Return of ‘Financialized’ Liberal Capitalism:
By stabilizing the international economic environment, Bretton Woods contributed to creating the conditions in which national governments could more effectively operate interventionist welfare states.
In addition to the international capital controls of Bretton Woods, recognition of the financial sector’s responsibility for the 1929 stock market crash led to national regulations to encourage greater stability in financial markets.
These included the second Glass Steagall Act in the US, which effectively separated retail and commercial banking from more speculative investment banking activities.
Overall, the post-war accord renewed international commitment of the liberal ideal of free trade within a framework of managed currencies, based on the recognition that unregulated financial markets posed serious threats to free trade (Helleiner 1994).
The ‘golden age’ was characterized by regulated financial markets, financial stability, high rates of growth, improved standards of living and reduced inequality, the conditions that exemplify the period of finance-led neo-liberal capitalism leading up to the 2008 financial crisis could not be more different.
From the 1970s, rates of growth declined, financial instability increased and inequality intensified (Bresser-Perriera 2010:7).
In short, the early post war political and economic system was, in most respects, the polar opposite of the current one.
The role and influence of the state has been radically reduced whilst that of the private sector – finance, in particular – has expanded dramatically.
Currencies are at best only lightly managed and the money supply cannot be effectively controlled.
Moreover, the Anglo Saxon world has experience widespread deindustrialization of its manufacturing base.
How was such a volte face possible? – And what have been the drivers behind it?
HERE IS A KEY PART:
Within less than three decades following the world’s recovery from the ‘Long Depression’, the financial sector had escaped the restrictions placed upon it.
It worked its way back to the position it held during the 1920s, from which it had fuelled the asset bubble, the bursting of which contributed so much to the deepening of the Great Depression in 1929.
In similar fashion, the rehabilitation of the international financial system – to its pre-1931 pre-eminence – began when the ink on the Bretton Woods Agreement was barely dry.
As the increasing globalization of private industry progressively undermined the regulatory power of nation states over business, financial markets were also beginning to wriggle free.
This gave a major boost to globalization, as the ability to raise funds for corporate expansion and to freely move capital made the alliance between finance and industry crucial to both.
It is often argued the events of the 1970s were pivotal in the falling-out of favour of Keynsian-style macroeconomic management. But the decade of the 1970s was more the occasion than the cause of the revival of economic liberalism.
As already noted, for a Keynesian system (in which the state is responsible for macro-economic management) to be effective, significant controls are required, especially of finance.
THE RESURGENCE OF NEO-LIBERALISM(AKA NEO-MERCHANTALISM NEO-FEUDALISM, call it what you will, at base, it is elite power control)
The first significant testing of the new, more managed international financial world order can be traced to developments as early as the 1950s.
The US-funded Marshall Plan, which played a vital part in rebuilding war-torn Europe, created an enormous increase in US dollars held by foreign countries and companies.
This caused pressure for the creation of a market in which dollars could be freely exchanged; and during the Cold War, London was the preferred centre for Euro-dollar trading, especially for the Soviet Union (Helleiner 1994: 81-100).
Since the financial sectors of the US and UK had been aspiring to regain the dominant position they had enjoyed before the financial market reforms that followed the 1931 financial crisis,
in order to attract international business, the Eurodollar markets went largely unregulated; and they grew rapidly during the 1960s.
This was a major step on the road to global financial liberalisation (Burns 2006).
The laxness of financial market regulation during the 1960s attracted foreign banks and bankers to London (Schenk 2004).
But far more importantly, it created precedents for the further liberalization that allowed financial institutions to circumvent both domestic financial controls and the Bretton Woods agreement.
In so doing, it fatally undermined the foundations of the post-war system of international financial market regulation (Burns 2006), including its under-pinning of Keynesian macroeconomic policy.
(so we can see that Keynesianism has been maligned systematically and on purpose, because it benefits the masses rather than elites, while at the same time elites decry its failures and extol the virtues of so called “free market” theology, knowing full well that both tacks are pure unadulterated lies and fallacies, because Keynesianism does indeed work and free markets are akin to flying unicorns shitting skittles)
Competition [READ ELITE GREED] between the financial centres in London and New York encouraged increasingly ‘light touch’ regulation to make them attractive to global finance.
Thus, whereas early post-war reforms had favoured the productive over the speculative use of capital,
this priority was reversed as the controls that had restricted the international movement of financial capital during the 1950s and 1960s were gradually loosened and as,
in the process, finance and industry were increasingly de-coupled.
IT ALSO SPARKED THE TRANSFORMATION OF WHAT HAD, IN EFFECT, BEEN A PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL MONETARY ORDER INTO WHAT BECAME ESSENTIALLY A PRIVATE NETWORK (Burns 2006:13).
the ‘financialization’ of industry began – a process that continued apace during the decades to follow.
In general, liberal market economies (LMEs) have deep and liquid stock markets in which widely dispersed shareholder ownership
makes it possible for investors to use the take-over mechanism as a means of profiting from under-valued companies (Hall and Soskice 2001).
During the 1960s, THE THEORETIC IDENTIFICATION OF THE STOCK MARKET AS AN ‘EFFICIENT MARKET’ FOR CORPORATE CONTROL AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF AGENCY THEORY COMBINED TO LEGITIMIZE THE STOCK MARKET’S ROLE IN RESTRUCTURING INDUSTRY.
According to Krippner (2011:27), ‘financialization … refer[s] to the growing importance of financial activities as a source of profits in the economy.
Some scholars use the concept of financialization to refer to the ascendancy of “shareholder value” as a mode of corporate governance (Froud et. al. 2000, 2006; Lazonick and O’Sullivan 2000; Williams 2000).
Another use of the term … refers to the increasing political and economic power of the rentier class (Dumenil and Levy 2004; Epstein and Jayadev 2005).
Finally, the term is sometimes used to describe the explosion of financial trading associated with the proliferation of new financial instruments (Phillips 1994)’.
Agency theory purports that shareholders are the ‘owners’ of the firm, by virtue of their ownership of shares of stock in it;
and managers are hired to be their ‘agents’, charged with responsibility for managing the company in their interests.
In companies with widely-dispersed shareholder ownership, there is a ‘separation’ of ownership (by shareholders) from control (by senior managers).
In this context, a ‘corporate governance problem’ – the protection of shareholders’ investments – arises,
which is IN THEORY (putting aside elite Control Fraud) resolved by the threat of corporate restructuring through hostile take-over, merger and acquision, etc.
This serves to incentivize incumbent senior management teams to focus on delivering value to shareholders or risk being replaced by a more effective management team in the event of restructuring.
This increasing Financialization focused management’s attention on financial markets and the delivery of ‘value’ to shareholders –
diverting their attention from the strategic development of the enterprise itself (Lazonick and O’Sullivan 2000).
Especially in the UK and the US, this resulted in a wave of hostile takeovers –
financed through debt from the increasingly resurgent financial markets (right about this part it all starts to make sense)
and requiring asset stripping to repay the leverage. This ‘hollowed out’ industry on a massive scale, shifting the focus of business from making ‘things’ to making ‘money’.
As well as the interest it charged on loans, the financial services sector profited from financial advice,
new issues of stocks (FB ZNGA GRPN) and bonds (CDO^2) and the increased opportunities for speculation (repos, credit default swaps) in financial and commodity markets.
Consumer goods markets also became increasingly financialized
AS PROVIDING LOANS FOR PURCHASES PROVED MORE PROFITABLE THAN CASH SALES, (subprime!)
and as buying consumer goods on credit became increasingly the norm.
In turn, the habituation of consumers to high levels of indebtedness not only fueled bubbles (which ultimately collapsed);
it also made consumption increasingly sensitive to changes in monetary policy.
Financialization and its destabilising influence had thus become all pervasive.
so that brings us up to about Reagan, bush daddy and bubba.
Put that together with 1982 St, germain act, and 1993 Akerlof & Romer Bankruptcy for profit paper, then we can see that,
by the time clinton signed gramm-leach-bliley or whatever, Neoliberalism already had a 60 year resurgent history dating back at least to the marshall plan.
Finally, as far as Clinton in Haiti.
I recall seeing him at some forum after the quake, maybe it was doha or cgi, but he was hosting the event and there were ‘investors’ on the same panel.
the entire thing was so revolting, so blatant, you could see clinton and his cronies almost drool while they carved up the future of haiti between themselves under the rubric of helping haiti.
not one word was uttered about the health of people eating dirt cakes in haiti. it was all about luxury hotels, security and big pharma.
It was absolutely revolting and I was disgusted.
and as we all should recall, the useless aid was not getting to the haitians on the ground despite billions of contracted corporate profits.
(and it still hasn’t because the haitians had the temerity to want their old US ousted democratically elected president back, this of course creates ‘investment uncertainty’ because the elites arent guaranteed plunder)
The globalization of private industry was not a “natural” or inevitable event – it was planned by the corporate powers that be who then promoted, bribed, “influenced”, whatever, the politicians to put the policies in place that made it possible ….
To sum up my prior post in two words: “context” and yes, “forward.” My main point in posting is that most people do not understand the historical context for the repeal of Glass-Steagall and blindly point to it as the legislation that separated us from the “good old days.”
Much more important to the TBTF problem were the various amendments and loopholes in the Bank Holding Company Act; technology increases, and “liberalized” trade policies as a result of globalization, which off-shored our manufacturing jobs – leaving financial deregulation as a “path of least resistance” to economic growth. Those pieces of the puzzle are key and were left out of the article, helping to create an inaccurate picture to serve the authors thesis – evil Clintons.
I haven’t had time to read all the comments. Has anyone mentioned how Clinton has been helping privatize Haiti, so US corporations (and Clinton’s bank account) can profit from sweatshop labor, while claiming ignorance about the conditions in Haitian factories?
From an article on “The Kidnapping of Haiti” by John Pilger:
“Once fawned upon by the BBC as “Mr Nice Guy… bringing democracy back to a sad and troubled land”, Clinton is Haiti’s most notorious privateer, demanding deregulation that benefits the sweatshop barons. Lately, he has been promoting a $55m deal to turn the north of Haiti into an American-annexed “tourist playground”….”
Thanks to Matt for writing this article. This was long overdue. One would have thought that this would have been a story for the MSM after the 2007 crash but there has been and still is a deafening silence about Bill Clinton and his entire brigade here in the US as there has been radio silence maintained in UK about Blair and Nick Clegg. Proof that the entire system of Democracy in the Western world has been subverted successfully by the fat cats.
CDS never dies.
Dixi mafia? Bill? This guy?
THE CLINTON LEGACY
– The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
– Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates**
– Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation
– Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify
– Most number of witnesses to die suddenly
– First president sued for sexual harassment.
– First president accused of rape.
– First first lady to come under criminal investigation
– Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
– First president to establish a legal defense fund.
– Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
– Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
** According to our best information, 40 government officials were indicted or convicted in the wake of Watergate. A reader computes that there was a total of 31 Reagan era convictions, including 14 because of Iran-Contra and 16 in the Department of Housing & Urban Development scandal. 47 individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine were convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes with 33 of these occurring during the Clinton administration itself.
Skippy… have a look athe the system flow chart at the bottom of this page… snicker.
Why is Al Gore not mentioned? Didn’t he give up the fight before the votes were counted in FL? Now he’s got a nice Sand Hill Road gig. Much more lucrative than the one he didn’t pursue in D.C. Plus the weather’s a lot better.
In todays world facts don’t mean much or have any value when you can just make it up… Hey Matt Stoller, Clinton DID NOT deregulating derivatives…
The Futures Trading Practices Act of 1992 gave the CFTC authority to exempt OTC derivatives from most provisions of the act. In early 1993 the CFTC used that authority to create an exemption for OTC derivatives that reduced legal uncertainty for a wide range of transactions and counterparties.
Wendy Gramm mentioned that her rationale for removing CFTC jurisdiction over these contracts was that the markets were dominated by “large sophisticated commercial entities,” not “real people” investors who could get hurt.
and Pres. Clinton had how many chances to get Osama?
Bill Clinton is no friend of America.
Good article. One question: do you know for a fact that Corey Booker is seeking a post-mayoral relationship? If not, you’re arguments and reputations will be stronger if you stick to the facts. It might be hard for you to believe, but some people do believe that private equity is a valuable part of our financial system.
This isn’t capitalism; it’s corruption.
At least Romney is already very wealthy and Obama has become wealthy as president.
It would be interesting if some one like Nate Silver would do a study. It would be interesting to see how many elected politicans come in with money. Certainly a majority of Senators are rich when they get elected. Unless they they decide not to run or get voted out of office they basically stay for ever. From the 60 minutes story plent get rich on basically insider trading. I think you have to have some name recognition as well to make any money. Some Congressman from Podunk is not going to get book deals and big speaking fees. Not to say they won’t make some money, but not the big bucks that Clinon makes, or Obama will make when he is out of office.
Did anybody mention the millions of dollars Reagan received making a few speeches in Japan? Nothing new here.
Well, you didn’t really nail it. Gingrch gets speaking fees as a backdoor under the table kinda payment, actual people would not really pay to hear him speak as he is no academic or person who has unique or interesting ideas, but guess what? People pay $1,000 – $2,000 per head to hear Clinton speak, in fact, he was in various cities in Australia maiming 250k per city doing the same speech in several cities totaling 1.5 mil, these were not corporations using “public speaking” as a way to funnel him money, this was the market deciding to pay real cash to hear him speak. Gingrich on the other hand, only got speaking fees from corporations and businesses he served, not by ppl. So, if a corporation is paying Clinton speaking fees, it is possible that they are paying him what his time is worth and paying him to hear him speak, and it isn’t necessarily a backdoor payment or a way to funnel him money for the “favors” – get me? That applies to other politicians, but not really to Clinton, since he is getting what his time is worth, and not getting overpaid as a way to funnel money to him as many other lower end politicians get.