Bill Black: The Myth that Obama’s Taking Huge Contributions from Wall Street Was Fine

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Jointly posted with New Economic Perspectives

I am now officially an economic advisor to Senator Sanders, and this column reflects some of that advice. Part of my advice is not to take money from Wall Street felons. (I am not taking credit for Bernie’s decision — at most I supported a decision he had already made over a year ago.) One of the reasons I reinforced Bernie’s decision was witnessing the problems President Obama experienced given his taking very large contributions from Wall Street. I channeled the prescient warning that Professor Thomas Ferguson (U. Mass, Boston) gave a group of us in 2008. He predicted, accurately, that Obama would not lead an effective crackdown on the endemic fraud by Wall Street elites that caused the financial crisis. Tom (he is a personal friend) is the expert on campaign finance. He authored the classic book on campaign finance entitled Golden Rule (as in the observation that he that has the gold makes the rules.).

Tom pointed out that (then) Senator Obama was accomplishing something unprecedented. He was not only raising more money from Wall Street than the Republicans were, he was doing so in the context of a nomination battle with (then) Senator Hillary Clinton. The Clintons were both preeminent leaders of the “New Democrats.” They crafted the coalition of conservative (on economics and national security issues) Democrats. The New Democrat’s apparatus was funded overwhelmingly by Wall Street and President Bill Clinton was famous for championing the three “de’s” – financial deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization. Even if Wall Street was willing to reverse decades of contributing primarily to Republicans, why would they choose Senator Obama over their great ally, Senator Hillary Clinton? Tom predicted that Obama would win the nomination and the election – and would reject emulating President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and its transformation of finance. All three predictions proved accurate.

Hillary Clinton’s defense of taking millions of dollars in contributions from Wall Street and her extraordinary fees for speeches to Goldman Sachs is that Obama took even more money from Wall Street – indeed, more than anyone has ever taken from Wall Street.

“President Obama took more money from Wall Street in the 2008 campaign than anybody ever had,” she said. “And when it came time to stand up to Wall Street, he passed and signed the toughest regulations since the Great Depression, with the Dodd-Frank regulations.”

Hillary’s defense fails, but it is a famous defense to someone like me who lived in California for 20 years. It is the “Unruh defense” made infamous by the California Assembly Speaker decades ago:

If you can’t take their money, drink their booze, eat their food, screw their women and vote against them, you don’t belong here.

It is a pithy phrase, but Unruh knew it was simultaneously a great lie and a great truth. Unruh and the vast majority of his colleagues did not “belong” in a legislature under his own rule. Tom Ferguson’s Golden Rule is supported by all the research. Contributions, massive speech fees, and revolving doors all matter. They are not decisive with every politician on every vote, but overall they strongly warp policy against the public interest and in favor of Wall Street.

President Obama exemplifies the problem. There are zero prosecutions of any Wall Street official who played even a modest role leading the three fraud epidemics that caused the financial crisis. The pinnacle of Obama’s denunciation, in eight years, was that he opposed some unspecified actions by some unidentified “fat cat bankers.”

“I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.”

Obama made that milk toast non-denunciation exactly once – in 2009 – and never again roused himself. Instead, Obama’s comments emphasized (without the benefit of investigation) that any problems caused by Wall Street were probably simply mistakes. The toughest criticism Hillary could muster in a debate with Bernie in which she was trying to sell the audience that she had experienced a conversion and was now a critic of Wall Street was to claim that she once told them to stop their “shenanigans” (childish pranks). It is so hard to bite the hand that feeds you.

What of Hillary’s claim that Dodd-Frank was the “toughest” banking law “since the Great Depression?” Well, that is true, but it undercuts Hillary’s “Unruh” defense. First, notice that no President, since the Great Depression, attempted to achieve any substantial increase in Wall Street regulation from 1946 to 2009 – sixty-three years. Why? Two factors explain that horrific record – massive contributions from Wall Street to powerful politicians in both parties and the rise of the New Democrats and their devotion to the three “de’s.” President Carter was the first of these New Democrats elected President and he is famous for his deregulation, which included beginning to deregulate interest rates. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore responded to the massive elite fraud revealed by the savings and loan debacle by greatly intensifying the three “de’s” in finance. Hillary Clinton vigorously supported the Clinton and Gore administration’s war against effective financial regulation. Why? Anti-regulatory ideology and political contributions from Wall Street come to overlap. That is one of the most effective means by which campaign contributions corrupt the system.

Severe financial crises provide unique opportunities to the President, particularly if the president’s party also controls the House and the Senate, as was true of Obama in 2009. The Great Recession was the first immensely severe financial disaster since the Great Depression. FDR’s “New Deal” financial regulatory reforms, including Glass-Steagall, proved so successful that the U.S. went over 50 years without a severe macroeconomic contraction. Bill Clinton, of course, eagerly sought to kill Glass-Steagall. Read Tom Frank’s new book Listen Liberal to get the full background on the New Democrat’s assault on the successful, fundamental legislative reforms that arose from the New Deal.

That means that Obama was the first President in over 60 years to have both the ability to achieve fundamental financial reforms analogous to the New Deal and the political need for change arising from public demand to achieve such a reform. But Dodd-Frank compelled nothing fundamental. It did not mandate that the regulators transform Wall Street’s corrupt culture. The most you can say is that it provided increased authority to allow the Obama administration to act against that culture should it muster the will to do so.

Consider two obvious examples. Bill Clinton, at the behest of Wall Street threats, passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act for the express purpose of defeating Brooksley Born’s efforts to protect our Nation from financial derivatives. The Dodd-Frank bill could have been shortened by many pages and made more effective by stating: “The Commodity Futures Modernization Act is repealed.” But Obama did not want to repeal the act. Similarly, Dodd-Frank could have been shortened and made more effective by stating: “The provisions repealing the provisions known as the “Glass-Steagall Act” are repealed and the regulations and interpretations in force as of 1980 shall be reinstated effective in 2013.” But Obama did not want to bring back the vital protections of the Glass-Stegall Act.

Further, the Obama administration has not taken any fundamental action to end the corrupt culture of Wall Street. It has not prosecuted. It has not forced the systemically dangerous institutions that pose global systemic risks to shrink to the point that they no longer pose a global systemic risk. It has not fundamentally changed executive and professional compensation even though they are intensely criminogenic. Obama has appointed a series of weak regulatory leaders. Yes, Dodd-Frank allowed Obama and his regulators to take more effective actions. But Obama and those he appointed have lacked the will to even try to make fundamental changes and restore the rule of law to Wall Street. Wall Street remains rigged and its central business strategy remains fraud and ripping off its customers.

Rather than using the vital lessons and building on the policy remedies of the New Deal, Dodd-Frank did not even restore the protections FDR wisely had enacted 70 years earlier. Instead, net, we went backwards. The exception is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – and that is due overwhelmingly to (now) Senator Warren’s progressive efforts.

Dodd-Frank refutes (or proves) Hillary’s invocation of the Unruh defense. Even in the best political circumstances in roughly 70 years, Dodd-Frank failed to mandate fundamental change and Obama and the weak regulators and prosecutors he appointed lack the will to use their new statutory powers to require fundamental change. The system remains rigged because those that have the gold (Wall Street), and those that accept their gold, make the rules that rig the system and they commit hundreds of thousands of felonies with impunity for Wall Street elites.

We also need to ask a more fundamental question of Hillary – why? Why with your huge Super PAC funding from Wall Street, your delegate lead, and the criticism you are getting from progressives and will get from independents and Republicans do you continue to take enormous sums from Wall Street felons? It is clearly a liability politically. It blows your cover as a self-describe convert to progressive approaches to regulating (and prosecuting) Wall Street.

To put another of my hats on for a moment – as a founding member of the Bank Whistleblowers United – why not take our campaign pledge and announce you are ceasing to take money from the Wall Street felons? Taking our pledge is the right thing to do as a matter of policy and ethics, but it is also the smart thing to do politically in your present circumstances. Your continuing refusal to stop taking huge sums from Wall Street felons in these circumstances should prompt your supporters to ask why you are so addicted to their millions and what Wall Street expects to get in return. Stop using Unruh’s sleazy defense of conflicts of interest.

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  1. Nick

    Very well put. Being an advisor to Sanders, I hope the author forces him to explain this in a TV-friendly way (ie in 30 seconds or less) during the debate. I know that this is sort of part of his stump speech, but these explanations outlining the underlying and very simple power plays at work in the system really need to be conveyed to a national audience.

    Chomsky sometimes talks about the very real phenomenon that if he brings up an example of, say, Russia being bad, no one asks him for specifics, yet if he says the same about the US, he has to provide excruciatingly detailed examples. I understand that the NY Daily News thing about the banks was misinterpreted and that NYDN had some of their facts wrong as well (which he should have known and corrected), but nonetheless he really should have had a Chomsky-like, detailed 20-minute explanation of ways to go about breaking up/reforming banks ready for occasions like that. I say this as someone who desperately wants to see him win, and because it was predictable that someone at some point would ask him exactly that type of question since it’s a centerpiece of his campaign.

    I hope and suspect that if and when the time comes, he chooses Warren as his VP. Does he technically have to win the nomination first to ask her?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Warren would not be a good VP pick. She’s from the East, old (even though vigorous and well preserved), white, and an intellectual. Sanders needs someone younger, from outside the Northeast, ideally of color.

      If Sanders wants to give her a spot on his team, Treasury would be the better place.

        1. Kokuanani

          Tulsi is a practicing Hindu, and Hawaii is a small state. I don’t know how many people of color, particularly religious AAs in the south, she would attract to the ticket.

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            Tulsi is hot, which obliterates any objections to her candidacy. Also a war veteran, I believe.

            1. Arizona Slim

              She is a war vet who is, shall we say, attractive. And, unlike a previous VP candidate who hails from AK, Tulsi has brains.

          2. diptherio

            Not to worry, many Hindus believe that Jesus is simply the most recent avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu (which, I guess, makes Yaweh synonymous w/ Vishnu). I’m sure once it was explained, everybody would be cool with it.

            1. knowbuddhau

              Oh yes, definitely, I’m sure it would go over just as well as when I said to my sister’s mother-in-law, a devout member of the local Dutch Reformed church (also popular in apartheid South Africa), “Jesus and the Buddha were on about pretty much the same thing.”

              1. Susan A

                And as well as the time I told my So. Baptist mother in law that Jesus and Buddha were like 1st cousins. I was damned to hell for that one.

        1. diptherio

          Agree. He wants to attract the older AA vote? Seems like the obvious choice, no? And as a bonus, if Bernie croaks while in office we’ll end up with the first woman president. What’s not to like?

      1. apber

        The Treasury has been, since JFK populated by well nurtured professionals from the ranks of the TBTF banks, the NY Fed, or promoted from within; very few exceptions. The financial elite learned that an outsider was bad for the business of raping America. Warren doesn’t have a prayer, unless there is a Revolution (hope, hope, hope).

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Stop making stuff up. It’s a violation of our comments policy.

          Carter’s first Treasury Secretary was Michael Blumenthal, a business exec (bottle caps and later auto parts) and economist.

          Nicholas Brady was Reagan’s Treasury secretary, from Dillon Read, a white shoe investment banking boutique. Had all of maybe 200 employees, no banking whatsoever, no trading.

          Lloyd Bentsen was Clinton’s first Treasury secretary.

          All of Bush the Younger’s Treasury secretaries were from industry until Hank Paulson, and he served for only about the last 18 months.

      2. vidimi

        not sure that’s a requirement on a democratic ticket. it looks like regardless of whom the repugs will run, sanders would probably get away with david duke as his vp pick as people who care about issues of race will still not go anywhere near the repugs.

        1. vidimi

          actually, having a minority for veep might actually be a bad thing if he hopes to steal many trumpers should their candidate get stuffed by his party

      3. Arizona Slim

        Read Warren’s autobiography. It doesn’t take a close reading to figure out that Elizabeth is NOT cut out to be President. And she appears to realize it.

        1. tegnost

          I think she’s doing ok as a senator, which is also a pretty powerful position. There are three branches of gov and it’s good to spread the voices around

          1. Arizona Slim

            As a Senator, she’s good. But, IMHO, she’d be over her head as VPOTUS. Or POTUS.

      4. Speculator

        Moreover, Sanders could use someone with more foreign policy chops than Warren. Sherrod Brown?

      5. Jeff J

        Why color are some kind of black racist ? Race and gender should have no place in politics. Only competency and character. Bill Black for Treasury.

    2. HopeLB

      Wonderful news! Thank you Bill Black!
      Upset at how Bernie was fumbling with specifics in an early debate with Hillary, I actually emailed Michael Hudson, who I made aware of only know of because of Nakedcapitalism and Counterpunch, asking him to advise Bernie. He emailed me back (!), replying that Bernie hadn’t asked him yet. Maybe, Bill, Ellen Brown (?) and Michael Hudson could open Bernie rallies with TED-like talks on economics with Phish musical interludes?
      For VP, maybe Michele Alexander or Cornell West!
      For foreign policy, Michael Brenner (U of Pittsburgh) and Pepe Escobar!
      Mike Whitney should have a spot too.

      1. Skippy

        Nix Ellen Brown, TED talks… Ellen is bad on Monetary and Finance and TED is a technoglibertarian wank fest…

        1. diptherio

          “TED-like” not TED. The format is popular, like it or not. No reason we shouldn’t shamelessly rip it off, now is there? Turn-about is fair play, afterall, and plenty of good ideas of the left have been co-opted by the corporate wankers. Time we do the same.

          As for TED proper, I just thought of a better acronym for them: SALLY (Some A$$hole Literally Lying to You)….actually, a lot of them are pretty good and have pointed me in useful directions…many, of course, are SALLYs.

    3. Michael C.

      NIck, I agree fully and have expressed similar sentiments about his delivery of the issues he supports in debates, rallies, and television. I know he is trying to stay on message by repeating the same general maxims, but he needs to flesh these out in a simple way to bring those along who have little understanding of the issues. For example, look at the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) website and you will find simple facts and explanations as to what single payer is and why it it necessary. He often does a poor job of expanding his maxims in order to expanding understanding. This leaves him open to the false narrative that his plans are pie in the sky.

      1. Nick

        Michael, I completely agree with keeping the maxims simple to capture a wider audience, but when he sits down with an editorial board and they start questioning him, he should – at least in terms of sheer policy and legislative mechanisms – be able to wipe the floor with the editors.

        Though I thoroughly disagree with his politics, Bill Clinton can certainly be a master of taking seemingly complex topics and explaining them in both bullet-point fashion and then expanding on them in detail if and when necessary in a way that the public and the media eat up. Bernie’s topics aren’t complex, they just happen to run counter to the mainstream narrative (like saying the US did something bad, as opposed to Russia) and therefore require further explanation. But as I said, since banking, healthcare et al. are such a focal points of his campaign, when necessary, he should be able to deliver a flawless disquisition on whatever the major issue may be. And when they ask him how to pay for healthcare and college, I find it mind-boggling that he doesn’t just say “the same way we pay for war.”

        Also, Yves, you’re right, Warren would be better suited for Treasury.

    4. TedWa

      I suggest Zephyr Teachout, A Constitutional scholar that gave Cuomo a run for his money with little to no Wall St financial support. Maybe Sanders was inspired by her run against Cuomo to run without super pacs or Wall St money.

      “Cuomo won for one reason — his opponent had no name ID, and he spent between $11M and $15M on this election. Money in politics is used to talk to voters through mail and TV. Without it, you are mute. Zephr Teachout didn’t do one piece of mail, or a single TV ad. There was a lot of evidence that primary voters, when given a light persuasion message, flipped to Teachout. She got a big chunk of the vote without spending very much at all. But there was no money to deliver such a message. Given a bit more money, or a bit more time, the outcome would have been different. To put it another way, Cuomo paid roughly $48 for every vote he got, where Zephyr paid roughly $2.70.”

      Teachout accused Cuomo of governing as a Republican, acting as a shill for the big banks and other campaign contributors, and being part of a “corrupt old boys’ club” in Albany. Making full use of social media and appearances in more traditional media, she demonstrated that, even in this day and age, a candidate with a real message doesn’t necessarily need the support of the party apparatus, or the financial backing of big donors, to have an impact.”

  2. TMc

    I am now officially an economic advisor to Senator Sanders

    Oh man is that music to the ears! This is all becoming so surreal, like we could actually have a functioning democracy and a future to believe in…

    1. TedWa

      Me too! He’s going to have more fuel to detract from Shillary’s 3rd way financial positions in ways that will stick in the voters minds. YAY !!.

    2. EmilianoZ

      This nomination of Bill Black as an “advisor” is nothing less than a declaration of war on the financial industry. Sanders might have gone too far with this unprovoked provocation. This means an all out war with the financial industry.

      1. TomD

        You don’t think declaring that Wall Street’s business model is fraud was a declaration of war?

  3. Bas

    The picture of $hillary as anything but a hired gun does not compute with me. She’s like a lobbyist running for president, so the idea of her caring what ‘ethical’ people think is really too much for me to imagine. She already took a pledge, and I hear that laugh of hers coming on if she read Bill Black’s invitation. Cackle.

    Bernie attracts good people. And birds.

  4. divadab

    Despite the ridiculous claims of the anti-Christ worshippers, America’s overarching secular religion is its Constitutional government. Time to throw the money changers out of the temple.

    How? Restricting political donations AND activity to citizens only.

    Citizens Only!
    Citizens Only!

    And only a natural person can be a citizen.

    1. Carla

      You mean like this?

      ‘‘SECTION 1. The rights protected by the Constitution
      of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
      Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability
      companies, and other entities, established by the laws of
      any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall
      have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to
      regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local
      law. The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined
      by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and
      shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.”

      (Section 2 states that money is not “speech.”) Currently has 15 co-sponsors in the 114th Congress; get your Congress Critter to sign on.

      1. Robert Coutinho

        Done & done. I have contacted both of my senators and my representative.

        Thanks for the information!

    2. roadrider

      Yeah because there are no “Christ worshippers” on Wall St.
      What a delusional non-sequitur.

  5. Charles Myers

    Chris Dodd now has cush job with the Motion Picture Academy.

    Barney Franks net worth doubled during the economic downturn.

  6. Jerry Hamrick

    Bill, your light never dims. May it always be so.

    This essay, as all your others that I have read, is correct and complete. I hope that your points are taken up by the MSM.

    1. Tiercelet


      I’ve been working to refine the exact phrasing, but the way I’ve been putting this is:

      Corruption doesn’t consist in buying the favorable opinion of the powerful, but in buying power for those who already have favorable opinions.

  7. participant-observer-observed

    GREAT news!

    I have been posting “Bill Black for AG” around many times for the past weeks!

    p.s. 4/8 free rally in Flatbush (Bernie block): Ave P & E; 26th St. Brooklyn 11229

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      He’s never been a prosecutor or any kind of trial lawyer. You cannot be an effective senior prosecutor without significant litigation experience. This is why Eric Schneiderman has been so useless. And the NY AG is nowhere near as big a job. His office has only a dozen staff attorneys.

      He’s been a bank regulator. He should head the FDIC.

  8. Steven Greenberg

    Wonderful news. If you had been at that Daily News interview with Bernie, you could have provided them with chapter and verse about the crimes that have been committed by Wall Street. You could have provided historical examples of breaking up banks that were frauds.

    See my Facebook and blog post about how Bernie should have been reading all the things that I have posted over the years about one William K. Black.

  9. Randy

    Bill —

    Good news about your appointment! Now help him out quickly. In think he did not do well — though not as disasterously as characterized by team Clinton — in the much-publicized Daily News interview and calling Clinton unqualified was a misstep regardless of “who started it”. He needs to do a better job of articulating his positions on economic policy issues. His heart is in the right place, which trumps the qualifications argument for me given what administrative expertise has gotten the public in the last few decades. And I’m pretty sure he has a more in-depth strategy than presented in the interview. Get busy and pronto!

    As an aside, is Stephanie Kelton currently involved in the Sanders campaign? I thought I read somewhere that she was also a Sanders economic policy adviser.

    1. diptherio

      His heart is in the right place, which trumps the qualifications argument for me given what administrative expertise has gotten the public in the last few decades.

      Wait a minute…who has administrative expertise that you apparently think Bernie lacks (’cause being mayor of a city doesn’t require any)? You seem to be implying that HRC is, in fact, “more qualified” than Bernie but you don’t care because his heart is in the right place (inside his ribcage?)…what a confusing comment….Does a disasterous run as SoS really qualify one for the Presidency? Have we normalized “failing up” that much that it’s just taken for granted? And Bernie didn’t do well in an interview where the prosecutor, journalist got the Fed and Treasury confused? Wha???

  10. Steven

    In Defense of Taking Wall Street Bribes
    Apparently it is still not widely recognized that Wall Street and the TBTF banks decided making things to make money involved too much risk and hard work. Better to just skip the commodity phase in M->C->M’ and go directly from the initial sum of money M to a much enhanced sum of M’ through financial rather than industrial engineering. (Real “creative destruction” – BAD!)

    So anyhow, since the US still needs money (or a MUCH larger conventional military) to take the things necessary to support its people (or at least its 0.001%) in the manner to which they have become accustomed, something has to be done to fleece savers in countries beyond its borders. Without those capital inflows which Wall Street and the TBTF banks are so adept at arranging, the country’s 0.001% might have to pay real taxes and their wholly owned politicians might have to undertake the much more difficult task of governing in the interests of ALL their constituents instead of just those who can give them or their foundations the most money.

    Come on people! We are now in a post-industrial world. Get with the plan!

  11. Blurtman

    Folks may not recall, but two months into President Obama’s first term, he stated on the Leno show that the banks had committed no crimes. He repeated that lie in public appearances several times thereafter. Then came Geithner, Summers, and a continual revolving door of Wall Street and Wall Street lawyer employees. And even the unambiguous crimes of laundering money for drug cartels could not result in the prosecution of bank executives. There is no reason to vote for Hillary, if she gets the nod and that is in doubt, because the other guys are even worse.

  12. susan the other

    Will someone please donate a clear, funny and accurate one-minute video on How to Break Up the Big Banksters to the Sanders campaign. And not just how to break them up but how to replace them, like a Post Bank system. Like a stock market dedicated not to high frequency trade skimming, but to its original purpose – that of raising money via the sale of shares so corporations can invest in their own expanding businesses. Of course banks and corporations are such slithering shape shifters if it looks like they are cornered they will just offshore themselves on paper. So must have a second video on how to eradicate them from abusing the system we wish to create and protect. Etc.

  13. knowbuddhau

    Prof. Black is on the case, hip hip hooray! I love his style, as devastatingly detailed and knowledgeable as it is humorous.

  14. Robert Coutinho

    If Bernie does not get the nod (as seems increasingly likely), but gets influence, since HRC needs Bernie’s followers as voters, he should insist that she sign the pledge (see above) and appoint Bill Black as either AG or Secretary of the Treasury!

    1. tegnost

      I think the increasing likelihood is that sanders will win, while the decreasing likelihood is a clinton win, she may “get the nod” somehow in the end but her numbers have been falling persistently. Hillary in victory will honor no pledges made except those made to banksters and globalist robot manufacturers.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Sanders has won seven out of the last eight primaries. No. 8 was Arizona. Massive voter suppression here.

    2. Bas

      I am imagining Bill Black in a Hillary administration.
      Who would want to waste someone like him in a cesspool like that? Like Vince Foster all over again.

  15. inode_buddha

    — Just my dream scenario for dealing with Wall St…

    We can do away with corporate taxes altogether, and do away with taxing earnings abroad. BUT in exchange for doing so, we will have reciprocal trade agreements, tarriffs and all, ala’ 1912, *and* capital gains will be at the same rate as gambling *and* no more carried interest.

    Side benefit of all this is, the middle class gets a huge shot in the arm via labor demand.

    There *does* need to be some way to do campaign finance reform (I favor publicly funded) and limit the power and influence of special interest lobbyists. How to do that, I dunno. The Dutch had some good ideas over the last few hundred years — maybe go and study their system.

    I truly hope and pray that the next President will float this idea. And I can’t imagine anyone better qualified than Bill Black for dealing with the economic issues. I’m *very* happy an encouraged by this development. Thank you, Bill!

  16. Russell Scott Day/Founder of Transcendia

    One of Nader’s strengths was explaining the seemingly complex. I felt, I usually use the word judge, but this time feel, have felt for a good while now that Sanders desperately needed a running mate that was running with him now. Of course I wanted Warren, but hell he likely held back deciding to run knowing there was so much support for Warren she might have gone ahead with it.
    Now for the last bit I saw Tusli Gabbard as a pick. Who knew she was a Hindu. All I ever have for fault with them culturally is that they tend to have a lot of arms going all at once enthused to a point where all dissipates into indecision. Of course the Indian Democratic process can get right clear. I watched one report of one politician known for lying and corruption dragged from the stage and beaten to death. That’s a tough crowd.
    I did Stand-Up for a few years. Hecklers, Chek, Repetition, Chek.
    Al Franken sure isn’t funny any more. Maybe he just became part of the problem.
    You know I need to look up more fully what it took for the Uruguayans to get from where they were to where they are now. They recently kicked the people selling the TPP out. Strong separation between church & state. Pot is legal, which is attractive as hell to me. The Atlantic way down that way is long from Cesium 137 circulating in the Pacific from Fukushima. There are few tanks in the region, and wherever there are tanks, look for war, and the use of “tactical” nuclear weapons. (Carter’s Neutron Bomb turned into a “dialed down thermonuclear bomb” sort of like a dimmable light bulb.) And then the port city of Montevideo is supposed to be just great.
    I’ve been recommending Montevideo, qualified with “Do you know Spanish?”

  17. Quantum Future

    Count me in as a new finally convinced Bernie supporter. He has been on the American people’s side of the vote on nearly everything for a decade.

    If it were up to me I would put Bill Black in charge of the Justice Department and as Yves suggested, Warren as Treasury.

    Someone great as Sec of State will be really important as well.

    We all have a very big mess to clean up.

  18. Bernard

    Yes, Bill Black clearly and simply explains this “mess” and what the Corporations/Money/ “Hillarys, “et al, represent. He’s a great communicator who can get Bernie’s economic “message” out to the rest of Americans. Let’s hope Bernie gets Mr. Black out there. Think of the voters Bernie would win over just by hearing Mr. Black.

    we need to have Mr. Black out there. there is hope. No more Obamas.

  19. D.N.

    Have I missed something? I’ve been a fan and follower of Prof. Black for decades (etc. etc.), but re. this comment directed to Mrs. Clinton:

    “To put another of my hats on for a moment – as a founding member of the Bank Whistleblowers United – why not take our campaign pledge and announce you are ceasing to take money from the Wall Street felons? Taking our pledge is the right thing to do as a matter of policy and ethics, but it is also the smart thing to do politically in your present circumstances.”

    There’s more to the BWU plan than that (, and to my knowledge the only candidate for POTUS who’s signed onto it so far is Jill Stein from the Green Party.
    — If Bernie Sanders has committed to it, I haven’t seen it.

    Does anyone have a link to corroborate that, please?

  20. Tony Butka

    Congratulations, Mr. Black, from (mostly) sunny southern california! I met ‘Big Daddy’ Unruh in my youth, and can only say that Ms Clinton is a mere petulant child in comparison to the king of down and dirty politics.

  21. freedomny

    ” But Dodd-Frank compelled nothing fundamental. It did not mandate that the regulators transform Wall Street’s corrupt culture.”

    To me – this really is the key. I deal with lending everyday…and while Dodd Frank is a start, in terms of mortgages, it only really made the banks the consumer’s keepers. The underwriting is so “scripted” to fnma and freddie that it is now extremely difficult for someone other than your average W2 earner to get a loan – which I think is a shame. What they should be moving towards is getting rid of gse backed mortgages and making the banks hold them on their own balance sheets – just plain good old fashioned lending against the assets you hold.

    Getting rid of the corrupt culture that still exists means calling out/regulating/penalizing the senior executives. It is obscene that CEO’s of financial institutions (that are government backed!!) get ridiculous amounts of income in compared to the average employee. I still remember that NYTimes Magazine of J. Dimon as Banker of the Year….because he “recognized” the subprime horror prior to 2008. I worked at Chase then as a mortgage banker and that article couldn’t be furthest from the truth. There essentially was no subprime mortgage department at Chase “until” Dimon came aboard. We were then offered ridiculous commissions to refer subprime clients – practically “ordered” to do so.

    Bottom line is we need rigorous regulations that are much more targeted than what currently exists.

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