By George Capsis
In the November issue of WestView, we reported that The New York Times, in a seething editorial, challenged Hillary Clinton to “make a fast thorough effort to explain herself by providing a detailed plan for how she would promote measures protecting middle class Americans from another financial crisis,” and on December 19th she did so.
Hillary opened with some gee whiz statistics on the cost of the “The Great Recession” triggered by Wall Street and the bloated big banks gambling with our money like packaging and selling bad mortgages and blind high-speed computer trading.
“Over a million people lost their homes. Nearly nine million lost their jobs. Nearly $13 trillion in household wealth was wiped out.”
Hillary also reminded us that in 2009 the Obama administration passed a package of reforms in the Dodd-Frank Act. This legislation mandated better reporting, making illegal the more abusive financial practices and installing “critical financial practices and financial protections” which Hillary then pointed out the Republicans were trying to roll back.
She confirmed her readiness to break up any bank “too big to fail” and then cataloged a series of speculation reforms, including new rules for derivatives and credit swaps and generally identifying and limiting “excessive risks.”
What happened with Wall Street and the big banks is that they turned into a Las Vegas casino-like management, where they invent the games, making it mathematically impossible to lose, and where management pays itself outrageous salaries. When such individuals get caught, they retire with multi-million dollar retirement packages and become Washington lobbyists, paid by the same companies they left to resurrect the questionable practices for which they were ousted.
As I struggled to write this, I kept hearing on WNYC a transcription of Arnold Schwarzenegger with his vaudeville German accent trying to sound like the Republican Governor of California he became in 2003. I then thought that if he, this star of Kindergarten Cop, can be voted governor, then Donald Trump could easily become president.
Why don’t we have really brilliant, strong, wise people as president?
I don’t have the answer but if we can install George W. Bush into the White House, and then re-elect him, it may be that the system no longer works. Maybe by definition “popular vote” implicates those who are less wise electing one of their own. And the number of less wise is growing.