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Закон Гласса-Стиголла
08 декабря, 19:43

How To Swamp Washington And Double-Cross Your Supporters Big Time

Trump’s Bait and Switch Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com Given his cabinet picks so far, it’s reasonable to assume that The Donald finds hanging out with anyone who isn’t a billionaire (or at least a multimillionaire) a drag. What would there be to talk about if you left the Machiavellian class and its exploits for the company of the sort of normal folk you can rouse at a rally?  It’s been a month since the election and here’s what’s clear: crony capitalism, the kind that festers and grows when offered public support in its search for private profits, is the order of the day among Donald Trump’s cabinet picks. Forget his own “conflicts of interest.” Whatever financial, tax, and other policies his administration puts in place, most of his appointees are going to profit like mad from them and, in the end, Trump might not even wind up being the richest member of the crew.  Only a month has passed since November 8th, but it’s already clear (not that it wasn’t before) that Trump’s anti-establishment campaign rhetoric was the biggest scam of his career, one he pulled off perfectly. As president-elect and the country’s next CEO-in-chief, he’s now doing what many presidents have done: doling out power to like-minded friends and associates, loyalists, and -- think John F. Kennedy, for instance -- possibly family.  Here, however, is a major historical difference: the magnitude of Trump’s cronyism is off the charts, even for Washington. Of course, he’s never been a man known for doing small and humble. So his cabinet, as yet incomplete, is already the richest one ever. Estimates of how loaded it will be are almost meaningless at this point, given that we don’t even know Trump’s true wealth (and will likely never see his tax returns). Still, with more billionaires at the doorstep, estimates of the wealth of his new cabinet members and of the president-elect range from my own guesstimate of about $12 billion up to $35 billion. Though the process is as yet incomplete, this already reflects at least a quadrupling of the wealth represented by Barack Obama’s cabinet. Trump’s version of a political and financial establishment, just forming, will be bound together by certain behavioral patterns born of relationships among those of similar status, background, social position, legacy connections, and an assumed allegiance to a dogma of self-aggrandizement that overshadows everything else. In the realm of politico-financial power and in Trump’s experience and ideology, the one with the most toys always wins. So it’s hardly a surprise that his money- and power-centric cabinet won’t be focused on public service or patriotism or civic duty, but on the consolidation of corporate and private gain at the expense of the citizenry. It’s already obvious that, to Trump, “draining the swamp” means filling it with new layers of golden sludge, similar in color to the decorations that adorn buildings with his name, including the new Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House where foreign diplomats are already flocking to curry favor and even the toilet paper holders in the lobby bathrooms are faux-gold-plated. The rarified world of his cabinet choices is certainly a universe away from the struggling working class folks he bamboozled with promises of bringing back American “greatness.” And yet the soaring value of his cabinet should be seen as merely a departure point for our four-year (or more) leap into what is guaranteed to be an abyss of inequality and instability. Forget their wealth. What their business conflicts, relationships, and ideological stances indicate about what they’ll do to America is far more worrisome. And though Trump promised (and tweeted) that he’d be “completely out of business operations,” the possibility of such a full exit for him (or any of his crew) is about as likely as a full reveal of those tax returns. Trumping History There is, in fact, some historical precedent for a president surrounding himself with such a group of self-interested power-grabbers, but you’d have to return to Warren G. Harding’s administration in the early 1920s to find it. The “Roaring Twenties” that ended explosively in a stock market collapse in 1929 began, ominously enough, with a presidency filled with similar figures, as well as policies remarkably similar to those now being promised under Trump, including major tax cuts and giveaways for corporations and the deregulation of Wall Street.  A notably weak figure, Harding liberally delegated policymaking to the group of senior Republicans he chose to oversee his administration who were dubbed “the Ohio gang” (though they were not all from Ohio). Scandal soon followed, above all the notorious Teapot Dome incident in which Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall leased petroleum reserves owned by the Navy in Wyoming and California to two private oil companies without competitive bidding, receiving millions of dollars in kickbacks in return. That scandal and the attention it received darkened Harding’s administration. Until the Enron scandal of 2001-2002, it would serve as the poster child for money (and oil) in politics gone bad. Given Donald Trump’s predisposition for green-lighting pipelines and promoting fossil fuel development, a modern reenactment of Teapot Dome is hardly beyond imagining. Harding’s other main contributions to American history involved two choices he made. He offered businessman Herbert Hoover the job of secretary of commerce and so put him in play to become president in the years just preceding the Great Depression.  And in a fashion that now looks Trumpian, he also appointed one of the richest men on Earth, billionaire Andrew Mellon, as his treasury secretary.  Mellon, a Pittsburgh industrialist-financier, was head of the Mellon National Bank; he founded both the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), for which he’d be accused of unethical behavior while treasury secretary (as he still owned stock in the company and his brother was a close associate), and the Gulf Oil Company; and with Henry Clay Frick, he co-founded the Union Steel Company.   He promptly set to work -- and this will sound familiar today -- cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations. At the same time, he essentially left Wall Street free to concoct the shadowy “trusts” that would use borrowed money to purchase collections of shares in companies and real estate, igniting the 1929 stock market crash. After Mellon, who had served three presidents, left Herbert Hoover’s administration, he fell under investigation for unpaid federal taxes and tax-related conflicts of interest. Modernizing Warren G. Within the political-financial establishment, the more things change, the more, it seems, they stay the same. As Trump moves ahead with his cabinet picks, several of them already stand out in a Mellon-esque fashion for their staggering wealth, their legal entanglements, and the policies they seem ready to support that sound like eerie throwbacks to the age of Harding.  Of course, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, so here are the top four of the moment (with more on the way). Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (net worth $2.9 billion) Shades of Andrew Mellon, Ross, a registered Democrat until Trump scooped him up, made his fortune as a corporate vulture (sporting the nickname “the king of bankruptcy”).  He was notorious for devouring the carcasses of dying companies, spitting them out, and pocketing the profits.  He bought bankrupt steel companies, while moving $6.4 billion of their employee pension benefits to the rescue fund of the government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation so he could make company financials look better. In the early 2000s, his steel industry deals bagged him an impressive $267 million. Stripped of health-care benefits, retired steelworkers at his companies didn’t fare as well.    Trump, of course, has promised the world to the sinking coal industry and out-of-work coal miners. His new commerce secretary, however, owned a coal mine in West Virginia, notoriously cited for hundreds of violations, where 12 miners subsequently died in an explosion.   Ross also made money running Rothschild Inc.’s bankruptcy-restructuring group for nearly two-and-a-half decades. A member (and once leader) of a secret Wall Street fraternity, Kappa Beta Phi, in 2014 he remarked that “the one percent is being picked on for political reasons.” He has an art collection valued conservatively at $150 million, or 3,000 times the average American’s income of $51,000. In addition, he happens to own a Florida estate only miles down the road from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private club. While Trump has lambasted China for stealing American jobs, Ross (like Trump) has made money from China. In 2010, one of that country’s state-owned enterprises, China Investment Corporation, put $500 million in Ross’s private equity fund, WL Ross & Company. Ross has not disclosed whether these investments remain in his fund, though he told the New York Post that if Trump believes there are conflicts of interest among any of his investments, he would divest himself of them. In August 2016, his company had to pay a $2.3 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges for not properly disclosing $10.4 million in management fees charged to his investors in the decade leading up to 2011. In October, Ross assured Bloomberg that China will continue to be an investment opportunity.  As secretary of commerce, the world will become his personal business venture and boardroom, while U.S. taxpayers will be his funders. He is an ardent crusader for corporate tax cuts (wanting to slash them from 35% to 15%). As head of the commerce department, the man the Economist dubbed “Mr. Protectionism” in 2004 will be in charge of any protectionist policies the administration implements. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (family wealth $5.1 billion) DeVos, the daughter of a billionaire and daughter-in-law of the cofounder of the multilevel marketing empire Amway, has had no actual experience with public schools. Unlike most of the rest of America (myself included), she never attended a public school, nor have any of her children. (Neither did Trump.) But she and her family have excelled at the arithmetic of campaign contributions. They are estimated to have contributed at least $200 million to shaping the conservative movement and various right-wing causes over the last half-century.  As she wrote in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call in 1997, “My family is the biggest contributor of soft money to the Republican National Committee.” That trend only continued in the years that followed. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, since 1989 she and her relatives have given at least $20.2 million to Republican candidates, party committees, PACs, and super PACs.  The center further noted that, “Betsy herself, along with her husband, Dick DeVos, Jr., has contributed more than $7.7 million to federal candidates, committees, and parties since 1990, including almost $4.8 million to super PACs.”  Her brother, ex-Navy SEAL Erik Prince, founded the controversial private security contractor Blackwater (now known as Academi). He also made two considerable donations to Make America Number 1, a super PAC that first backed Senator Ted Cruz and then Trump. So whatever you do, don’t expect Betsy De Vos’s help in allocating additional federal funds to elevate the education of citizens who actually do attend public schools, or rather what Donald Trump now likes to call “failing government schools.” Instead, she’s undoubtedly going to promote privatizing school voucher programs and charter schools across the country and let those failing government schools go down the tubes as part of a Republican war on public education.   Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (net worth $25 million) As the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate, a former labor secretary for George W. Bush, and the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chao’s establishment connections are overwhelming. They include board positions at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and at Wells Fargo Bank.  While Chao was on its board, Wells Fargo scammed its customers to the tune of $2.4 million, and incurred billions of dollars of fines for other crimes. She was silent when its former CEO John Stumpf resigned in a blaze of contriteness.    In 2008, Chao ranked 8th in Bush’s executive branch in terms of net worth at  $16.9 million. In 2009, Politico reported that, in memory of her mother who passed away in 2007, she and her husband received a “personal gift” from the Chao family worth between $5 million and $25 million. In 2014, the Center for Responsive Politics ranked McConnell, with an estimated net worth somewhere around $22 million, as the 11th richest senator. As with all things wealth related, the truth is a moving target but the one thing Chao’s not (which may make her a rarity in this cabinet) is a billionaire. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (net worth between $46 million and $1 billion) Hedge fund mogul and Hollywood producer Steven Mnuchin is the third installment on Goldman Sachs’s claim to own the position of Treasury secretary. In fact, when it comes to the stewardship of the country’s economy, Goldman continues to reign supreme.  Bill Clinton appointed the company’s former co-chairman Robert Rubin to Treasury in gratitude for his ability to bestow on him Wall Street cred and the contributions that went with it. George W. Bush appointed former Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Hank Paulson as his final Treasury secretary, just in time for the “too big to fail” economic meltdown of 2007-2008. Now, Trump, who swore he’d drain “the swamp” in Washington, is carrying on the tradition. The difference? While Rubin and Paulson pushed for the deregulation of the financial industry that led to the Great Recession and then used federal funds to bail out their friends, Mnuchin, who spent 17 years with Goldman Sachs, eventually made an even bigger fortune by being on the predatory receiving end of federal support while scarfing up a failed bank. In 2008, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), formed in 1934 to insure the deposits of citizens at commercial banks, closed 25 banks, including the Pasadena-based IndyMac Bank. In early January 2009, the FDIC agreed to sell failed lender IndyMac to IMB HoldCo LLC, a company owned by a pack of private equity investors led by former Goldman Sachs partner Mnuchin of Dune Capital Management LP for about $13.9 billion. (They only had to put up $1.3 billion in cash for it, however.) When the deal closed on March 19, 2009, IMB formed a new federally chartered savings bank, OneWest Bank (also run by Mnuchin), to complete the purchase. The FDIC took a $10.7 billion loss in the process. OneWest then set about foreclosing on IndyMac’s properties, the cost of which was fronted by the FDIC, as was most of the loss that was incurred from hemorrhaging mortgages. In other words, the government backed Mnuchin’s private deal big time and so helped give him his nickname, the “foreclosure king,” as he became an even wealthier man. By October 2011, protesters were marching outside Mnuchin’s Los Angeles mansion with “Stop taking our homes” signs. OneWest soon became mired in lawsuits and on multiple occasions settled for millions of dollars. Nonetheless, Mnuchin sold the bank for a cool $3.4 billion in August 2015. Shades of the president-elect, he also left another beleaguered company, Relativity Media, where he had been co-chairman, two months before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015. Mnuchin’s policy priorities include an overhaul of the federal tax code (aimed mainly at helping his elite buddies), financial deregulation (including making the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 significantly more lenient for hedge funds), and a review of existing trade agreements. He has indicated no support for reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which separated commercial banks that held citizens’ deposits and loans from the speculative practices of investment banks until it was repealed in 1999 under the Clinton administration. Gilded Government Hillary Clinton certainly cashed in big time on her Wall Street connections during her career and her presidential campaign. And yet her approach already seems modest compared to Trump’s new open-door policy to any billionaire willing to come on board his ship. His new incarnation of the old establishment largely consists of billionaires and multimillionaires with less than appetizing nicknames from their previous predatory careers. They favor government support for their private gain as well as deregulation, several of them having already specialized in making money off the collateral damage from such policies. Trump offered Americans this promise: "I'm going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people." In his world, best means rich, and serious means seriously shielded from the way much of the rest of the country lives. Once upon a time, I, too, worked for Goldman Sachs. I left in 2002, the same year that Steven Mnuchin did.  I did not go on to construct deals that hurt citizens. He did. Public spirit is a choice. Aspiring to run government as a business (something President Calvin Coolidge tried out in the 1920s with dismal results for America), Trump is now surrounding himself with a crew of crony capitalists who understand boardroom speak, but have nothing in common with most Americans.  So give him credit: his administration is already one of the great political bait-and-switch productions in our history and it hasn’t even begun.  Count on one thing: in his presidency he’ll only double down on that “promise.” Nomi Prins, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of six books. Her most recent is All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power (Nation Books). She is a former Wall Street executive. Special thanks go to researcher Craig Wilson for his superb work on this piece. Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

01 декабря, 22:23

Bernie Sanders: 'This Campaign Was About Transforming America'

The following is an excerpt from Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In By Bernie Sanders When we began our race for the presidency in April 2015, we were considered by the political establishment and the media to be a "fringe" campaign, something not to be taken seriously. After all, I was a senator from a small state with very little name recognition. Our campaign had no money, no political organization, and we were taking on the entire Democratic Party establishment. And, by the way, we were also running against the most powerful political operation in the country. The Clinton machine had won the presidency for Bill Clinton twice and almost won the Democratic presidential nomination for Hillary Clinton in 2008. When our campaign finally came to a close in July 2016, it turned out that the pundits had got it wrong -- big-time. We had made history and run one of the most consequential campaigns in the modern history of the country—a campaign that would, in a very profound way, change America. We received more than 13 million votes in primaries and caucuses throughout the country. We won twenty-two states, more than a few by landslide proportions. We won 1,846 pledged delegates to the Democratic Convention, 46 percent of the total. Importantly, in virtually every state, we won a strong majority of younger people—the future of America. We won large percentages of the vote from white, black, Latino, Asian-American, and Native American youth. We set the agenda for the America of tomorrow. On April 25, 2016, The Washington Post reported on a poll conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics. "'The data, collected by researchers at Harvard University, suggest that not only has Sanders's campaign made for an unexpectedly competitive Democratic primary, he has also changed the way millennials think about politics,' said polling director John Della Volpe. 'He's not moving a party to the left. He's moving a generation to the left,' Della Volpe said of the senator from Vermont. 'Whether or not he's winning or losing, it's really that he's impacting the way in which a generation—the largest generation in the history of America—thinks about politics.'" At a time when political apathy is high, voter turnout is abysmally low, and millions of Americans are giving up on the political process, our campaign attracted the energetic support of hundreds of thousands of volunteers in every state in the country. We had the largest rallies of the campaign and, in total, more than 1.4 million people attended our public meetings. As a result of our victories in a number of states, there are now at least five new chairs of state Democratic parties who were elected as part of the political revolution. Further, there are a number of progressive candidates, energized and supported by our campaign, running for office for everything from school board to the U.S. Congress—and many of them will win. New blood. New energy in the political process. Sign up for more essays, interviews and excerpts from Thought Matters. ThoughtMatters is a partnership between Macmillan Publishers and Huffington Post And we showed—in a way that can change politics in America forever—that you can run a competitive national grassroots campaign without begging millionaires and billionaires for campaign contributions. We, proudly, were the only campaign not to have a super PAC. In a manner unprecedented in American history, we received some 8 million individual campaign contributions. The average contribution was $27. These donations came from 2.5 million Americans, the vast majority of whom were low- or moderate-income people. During the campaign, we forced discussion on issues the establishment had swept under the rug for far too long. We brought attention to the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in this country and the importance of breaking up the large banks that brought our economy to the brink of collapse. We exposed our horrendous trade policies, our broken criminal justice system, and our people's lack of access to affordable health care and higher education. We addressed the global crisis of climate change, the need for real comprehensive immigration reform, the importance of developing a foreign policy that values diplomacy over war, and so much more. Importantly, the support that we won showed that our ideas were not outside of the mainstream. We showed that millions of Americans want a bold, progressive agenda that takes on the billionaire class and creates a government that works for all of us and not just for big campaign donors. The widespread and popular support we received for our agenda helped transform the Democratic Party and forced Secretary Clinton to move her position closer to ours in a number of areas. She began the campaign as a supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Keystone Pipeline. She ended up being in opposition to both. As a result of negotiations between the two camps after the campaign ended, Secretary Clinton adopted bold positions on higher education and health care that moved her closer to what we had advocated. Our campaign also had a huge impact on the writing of the most progressive platform, by far, in the history of the Democratic Party. Despite being in the minority, our supporters ended up shaping much of that platform. Here is some of what the Democratic Party of 2016 stands for: A $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, the expansion of Social Security benefits, and the creation of millions of new jobs that will be needed to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. The breaking up of too-big-to-fail banks and the creation of a twenty-first-century Glass-Steagall Act. The closing of loopholes that allow multinational corporations to avoid federal taxes by stashing their cash in offshore tax havens. The combating of climate change by putting a price on carbon and transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels. Major criminal justice reform, including the abolition of the death penalty, the ending of private prisons, and the establishment of a path toward the legalization of marijuana. The passage of comprehensive immigration reform. The most expansive agenda ever for protecting Native American rights. During the fifteen months of the campaign there was one central point that I made over and over again, and let me repeat it here: This campaign was never just about electing a president of the United States—as enormously important as that was. This campaign was about transforming America. It was about the understanding that real change never takes place from the top on down. It always takes place from the bottom on up. It takes place when ordinary people, by the millions, are prepared to stand up and fight for justice. That's what the history of the trade union movement is about. That's what the history of the women's movement is about. That's what the history of the civil rights movement is about. That's what the history of the gay rights movement is about. That's what the history of the environmental movement is about. That's what any serious movement for justice is about. That's what the political revolution is about. I ended this campaign far more optimistic about the future of our country than when I began. How could it be otherwise? In fields in California, I spoke to thousands of working people from every conceivable background who came together determined to transform our country. They were farmworkers, environmentalists, gay activists, and students. They know, and I know, that we are stronger when we stand together and do not allow demagogues to divide us up by race, gender, sexual orientation, or where we were born. In Portland, Maine, on a cold day, my staff watched people wait outside on long lines for hours, determined to cast their votes at the caucus there. In Arizona, it took some people five hours to cast a vote—but they stayed and voted. All across this country, people are fighting back to create the vibrant democracy that we desperately need and to stop our drift toward oligarchy. In New York City, I walked the picket line with striking workers at Verizon who were determined not to see the company cut benefits and outsource jobs. They stood up against outrageous corporate greed. They stood together as a proud union. And they won. In Washington, D.C., I marched with low-wage workers who told the world that they cannot survive on the starvation minimum wage that currently exists. That we need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Their message and their fight is reverberating all across the country. This book describes the history-making campaign that we ran. But more important, it looks to the future. It lays out a new path for America based on principles of economic, social, racial, and environmental justice. On behalf of our children and grandchildren, it is a path that must be followed and a fight that must be won. The struggle continues.   Copyright © 2016 by Bernie Sanders   BERNIE SANDERS ran as a Democratic candidate for President of the United States in 2015 and 2016. He served as mayor of Burlington, Vermont's largest city, for eight years before defeating an incumbent Republican to be the sole congressperson for the state in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1991. He was elected to the Senate in 2007 and is now in his second term, making him the longest-serving independent in the history of the Congress. He lives in Burlington, Vermont, with his wife, Jane, and has four children and seven grandchildren. Read more at Thought Matters. Sign up for originals essays, interviews, and excerpts from some of the most influential minds of our age. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

01 декабря, 17:30

Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: Franklin Financial Network, First Business Financial Services and First NBC Bank Holding

Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: Franklin Financial Network, First Business Financial Services and First NBC Bank Holding

30 ноября, 23:11

Why Trump's Not Enough to End Banking Woes

Why Trump's Not Enough to End Banking Woes

21 ноября, 15:48

Weekend Reading: Luigi Zingales: The Right Way to Resist Trump

The best thing I have seen on the mess that America has now gotten itself into: **Luigi Zingales**: _[The Right Way to Resist Trump][]_: Five years ago, I warned about the risk of a Donald J. Trump presidency. Most people laughed... >They thought it inconceivable. I was not particularly prescient;...

15 ноября, 19:05

Warren blasts Trump transition decisions, vows Dodd-Frank battle

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Tuesday excoriated Donald Trump's first decisions as president-elect in a series of attacks aimed at financiers on his short list for the Treasury Department and the hiring of Steve Bannon as his White House chief strategist.Speaking at a Wall Street Journal event in Washington, the Massachusetts Democrat criticized Trump for "hiring a bunch of lobbyists" to run his transition team and for floating "names of people who've run giant hedge funds ... to be able to run the Treasury or people who've come from industry to be able to run the regulatory agencies.""The American people understand the revolving door," Warren said. "They're really sick of it."Warren then took aim at Bannon, the controversial Trump adviser under fire from civil rights groups and Democrats who are accusing the former Breitbart News head of having ties to white nationalism.Bannon's presence suggests "this is a White House that will embrace bigotry," she said.Warren predicted a "battle that's going to be fought hard" over defending post-crisis financial regulations in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, which Trump has pledged to dismantle.Warren hinted that she would use the upcoming debate as an opportunity to push for changes that make banking rules tougher.She cited Trump's support for reviving the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, a law separating commercial and investment banking that Warren has also championed. Trump's transition team has not signaled any plans to follow through on that position, which is in the Republican platform."It will be interesting to see where Donald Trump goes," Warren said, noting that the memory of Wall Street excesses that led to the 2008 crisis and bailouts had not been forgotten. "The American people get this."

15 ноября, 01:00

Why Wall Street Is Suddenly in Love with Trump

It’s not just the return of ‘Government Sachs’ in the person of new White House strategist Steve Bannon. Traders are thinking Trump’s policies might actually work—at least for them.

11 ноября, 22:31

What, Now A Trump Recession?

Economists are already warning that if President-elect Trump's policies are enacted, such as initiating trade wars, or the wrong tax cuts, or even cutting back on social security and Medicare benefits, we could see another recession, similar to the Great Recession that occurred during GW Bush's term. Whether his policies can be enacted depends on several things, including his unpredictable behavior, and perhaps the outcome of his November 28 RICO trial in San Diego for running Trump University as a criminal enterprise. Judge Gonzalo Curiel has just ruled that Trump's inflammatory campaign statements can be admitted as evidence in his trial. The Bush recession was caused by too lax regulations that caused the housing bubble (by allowing excessive bank leverage), tax cuts that increased the budget deficit while we were fighting two wars, and then Greenspan's Federal Reserve decision to raise interest rates 16 consecutive times to bust the housing bubble. It's terrifying what President-elect Trump will be able to do when he controls all three branches of government (as soon as he appoints a ninth Supreme Court Justice) and carries out his campaign pledges. Carrying out his pledge to deport all aliens when there is already an outflow of immigrants will devastate agriculture, construction, and any other industry that relies on low-cost labor, for instance. His promise to 'fix' Obamacare (or abolish it outright) will endanger health benefits for the 20 million now covered by it. This makes healthcare much more expensive, since it puts the uncovered back in Emergency Room care for serious illnesses, which puts the cost of their care back on the hospitals. And as the New York Times reports, "This is going to be a president who will be the biggest regulatory reformer since Ronald Reagan," Stephen Moore, one of Mr. Trump's economic advisers said in an interview on Wednesday. "There are just so many regulations that could be eased." It could be everything from repeal of Dodd-Frank, the successor to the Glass Steagall Act that protected federally insured depositors from risky investment banking, to repealing environmental regulations that combat global warming, and not only abolishing Obamacare, but the current Medicare system as House Speaker Paul Ryan is threatening to do. Graph: Marketwatch And we are reaching full employment levels, which will surely mean the Fed will begin to raise short term rates in December. This is happening already in the bond markets, as evidenced by rising longer term interest rates in anticipation of a soaring budget deficit, if Trump's plan to increase both infrastructure and military spending while cutting taxes is implemented. The central issue, though, may be Trump's misbehavior in dissing those values that made American great. "Trump's bigotry, dishonesty and promise-breaking will have to be denounced," said David Brooks today. "We can't go morally numb. But he needs to be replaced with a program that addresses the problems that fueled his ascent. "After all, the guy will probably resign or be impeached within a year. The future is closer than you think." But President-elect Trump's destruction of almost all decency in his grab for overwhelming power has let that Genie of discontent out of the bottle. We know what happened in the 1930s and even earlier when such ruthless tactics were used. Harlan Green © 2016 Follow Harlan Green on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HarlanGreen -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

11 ноября, 01:52

3 Reasons Why President Trump Sounds Good to Banks

Donald Trump's surprising presidential victory received a grand welcome from both large and small bank stocks, reflecting investors' positive sentiments on the election of the 45th U.S. president.

08 ноября, 23:29

This Election Was Colossally Dumb And We're All Lucky We Survived It

Election days are kind of slow, so here’s an arbitrary and unorganized list of dumb campaign moments. Enjoy. Or don’t. The important thing is this will soon all be over.  Let’s start with the creepy hidden camera video Bobby Jindal released of his kids to announce his presidential campaign: Remember this guy? EXCLUSIVE: Trump doctor says he wrote health letter in just 5 minutes as limo waited https://t.co/hy9CLowPJt pic.twitter.com/CyoqDpVhIl— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) August 26, 2016 This isn’t from the campaign, but Donald Trump wearing Zubaz shorts in the early 90s is dumb: Remember the Libertarian Party convention?  “Bernie Sandwiches” Remember how much money people spent on Jeb Bush? America. pic.twitter.com/TeduJkwQF3— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) February 16, 2016 Remember Lincoln Chafee’s response to why he voted to undo the Glass-Steagall Act? "The Glass-Steagall was my very first vote, I'd just arrived, my dad had died in office." Lincoln Chafee So many GOP debates: Remember this? Remember how Trump floated the idea that the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered?  “They say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow." Donald Trump on Michael Savage's radio show Remember all the memories that Breitbart News gave us? Oh, and also all the anti-semitism? Remember Libertarian presidential candidate Darryl Perry attacking his own lectern during the party’s only primary debate? Libertarian presidential candidate Darryl Perry attacking his own lectern during the party’s only primary debate pic.twitter.com/QclfYkzcIo— Eliot Nelson (@eliotnelson) November 8, 2016 Remember the Cruz/Fiorina ticket?  Remember how the media lost its mind during Hillary Clinton’s “listening tour?” Remember how Ivanka, Eric AND Barron Trump all voted the same number of times for their dad in New York’s primary? Remember how the Clinton campaign thought voters wanted to see Rob Reiner sing? Remember “The ‘everyday people’ who made Clinton’s burrito bowl?” Never forget the taco bowl tweet: Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics! https://t.co/ufoTeQd8yA pic.twitter.com/k01Mc6CuDI— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2016 Remember Mark Halperin’s nonsensical debate ratings? My @GovernorPerry report card: Style B. Substance B. Overall B+. Full report card here: http://t.co/qezVXZricY pic.twitter.com/GV3bHXqOSD— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) June 4, 2015 Remember how Ben Carson would handle a mass shooting?  "I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.'" Ben Carson on Fox News Remember the press credentials at the Green Party convention? Press credentials at the Green Party convention pic.twitter.com/sbZZL7t99u— Eliot Nelson (@eliotnelson) August 5, 2016 Remember when The New Republic wanted to have carnal knowledge of Donald Trump? Remember what a terrible politician Carly Fiorina is? Love my alma mater, but rooting for a Hawkeyes win today. #RoseBowl— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) January 1, 2016 Remember Jim Webb? Remember when Trump served “Trump steaks” to the press and they weren’t Trump steaks? Remember when Ted Cruz prepared to release his clutch of eggs for a beach birthing? Nature is beautiful. Remember Trump and Halperin’s ride on that Zamboni? Remember when Rand Paul wanted attention? Remember Chris Christie’s ennui? Remember CPAC and how it’s always dumb? Remember sticker guy? Remember when Heidi Cruz’s election went from bad to worse? Remember when Jeb! put on that hoodie? And who can forget when it all began? Please clap.  Huffington Post reporter Eliot Nelson’s book, The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide to Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing and Sometimes Hilarious Government, is out now.  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

04 ноября, 00:48

We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For

While the 2016 election cycle is about to end, our work as engaged citizens is just beginning. I believe this election, regardless of who wins, has finally awakened the American people to the fact that we are responsible for the state of our union. Whether our government functions in the best interests of the people is up to us. Too often we have allowed the politicians and special interests to determine policy without regard for the public interest. For example, when President Bill Clinton negotiated NAFTA, the North American Trade Agreement, was he looking out for American workers or big business? And, whose concerns guided our government's decision to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act that separated commercial banking from investment banks? Wall Street or Main Street? In 2003 when the Bush Administration promoted and initiated a war against Iraq, was that in the best interests of the American people? With then-Vice President Cheney leading the way, Halliburton, Cheney's former company, and other Big Oil corporations sought to profit from the needless killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the wasteful expenditure of trillions of U.S. taxpayers' dollars. More recently, when the 2008 Great Recession crippled the country, President Obama used our money to bail out Wall Street while doing little to help millions of his fellow citizens save their homes from foreclosure. In all these and other similar situations, the vast majority of Americans felt helpless, watched their government act against their best interests and did nothing. But, the times they are a-changing. A great number of Americans from all political persuasions are fed up with government as usual. They are giving notice that they will no longer stand by and allow Big Money and special interests to run the show. Whether they support Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, voters are angry and ready to fight for what they believe in. When President Obama was elected, people thought he would deliver the "change you can believe in" that he had promised. They did not hold his feet to the fire to assure he would make good on his promises. While one can argue that Obama faced much opposition which obstructed his performance, we, the people, were not organizing the mass movement that would have provided the necessary support and force to overcome some of the obstacles he faced. This time is different. We are under no illusions that either Clinton or Trump will produce the change most Americans desire. This time we know that it is up to us to battle for the kind of country we want. We must make our voices heard and demand real change for the public good, not the special interests. We are the ones we've been waiting for. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

27 октября, 18:02

Will A Hillary Clinton Presidency Lead To Another Wall Street Banking Crisis?

Wall Street in the Saddle Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com As this endless election limps toward its last days, while spiraling into a bizarre duel over vote-rigging accusations, a deep sigh is undoubtedly in order. The entire process has been an emotionally draining, frustration-inducing, rage-inflaming spectacle of repellent form over shallow substance. For many, the third debate evoked fatigue. More worrying, there was again no discussion of how to prevent another financial crisis, an ominous possibility in the next presidency, whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton enters the Oval Office -- given that nothing fundamental has been altered when it comes to Wall Street’s practices and predation. At the heart of American political consciousness right now lies a soul-crushing reality for millions of distraught Americans: the choices for president couldn’t be feebler or more disappointing. On the one hand, we have a petulant, vocabulary-challenged man-boar of a billionaire, who hasn’t paid his taxes, has regularly left those supporting him holding the bag, and seems like a ludicrous composite of every bad trait in every bad date any woman has ever had. On the other hand, we’re offered a walking photo-op for and well-paid speechmaker to Wall-Street CEOs, a one-woman money-raising machine from the 1% of the 1%, who, despite a folksiness that couldn’t look more rehearsed, has methodically outplayed her opponent. With less than two weeks to go before E-day -- despite the Trumptilian upheaval of the last year -- the high probability of a Clinton win means the establishment remains intact. When we awaken on November 9th, it will undoubtedly be dawn in Hillary Clinton’s America and that potentially means four years of an economic dystopia that will (as would Donald Trump’s version of the same) leave many Americans rightfully anxious about their economic futures. None of the three presidential debates suggested that either candidate would have the ability (or desire) to confront Wall Street from the Oval Office. In the second and third debates, in case you missed them, Hillary didn’t even mention the Glass-Steagall Act, too big to fail, or Wall Street. While in the first debate, the subject of Wall Street only came up after she disparaged the tax policies of “Trumped-up, trickle down economics” (or, as I like to call it, the Trumpledown economics of giving tax and financial benefits to the rich and to corporations). In this election, Hillary has crafted her talking points regarding the causes of the last financial crisis as weapons against Trump, but they hardly begin to tell the real story of what happened to the American economy. The meltdown of 2007-2008 was not mainly due to “tax policies that slashed taxes on the wealthy” or a “failure to invest in the middle class,” two subjects she has repeatedly highlighted to slam the Republicans and their candidate. It was a byproduct of the destruction of the regulations that opened the way for a too-big-to-fail framework to thrive. Under the presidency of Bill Clinton, Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era act that once separated people’s bank deposits and loans from any kind of risky bets or other similar actions in which banks might engage, was repealed under the Financial Modernization Act of 1999. In addition, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act was passed, which allowed Wall Street to concoct devastating unregulated side bets on what became the subprime crisis. Given that the people involved with those choices are still around and some are still advising (or in the case of one former president living with) Hillary Clinton, it’s reasonable to imagine that, in January 2017, she’ll launch the third term of Bill Clinton when it comes to financial policy, banks, and the economy. Only now, the stakes are even higher, the banks larger, and their impunity still remarkably unchallenged. Consider President Obama’s current treasury secretary, Jack Lew. It was Hillary who hit the Clinton Rolodex to bring him back to Washington. Lew first entered Bill Clinton’s White House in 1993 as special assistant to the president.  Between his stints working for Clinton and Obama, he made his way into the private sector and eventually to Wall Street -- as so many of his predecessors had done and successors would do.  He scored a leadership role with Citigroup during the time that Bill Clinton’s former Treasury Secretary (and former Goldman Sachs co-Chairman) Robert Rubin was on its board of directors.  In 2009, Hillary selected him to be her deputy secretary of state. Lew is hardly the only example of the busy revolving door to power that led from the Clinton administration to the Obama administration via Wall Street (or activities connected to it). Bill Clinton’s Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs, Timothy Geithner worked with Robert Rubin, later championed Wall Street as president and CEO of the New York Federal Reserve while Hillary was senator from New York (representing Wall Street), and then became Obama’s first treasury secretary while Hillary was secretary of state. One possible contender for treasury secretary in a new Clinton administration would be Bill Clinton’s Under Secretary of Domestic Finance and Obama’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman, Gary Gensler (who was -- I’m sure you won’t be shocked -- a Goldman Sachs partner before entering public service). These, then, are typical inhabitants of the Clinton inner circle and of the political-financial corridors of power. Their thinking, like Hillary’s, meshes well with support for the status quo in the banking system, even if, like her, they are willing on occasion to admonish it for its “mistakes.” This thru-line of personnel in and out of Clinton World is dangerous for most of the rest of us, because behind all the “talking heads” and genuinely amusing Saturday Night Live skits about this bizarre election lie certain crucial issues that will have to be dealt with: decisions about climate change, foreign wars, student-loan unaffordability, rising income inequality, declining social mobility, and, yes, the threat of another financial crisis. And keep in mind that such a future economic meltdown isn’t an absurdly long-shot possibility. Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve, the nation’s main bank regulator, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the government entity that insures our bank deposits, collectively noted that seven of our biggest eight banks -- Citigroup was the exception -- still have inadequate emergency plans in the event of another financial crisis. Exploring a Two-Faced World Politicians regularly act one way publicly and another privately, as Hillary was “outed” for doing by WikiLeaks via its document dump from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s hacked email account. Such realities should be treated as neither shockers nor smoking guns. Everybody postures. Everybody lies. Everybody’s two-faced in certain aspects of their lives. Politicians just make a career out of it. What’s problematic about Hillary’s public and private positions in the economic sphere, at least, isn’t their two-facedness but how of a piece they are. Yes, she warned the bankers to “cut it out! Quit foreclosing on homes! Quit engaging in these kinds of speculative behaviors!” -- but that was no demonstration of strength in relation to the big banks. Her comments revealed no real understanding of their precise role in exacerbating a fixable subprime loan calamity and global financial crisis, nor did her finger-wagging mean anything to Wall Street. Keep in mind that, during the build-up to that crisis, as banks took advantage of looser regulations, she collected more than $7 million from the securities and investment industry for her New York Senate runs ($18 million during her career). In her first Senate campaign, Citigroup was her top contributor.  The four Wall-Street-based banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley) all feature among her top 10 career contributors. As a senator, she didn’t introduce any bills aimed at reforming or regulating Wall Street. During the lead-up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008, she did introduce five (out of 140) bills relating to the housing crisis, but they all died before making it through a Senate committee. So did a bill she sponsored to curtail corporate executive compensation. Though she has publicly called for a reduction in hedge-fund tax breaks (known as “closing the carried interest loophole”), including at the second debate, she never signed on to the bill that would have done so (one that Obama co-sponsored in 2007). Perhaps her most important gesture of support for Wall Street was her vote in favor of the $700 billion 2008 bank bailout bill. (Bernie Sanders opposed it.) After her secretary of state stint, she returned to the scene of banking crimes. Many times. As we know, she was also paid exceedingly well for it. Friendship with the Clintons doesn’t come cheap. As she said in October 2013, while speaking at a Goldman Sachs AIMS Alternative Investments’ Symposium, “running for office in our country takes a lot of money, and candidates have to go out and raise it. New York is probably the leading site for contributions for fundraising for candidates on both sides of the aisle.” Between 2013 and 2015, she gave 12 speeches to Wall Street banks, private equity firms, and other financial corporations, reaping a whopping $2,935,000 for them. In her 2016 presidential run, the securities and investment sector (aka Wall Street) has contributed the most of any industry to PACs supporting Hillary: $56.4 million. Yes, everybody needs to make a buck or a few million of them. This is America after all, but Hillary was a political figure paid by the same banks routinely getting slapped with criminal settlements by the Department of Justice. In addition, the Clinton Foundation counted as generous donors all four of the major Wall Street-based mega-banks. She was voracious when it came to such money and tone-deaf when it came to the irony of it all. Glass-Steagall and Bernie Sanders One of the more illuminating aspects of the Podesta emails was a series of communications that took place in the fall of 2015. That’s when Bernie Sanders was gaining traction for, among other things, his calls to break up the big banks and resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.  The Clinton administration’s dismantling of that act in 1999 had freed the big banks to use their depositors’ money as collateral for risky bets in the real estate market and elsewhere, and so allowed them to become ever more engorged with questionable securities. On December 7, 2015, with her campaign well underway and worried about the Sanders challenge, the Clinton camp debuted a key Hillary op-ed, “How I’d Rein in Wall Street,” in the New York Times. This followed two months of emails and internal debate within her campaign over whether supporting the return of Glass-Steagall was politically palatable for her and whether not supporting it would antagonize Senator Elizabeth Warren. In the end, though Glass-Steagall was mentioned in passing in her op-ed, she chose not to endorse its return. She explained her decision not to do so this way (and her advisers and media apostles have stuck with this explanation ever since): “Some have urged the return of a Depression-era rule called Glass-Steagall, which separated traditional banking from investment banking. But many of the firms that contributed to the crash in 2008, like A.I.G. and Lehman Brothers, weren’t traditional banks, so Glass-Steagall wouldn’t have limited their reckless behavior. Nor would restoring Glass-Steagall help contain other parts of the ‘shadow banking’ sector, including certain activities of hedge funds, investment banks, and other non-bank institutions.” Her entire characterization of how the 2007-2008 banking crisis unfolded was -- well -- wrong.  Here’s how traditional banks (like JPMorgan Chase) operated: they lent money to investment banks like Lehman Brothers so that they could buy more financial waste products stuffed with subprime mortgages that these traditional banks were, in turn, trying to sell. They then backed up those toxic financial products through insurance companies like AIG, which came close to collapse when what it was insuring became too toxically overwhelming to afford.  AIG then got a $182 billion government bailout that also had the effect of bailing out those traditional banks (including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which became “traditional” during the crisis). In this way, the whole vicious cycle started with the traditional banks that hold your deposits and at the same time could produce and sell those waste products thanks to the repeal of Glass-Steagall. So yes, the loss of that act caused the crisis and, in its wake, every big traditional bank was fined for crisis-related crimes. Hillary won’t push to bring back Glass-Steagall. Doing so would dismantle her husband’s legacy and that of the men he and she appointed to public office. Whatever cosmetic alterations may be in store, count on that act remaining an artifact of the past, since its resurrection would dismay the bankers who, over the past three decades, made the Clintons what they are. No wonder many diehard Sanders supporters remain disillusioned and skeptical -- not to speak of the fact that their candidate featured dead last (39th) on a list of recommended vice presidential candidates in the Podesta emails. That's unfortunately how much his agenda is likely to matter to her in the Oval Office. Go Regulate Yourselves! Before he resigned with his nine-figure golden parachute, Wells Fargo CEO and Chairman John Stumpf addressed Congress over disclosures that 5,300 of his employees had created two million fake accounts, scamming $2.4 million from existing customers. The bank was fined $185 million for that (out of a total $10 billion in fines for a range of other crimes committed before and during the financial crisis). In response, Hillary wrote a letter to Wells Fargo’s customers. In it, she didn’t actually mention Stumpf by name, as she has not mentioned any Wall Street CEO by name in the context of criminal activity. Instead, she simply spoke of “he.”  As she put it, “He owes all of you a clear explanation as to how this happened under his watch.” She added, “Executives should be held individually accountable when rampant illegal activity happens on their watch.” She does have a plan to fine banks for being too big, but they’ve already been fined repeatedly for being crooked and it hasn’t made them any smaller or less threatening.  As their top officials evidently view the matter, paying up for breaking the law is just another cost of doing business. Hillary also wrote, “If any bank can’t be managed effectively, it should be broken up.” But the question is: Why doesn’t ongoing criminal activity that threatens the rest of us correlate with ineffective management -- or put another way, when was the last time you saw a major bank broken up? And don’t hold your breath for that to happen in a new Clinton administration either. In her public letter, she added, “I’ll appoint regulators who will stand with taxpayers and consumers, not with big banks and their friends in Congress.”  On the other hand, at that same Goldman Sachs symposium, while in fundraising mode, she gave bankers a pass relative to regulators and commented: “Well, I represented all of you for eight years. I had great relations and worked so close together after 9/11 to rebuild downtown, and [I have] a lot of respect for the work you do and the people who do it.” She has steadfastly worked to craft explanations for the financial crisis and the Great Recession that don’t endanger the banks as we presently know them. In addition, she has supported the idea of appointing insider regulators, insisting that “the people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.” (Let’s not forget that former Goldman Sachs CEO and Chairman Hank Paulson ran the Treasury Department while the crisis brewed.)  Among the emails sent to John Podesta that were posted by WikiLeaks is an article I wrote for TomDispatch on the Clintons' relationships with bankers.  “She will not point fingers at her friends," I said in that piece in May 2015. She will not chastise the people who pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop to speak or the ones who have long shared the social circles in which she and her husband move.” I also suggested that she wouldn't call out any CEO by name. To this day she hasn’t. I said that she would never be an advocate for Glass-Steagall. And she hasn’t been. What was true then will be no less true once she’s in the White House and no longer has to make gestures toward the platform on which Bernie ran and so can once again more openly embrace the bankers’ way of conducting business. There’s a reason Wall Street has a crush on her and its monarchs like Goldman Sachs CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein pay her such stunning sums to offer anodyne remarks to their employees and others. Blankfein has been coy about an official Clinton endorsement simply because he doesn’t want to rock her campaign boat, but make no mistake, this Wall Street kingpin’s silence is tantamount to an endorsement. To date, $10 trillion worth of assets sits on the books of the Big Six banks. Since 2008, these same banks have copped to more than $150 billion in fines for pre-crisis behavior that ranged on the spectrum of criminality from manipulating multiple public markets to outright fraud. Hillary Clinton has arguably taken money that would not have been so available if it weren’t for the ill-gotten gains those banks secured. In her usual measured way, albeit with some light admonishments, she has told them what they want to hear: that if they behave -- something that in her dictionary of definitions involves little in the way of personalized pain or punishment -- so will she. So let’s recap Hillary’s America, past, present, and future. It’s a land lacking in meaningful structural reform of the financial system, a place where the big banks have been, and will continue to be, coddled by the government. No CEO will be jailed, no matter how large the fines his bank is saddled with or how widespread the crimes it committed.  Instead, he’s likely to be invited to the inaugural ball in January. Because its practices have not been adequately controlled or curtailed, the inherent risk that Wall Street poses for Main Street will only grow as bankers continue to use our money to make their bets. (The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act was supposed to help on this score, but has yet to make the big banks any smaller.) And here’s an obvious corollary to all this: the next bank-instigated economic catastrophe will not be dealt with until it has once again crushed the financial stability of millions of Americans. The banks have voted with their dollars on all of this in multiple ways. Hillary won’t do anything to upset that applecart. We should have no illusions about what her presidency would mean from a Wall Street vs. Main Street perspective. Certainly, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon doesn't. He effectively endorsed Hillary before a crowd of financial industry players, saying, "I hope the next president, she reaches across the aisle." For Wall Street, of course, that aisle is essentially illusory, since its players operate so easily and effectively on both sides of it. In Hillary’s America, Wall Street will still own Main Street. Nomi Prins, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of six books. Her most recent is All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power (Nation Books). She is a former Wall Street executive. Special thanks go to researcher Craig Wilson for his superb work on this piece. Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

24 октября, 15:20

How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system.

17 октября, 17:49

Her First 100 Days: A Pledge To Take On Wells Fargo And Wall Street

The Wells Fargo phony-account scandal may be worse that we've led to believe, even after a $185 million fine and the CEO's resignation. And this isn't Wells Fargo's first scandal. Its past exploits include discriminatory lending, exploitative payday loans, and a lucrative sideline in for-profit prisons. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's Wall Street speeches are casting a pall over her potential victory and weakening her political capital before she even assumes office. She should make a pledge now: to take immediate action in her first 100 days that will address Wells Fargo's scandals and the systemic problems behind them. We have nine suggested actions, and there will undoubtedly be others. But first, some background. Taken for a stagecoach ride. The Wells Fargo brand resonates with the mythology of the American West, but this lawless town needs a new marshal. CEO John Stumpf's resignation just isn't going to cut it. It's not that the evidence exonerates him. Far from it: Whistleblowers began complaining to Wells Fargo's management back as 2005, the year Stumpf was named president. (He became CEO in 2007 and chairman of the board in 2010.) The bank says it has fired 5,300 employees for opening more than two million fraudulent accounts over the last five years. But John Stumpf -- President, CEO, Chairman -- claims he had no knowledge of these events. The bank's employee incentive system, low pay, corporate culture, and sales guidelines were all designed to encourage this kind of fraud -- but Stumpf was shocked, shocked, to learn that this kind of behavior was going on in his establishment. The problem isn't that Stumpf is leaving. It's who's staying. As the Los Angeles Times' Michael Hiltzik reports, Stumpf's replacement as board chair is Stephen W Sanger, the former CEO of General Mills. Sanger's been a member of the Wells Fargo board since 2003. Sanger has received $1.7 million in payments from the bank since 2011, for which he (like any director) is expected to be rensure that the bank is run well - and legally. As Jim Hightower notes, all the bank's board members bear responsibility for its long-term culture of fraud. A thorough housecleaning would have meant the removal of all the bank's senior officers. As a former employee told the New York Times: They all created the bank's culture of leading by fear and intimidation. But the new CEO, Timothy J. Sloan, is a 29-year Wells Fargo veteran who will have been deeply steeped in its poisonous culture. And Wells Fargo heaped encomiums on its disgraced outgoing CEO, Stumpf, where apologies to customers and shareholders would have been more appropriate. It all reeks of "crisis management," that form of corporate damage control that emphasizes rapid-response showmanship and glitzy PR moves over the assumption of responsibility and the implementation of meaningful change. As economist and white-collar criminologist William K Black Jr. explained recently, we only know what Wells Fargo has chosen to tell us about this latest epidemic of fraud. This response isn't a confidence-builder. Neither is the recent revelation that Stumpf sold $61 million in stock in the month before the $185 million settlement was announced. That looks a lot like "insider trading." As a well-known securities lawyer told CBS News, "I would be shocked if the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn't look heavily into this." A history of scandal. This isn't Wells Fargo's first crooked rodeo. It was one of the worst actors in the nation's foreclosure fraud epidemic, eventually paying $1.2 billion in settlement charges. It paid $175 million for racially discriminatory lending practices. As Assistant Attorney General (now Labor Secretary) Tom Perez wrote, "An African-American wholesale customer in the Chicago area in 2007 seeking a $300,000 loan paid on average $2,937 more in fees than a similarly qualified white... A Latino borrower in the Miami area in 2007 seeking a $300,000 paid on average $2,538 more than a similarly qualified white applicant." Perez called these added fees a "racial surtax." Wells Fargo has also profited from the mass incarceration crisis and the detention of immigrants. A 2012 report from National People's Action, the National Prison Divestment Campaign, and the Public Accountability Initiative ("Banking on Immigrant Detention") detailed the bank's investment and lending ties with for-profit prison corporations - companies that lobbied extensively for immigration and criminal justice policies that led to higher rates of incarceration. And Wells Fargo was one of the last major banks to end its own payday lending practice, doing so only at regulators' insistence. A 2010 report showed that Wells Fargo was "a major financier of payday lending and is involved with financing companies that operate one third (32%) of the entire payday lending industry, based on store locations." A 100-day plan. A major figure in finance, New York Federal Reserve President William J. Dudley, spoke in 2013 of "deep-seated cultural and ethical failures at many large financial institutions." Wells Fargo is that culture's new Exhibit A. But there are steps Hillary Clinton can move decisively to end the culture of lawbreaking and governmental indifference in her first 100 days. Steps she could take include: 1. Choose only strong, independent appointees -- not Wall Streeters. Clinton can ensure that her Administration will be free of those "deep-seated cultural and ethical failures" by choosing appointees who'll enforce the rules without fear or favor -- and by not appointing anyone from a major bank to a senior government position. 2. Reform the whistleblower program. Clinton should promise to upgrade and strengthen the system, which appears to have failed both the whistleblowers and the public in Wells Fargo's case. The Bank Whistleblowers Alliance has some proposals. 3. Investigate Stumpf's trades. If the SEC hasn't moved swiftly to investigate those trades, its already-embattled director has some explaining to do. But the next president must make sure that promptly opens an investigation into Stumpf's stock trading in the month before the185 million settlement. 4. Investigate the two million phony accounts. The SEC and Department of Justice should also investigate Stumpf, his senior executives (including Sloan), and the Wells Fargo board regarding this account fraud. 5. Protect and expand the CFPB. Wells Fargo's crimes prove that we need the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It should be defended from the Republicans who seek to gut it. Its budget and oversight responsibilities should be expanded to meet the ongoing threat posed by criminal bankers. 6. Break up the big banks. We agree with Republicans and Democrats who say that Wells Fargo proves too-big-to-fail banks are still a threat to the economy. The next president should direct her Treasury Secretary to develop a plan to break up Wells Fargo and others of comparable size. 7. Restore Glass-Steagall. The new president should also press for a 21st-Century Glass-Steagall Act separating consumer banking from investment activities, so that shareholders and executives will no longer be bailed out when they engage in fraud or mismanagement. 8. Investigate big-bank involvement in payday lending. The new president should direct her regulators to investigate the current state of big-bank involvement in the payday lending industry, and to publish a report of its findings that includes the social cost of this activity and more constructive alternatives for the so-called "unbanked" population. 9. Ensure justice for all. Lastly, she should demonstrate in word and deed what has unfortunately yet to be demonstrated in the nation's capital: that the law will be enforced on Wall Street as well as on Main Street without fear or favor. Whether those crimes consist of investor fraud, consumer fraud, theft, or racial discrimination, no bank executive should ever again believe he or she is above the law. Hillary Clinton could strengthen her political hand by promising actions like these at the start of her presidency. But it would be naive to assume that she'll do it on her own. Voters should ask her to make such a pledge now, for the good of the country. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

11 октября, 19:14

Email: Warren presented Clinton with list of personnel recommendations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren attempted to influence personnel picks in a Hillary Clinton presidential administration, presenting the campaign with a list of potential nominees, the latest batch of WikiLeaks emails shows.The emails purported to be from the inbox of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta provide a rare glimpse into Warren's attempts to keep Wall Street allies out of the next administration and her skepticism about Clinton's intentions.An unverified January 2015 email from Clinton speechwriting director Dan Schwerin to other campaign officials describes a discussion with longtime Warren aide Dan Geldon, following a meeting that Warren and Clinton had the previous month.The adviser to the Massachusetts Democrat was "intently focused on personnel issues," the email read. He "laid out a detailed case against the [former Treasury Secretary] Bob Rubin school of Democratic policymakers, was very critical of the Obama administration's choices, and explained at length the opposition to Antonio Weiss," an investment banker whom Warren helped block from getting a top Treasury Department job."We then carefully went through a list of people they do like, which EW sent over to HRC earlier," Schwerin said. "We have already been in touch with a number of them and I asked if he would be comfortable introducing me to the others, to which he seemed reasonably amenable."The email is a window into Warren's "personnel is policy" push aimed at limiting Wall Street executives from getting top jobs in Washington. The Democratic Party adopted the mantra as part of its campaign platform this year.Warren is on guard against Clinton tapping business-friendly administration officials from the Rubin wing of the party — a case that Warren has made directly to the Democratic nominee and indirectly through speeches and nomination fights."He spoke repeatedly about the need to have in place people with ambition and urgency who recognize how much the middle class is hurting and are willing to challenge the financial industry," Schwerin said of the meeting with Geldon. According to the email, the Warren aide expressed "some flexibility" on the Glass-Steagall Act, a repealed law separating commercial and investment banking that Warren wants to revive and Clinton has declined to endorse. "Overall, it was a polite and engaged but not exactly warm conversation," he said. "They seem wary — and pretty convinced that the Rubin folks have the inside track with us whether we realize it yet or not — but open to engagement and to be proven wrong. He mentioned that everyone will be watching carefully any leaks about who HRC is meeting and talking to. We agreed to stay in touch and I'll follow up, including to ask for introductions to specific people he mentioned."The Clinton campaign has declined to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents released by WikiLeaks.

08 октября, 00:27

The most revealing Clinton campaign emails in WikiLeaks release

The trove includes excerpts of Clinton's paid Wall Street speeches that were deemed problematic.

07 октября, 19:06

Trump economic advisers blame Clintons for 2008 financial crisis

Donald Trump’s economic advisers blame Bill and Hillary Clinton for the 2008 financial crisis, according to a statement posted to the Republican presidential nominee’s website Friday.During the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton attributed the economic collapse to — “in large part” — “tax policies that slashed taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street, and created a perfect storm.”Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross on Friday highlighted Clinton’s “absurdist claim,” noting it was “awarded ‘Three Pinocchios’ by the staunchly pro-Clinton Washington Post for purveying ‘rhetorical poppycock.’”Indeed, while acknowledging the difficulty in summarizing “vast economic changes in a single sentence,” the Post noted that “Clinton’s effort to pin much of the blame on Bush’s tax cuts is rhetorical poppycock.”But while the Post pointed to a government commission’s report that cited a combination of factors, including the housing bubble collapse, low interest rates, little regulation and “toxic” mortgages, Trump’s economic advisers suggested the Clintons were culpable.“It is an inalterable and unavoidable fact that Bill and Hillary Clinton played outsized roles in America’s mortgage meltdown,” they said, citing additional reports from National Review, Time magazine, the Washington Times and The Nation to support their case. Navarro and Ross listed the Community Reinvestment Act rewrite, Glass-Steagall Act repeal and Bill Clinton’s signing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act as examples of why the Clintons are to blame.“Hillary Clinton played an equally major role in causing the financial crisis as an obstructionist Senator,” they said, crediting the Clintons’ alleged “pay-to-play fundraising practices” for influencing Hillary Clinton’s role as a U.S. senator.They said Clinton was a major benefactor of donations from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which said also donated to the Clinton Foundation.“Given the culpability Bill and Hillary Clinton in the financial crisis, it is surprising candidate Clinton is now absurdly blaming tax cuts for the 2007 financial crisis,” they wrote. “This latest Clinton messaging only puts a spotlight on the fact that Bill and Hillary Clinton played major roles in causing the financial crisis.”

07 октября, 12:30

Donald Trump Says 70 Percent Of Federal Regulations 'Can Go'

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said as many as 70 percent of federal agency regulations could be eliminated if he is elected in November, just hours after an adviser said the candidate would seek to cut 10 percent. Trump, who blamed regulations for stifling business, told a crowd at a town hall event in New Hampshire on Thursday night that regulations for the environment and safety would remain. “We are cutting the regulation at a tremendous clip. I would say 70 percent of regulations can go,” Trump said. “It’s just stopping businesses from growing.” Earlier in the day during an online discussion with Reuters, Trump campaign adviser Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier who has raised campaign money for Trump, said Trump would eliminate 10 percent of regulations. “We need regulation but immediately every agency will be asked to rate the importance of their regulations and we will push to remove 10 percent of the least important,” he said. Another Trump campaign adviser reached by Reuters confirmed the 10 percent regulatory cut was part of their economic plan. Jeff Holmstead, a former assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency under George W. Bush’s presidency, said the goal was hard to comprehend. “You could reduce the number of regulations by 10 percent without accomplishing very much,” he said. He added it would make more sense for Trump to try to reduce the cost of regulatory compliance by 10 percent. “I think it probably would be possible for a new administration to make changes that would reduce the cost of these programs by at least 10 percent while still maintaining essentially the same level of environmental protection,” he said. Officials at the EPA and the U.S. Department of the Interior declined to comment, citing internal policies. Scaramucci also said that Trump, a fierce critic of the Federal Reserve, would probably get along well with Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Trump has repeatedly accused the Fed of serving as a political arm of the Obama White House. He says Yellen has put off raising interest rates in order to let President Barack Obama end his term in January without the economic shock that a rise in interest rates might entail. Scaramucci, a founder of SkyBridge Capital, joined Reuters Global Markets Forum to discuss his views of the campaign. He said Trump would strive for a better balance in federal regulations. Scaramucci was not as dismissive of Yellen as Trump is, saying he believes the New York property developer would warm to her eventually. “There are many well-qualified candidates but I think Mr. Trump has to spend some time with chairwoman Yellen. I think knowing what I know about his personality he will like her,” he said. Trump would seek to streamline regulations as a way to generate economic growth and help the flow of capital, the adviser said. Trump has specifically singled out the energy industry as an area that he would look at for reducing regulations. “Wall Street is not the devil,” said Scaramucci. “In fact we are at our best when (there) is harmony between Main Street and Wall Street and we hope to restore that.” Scaramucci singled out several areas that Trump would look to for reforms: ―Labor Department rules expanding the fiduciary standard for financial brokers who sell retirement products would likely be stopped. ―Legislation similar to the former Glass-Steagall Act that limited the banking industry would be on the table for review. ― The Dodd-Frank banking reforms that emerged from the Great Recession of 2008-09 will be reviewed and “the worst anti-business parts of it will be gutted.” ― The Volcker rule will be adjusted. Named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, it is part of the sweeping 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. It aims to reduce risk-taking by preventing banks from using their own capital to make speculative bets. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=57eac0bbe4b082aad9b770fc,57dcf04be4b0d5920b5b2c09,57a89ed0e4b034b258957d5b -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

07 октября, 12:30

Donald Trump Says 70 Percent Of Federal Regulations 'Can Go'

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said as many as 70 percent of federal agency regulations could be eliminated if he is elected in November, just hours after an adviser said the candidate would seek to cut 10 percent. Trump, who blamed regulations for stifling business, told a crowd at a town hall event in New Hampshire on Thursday night that regulations for the environment and safety would remain. “We are cutting the regulation at a tremendous clip. I would say 70 percent of regulations can go,” Trump said. “It’s just stopping businesses from growing.” Earlier in the day during an online discussion with Reuters, Trump campaign adviser Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier who has raised campaign money for Trump, said Trump would eliminate 10 percent of regulations. “We need regulation but immediately every agency will be asked to rate the importance of their regulations and we will push to remove 10 percent of the least important,” he said. Another Trump campaign adviser reached by Reuters confirmed the 10 percent regulatory cut was part of their economic plan. Jeff Holmstead, a former assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency under George W. Bush’s presidency, said the goal was hard to comprehend. “You could reduce the number of regulations by 10 percent without accomplishing very much,” he said. He added it would make more sense for Trump to try to reduce the cost of regulatory compliance by 10 percent. “I think it probably would be possible for a new administration to make changes that would reduce the cost of these programs by at least 10 percent while still maintaining essentially the same level of environmental protection,” he said. Officials at the EPA and the U.S. Department of the Interior declined to comment, citing internal policies. Scaramucci also said that Trump, a fierce critic of the Federal Reserve, would probably get along well with Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Trump has repeatedly accused the Fed of serving as a political arm of the Obama White House. He says Yellen has put off raising interest rates in order to let President Barack Obama end his term in January without the economic shock that a rise in interest rates might entail. Scaramucci, a founder of SkyBridge Capital, joined Reuters Global Markets Forum to discuss his views of the campaign. He said Trump would strive for a better balance in federal regulations. Scaramucci was not as dismissive of Yellen as Trump is, saying he believes the New York property developer would warm to her eventually. “There are many well-qualified candidates but I think Mr. Trump has to spend some time with chairwoman Yellen. I think knowing what I know about his personality he will like her,” he said. Trump would seek to streamline regulations as a way to generate economic growth and help the flow of capital, the adviser said. Trump has specifically singled out the energy industry as an area that he would look at for reducing regulations. “Wall Street is not the devil,” said Scaramucci. “In fact we are at our best when (there) is harmony between Main Street and Wall Street and we hope to restore that.” Scaramucci singled out several areas that Trump would look to for reforms: ―Labor Department rules expanding the fiduciary standard for financial brokers who sell retirement products would likely be stopped. ―Legislation similar to the former Glass-Steagall Act that limited the banking industry would be on the table for review. ― The Dodd-Frank banking reforms that emerged from the Great Recession of 2008-09 will be reviewed and “the worst anti-business parts of it will be gutted.” ― The Volcker rule will be adjusted. Named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, it is part of the sweeping 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. It aims to reduce risk-taking by preventing banks from using their own capital to make speculative bets. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=57eac0bbe4b082aad9b770fc,57dcf04be4b0d5920b5b2c09,57a89ed0e4b034b258957d5b -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

17 сентября, 19:44

Robert Scheer And Libertarian Journalist Matt Welch Discuss Reason In America

Matt Welch reason.com In this week's episode of KCRW's "Scheer Intelligence," Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer speaks with journalist and libertarian Matt Welch about what it means to be a libertarian, how the Libertarian Party has grown during the 2016 presidential campaign and where libertarian values and progressive values overlap. Welch discusses why Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson continues to poll well as the election nears, a time when the popularity of third party candidates tends to recede, and how he believes the government continues to use any type of crisis to justify expanding its power. Welch is the editor at-large of the monthly libertarian magazine Reason, co-author of "The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America" and author of "McCain: The Myth of the Maverick." --Adapted from Truthdig.com Robert Scheer: Hello, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of "Scheer Intelligence," where the intelligence comes from guests. In this case it's a fellow I still think of as a young guy, although you're getting [inaudible] Matt Welch, who I met when I spoke at his college, at the University of California, Santa Barbara many years ago, at the end of the '60s. He had a good adversarial mind, and then he went off to Prague where he teamed up with a bunch of editors from their very good school, [inaudible] and they formed an English language paper in Prague called Prognosis. Young guys and women out there. Putting out this paper was very successful, and then they came back and did all sorts of things in journalism and showed up in all sorts of interesting places on the internet. In the case of Matt Welch, and the reason I wanted to have him on this show today, is because he defined himself as a young Libertarian and he ended up being the editor in chief of the leading Libertarian publication, Reason Magazine. He did that for a long time, 10 years. Prior to that, I should mention he was at the LA Times on the editorial page for a couple of years. From, I guess it was 2008 until quite recently he was the editor in chief, and he's now an editor at large. As everybody should know, except the mass media doesn't give it enough coverage, we have some independent candidates running aside from the Republican and the Democratic party of Trump and Clinton. We have Jill Stein on the Green Party side and on the Libertarian side, we have others but the leading ones are these four. Gary Johnson who was the governor of New Mexico. Jill Stein is getting about five percent in the polls now, Gary Johnson is doing quite a bit better, in some polls he goes over ten percent but I gather he's averaging around seven percent. Not there yet at the fifteen percent needed to qualify for the presidential debates but nonetheless both these folks can be spoilers, can have an impact and so I thought it was time to turn to my favorite Libertarian. Matt Welch, I'd ask you first of all, why Libertarian? What's it all about in this day and age? How do you differ, and what do you think of your candidate? Matt Welch: First of all, Bob, thank you for that generous introduction and I just want to point out that that newspaper in Prague would not have happened without you helping us all out and drumming up support for us, which all of us are forever eternally grateful for. Part of my Libertarianism with the weird and unusual path toward it, comes actually from Central Europe when we were out there. I was out there for eight years, mostly in Prague and Budapest. I presumed that, as the Cold War was finishing in America, Cold War politics would finish as well and people would break up their silly old blocks and rethink a lot of original assumptions. I was under the thrall of people like [inaudible] ardent anti-Communists who thought that it made sense to not have the state hold the primary role in a factory and not to spend a lot of time telling people what they could and couldn't listen to or do and all this kind of stuff. At the same time you should be able to sit on Charles Bridge and swig wine from the bottle and maybe smoke hash and play guitar. That seemed to me like normal politics and when I came back home to America, I just sort of assumed that there'd be a place for that and I discovered ... I think I came back within a day of the Lewinsky scandal dropping back in 1998, and nothing like that existed. It took a while [before] I was willing to have my weird politics defined as Libertarian but ... pretty much, that's where it is. The Libertarian party and sort of small-l libertarian wing are represented by reason and other people ... [who] all sort of proceed from the old tiny notion of that [what] governs best ... governs least and let's just decide on ... the minimum that we need to do, that we agree that government should or could do it isn't going to be done otherwise. But otherwise let's allow people to pursue happiness as they see fit, as spelt out in the Declaration of Independence. In a modern context that's just crazy to half the people about half the time and [at] the same time it makes all the sense in the world to half the people about half the time depending on the audience. It's very interesting to know that Gary Johnson right now is actually pretty consistently at nine percent ... Usually third parties at this point in the race will have receded a great deal because people freak out and think about the Supreme Court and flock to their original tribes, but neither Jill Stein or Gary Johnson are seeing much erosion in support, which I think speaks to how deservedly unpopular in my view both major party candidates [are]. Just how decreasingly those political affiliations are holding sway among people, particularly young people, the millennials. There's never been a generation that has been less interested in joining anything, let alone political parties. There's been some polls--IBD poll in particular--where Gary Johnson has occasionally topped both other candidates among eighteen to twenty-four year olds. He always gets really great support among the youngest voters out there,, which I think speaks to something interesting for the future of American politics. RS: Well, with your help I'm hoping to get Gary Johnson for one of these podcasts, but let me broaden it to the question of why be a Libertarian? I want to confess my own prejudice here. I did a couple of shows with you and I'm probably the person on the left who's most open to Libertarian thinking because I do believe in the original vision of the founders, that the government that governs best is the one that governs least. I believe in a very strong notion of individual freedom and I am very worried about the overpowering federal state. My problem with the Libertarians is over the word, consistency. I like the Libertarians when they condemn crony capitalism, when they actually argue for a fair tax structure, when they want to get money out of politics. I like the Libertarians when they don't want to go marching off to all of these wars that destroy citizen control with secrecy and foreign adventures and so forth. Then, I look at what passes for the Libertarian wing of the Republican party and all too many of the favor crony capitalism and favor foreign adventure. Does it make you uncomfortable? MW: I'm not sure that I would agree with that characterization just in terms of people like Rand Paul and Justin Amash, the post Tea party wave of new Libertarianish Republicans. Thomas Massie is another one, Mike Lee is another one, although he's maybe ... less hardcore than other guys. Those guys are pretty anti-interventionist, pretty pro-civil liberties, anti-NSA. During the run up to what was supposed to the US intervention into Syria in August of 2013, that opposition was led or co-led by that wing, by Rand Paul and those lots. I do agree that the usual traditional Republican talking point, that is when they don't hold power and don't hold the White House, of being limited government among people who are more just sort of conservative has been suffused with that exact same hypocrisy. That's one of the reasons why reason has long existed because we're infuriated by that. There's a precious few people who've called that out and some of those people are some of the biggest critics of Donald Trump, people like Jeff Flake, senator from Arizona, who was tangling with him over the weekend. I think what is more interesting in terms of the characteristics of the Republican version of Libertarians is that if you're an elected Republican and a Libertarian, that means you're anti-abortion and pro-life. Rand Paul introduced the Life Begins At Conception Act. The Libertarian party in stark contrast has from its inception been pro-choice. They fight about it every year, every four years at the Libertarian party convention and the pro-choice side always wins. Gary Johnson and William Weld were both pro-choice blue state Republican moderate governors. RS: You're ... [saying] the presidential candidate and vice presidential candidate of the Libertarian party, are pro-choice. MW: Correct. That is the dominant strain within certainly the Libertarian party and among people who self identify as libertarians in general, that is true. If you're an elected Republican Libertarian you're going to be against abortion, if you're just a Libertarian regardless of politics, chances are you're going to [be] pro-choice. It's one of the [oddities] of the tribal politics that we have. You can't get elected if you don't act in the major two parties, which is again another reason why people I think gravitate more toward third parties--or just being independent of it all, anyway. RS: Meaning you couldn't win a Republican primary in most places if you're not against choice. MW: Yeah, and the same is true now of Democrats. The Democrats retook the House in 2006 in part by broadening their tent to include some pro-life members but that's over. As far as I know, there really aren't any anti-abortion Democrats in Congress anymore. It's just part of the thing. The [slotting] of us into these ideological blocks means that the litmus tests are stronger [than] ever ... if you're going to hold on to these identities. However the dominant trend in American politics and the subject of a book Nick Gillespie and I wrote back in 2011, is that forty five percent [inaudible] of Americans now, if you ask them, "How do you self identify? A Democrat, Republican, Independent? What is it?" Forty five percent say independent. Back in 1970 that number was like nineteen percent. It is growing and it's ineffable and once people self identify that way they're much more open to any number of ideas and enthusiasms and coalitions than they we're before. They're much more hostile toward these weird amalgamations, these rituals that you have to agree with in order to remain part of those tribes. RS: The book you're referring to is called, "The Declaration Of Independence, How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America." It's by Reason TV editor Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, it was in 2011. Actually you wrote quite a provocative book in 2008 called "McCain, The Myth of A Maverick." You called him out and had some real problems over that one or initiated a lot of debate. [inaudible] because we're going to run out of time, but I happen to think the Libertarian message is very important in this election on two points. Those points are either going to go green or are going to go Libertarian. We're not going to get progress from the Republicans or Democrats and that has to do with regime change and foreign intervention. I think Hillary Clinton and Donald [Trump] are arguing over words rather than real meaning. They both have a very tough idea of foreign intervention and American exceptionalism. The other is the issue that Bernie Sanders raised so effectively on the Democratic side, which is been long forgotten now by the Democrats, which is the question of what you would call crony capitalism and he would probably call economic justice and fairness. That has to do with a rigged economic system, in which the rich get richer and everybody else gets hurt. I do want to say something in favor of Ron Paul and his son Rand Paul that they have been very consistent. Ron Paul was one of only four votes in the Congress and the House against The Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which I thought was great. Not the act but his vote against it because that's the one that enabled all these junk schemes to be sold and he was against doing away with Glass-Steagall [Act], and Rand Paul has been very good. They also in terms of foreign policy were very good on privacy and against the National Security State and the heavy classification. Is that the kind of candidate Gary Johnson is? MW: Yes, he's running explicitly to be against foreign interventionism--he brings it up on every single occasion that he talks. He believes that even if everybody's morals or heart was in the right place on X intervention but it did not make us safer, it added to a sense of blowback out there, complicated the world, created instability. That as you rightly point out is a viewpoint that is not being represented in this election. Hillary Clinton is the most hawkish Democrat we have for the most part at this point. Now that Joe Lieberman has floated off into independent heaven or whatever the hell he is. That is something. Imagine this ... In 2006, '07, '08 remember ... the runaway executive branch of government and all of the Bushes' wars. You brought a book about the five lies. "Five Biggest Lies About Iraq." That was what the left was talking about broadly speaking in '06, '07 and '08 and we're about now ready to elect someone who wants to throw Edward Snowden in jail, who still describes Libya as smart power at its best. It's really kind of out of [step] with American public opinion if you look at it. Trump is a weirder character, there're some anti-war Libertarians who've decided to see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear about his foreign policy ... . He won South Carolina while criticizing the Bush family on war, which is a very interesting political development. At the same time, he tells just crazy stories about dipping bullets into pigs' blood to shoot Muslims and let's just take their oil in Iraq and just nonsense like that. The intervention skepticism, the realism as we used to call it in foreign policy circles, which really doesn't have a home anymore is only being championed at this point by Libertarian Andy Green, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. You're right to point that out and it's interesting to know that I think they are much more aligned with where American public opinion is. It's only so long, that's one of the results of having this rising independence, you can no longer get [by] with, for decades being completely out of [step] with the dominant opinions held by the base of your political party. They will rise up and find a way to smite you and always surprise the political pundits in that process. At this point it happens very two years. Bernie Sanders came out of nowhere. "What is all this talk? [inaudible] they call it. My God, where did that come from? He's a socialist." It surprises people but that's because we now have tools to work around the system. That's all heartening, what's disheartening is that we have two major party candidates who are pretty bad. Bad to terrible on foreign policy and it doesn't seem like it's going to get better. RS: Before we drop the foreign policy, let's not give Trump a bye on ... Not that you were but you can't be for a more rational non-interventionist foreign policy when you want to go to war with Mexico, which he's basically talking about. When you demonize foreign workers, after all, it used to be a mainstay of the Republican party to believe that people being able to come here and work and get a pass to the citizenship, that was actually a Republican plank and the Democrats opposed it because they had an old-fashion view of closed society. I think again, if the big issue in terms of foreign policy is the government that governs best is the governs least, you can't have this wild interventionism of any kind, with picking fights with people, but let me switch because we're running out of time, to the question of crony capitalism. That one I think is a little stickier for you because in terms of ... Let's go back to the origins of Libertarian thought. I remember when I was a college student, at City College in New York, we had all kinds of Marxist enclaves but we had Libertarian, we had followers of Ayn Rand and Mises and Von Hayek and so forth. The idea basically was some kind of Adam Smith's notion of a free economy. We don't live in anything like that, that you will agree on, right? MW: Yeah, we live broadly speaking in West-adopted rules and notions two hundred and fifty years ago that worked out pretty well for everybody but no, we don't live in any kind of free market Valhalla and no one ever really has. RS: Well, no but the basic idea of a free market is one in which no one can control pricing and in which there's real competition and so forth. Then instead we have concentration of wealth of an extraordinary degree and concentration of power and particularly political power. Just the story as we're recording this today that came out of the Washington Post about how Bill Clinton gets, and it's just one of the many funds he tipped into, got eighteen million dollars from some private college network that he was consulting with and this crossover and both parties of money and power and the irony for the Democrats [inaudible] united but for the last couple of election cycles they've had candidates that are more effective in getting money from the fat cats and so forth. People have a right to ask, are the libertarians going to be consistent on calling for a free market, a free society and one that controls this concentrated power? MW: Well the question becomes, how? The crony capitalism as a line of Libertarian critique has been a robust one. It was Libertarians and their allies including many people on the left who went after the Export-Import bank, for a long, long [time] and continue to do so, [inaudible], the bank of Boeing so that we can spend our taxpayer money subsidizing Boeing's loans so that countries in Africa can buy their jets. It is the worst of this kind of behavior. The Libertarians and the progressive left depart, and it's an ongoing conversation, is that the Libertarian insight is that, the more you regulate industry acts, the more you will actually get crony capitalism because the people who are highest profile, the most powerful companies in industry ... will say, "Sweet, I can just now write the rules of competition or influence rules of competition in a way that new entrants cannot." People of the left often times say, "Well, you just want the rich people to get richer." It's actually no, I want them to go bankrupt when they lose. I don't want to subsidize their losses. Let's not forget that both the Tea party movement and Occupy Wall Street, had some commonalities. Those commonalities and some common enemies and many of those had to do with the bailouts that began in the fall of 2008 under George Bush and continued under Barack Obama, where we socialized private sector gambles. That's just the wrong way to do it. We have bankruptcy for a reason, we have failure for a reason and we shouldn't lose our nerve in moments of crisis like that. There're some genuine disagreements there, I can just tell you that in sort of the broader Libertarian network that I belong to and am fluent with. I know, I've met David Koch twice. I know of the work of Charles Koch. David Koch sits in the board of the Reason Foundation. They will tell you that they were turned around about crony capitalism by a book by Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner about this, and they wrote, Charles Koch one of those guys [who] wrote a piece for the Washington Post in March saying, "Here is where I agree with Bernie Sanders." It was all about that. The real disagreement is, do you go for solutions that involve equality of outcomes or equality of opportunities and then what is the role here of ... Where do you say the government should get out and where do you say it should get in? RS: I'm going to answer this question for you now as your old teacher that you never listened to, the issue is not ensuring an equal outcome, the issue is stopping the mafia from robbing money from the rest of us. It's to stop people who can use the government and the laws to benefit them so they can steal from everyone else. The reason why Ron Paul was wise and one of the great figures of recent Libertarian politics, the reason why Ron Paul was wise to vote against The Commodity Futures Modernization Act that Bill Clinton signed into law as a lame duck president and unfortunately Bernie Sanders voted for it because it was part of an omnibus bill and a lot of people voted for it. Four people who voted against it, they were generally Libertarians led by Ron Paul and if though that meant regulation of Commodity Futures, that's what it was. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act said that these newfangled gimmicks, these collateralized data obligations and credit to force swaps and everything would have to be regulated by the old rules and Clinton wiped away that regulation and that's how we got the big banking meltdown. We're talking about honest rules of the road, transparency, accountability. If somebody believes in the Adam Smith's notion of a free market, you don't want any plays to be able to rig the rules. That was Adams Smith's wisdom, right? You don't want a few giant political entities, corporations to be able to rig the rules so some people can steal with impunity. The great banking meltdown that happened in this country, was Wall Street was allowed to legally steal and destroy the savings of so many people. MW: I think that we're in broad agreement here Bob. Think about the symbol of the tax code, who benefits from complexity in the tax code out there besides accountants and lawyers? It's people who can afford accountants and lawyers. If the rules are simple and fair and understandable and there isn't a curve out for X and a curve out for Y and a subsidy for this and a pull away from that, suddenly you don't have to have all of this firepower and you can't rig the game so that you don't ever pay taxes, whereas someone who can't afford your lawyer and can't afford your accountant is paying at a much higher rate. It's the complexity of the system which is the enemy and it's one reason why Washington loves to add complexity and that's a bipartisan thing and it always has been. That is the enemy ... and I believe in Libertarian thought and certainly on this particular Libertarian party ticket, Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, they get that and write about that all of the time. Gary Johnson is always talking about how he scores a seventy three or a seventy four on [inaudible] when he plugs in Bernie Sanders' name and a lot of that has to do with saying, yes the system is rigged by the powerful at the expense of the powerless so let's go after that together in a consistent way. I think Washington Republicans ... have too often interpreted that as, "We're the party of business." Instead of, "We're the party of free markets." There is a difference. The party of free markets lets businesses fail and doesn't bend over backwards to give billions of dollars away to the owners of sports franchises to build their stadiums and all these kind of things. RS: Well, you're absolutely correct and ... if in fact instead of the Bush bailout, which is by the way is exactly what Obama did when came in. Obama had blasted the Bush bailout and then when he became president he instituted the same thing, save the too-big-to-fail banks, pass money onto Goldman Sachs though the AIG bailout. One after another and the reality is, there was no consequence, they didn't suffer. At this point however people who listen this podcast are probably saying, "Scheer you've given this guy, the editor Matt Welch of Reason Magazine, this Libertarian. You're giving him a pass here, you should take the Koch brothers and wrap it around his neck and strangle him." Let me disappoint people even further by saying something in defense of the Koch brothers now. There was a conference, not that long ago where the Koch brothers, one of them anyway, put on a conference and one of them gave a speech specifically attacking crony capitalism and calling for consistency on this. I don't know if you recall this? MW: I'm aware of that and I would add to it that at that same conference, which I'm never invited to these things but I know people are. A friend of mine put on a presentation and heavy Republican donors were at this conference, put on a presentation about how American militarism and military spending and foreign intervention [are some] of the biggest problems in American public life. RS: Well, it's the most extreme form of crony capitalism because if you're in bed with Boeing, I remember Old "Scoop" Jackson, the great Democrat, they call him the senator from Boeing from the State of Washington and ... MW: One of your best ... I'm going to interrupt you because your listeners deserve to know one of the best of the many great Bob Scheer profiles over the years was his profile of "Scoop" Jackson in which he took incredible and accurate extrapolation from the fact that "Scoop" Jackson ate the same type of sandwich everyday. Bob that's [inaudible]. RS: Okay. I do want to make a point here and I going to have to wrap this up. I want people to think about this, the need for independent politics because my view is, the Republicans and the Democrats and I'm not telling you anything that shouldn't be obvious to everybody, are going to sell out. It doesn't matter whether they claim to be for small government, whether they claim to be for small people or the little people, they're going to sell out. They're going to sell out to the same big money interest and it's an irony in this election that we're getting clarity on the issues that Bernie Sanders tried to raise, we're getting it from Jill Stein and we're getting it from Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Candidate. We're getting it from the Green Party and we're getting it from the Libertarian party. The fact is for all of the great drama, the great difference between Trump and Hillary, the great talk about the lesser evil, the great fear mongering, the fact of the matter is part of it, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are going to serve the same fat cat crony capitalists interests. They're going to engage in the same kind of belligerent foreign policy that feeds the military industrial complex. Is that too harsh a view for you to accept? MW: No. That is sadly become the reality and all you have to do is just look at, even Trump [inaudible] blank slide in foreign policy, he doesn't really know what's going on, he doesn't speak about it with any fluency. That was also true to a lesser extent of George W. Bush but at the same time he was promising a more humble foreign policy and all that, but what happened? There was a crisis and there always is a crisis, that's the thing. In foreign policy, in domestic policy there's always a crisis. When that crisis comes, Washington is ready to step in and reassert itself and say, "Hey look. Well we've been looking on this problem for a long time and here's what you need to do." What you need to do at every step is always to give the government power and give those insiders more of their usual leverage. That's what happened to Bush's foreign policy after 9/11. It's what happened to Obama's economic policy after '08. It's just the thing that happens and there's nothing in the character of either of these two candidates to suggest that they would break from that tradition. Right now Washington is scrambling around on the very low chance that Donald Trump wins to make sure that for every kind of weird random person that he pulls into his cabinet, that there's a Sen. Tom Cotton from Arkansas [inaudible]. ... He's Bill Crystal's protégé, he spoke at the convention, they're going to make sure in case Trump wins that their people are still near all of that and it is our job as independent citizens to be skeptical of their claims and to call them out on it from any and every direction and not just listen to [inaudible] tribalist thinking. RS: Well, thank you Matt Welch. That's got to have to do it for this edition of "Scheer Intelligence." My producers have been Joshua Scheer and Rebecca Moonie. Mario [inaudible] and Katt [inaudible] are the technicians. Sebastian [inaudible] right here at USC where they've kindly given us a studio to do these discussions here, and see you next week with another edition, and maybe, Matt, you'll help us get Gary Johnson on so we can [hear] right from the candidate himself. MW: I will see him tomorrow, make the ask. RS: Okay, take care. MW: Thanks, Bob. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

11 декабря 2013, 00:45

Правило Волкера одобрено и вступит в силу в 2015 г.

Пол Волкер, инициатор "правила Волкера" Американские регуляторы одобрили законодательство по ограничению торговой деятельности банков, которое получило название "правило Волкера". Банковские компании отрицают необходимость принятия данных мер и готовят судебные иски против данного закона.  За принятие “правила Волкера” проголосовали все пять регуляторов, которые участвовали в процессе создания данного закона: ФРС США, Комиссии по ценным бумагам и биржам (SEC), Комиссии по торговле товарными фьючерсами (CFTC), Федеральной корпорации по страхованию вкладов (FDIC), свою подпись под проектом закона также поставил глава Управления валютного контролера (OCC). “Правило Волкера” запрещает банковским компаниям участвовать в торговых операциях на финансовых рынках, в том числе “с целью хеджирования рисков”, с использованием собственных средств (proprietary trading). Кроме того, банкам также запрещается увеличивать размеры компенсаций и денежных вознаграждений с целью поощрения подобных операций на финансовом рынке. Впервые с инициативой введения данного законодательства в 2009 г. выступил Пол Волкер, бывший глава ФРС (он занимал этот пост с 1979 по 1987 гг.). По мнению Волкера, повышенная торговая активность банковских компаний США по целому спектру активов стала одной из причин финансового кризиса 2008 г. С данной точкой зрения согласились в администрации президента Обамы, который одобрил начало работы над законопроектом в 2010 г. Однако в своем конечном виде, который был одобрен регуляторами, законопроект появился только 3 с половиной года спустя. Целью данного законодательства является снижение риска для финансовой системы США, а также всей глобальной экономики от торговой активности банков. Одним из громких примеров подобной активности банков в посткризисный период стало дело “Лондонского кита”: из-за рискованной стратегии JP Morgan потерял свыше $6 млрд. “Правило Волкера” начнет функционировать только в 2015 г. Во многом такое решение было принято под давлением банковских компаний, которые активно лоббировали против принятия данного законодательства. По данным некоммерческой организации Sunlight Foundation, в период 2010-2013 гг. наиболее тесно с регуляторами общались именно представители крупных банковских организаций.   За это время представители JP Morgan встречались с регуляторами более 30 раз, Goldman Sachs – более 20 раз. Также свой активный интерес к процессу формирования “правила Волкера” проявили в Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, фонде BlackRock и ряде других финансовых компаний. Главы ряда банковских компаний, в частности Брайан Мойнихан из Bank of America Merill Lynch, уже попытались принизить значение данного закона.  BofA: "правило Волкера" ничего не изменит По мнению Мойнихана, "правило Волкера" не окажет заметного влияния на банковский сектор США. Однако при этом банковские компании не оставляют надежд на противодействие нововведению. По информации издания Financial Times, американские банки уже готовят иски против принятия "правила Волкера" (Wall St prepares Volcker rule legal challenges). Ряд экспертов уже поставили под сомнение эффективность "правила Волкера", назвав закон слишком мягким и содержащим слишком много лазеек для продолжения торговых операций банков с использованием собственного капитала. Подобная точка зрения высказывается в издании Forbes (The Volcker Rule Will Not Work). Стоит добавить, что принятие "правила Волкера" многие рассматривают как попытку частичного воссоздания закона Гласса – Стиголла (Glass – Steagall Act). После финансового краха 1929 г., который стал одним из катализаторов Великой депрессии в США, американские власти постарались ограничить спекулятивную активность коммерческих банков. Банкам было запрещено заниматься инвестиционной деятельностью. Были серьезно ограничены их возможности по операциям с ценными бумагами. Закона Гласса – Стиголла действовал в США с 1933 по 1999 гг., пока не был отменен "Законом о финансовой модернизации".

23 сентября 2013, 23:25

Ричард Фишер призывал коллег начать сокращение QE3

Глава ФРБ Далласа Ричард Фишер заявил, что он призывал своих коллег на заседании ФРС, проходившем на прошлой неделе, сократить программу количественного смягчения. Фишер является противником третьего раунда программы по выкупу облигаций Бездействие в этом вопросе, по его словам, привело к неопределенности и посеяло замешательство на финансовых рынках. По словам Фишера, многие инвесторы недовольны действиями ФРС, так как они ожидали, что на заседании будет принято решение сократить объемы выкупаемых облигаций. Фишер является противником третьего раунда программы по выкупу облигаций, известной как количественное смягчение, или QE3. В других речах Фишер называл крупнейшие американские банки "кинжалами, направленными в сердце экономики США". Глава ФРБ Далласа также является сторонником возврата закона Гласса-Стиголла 1933 г., который запрещал коммерческим банкам заниматься инвестиционной деятельностью, существенно ограничивал право банков на операции с ценными бумагами и вводил обязательное страхование банковских вкладов. Закон был отменен в 1997 г. Напомним, сейчас ФРС ежемесячно покупает облигации на $85 млрд, что должно способствовать росту цен на активы и стимулированию найма, расходов и инвестиций. ФРС также сохраняет краткосрочные процентные ставки близко к нулю, для того чтобы поддержать рост экономики. Ричард Фишер не входит в число президентов ФРБ и управляющих, которые в 2013 г. обладают правом голоса в Федеральном комитете по открытому рынку (Federal Open Market Committee, FOMC). В рамках ежегодной ротации голосов в FOMC он войдет в список голосующих членов комитета в 2014 г.