After Bill Clinton blurted out that continuing the Bush tax cuts for everyone, including those earning over $250,000, made sense to him, Obama’s minions suggested that Bill was getting older, snidely and unmistakeably suggesting that Clinton was senile, or at least addled, and his remarks could not be taken at face value.
Maybe they were right. Clinton may be senile. Either that, or he’s just blatantly dishonest.
In Ohio, and presumably elsewhere, the Obama campaign is running an ad in which Clinton says Republicans want to return to “less taxes for the rich and deregulation, which got us into this mess in the first place,” and suggests that voting for Obama will return us to the golden days of his administration. But as is often the case with Bill Clinton, what he says is his own version of events, not what really happened.
The deregulation of the banking and financial industries that “got us into this mess” actually took place during…wait for it…Clinton’s presidency. With the support of Clinton and his Treasury Secretaries. Here are the facts:
- 1933 – In the wake of the 1929 stock market crash the Glass-Steagall Act prohibited banks from playing the stock market.
- 1994 – The Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act eliminated previous restrictions on interstate banking and branching.
- 1996 – With Clinton administration approval, the Federal Reserve reinterpreted the Glass-Steagall Act, allowing bank holding companies to earn up to 25 percent of their revenues in investment banking.
- 1998 – Citicorp-Travelers Merger – Citigroup, Inc. merged a commercial bank with an insurance company that owned an investment bank to form the world’s largest financial services company. Regulators following the new interpretations of Glass-Steagall restrictions did not intervene.
- 1999 – The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – With bipartisan congressional support and support from Treasury Secretary Rubin and his successor Lawrence Summers, the bill repealed the Glass-Steagall Act completely.
- 2000 – Commodity Futures Modernization Act – Passed with support from the Clinton Administration, including Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, the bill prevented the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from regulating most over-the-counter derivative contracts, including credit default swaps. Signed into law by Bill Clinton in December 2000.
The deregulation of the commercial banking industry, the intermingling of commercial and investment banks with each other and with insurance companies, and the deregulation of derivative contracts and credit default swaps all occurred on Clinton’s watch, signed into law by Bill Clinton.
Bubba also seems to have forgotten that upon being elected, the all-Democrat congress went along with his request to raise taxes on those earning over $250,000. The economy cratered, with growth dropping from over 4% in the last quarter of George H.W. Bush’s presidency to under 1%. Maybe that’s what Bill had in mind when he endorsed continuing all the Bush tax cuts.
In 1994 the Democrats were thrashed at the polls, and the new Republican congress introduced the concept of fiscal restraint, reducing the rate of growth of government spending, and forcing a cut in the capital gains tax. After the 1994 elections Clinton famously “triangulated”, reinventing himself as a fiscal conservative and going along with the capital gains tax cut and signing off on welfare reform after having vetoed it two or three times.
Given the Clinton administration’s real history on banking deregulation and higher taxes on those earning over $250,000, one might reasonably conclude that Clinton is in fact senile.
Then again, Occam’s Razor might lead to the conclusion that he’s just dishonest.
Reprinted in its entirety with permission from Babblefest.