by Jeremy Young | 9/15/2008 02:34:00 PM
With the current mortgage crisis in the news, it's worth linking to this old ProgressiveHistorians series by Ralph Brauer on the act that caused the crisis in the first place -- Bill Clinton's repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act:

Bill Clinton, Glass-Steagall and the Current Foreclosure and Financial Crisis, Part One

Bill Clinton, Glass-Steagall and the Current Financial Crisis, Part Two

Bill Clinton, Glass-Steagall and the Current Foreclosure and Financial Crisis, Part Three

Part two of this series, FWIW, is the most-linked piece in the history of ProgressiveHistorians, having drawn somewhere around several thousand hits at present. Thanks to Ralph for having brought this excellent series to us.

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8 Comments:


Blogger Real History Lisa on 9/16/2008 1:11 PM:

I have to take issue with something Ralph said at the end of part II. It's a common mistake. He wrote,

I would be remiss by not adding four of Obama's top six contributors include Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and--guess who--Citigroup.

There's no such thing as a "top contributor" when the limit for EVEYRONE is $2,300 for the primary and another $2,300 for the general.

Obama's "top" contributors are literally scores of thousands of ordinary people, some of whom work at financial institutions, like me, some of whom work at oil companies, etc.

To imply that a company or industry supports Obama simply because the individuals who work there do is incredibly misleading ot the point of being dishonest. I've commented on other blogs for this same fallacy and will not let it go here.

I commend Ralph for his work on this issue. But I fear the extra links may be coming from ignorant right-wingers who say see, even progressives say this about Obama.

And it's just not true. There is no such thing as a top donor in the Obama campaign. When you have over a million donors, that's who owns your campaign - not the few who gave the maximum allowed. Anyone who tries to make claims about industries or companies that support a candidate based on the contribution of individuals there simply does not understand the campaign finance system.

 

Blogger Jeremy Young on 9/16/2008 3:31 PM:

I'm not going to get involved in the question Lisa raises (for the simple reason that I don't know enough to know one way or the other) but I will say that I've been monitoring the extra links, and virtually all of them come from either left-wing or right-wing sites that hate Bill and/or Hillary Clinton (or from big places like Digg or Reddit). I haven't seen any instances of people using the post to bash Obama.

 

Blogger Pete Jones on 9/16/2008 4:35 PM:

I'll definitely agree with Lisa in that all donors who work for X company don't donate to a campaign for X reason.

That being said, all of those donors are strongly impacted by decisions that affect the company. It's difficult to say how it influences a politician, but as Obama says in _The Audacity of Hope_, that support is appreciated and remembered when decisions are made affecting the company/interest group/organization. That might not translate into direct interest or corruption, but I bet if the CEO of Goldman Sachs calls Obama's campaign office, he'll call them back as soon as he can to address their concerns. Campaigns run on lots and lots of money, and unfortunately, this is how our political system works. I certainly consider these candidates more ethical in their past actions (until McCain's recent lies) than most of the other politicians in the Senate, but the game's still the game.

 

Blogger Jeremy Young on 9/17/2008 12:04 AM:

Okay, I take it back: this one is an anti-Obama site, though it's still using the post to bash Bill Clinton rather than Obama. That's the first one I've seen in thousands of hits and probably over a hundred links.

Meanwhile, I finally figured out where the mondo links were coming from: this unsympathetic post by prominent liberal blogger Susie Madrak. Here's Susie's attack on the piece:

Since this was a Republican-controlled Congress (ONE Democrat voted in favor of the repeal), we can be sure the bulk of those contributions went to the ranking Republicans on those committees. Also, please note this was post-impeachment: Clinton was horse-trading with Republicans to get at least some of his agenda passed so that he’d have some legacy other than Monica.

But what will happen now is that Republicans will very effectively blame this whole mess on Clinton and the Democratic party - and far too many fair-and-balanced Democrats and members of the librul media will agree.


First of all, I don't think anyone who's read Ralph's book could put him in the same category of "liberal" as the MSM. But that aside, the article doesn't pin the blame on "the Democrats" -- it pins the blame on the man who signed the bill, Bill Clinton. I don't care whether Clinton was "horse-trading" or anything else; he put his signature on this Republican-led bill that is now killing our financial markets and robbing ordinary Americans of their life savings. Just because Clinton is a Democrat doesn't mean he's not at fault, and I commend Ralph for having the audacity to raise these points in the middle of an election season.

 

Anonymous Ralph Brauer on 9/19/2008 3:38 PM:

Thanks, for the reference. Technically, Lisa is right as I think I explained in one of the many pieces about the crisis. As Open Secrets puts it,Because of contribution limits, organizations that bundle together many individual contributions are often among the top donors to presidential candidates. These contributions can come from the organization’s members or employees (and their families). The organization may support one candidate, or hedge its bets by supporting multiple candidates. Groups with national networks of donors - like EMILY’s List and Club for Growth - make for particularly big bundlers.
So the totals for Goldman Sachs, for example represent the sum total of their employees (who by limit can contribute $2,300, PACs, etc.). That is why Open Secrets lumps them together.

The issue of the right wingers picking up on this and using it against Obama has bothered me, especially because Obama had nothing to do with the repeal of Glass-Steagall. But one person who did was Phil Gramm, whose name is on the repeal bill which is titled the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. As we all know, Gramm has been nilled as John McCain'[s chief economic advisor.

Bill Clinton's involvement in the repeal of Glass-Steagall was my main reason for opposing the Hillary Clinton, because I predicted in January the financial crisis would be the top election issue and that Hillary Clinton could not win.

However I am puzzled by why Obama does not go after McCain/Gramm on this one. To me it is the perfect issue for him--he had nothing to do with it and it is a prime example of what he has been saying about the need for change in both the Democratic Party and Washington.

Much of this is in a piece I just posted on my own site titled the "ABC's of the Financial Crisis." I di9d not post it here because it is current political analysis more than history.

I wrote the piece because to me the repeal of Glass-Steagall represented the end of the Democratic Party as the heirs of the New Deal and the ascent of Bill Clinton's New Democrats. In yet another piece I compared Clinton to Grover Cleveland and the new Democrats to the nineteenth century Bourbons.

Madras is dead wrong. The bill to repeal Glass-Steagall had the full support of Clinton's cabinet and powerful Democrats in Congress including Thomas Dodd, who you can see beaming in the background as Clinton signed the bill. And as I have repeated ad infinitum, it was Bill Clinton who late night phone call broke the conference committee deadlock.

 

Anonymous Jesse Hemingway on 9/20/2008 12:24 PM:

The interest on the national debt is a TAX; currently under Republican leadership it is a $3.33 a day TAX on every American after this new bail out it will be ?$$$$$$

 

Anonymous Jesse Hemingway on 9/20/2008 2:39 PM:

The deregulation TAX brought to you by the Republicans.

$3.33 x 365 = $1215.45 a year for every single person for their entire life. After THIS BAIL OUT it will go up at least 20% or 0.80/$3.33 = $4.1625 a day. You can actually double that number $8.325 a day for the people that really pay the taxes factoring out children, disabled and the people that can not pay it. The cost of the Iraq war is still off the books you will need to add another $1.11 a day TAX to that disaster.

 

Blogger Maryscott OConnor on 9/21/2008 3:33 AM:

Jeremy, please email me, I need to talk to you.

Maryscott O'Connor