Friday, October 14, 2016

Sargon of Akkad on Hillary Clinton

The YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad analyses the American presidential campaign and Hillary Clinton below. Food for thought.


You cannot help but notice that some of the worst people on the American political spectrum hate Trump: namely, libertarians, Neoconservatives, free trade conservatives, the free trade liberals, the neoliberal Democrats, liberal interventionists, and the regressive left. Say what you like about him, but Trump is anti-establishment and anti-neoliberal to a significant degree. If he even does half of what is promised on the economic side, this will be a savage blow to the current neoliberal consensus.

Despite Hillary’s feeble protestations that she will take onboard Bernie Sander’s populist economic ideas, the evidence suggests otherwise: rather, the evidence suggests Hillary will continue to be a pro-free trader, corporate shill, and pro-Wall Street politician, who will accelerate the economic and social collapse of America.

The recent WikiLeaks email releases confirm this. In some of these emails, we have insights into her speeches to Wall Street banks.

Hillary, we learn, thinks Wall Street should regulate itself:
“*Clinton Said Financial Reform “Really Has To Come From The Industry Itself.” *’Remember what Teddy Roosevelt did. Yes, he took on what he saw as the excesses in the economy, but he also stood against the excesses in politics. He didn't want to unleash a lot of nationalist, populistic reaction. He wanted to try to figure out how to get back into that balance that has served America so well over our entire nationhood. Today, there's more that can and should be done that really has to come from the industry itself, and how we can strengthen our economy, create more jobs at a time where that's increasingly challenging, to get back to Teddy Roosevelt's square deal. And I really believe that our country and all of you are up to that job.’” [Clinton Remarks to Deutsche Bank, 10/7/14]

*Speaking About The Importance Of Proper Regulation, Clinton Said ‘The People That Know The Industry Better Than Anybody Are The People Who Work In The Industry.’* ‘I mean, it's still happening, as you know. People are looking back and trying to, you know, get compensation for bad mortgages and all the rest of it in some of the agreements that are being reached. There’s nothing magic about regulations, too much is bad, too little is bad. How do you get to the golden key, how do we figure out what works? And the people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry….’
[Goldman Sachs AIMS Alternative Investments Symposium, 10/24/13]”


  1. There is absolutely nothing unreasonable in her comments.

    The problem of finance is that for every regulation, you will have someone smarter than the regulation.

    That is why you need top finance professionals involved in the regulatory process as well, because they themselves know how to outsmart regulations, and their inputs can prevent manipulation of regulation.

    For all the bad things you can say about Hillary, you are criticising her for one of her most reasonable positions. Government can not build regulations in isolation from the businesses it regulates - it needs support from all parties involved.

    1. The first highlighted part suggests she may want to avoid having a fiscal stimulus.

      The second, I read in context of her giving this speech behind closed doors to bankers for large sums even after the Great Recession. Yes, industry expertise is needed when drafting the regulations. Nonetheless, restoring Glass-Steagall would be easy and simple unlike the thousands of pages of regulations issued under Dodd-Frank. She cares more about getting and maintaining their support, because they are rich and powerful, than getting public support. That suggests she is dependent on the donor class and media and wants the public to fall in line and vote after she has agreed the outline of policy in secret. That makes her Wall Street's representative to the public and not the public's representative to Wall Street. Her campaign has received more donations from people working in financial services than anyone else's including the Republican candidates. And regulations do *not* need the support of all parties involved. Otherwise consumers would always be adequately protected. And if business gets in the way of necessary regulation, however one defines that, it should be passed anyway without their support or consent.

    2. Look up the MMT banking proposals.

      The problem is unregulated lending from banks with state protection. Any lending businesses that doesn't want to take the oath, then has to fully fund their lending on a maturity matched basis Zopa style. In the Uk that is deposit insurance, no access to the Bank of England, and losses absorbed by those doing the lending. This then becomes the fate of the shadow banking system - the building societies and money funds.

      So its bullshit. The only reason we should pay (state protected) "bankers" to do anything is if they can demonstrate the skill of underwriting capital projects against a prospective income stream. Offer an unlimited cost free overdraft at the Bank of England. 0% funding costs. In return they must drop all the side businesses and just do capital development lending on an uncollateralised basis - probably in the form of simple overdrafts. In other words they become an agency businesses delivering state money to those that require it. Loans that go bad or outside strict criteria (become unenforcable and gift of shareholder's funds) result in bank going bust.

      In simple terms this means somebody going into a bank with a proposal that requires a certain amount of money. The bank staff considers whether the prospective income stream proposed to repay that money is adequate to repay the loan and pay the wages and costs of the bank.

      You also ensure transactions operate on the balance sheet of the central bank, not the individual banks. So you would have a Transaction Department at the Bank of England (alongside the Issue and Banking Departments) and current and savings account ultimately represent liabilities on that balance sheet.

      The functional aspects are less important - existing bank accounts could be held in trust by the current banks, run as separate subsidiaries companies and a myriad of different other options.

      The one casualty is interest on deposits. To have interest on deposits in a private system there has to be income from somewhere else to pay that interest.

      Therefore in this system it becomes a line item of government spending - likely via interest bearing accounts for individuals at National Savings. Paying interest on deposits in this way is then really just the same as paying coupons on Gilts. Gilts, of course, would cease to be issued.

  2. Barack Obama did not pass the ACA by cutting off insurance industry executives from the framing of the bill. He had to regularly make nonstop meetings with them to get their inputs and support - otherwise the law would never have been passed.

    That is how the real world works. Idealists can complain about "regulatory capture" but idealists do not have a great track record of actually passing laws. If they did, Sanders and Paul would have actually achieved something.

    1. "Barack Obama did not pass the ACA by cutting off insurance industry executives from the framing of the bill"

      Who cares? The ACA is a disaster that may have insured a few more people, but is hell on Medical costs overall:

    2. Speaking of "the law would not have passed", Democrats had a majority in both houses. It was not all Obama's fault of course, but that of Democrats in general. Same criticism applies. And if you pretend your policy is liberal to get support from the base, and it turns out not to be, then disappointing people is your own fault.

    3. And if you pretend your policy is liberal to get support from the base, and it turns out not to be, then disappointing people is your own fault

      Bang on. Speaking of "how the real world works."

  3. The most pressing issue:

  4. "Despite Hillary’s feeble protestations that she will take onboard Bernie Sander’s populist economic ideas, the evidence suggests otherwise: rather, the evidence suggests Hillary will continue to be a pro-free trader, corporate shill, and pro-Wall Street politician, who will accelerate the economic and social collapse of America."

    I just mentioned this very point today in one of the Jill Stein/Bernie Sanders groups on Facebook: I remember when Dennis Kucinich supposedly wrote the 2004 DNC platform - only to have his job Gerrymandered out of existence by the Democrats less than a decade later.

    That, and Hillary's engineering Bernie's downfall tells me a lot about what the Democrats think of mavericks who attempt to push the party towards it's stated left-of-center principles: Like an annoyance to be discarded at the 1st opportunity.

  5. Off topic, but guess which delightful Progressive voice has recently signed back on to Youtube and started making videos again? Mr. Brand:

  6. Sargon made a slight error. Glen Beck has not endorsed Hillary Clinton:

  7. Still, while these may be decent enough criticisms of Hillary and her committment to what she's said, you also have to recognize that:
    A) Governance in a Presidential administrations (not to mention within Congressional leadership) largely have to appease the internal political dynamics of that political party.
    B) Shifts in the Democratic party have irrevocably changed a wide variety of issues that were once acceptable 20 or even 10 years ago.
    C) Shifts in the Republican party, while good on issues like Trade, as well as further hostility to immigration reform (more than might have been said 3 or 11 years ago), is still going to be quite hostile to nearly all policy proposals that we on the center-left would like.
    D) The only way to fundamentally change the way the US Political System operates is to overturn Citizens United, which can ONLY be done by either a Constitutional Amendment or by appointing anti-CU Supreme Court Justices (including the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia, which alone would be enough to overturn the decision), which requires both the Presidency and the Democratic Senate. Currently, Hillary Clinton is being attacked on the right for "opposing Free Speech" by wishing to appoint Justices who are committed to overturning CU. Until and unless CU is overturned, special interest money, almost always representing a neo-liberal interest (whether it's big corporate money, Pete Peterson money, Wall Street money, Regressive Left money) will prevail.

    I mean sure, Hillary gets more money from Wall Street. She did used to represent them, and they don't like the uncertainty that a Donald Trump presidency would bring. However, Trump has called on repealing Dodd-Frank, while Hillary has called on a new set of regulations on Wall Street. Even if a Hillary Presidency wouldn't implement them, she would still keep Dodd-Frank, while it's an absolute certainty that Dodd-Frank would be axed immediately from a GOP Congress.

    A GOP congress would also immediately repeal Obamacare. Hillary on the other hand has spoken in favor of pushing for the public option (and indeed, had that in her healthcare plan back in 2008 IIRC). She has also called on trying to find ways to reduce prescription drugs (though I could never find any specifics), while Donald Trump is completely silent about what he would do except "negotiate a better deal".

    Trump wants more income-inequality increasing Bush tax cuts. That may increase the deficit in the short-term perhaps, but 4 years later when he'd likely be voted out of office, the GOP will be back to its stance of "we need to cut the budget deficit NAOOW!, but let's get rid of government spending instead of raising the taxes on the rich!"

    Trump does seem to be a bit better on infrastructure as he has proposed more extra spending. (1 trillion over 8 years vs. 250 billion over 5 years). But if Hillary were to find Congressional majorities (in the House, this is now a possibility), that *could* increase.

    Hillary is clearly better on higher education.

    A Hillary win might embolden the Regressive Left, but not necessarily so. I think this fight best won internally.

    Look, Hillary is Machiavellian. She wants to acquire power and plays the inside game in order to achieve it. I think what she does with that power is less of a concern for her, as long as it gets her a decent enough legacy.

    Donald Trump is a pathological narcissist, and will have a propensity to implode (if he has not already) and drag everything of his down to the gutter. If that means impeachment, then we get Mike Pence, a true supply-sider, movement Conservative, corporate shill, free trader, neo-liberal, who would be worse in every way to Donald Trump. Even if he stays in all 4 years, Trump has already shown willingness to hand over *all* Foreign and Domestic policy over to his VP, as he offered to John Kasich.

    So really, except for Trade, Immigration and Political Correctness, you're getting hardcore movement conservatism with Donald Trump.

    1. Actually you're wrong about overturning Citizens United. It can be done by Congress moving to strip the courts of that particular jurisdiction. Jurisdiction Stripping has been used before and it's effective. Look it up.

    2. It's unclear whether Merrick Garland would overturn CU, and Clinton has said she would keep his nomination when she becomes President. She has a choice to replace him with someone really liberal and of course will not take it.

  8. Ridiculous. I'm a big fan of this blog, but the idea that Trump is "anti establishment" is laughable. I'm no fan of Hillary, but am I the only one reading between the lines here? Trump changes policies in an instant, lies constantly, and has more than a sign of sexual predator about him. He thinks climate change is a myth and says nothing of substance about universal healthcare anymore except that it'll be "absolutely great". The fact that the reg left and neo cons oppose him is irrelevant. He wasn't even opposed to the Iraq war originally. Thatcher hated bolshevism, does that justify Lenin? I think not...

    1. Trump wants ultra tax cuts for the rich, according to Krugman, bigger than George W Bush or the larger ones proposed by Jeb. I am sure Republicans in Congress would pass that, if nothing else he wants. Thus I prefer Clinton on policy.

      Nonetheless, the comparison is between Clinton and him. Not between him and hypothetical liberalism. Trump, like Clinton, changes policies in an instant and lies constantly. She also committed offences over classified info *after* the material was subpoenaed. And was not prosecuted because the FBI publicly defended her and the DOJ was chicken. Credible rape allegations were made against her husband, he refuses to deny he raped Juanita Broadrick when asked, and will make no comment at all. A judge found he lied in one court case. His lost his own law licence. Clinton will get nowhere on climate change and won't try and rally public opinion to get policies in place. Same as Obama and the non-binding Paris agreement.

      Clinton says she supports universal healthcare but has no plan to get there. Lower costs require taking on the pharmaceutical and insurance companies and both she and Obama are much too scared of their power and much too desperate to get a second term to do anything.

      Yeah, Trump didn't oppose the Iraq war. And Clinton actually voted in favour!

      Nonetheless anyone who wants to vote Trump to try and make the Democrats move left is mistaken, I am sure. Democrats will blame the left for their defeat and say it proves the left is a threat. Thus, Sanders sought the Democratic nomination instead of running as an independent like Nader.

    2. Yeah I like Sanders. Krugman criticised his financial reform proposals, though I don't know whether that's a "neoliberal bias" or whatever. I haven't looked into it enough. Water under the bridge now. Still, it's good to know that many "felt the Bern", (as euphemistic as that sounds...) I wouldn't have thought that the USA would have been that enthusiastic for social democracy.

    3. Democrats will blame the left for their defeat and say it proves the left is a threat. Thus, Sanders sought the Democratic nomination instead of running as an independent like Nader

      I can't think of a better reason why there needs to be a long-term strategy for building a 3rd party. If any of the minor candidates can get 5% of the total vote, the FEC will award them a pile of money badly needed. Gary Johnson is poised to do exactly that. Jill Stein could conceivably get there. Then new alternatives will be on the national stage and no one needs to kiss the DNC's @$$ any longer!

    4. Probably true. I think the two party issue is what gets people between a rock and a hard place at the moment. It doesn't help that there's isn't much I don't find weird in USA politics nowadays. Gary and his tounge, Hillary and her emails, and Trump with his genital jostling. Whose the real alternative?

    5. Whose the real alternative