Hillary Clinton tells financiers she’s on their side

Hillary Clinton recently addressed a meeting of Wall Street financiers, which was set up by Goldman Sachs, to tell them that she’s on their side, Politico magazine reported.

Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Striking a soothing note on the global financial crisis, she told the audience, in effect: We all got into this mess together, and we’re all going to have to work together to get out of it. 

What the bankers heard her to say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate: Beating up the finance industry isn’t going to improve the economy—it needs to stop.

And indeed Goldman’s Tim O’Neill, who heads the bank’s asset management business, introduced Clinton by saying how courageous she was for speaking at the bank.  (Brave, perhaps, but also well-compensated: Clinton’s minimum fee for paid remarks is $200,000).

Certainly, Clinton offered the money men—and, yes, they are mostly men—at Goldman’s HQ a bit of a morale boost.  “It was like, ‘Here’s someone who doesn’t want to vilify us but wants to get business back in the game,’” said an attendee. “Like, maybe here’s someone who can lead us out of the wilderness.”

Clinton’s remarks were hardly a sweeping absolution for the sins of Wall Street, whose leaders she courted assiduously for financial support over a decade, as a senator and a presidential candidate in 2008.   But they did register as a repudiation of some of the angry anti-Wall Street rhetoric emanating from liberals rallying behind the likes of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

And perhaps even more than that, Clinton’s presence offered a glimpse to a future in which Wall Street might repair its frayed political relationships.

via POLITICO Magazine.

I would have thought that the Wall Street financial community would be highly pleased with President Barack Obama.  His administration has bailed out the Wall Street banks from their bad investments, and held them harmless.  It continued the TARP bailouts and supported Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke’s policy of pumping money into the banking system by buying up toxic assets.

The Obama administration has refrained from prosecution of financial fraud in the wake of the Wall Street collapse, in sharp contrast to the many prosecutions of savings and loan officers in the administration the elder George H.W. Bush.   It has declined to investigate illegal mortgage foreclosures or to give meaningful relief to under-water mortgage debtors.

But, according to Politico, the Wall Street community is miffed at Obama, partly because of the imposition of the so-called Volcker rule, which limits speculative investments with money covered by government guarantees, and also because Obama fails to manifest camaraderie or respond to their wishes.  That is why they give Obama “only” $6 million in the last election, compared to the $16 million he got in 2008.

On the Republican side, the Politico reporters wrote, Wall Street’s favorite is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  But the financiers also like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

What the article shows is that money still talks louder than public opinion.  The popular positions—breaking up the “too big to fail” banks, prosecuting financial fraud—are the underdog positions in Washington.

LINKS

Lament of the Plutocrats by Maggie Haberman and Ben White of Politico magazine.  The writers provide interesting details on Wall Street’s influence on politics.

Is Hillary Clinton the Next Mitt Romney? by S.E. Cupp of CNN.   Hat tip to Rochester Business Journal.

Hillary vs. Elizabeth Warren: The Media’s Latest Campaign Trail Godzilla Movie by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone.

Volcker Rule Wall Street crackdown revealed by Kate Davidson and Zachary Warmbrodt of Politico.  The writers give the specifics of the new rule, which goes into effect in 2015.  Time will tell how it will be enforced and whether it will mean anything.

The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High Level Executives Been Prosecuted? by Jed S. Rakoff for the New York Review of Books.   Hat tip to naked capitalism.

Secret Inside BofA Office of CEO Stymied Needy Homeowners by Hugh Son for Bloomberg.  This is a report on how Bank of America executives cheated homeowners out of illegal and unnecessary fees while pretending to help them obtain relief from under-water mortgages.

How far would Bank of America go to screw distressed homeowners? by Joan McCarter for DailyKos.  This is a good summary of the Bloomberg article.  Hat tip to naked capitalism.

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