Sanders vs. Clinton On Wall Street Reform

Demonsration TFF

There seems to be a whole cottage industry of writing articles to whitewash Hillary Clinton’s record. This includes articles which claim Clinton is a liberal or that she is not as hawkish as she is considered to be. Both types of articles accomplish this by taking a very limited view of Clinton’s overall record. Now there is an attempt in The New Yorker to really obfuscate matters, going directly at Sanders’ strength. Gary Sernovitch wrote an article entitled What Hillary Clinton Gets (and Bernie Sanders Doesn’t) About Wall Street. 

While the article admits that Clinton’s plan (described by Martin O’Malley as “weak tea”) wouldn’t fundamentally the issues with Wall Street, Sernovitch claims, “her experience with the realities of the world equips her with the tactics to handle big, complicated issues.” Clinton’s experience with the realities of the world has not paid off very well in the past considering how often Clinton has been wrong on the issues when Sanders was right, with Clinton only later admitting to her previous mistakes. We’ve seen her botch the big issues such as Iraq and health care reform. More recently she has flip-flopped on selected issues to try to attract progressives in the current primary race.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has a rebuttal to Sernovitch’s article. It begins:

The New Yorker ran a rather confused piece on Gary Sernovitz, a managing director at the investment firm Lime Rock Partners, on whether Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton would be more effective in reining in Wall Street. The piece assures us that Secretary Clinton has a better understanding of Wall Street and that her plan would be more effective in cracking down on the industry. The piece is bizarre both because it essentially dismisses the concern with too big to fail banks and completely ignores Sanders’ proposal for a financial transactions tax which is by far the most important mechanism for reining in the financial industry.

After discussing the matter in more detail, Baker concluded:

It is incredible that Sernovitz would ignore a policy with such enormous consequences for the financial sector in his assessment of which candidate would be tougher on Wall Street. Sanders FTT would almost certainly do more to change behavior on Wall Street than everything that Clinton has proposed taken together, by a rather large margin. Leaving out the FTT in this comparison is sort of like evaluating the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl prospects without discussing their quarterback.