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25th Nov, 2007

Foreclosed: Blame Bill Clinton’s Repeal of Glass-Steagall

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fdrsignsglasssteagall

FDR Signs the Glass-Steagall Act (Carter Glass on left)

Many Democrats wish Bill Clinton still occupied the White House. However, before you put him in Mt. Rushmore, you might want to investigate his role in the mortgage foreclosure crisis.

The chief aim of what I have termed the Republican Counterrevolution has always been to roll back the New Deal. Anti-gov’ment rhetoric hides this as surely as states’ rights hid racist segregation. Of all the New Deal legislation the GOP has sought to overturn, one that has always been at or near the top of the list is the Glass-Steagall Act. Ironically, a Democratic president repealed this for them.

Glass-Steagall

An unreconstructed Southerner from Virginia, Carter Glass shepherded the creation of the Federal Reserve System through Congress, which has caused some to call him the “founding father of the Federal Reserve System.” Later Glass would serve as Wilson’s Treasury Secretary, recommending aid to Europe after World War I. Just before leaving Treasury to become senator, Glass warned about banks getting involved in stocks.

In his economic history of the Great Depression, John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out one of the causes was:

The large-scale corporate thimblerigging that was going on. This took a variety of forms, of which by far the most common was the organization of corporations to hold stock in yet other corporations, which in turn held stock in yet other corporations.

Galbraith would note:

During 1929 one investment house, Goldman, Sachs & Company, organized and sold nearly a billion dollars’ worth of securities in three interconnected investment trusts—Goldman Sachs Trading Corporation; Shenandoah Corporation; and Blue Ridge Corporation. All eventually depreciated virtually to nothing.

It is hard to imagine today what it felt like to walk through the door of a bank in those days and learn that the dollars you had earned had vanished. Every day spent working and saving had been for nothing. A great many farmers, brick layers, carpenters, factory workers believed the bankers had stolen their lives.

When Franklin Roosevelt took office, both the President and Congress knew the banking crisis demanded immediate action. The result was one of the crown jewels of the New Deal: the Glass-Steagall Act, officially known as the Banking Act of 1933. Glass made sure the bill forbid banks from getting into the investment business. In addition, the bill established the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, which protects our bank deposits.

In 1971, in Investment Company Institute v. Camp, no less than the United States Supreme Court would write what stands as the most cogent summary of the reasons for Glass-Steagall:

Congress was concerned that commercial banks in general and member banks of the Federal Reserve System in particular had both aggravated and been damaged by stock market decline partly because of their direct and indirect involvement in the trading and ownership of speculative securities.

The legislative history of the Glass-Steagall Act shows that Congress also had in mind and repeatedly focused on the more subtle hazards that arise when a commercial bank goes beyond the business of acting as fiduciary or managing agent and enters the investment banking business either directly or by establishing an affiliate to hold and sell particular investments.

Many arguments the Supreme Court advanced in support of Glass-Steagall, would prove prophetic three decades later.

Bill Clinton and the Wall of Me

Billionaire Sanford I. Weill, who according to Louis Uchitelle made “Citigroup into the most powerful financial institution since the House of Morgan a century ago,” has what I call the Wall of Me leading to his office, which he has decorated with tributes to him, including a dozen framed magazine covers. A major trophy is the pen Bill Clinton used to sign the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, a move which allowed Weill to create Citigroup. Fittingly, Citigroup is a major contributor to guess which current Democratic Presidential candidate?

A Frontline report on the repeal of Glass-Steagall shows how those with money end up with pens from the President of the United States on their walls.

Sandy Weill calls President Clinton in the evening to try to break the deadlock after Senator Phil Gramm, chairman of the Banking Committee, warned Citigroup lobbyist Roger Levy that Weill has to get White House moving on the bill or he would shut down the House-Senate conference. Serious negotiations resume, and a deal is announced at 2:45 a.m. on Oct. 22. Whether Weill made any difference in precipitating a deal is unclear.

Just days after the administration (including the Treasury Department) agrees to support the repeal, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, the former co-chairman of a major Wall Street investment bank, Goldman Sachs, raises eyebrows by accepting a top job at Citigroup as Weill’s chief lieutenant. The previous year, Weill had called Secretary Rubin to give him advance notice of the upcoming merger announcement. When Weill told Rubin he had some important news, the secretary reportedly quipped, “You’re buying the government?”

When Bill Clinton gave that pen to Sanford Weill, it symbolized the ending of the twentieth century Democratic Party that had created the New Deal. Although the 1999 law did not repeal all of the banking Act of 1933, retaining the FDIC, it did once again allow banks to enter the securities business, becoming what some term “whole banks.”

The repeal of one of the most important pieces of legislation in this nation’s history came about as a result of another Clinton “triangulation,” the wobbling attempt to find the middle of the road that has somehow managed to pass for a philosophy with many Democrats for over two decades. As former Clinton campaign advisor Richard Morris once described it, you move a little to the left, a little to the right. I’d love to hear Clinton give that explanation to a foreclosed home owner today.

With the stroke of a pen, Bill Clinton ended an era that stretched back to William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson and reached fruition with FDR and Harry Truman. As he signed his name, in the whorls and dots of his pen strokes William Jefferson Clinton was also symbolically signing the death warrant of Liberal America and its core belief in the level playing field that had guided the Democratic Party. But it was the gift of the pen to Sanford Weill and its assuming an honored place on the Wall of Me that rubbed salt in the wound.In his famous First Inaugural Roosevelt pointedly asserted:

Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

Now Clinton had not only repealed the act Roosevelt had put in place to curb those practices, but presented one of the pens used to sign it to one of those “money changers.”

What Hath Clinton Wrought?

What can be said in Clinton’s favor is that no one in 1999 anticipated the huge growth of the hedge fund industry and the subprime mortgage market. The New York Times described the new financial world created by the repeal of Glass-Steagall in a June 2007 profile of Goldman Sachs:

While Wall Street still mints money advising companies on mergers and taking them public, real money — staggering money — is made trading and investing capital through a global array of mind-bending products and strategies unimaginable a decade ago.

Curiously, Goldman Sachs head Lloyd Blankfein paints the perfect big picture of what has happened:

We’ve come full circle, because this is exactly what the Rothschilds or J. P. Morgan, the banker were doing in their heyday. What caused an aberration was the Glass Steagall Act.

Blankfein testifies to the full impact of Bill Clinton’s actions, for like many members of the Counterrevolution he sees the New Deal as an aberration and longs for a return to the days J. P. Morgan and other tycoons gave the Gilded Age its nickname. His “aberration” was eliminated not because of the actions of some radical Republican, but because of Bill Clinton. No wonder Goldman Sachs is also a prime contributor to you-know-who.

As is often the case, the story of the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the growth of the subprime mortgage market that is now crumbling around us like a financial house of cards can be best be told by a graph:

subprimemortgagegraph

If you think of this graph as the level playing field, notice how flat it was before Bill Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall, then notice how steep it has become. Those subprime loans amount to nothing more than an organized ripoff of millions of innocent Americans, with the steepness of the graph illustrating the how far the playing field has tilted.

The result is that all of a sudden people are thinking Glass-Steagall wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Robert Kuttner testified before Barney Frank’s Committee on Banking and Financial Services in October, evoking the dreaded specter of the Great Depression:

Since repeal of Glass Steagall in 1999, after more than a decade of de facto inroads, super-banks have been able to re-enact the same kinds of structural conflicts of interest that were endemic in the 1920s – lending to speculators, packaging and securitizing credits and then selling them off, wholesale or retail, and extracting fees at every step along the way. And, much of this paper is even more opaque to bank examiners than its counterparts were in the 1920s. Much of it isn’t paper at all, and the whole process is supercharged by computers and automated formulas.

Then there is Dow Jones MarketWatch’s Thomas Kostigen :

I’m not saying that Glass-Steagall would have made a difference to the evolution of the collateralized debt obligations. But it might have helped identify and isolated the damage.

As Congress continues to investigate the mortgage crisis, more people are wondering whether the repeal of Glass-Steagall was a mistake.

The Future of Your Mortgage

In testimony before Congress on November 8, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke painted a grim picture of the current crisis and even grimmer picture of the future:

On average from now until the end of next year, nearly 450,000 subprime mortgages per quarter are scheduled to undergo their first interest rate reset. [My emphasis]

According to a December 2006 study by the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonpartisan research and policy organization:

More than 2 million people with subprime loans are facing foreclosure this year and nearly 20 percent of subprime mortgages issued between 2005 and 2006 are projected to fail.

But numbers and testimony and even history mean little to those who suddenly find themselves up against the wall. In every city and town across this country “For Sale” signs are popping up on lawns. Behind each of those signs lies a personal story, a family tragedy, which like the tragedies of the Great Depression, tells of innocent Americans felled by an affliction they never saw coming. Walk any street in this country today–even in affluent neighborhoods–and each time you see one of those signs the hairs on the back of your own neck stand up, because those signs instill the same fear people felt when they walked into a bank in 1932 and found their money gone.

Two million people have found themselves one step away from figuratively being tossed out onto the street, the way millions were in the 1930s. Meanwhile, there are young people starting new lives for whom home ownership is rapidly receding, middle-aged people who finally had scraped together enough for a down payment only to find they can’t get a mortgage and older people for whom their home was their retirement and now find its value dropping like George Bush’s poll numbers. Finally there are even millions more for whom the collateral damage from the crises promises to cast its shadow over their American Dream.

The International Monetary Fund recently drew the following lessons from various financial crisis:

It is difficult to tell at the time whether a financial crisis will have broader economic consequences. Regulators often cannot keep up with the pace of financial innovation that may trigger a crisis.

Both have characterized what happened after the repeal of Glass-Steagall. It’s too bad Bill Clinton did not have their wisdom when he made his decision, but then when you make decisions by triangulating, how much weight do you give such studies?

And the current crop of politicians? Look again at the donor lists detailed in this site’s “Follow the Money” series. Then wonder why no moderator or other candidate has asked Hillary Clinton if she supports her husband’s repeal of Glass-Steagall? Ask the other candidates if they support Bill Clinton’s move.

Meanwhile the signs keep sprouting and the playing field keeps tilting and soon the snow will start to fall, drifting against the signs. How many more people will have lost their homes when the snow melts?

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Dearest liberalamerican . . .

Your research is exceptional. The assessment is brilliant. I submitted this essay to Buzz Flash. I hope many will read this exposé and think before they cast a ballot. Democrats are not always as they appear.

If you are unfamiliar with Buzz Flash, this site provides headlines, news, and commentary for a geographically-diverse, politically-savvy, pro-democracy, anti-hypocrisy web community, reaching five million* people a month and growing.

Anyone can read any article anytime. The readership is obviously quite large. If people in cyberspace wish to bring an essay to the forefront, someone outside of the buzz flashes editorial staff must create a buzz.

If you wish to support the submission, please create an account. Once registered, you can easily buzz the story. When a suggested article receives votes, that signifies people think it worthy, and wish for the essay to be front-paged at Buzz Flash.com. If buzzes amass, the title and link to the treatise are placed in a feature box on the front-page of the Buzz Flash.

If you yearn to buzz the article, it takes only seconds. Please follow the simple steps below . . .
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Foreclosed: Blame Bill Clinton
http://www.buzzflash.net/story.php?id=32414

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t a Republican Congress first vote on the bill that Clinton signed into law?

Didn’t the Republicans control all three branches of government for the past five years?

Republicans had plenty of warning signs and plenty of time to correct the problem of subprime lending to unqualified borrowers.

Besides that, the subprime fiasco is just a symptom of a much greater problem with the economy, which was not caused by Clinton signing the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act. The economic problems we now face were created by the Republicans, not by the Democrats and certainly not by Bill Clinton.

Put the blame squarely where it belongs, on the Republicans, again.

I’m wondering if congress passed the repeal with a veto-proof majority. If not, blame Clinton AND Congress.

Face it…50 years ago, Clinton (BOTH of ‘em) would have been a republican. I’ve always considered him the best republican president ever elected by the democrats.

He gave us NAFTA…’nuf said.

Mr. Schmidt,

You obviously need to read this blog more before you tar it with broad brush–or better yet, read the book. You will see I have no love lost for what I term the Republican Counterrevolution.

You also should read the article again. The point of the article is that Bill Clinton not only SIGNED the bill, he intervened in the process to get the bill passed. The original bill WAS sponsored by Republican Phil Gramm of Texas. Clinton aligned himself with Gramm.

Here’s some additional research for you to chew on. In November 1999, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition sent President Clinton a letter urging him to veto the bill and along with it issued the following press release:

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) sent a letter to President Clinton today asking the President to veto the
financial modernization bill. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 will let banks, securities firms, and insurance companies merge without the current limitations. At the same time, the
bill weakens vital protections against discrimination and redlining by
weakening the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

Other groups against the bill included Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, the Fair Housing Alliance, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions, Consumers Union, and the Volunteers of America.

The point is that Bill Clinton signed the bill and intervened to get it passed.

If you want to keep reading this blog, I will have a post in the next few weeks that more fully outlines Bill Clinton’s acquiescence to the GOP Counterrevolution.

At the risk of reposting…unless Congress had a veto-proof vote, we still can blame Bill.

I’ve always thought Cilnton was the best republican president the democrats ever elected. Face it Mr. Schmidt, 50 years ago BOTH Clintons would have been republicans.

Bill gave us NAFTA. ‘Nuf said.

All my family are dyed-in-the-wool democrats and NONE will accept any dirt about Bubba. I unregistered as a dem after the last two elections proved the dems are really repugs in wimpy clothing. My family won’t stand for that either…which makes them all sound like repugs too, doncha think?

No one is out there representing us. We have no functional government, just an empty shell and a ton of propaganda.

#

# liberalamerican says

Mr. Schmidt,

You also should read the article again. The point of the article is that Bill Clinton not only SIGNED the bill, he intervened in the process to get the bill passed.

The point is that Bill Clinton signed the bill and intervened to get it passed.

—————

WRONG!

The point of the article is to unfairly blame Clinton (for everything) for a bill passed by Republicans. Just because Clinton also favored and signed the bill does not make it entirely his fault that the law was passed, as the article incorrectly concludes.

It is Congress who writes the laws, remember? Therefore, they get the major share of the blame, not Clinton. Historical revisions will not be tolerated.

Mr Schmidt,

Now you are not only criticizing the article, you are writing it! Amazing!

To quote: “The point of the article is to unfairly blame Clinton (for everything).” Thank you for telling me the point of my own article. The next time I need to know what I am really thinking about something I will have to call you because apparently you know more about what I am thinking than I do.

You also perhaps need to learn how to read. Please show me where the article blames Clinton for “everything?” And just what is “everything?”

“Historical revisions will not be tolerated.” That is bizarre. If that were true George Washington would still be chopping down cherry trees. And who will not tolerate these revisions? and what do you propose to do with these revisionists?

Besides reading lessons you might recheck your high school civics text. I do believe the President has to sign a bill to make it law. Or have you conveniently forgotten that fact? Do you remember something called a “veto?”

Although he faced a far-more hostile Republican Congress than Bill Clinton, Harry Truman had the guts to veto Taft-Hartley (which repealed the Wagner Act). Bill Clinton did not show similar courage or commitment to the principles of the Democratic Party.

Personally, I don’t think even you know what you are thinking. Funny how you continue to live in denial about the facts. Perhaps you need a refresher course in civics, particularly on how laws are made.

Trying to blame Clinton alone for a bill that was created and voted on in Congress is intellectual dishonesty. A few hundred people in Congress voted for this bill. Therefore, the major portion of the blame rests on their shoulders, not on Clinton. If they never would have passed the bill, Clinton never would have signed it into law. The Glass-Steagall buck may stop on Clinton’s desk, but it was first created in Congress.

Also, after two weeks no one else in the MSM or on the internet has blamed Clinton because it just is not true.

Mr. Schmidt,

I truly marvel at your mind. Now it is asserting that if the mainstream media do not choose to cover a story it must not be true. God help our country if everyone had your sense of logic.
The rest of your comment repeats yet again charges that have already been dealt with. You keep accusing me of blaming Bill Clinton for everything, yet refuse to cite evidence of where I say that. You refuse to acknowledge Clinton could have vetoed the bill or at least provided strong opposition. You refuse to admit Clinton intervened to help get the bill passed at the request of someone who stood to benefit from the bill.

This is becoming repetitious.

How about we agree to disagree and use our energies and my bandwidth for something more constructive.

Maybe I missed something, but the graph you included does not support your claim. Since it shows a marked increase in 1998 a full year before the subject legislation was repealed. That would seem to suggest another reason for the increase.

The graph plots year to year and draws a line between them, the increase is in 1999. Unless I failed miserably at reading it.

The point of the piece is not to blame Bill Clinton alone, for the repeal of Glass Stegall and the ensuing disasters. The peice simply points out that Clinton was supposed to be a Liberal Democrat, unlike those who crafted the bill and voted it through congress. As a Liberal Democrat, he was our last line of defense against this travesty. And instead of calling it what it was, a prelude to a disaster, and vetoing it, he actively campainged for its passage and gladly signed it into law. He is not completely at fault, but he certainly bears some responsiblity. The point of the article is to show that.

Yes, you did in fact fail miserably at reading it. :smile: The dramatic increase is from 1997 to 1998.

So didn’t the dramatic increase happen before Glass-Stegall was repealed/reformed?

To argue that congress bears a larger responsibility than the clintons in the repeal of Glass-Steagall is absurd and is itself an example of Clintonian triangulation. Accuse someone else of doing what you did. With his pen, Clinton is the only one who could repeal the law regardless of what the congress did.

However, some cardinal points of the repeal story are that Mr. Clinton, since his inauguration, advocated for it over the objection of many experts (Paul Volker, former fed chairman, for example), he brought Robert Rubin in from Goldman Sachs in the capacity of Secretary of the U.S. Treasury with the specific assignment of undoing Glass-Steagall.
It took them from their first attempt in 1993 until 1999 to pull it off.

This adventure is very different from other lawmaking activities if only for this reason: The only immediate beneficiary of the repeal was Sandy Weill, and shortly after repeal, Robert Rubin resigned as treasury secretary and went to work for Sandy Weill. And, since leaving office, Clinton has earned millions of dollars in the service of those same money men who profit from the financial crisis.

Too bad this article come so close to getting it right, but misses the real culprit:

Glass himself! The real culprit is the Federal Reserve Banking System. Glass-Steagall only put leg-irons on the Frankensein monster they created.

Glass was not the “Father of the Federal Reserve Act”. That would have been JP Morgan or Paul Warburg. Carter Glass was only one of the legislative sponsors, along with Senator Owen. The Owen-Glass Bill (formerley defeated as the Aldrich Bill) enabled the private banking cartel to take economic control over the United States of America in 1913.

Everything that happened since then has been secondary in importance as far as tracing the blame, or root cause of our monetaqry and ecomomic problems.

All of the deregulations and diminishing congressional oversight of US banking has since contributed to the problem, raised the national and public debt, and allowed fraud and corruption to run rakmpant.

But the huge, unforgable, unredeemable mistake was in allowing private bankers to gain control over our nation’s power to create, issue and regulate money, or currency.

Our nation is doomed to repeat the fate of Rome if we do not correct that mistake, and take back the power to create money.

Tinkering with a broken system will not fix the problem. Only gov’t should have the power to create and control money. Think no more national debt. Think taxes reduced by half – immediately. Think rebuilding US roads, bridges, dams, schools, and other infrastructure.

Think.

Actually you bring up a point I have referred to elsewhere: the original arguments over federal reserve were between Bryan and Glass over control of the system. Bryan advocated a system much as you describe. He lost. He wanted “civilians” to control our banking not bankers, So your point is well taken.

As for Warburg, you are also right in acknowledging his role as the “architect” of the system in a way Carter Glass was not.

Calling this “Bill Clinton’s Repeal” is SUCH a distortion…

For example, see http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/wallstreet/weill/demise.html

Glass Steagall was a mere shell by the time Clinton traded stuff he wanted for what would have been an absolutely meaningless veto. Glass Steagall was already a dead carcass by the time of the “repeal”.

The reason that the increase in sub-prime lending preceeded the “repeal” (as many astute readers have noticed, and as you can see from the PBS link) is that Glass Steagall was already DEAD by the time of the “repeal”.

This article — to the extent it contributed “fodder” for the Obama campaign (nad now, for McCain), will probably wind up helping McCain in the election.

I also notice that there was absolutely NO mention that the Senate vote was split 100% along party lines.

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=106&session=1&vote=00105#position

If McCain/Palin wind up winning this election, we can all blame articles like this.

Nice job…

I would like to remind my mentally challanged liberal friends that Bill Clinton signed the law in 2004 under a Democrat controlled Congress. The Republicans didn’t take control till January 2005 ; ) Boy you liberals are historically challenged.

Me goof……1994. The Republicans didn’t take control till 1995.

The bill was signed into law in November 1999

I believe the initial vote was Senate 54-44, House 343-86 along the party lines. Not veto proof in the Senate. It moved to conference committee where the differences were worked out. The final bill was passed 90-8-1 in the Senate and 362-57-15 in the House. I am unclear of procedural issues as to if Clinton could have vetoed it initially or had to wait for the bill out of conference committee. If he could have vetoed right away then it appears he is partially to blame. If the bill is not presented to Clinton until after conference committee than his veto would have been symbolic, but it would have not stopped the bill from passage.

Am I making any sense. Can anyone answer when the bill goes to the President. Thanks!

To those who still don’t get it:

As several sources show (read the articles again, please), Bill Clinton intervened at a crucial moment to keep the repeal alive and his staff was for the repeal. Clinton as guilty as charged. What that has to do with Barack Obama is a mystery to me.

As for feeding McCain, you forget your history. Look up the name of the repeal: the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Gramm, as in Phil Gramm, the chief economic advisor of one John McCain.

JOE BIDEN approved and voted for it!

I believe Dan was talking about the Community Reinvestment Act. Or in other word, the true culprit behind our current fiasco. Bill Clinton wanted affordable housing for all so he forced companies like Fannie, Freddie and Countrywide (sound familiar?) to “ease” their lending practices. In Fact since ’95 the price of housing has risen far above the rate of inflation, creating a bubble, and actually making housing more expensive. A lot of government programs have adverse effects and actually make the situation worse. Clinton wanted to make homes more affordable, but instead made the price increase at such a rate that it eventually collapsed. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act allowed banks to diversify and the banks that did diversify are the ones buying up the banks that went under. Gramm made it possible for JP Morgan to buy Bear Stearns and for Bank of America to buy Merrill Lynch. It’s why Wachovia can consider a bid for Morgan Stanley. Phil Gramm may not be the best guy in the world, but we actually owe him a thank you.

DON’T BLAME BILL CLINTON!

The bill that ultimately repealed the Act was introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (R-TX) and in the House of Representatives by James Leach (R-IA) in 1999. The bills were passed by a 54-44 vote along party lines with Republican support in the Senate[7] and by a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives[8]. Nov 4, 1999: After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bipartisan bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90-8-1 and in the House: 362-57-15. Without forcing a veto vote, this bipartisan, veto proof legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999. [9]

I DO blame Bill Clinton. Read my replies to previous comments, read other articles in the series and please don’t comments about posts when you have not read the entire series of stories.

If you had even read the above comments and my replies to them you mwould not have had to write this.

Bill Clinton is guilty as charged and now we are paying the penalty for having his pen hanging on Sandy Weil’s wall.

If you had read those other articles you would have learned about the New Democrats and how they lead the Democratic Party down the road of becoming pseudo-Republicans and in the process took America down the road to the greatest crisis since 1932. A much more apt comparison is the 1893 Depression which in part was caused by the Clinton of his day, Democrat Grover Cleveland.

Interesting several readers should bring up the CRA. As the other articles in the this series have pointed out that was what stalled the conference committee and was the subject of the late night phone call to Bill Clinton that changed history.

liberalamerican, you are absolutely, positively correct in all your statements. good job!

folks, quit posting pointless comments in favor of clinton. just google everything from the CRA through the repeal, including youtube. once you’ve finished your investigation, what you will find is clinton is the primary person to accept the blame. after all, JP Morgan visited clinton privately to enforce his interference since time was of the essence. clinton sold us out to corporate america, and unfortunately, the downfall of his actions appear of bush’s watch. in my opinion, bush’s foremost urgent job is to protect America. He has accomplished that. if terrorists continued to invade our land, we would have a more serious problem besides the economy now wouldn’t we? my other opinion is, the government is not to blame for our economy. YOU ARE AT FAULT! stop frivolous spending. be happy with what you [had], rather than getting bigger because your coworker or neighbor bought a boat, an SUV, a house in the city, in the mountains, and on mars!! you families need to restructure your dwelling place… what is it about eating out every single night with all your children, plus buying your breakfast & lunches every single day… add it all up folks… you don’t cook at home anymore… two and three jobs per household isn’t good enough! it’s all about you, yourself, and you! you’re not rich because you threw it all away and teach your children to do the same by watching the choices you make. stop blaming bush and the government. you and clinton are to blame.

Right now it is time to nip this growing use by the right wing of my article to attack the Democrats. OK seems to forget that the names on the bill that repealed Glass-Steagall are those of three REPUBLICANS, one of them was John McCain’s chief financial advisor. He also forgets that the first blows at Glass-Steagall came from REPUBLICANS.

As for George Bush, anyone who thinks he did not have anything to do with this crisis or is not doing a Herbert Hoover by making it worse must be living on a different planet than those of us who are trying to figure out how we are going to get through this. It is the REPUBLICANS who are blocking extending unemployment benefits, the REPUBLICANS who are refusing to prosecute three financial institutions who are violation of the law, the REPUBLICANS who are blocking bailing out those people facing foreclosure, the REPUBLICANS who think “the market” will take care of itself.

And don’t blame ME or anyone else reading this for the crisis. When a team of lawyers can’t even figure out a mortgage agreement it’s not our fault for being foreclosed. When we get laid off because the folks on Wall Street or in the CEO suites made bad decisions it’s not our fault. Yes, many people perhaps overextended their credit card debt, but who enabled them to do that–REPUBLICANS. And most of all who abolished many of the safety nets that are supposed to help people in trouble–REPUBLICANS. They would not even extend health benefits for children!

Finally, the REPUBLICANS promised us that their top-down, give the tax cuts to the rich philosophy would bring us all prosperity. Bill Clinton left this country with a balanced budget and a healthy economy. What has George Bush left us with? To paraphrase Ronald Reagan I think if you asked most people if they were better off under Bill Clinton than George Bush we all know what the answer would be. We got it this November with the election of Barack Obama. Yes, the repeal of Glass-Steagall was a Clinton mistake, but although I disagree with his philosophy, I would take Bill Clinton back in a minute over our present Herbert Hoover clones.

I blame this on anyone who votes for a democrat or a republican. They are both evil and infested with corruption and hidden agendas.

You might read the latest in this series.

The exact legislation that repealed these provisions of Glass-Steagall was called the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act and named after ALL Republicans who created the bill!!! *hint hint* Phil Gramm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm-Leach-Bliley_Act

It passed the House and Senate by a mostly Republican vote. It was a Republican bill and most Democrats were opposed to it until certain concessions were made! The only thing Clinton did was sign it instead of veto’ing it (which, in retrospect he should’ve done).

In fact Byron Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota was one of the only very outspoken opponents of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which you speak of in this misleading article. Watch Dorgan’s speech in November of 1999. It’s as if he has a crystal ball….he even says that “in 10 years we will regret this decision”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvnO_SH-4WU

This argument is getting a bit tiresome. So ONE MORE TIME let’s review the facts. 1) Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, with Clinton’s approval, publicly stated he would approve the Citi merger and urged a repeal of Glass-Steagall. 2) Bill Clinton called the conference committee in the middle of the night after a phone call from Sandy Weill to urge them to back the repeal, 3) Clinton could have vetoed the bill or signaled that he was against it. He did not. 4) Why? Our intrepid commentator forgot to check the vote.

The commenter might also want to search this site for the many other articles I have written about the repeal of Glass-Steagall for which this site has earned a reputation as one of the definitive sources on that whole affair.

There were a few principled people who spoke out against the repeal AT THE TIME, but they were decidedly in the minority. It is curious to compare this revisionist history with that on the Iraq War, the Patriot Act and the Bush tax cuts, all of which were bipartisan. But now certain elements in the Democratic Party (i.e. the Democratic Leadership Council) want us to forget the past.

Blaming Bill Clinton for the Mortgage Crisis is like blaming 9/11 on the Airlines.
Gramm, Leach, Bliley was the end, but tell the whole story behind it…. (and let’s remember who actually wrote it)

To Jonny Durango:

Re: Byron Dorgan.

I think I know Byron fairly well, being he is one of my senators.

I do have one thing to ask him which I have not had the chance and after reading this I can think of lots of reasons why not.

If you look at the senate standing rules.

Rule VII Section 2.

If he had objected to the unanimous consent order to proceed with business he could have effectively killed the legislation.

They may have effectively killed him had he done such a thing but it is possible.

Thank you for the post!

Murderous Bill Clinton (Rest in Peace Vince Foster) was/is the architech of the “IMPLODING OF AMERICA” which in it’s far reaching scope will level the globe for the entrance of the NEW WORLD ORDER-a one world government. And his reward, along with the other CFR, TLC, Bilderberg (you can search for membership lists on the Internet) members is maintaining their individual status quo.

At least if you are going to write such BS you might learn to spell. We have a rule at this site if you want to keep having comments approved please cite the evidence you have for such charges. This ain’t talk radio.

i just came upon your website thank you for being there a true patriot a quick comment on your article about ‘ clinton’s repeal of glass – steagall ‘ i wish you would have mentioned who wrote and sponsored the bill ( phil graham the king of empathy ) and made note that during the height of the lewinsky scandal and impeachement proceedings clinton was really in no position to veto maybe he was even pressured into it …. either way the bush admin had plenty of time to see the clear danger and move to correct . i wish you grace & peace

Frank,

Actually there are several essays on this site about the repeal of Glass-Steagall you may want to read to get5 the entire picture. Just do a search for Glass-Steagall using the search feature. Good reading and peace to you.

Clinton deregulate? Wow, why would he do that as a fairly liberal democrat? Answer: allow minorities with poor credit that voted him in twice to buy homes; the repeal of Glass Steagall was a free for all; banks loan to anyone and anybody. Clinton and the minorities became best friends; the U.S. would pay the price 7 years later.

This is what is known as a racist broad sweeping statement. If you want to rant off with barroom BS please find another place to do it. Otherwise when you make such racist charges please have the decency to back up your BS otherwise that is all it is–and this one smells worse than most.

Do a search on Glas- Steagal Act, then page down to the repeal section and, see the “gang of three” republicans, lead by “Foreclosure Phil” Gramm, who inserted it’s repeal into the signed bill.
Please give full credit.

I would point out, it was Phil Gramm with very little help from Clinton who was quite occupied at the time that Phil Gramm inserted his Enron Loophole (repeal of Glass-Steagell) into a massive spending bill. Below is a quote from a very comprehensive article on the subject

“It was an especially tense time in Washington. Only two days earlier, the Supreme Court had issued its decision on Bush v. Gore. President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress were locked in a budget showdown. It was the perfect moment for a wily senator to game the system. As Congress and the White House were hurriedly hammering out a $384-billion omnibus spending bill, Gramm slipped in a 262-page measure called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Written with the help of financial industry lobbyists and cosponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the chairman of the agriculture committee, the measure had been considered dead—even by Gramm. Few lawmakers had either the opportunity or inclination to read the version of the bill Gramm inserted. “Nobody in either chamber had any knowledge of what was going on or what was in it,” says a congressional aide familiar with the bill’s history.”
http://motherjones.com/politics/2008/05/foreclosure-phil

I would point out, it was Phil Gramm with very little help from Clinton who was quite occupied at the time that Phil Gramm inserted his Enron Loophole (repeal of Glass-Steagell) into a massive spending bill. Below is a quote from a very comprehensive article on the subject.
“It was an especially tense time in Washington. Only two days earlier, the Supreme Court had issued its decision on Bush v. Gore. President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress were locked in a budget showdown. It was the perfect moment for a wily senator to game the system. As Congress and the White House were hurriedly hammering out a $384-billion omnibus spending bill, Gramm slipped in a 262-page measure called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Written with the help of financial industry lobbyists and cosponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the chairman of the agriculture committee, the measure had been considered dead—even by Gramm. Few lawmakers had either the opportunity or inclination to read the version of the bill Gramm inserted. “Nobody in either chamber had any knowledge of what was going on or what was in it,” says a congressional aide familiar with the bill’s history.”
http://motherjones.com/politics/2008/05/foreclosure-phil

“Freddie Mae — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — I see the heads who are here; I want to thank you all for coming — (laughter) — have committed to provide more money for lenders. They’ve committed to help meet the shortage of capital available for minority home buyers.
Freddie Mac recently began 25 initiatives around the country to dismantle barriers and create greater opportunities for homeownership. One of the programs is designed to help deserving families who have bad credit histories to qualify for homeownership loans.”
George W. Bush
President Hosts Conference on Minority Homeownership
George Washington University
Washington, D.C.

“And so, therefore, I’ve called — yesterday, I called upon the private sector to help us and help the home buyers. We need more capital in the private markets for first-time, low-income buyers. And I’m proud to report that Fannie Mae has heard the call and, as I understand, it’s about $440 billion over a period of time. They’ve used their influence… See More to create that much capital available for the type of home buyer we’re talking about here. It’s in their charter; it now needs to be implemented. Freddie Mac is interested in helping. I appreciate both of those agencies providing the underpinnings of good capital.”

— George W. Bush, June 18th, 2002

How can you put so much blame on Clinton when the repeal of Glass-Steagall vote in the Senat was 90 to 8 in favor with only one Republican and only seven Democrats voting no and all three of the sponsors were Republican. Some would call a 90 to 8 vote vetoe proof.

I have dealt with this before, so use the search button to find the answer or check out the initial votes on the bill not the final one. As I recently posted Bill Clinton himself has said Phil Gramm did not convince him to favor the bill. In short it was done with Clinton’s blessing not his opposition.

Here is the interview conducted in Business Week, September 24, 2008:

Phil Gramm, who was then the head of the Senate Banking Committee and until recently a close economic adviser of Senator McCain, was a fierce proponent of banking deregulation. Did he sell you a bill of goods?
Not on this bill I don’t think he did. You know, Phil Gramm and I disagreed on a lot of things, but he can’t possibly be wrong about everything. On the Glass-Steagall thing, like I said, if you could demonstrate to me that it was a mistake, I’d be glad to look at the evidence. But I can’t blame [the Republicans]. This wasn’t something they forced me into. I really believed that given the level of oversight of banks and their ability to have more patient capital, if you made it possible for [commercial banks] to go into the investment banking business as Continental European investment banks could always do, that it might give us a more stable source of long-term investment.

So Clinton people PLEASE QUIT writing that poor Bill Clinton was forced into this. In essence by saying that you weaken not strengthen the man. You are saying, “Poor Bill Clinton got forced or hookwinked into supporting an important law he did not really agree with.”

If you believe the repeal of Glass-Steagall was wrong–as I do–then you have to hold accountable all who played a role in the repeal, one of which was Bill Clinton. But if you really want to know what I think of Bill Clinton read my analysis of his Second Inaugural, which marked an official declaration of the end of liberalism by Clinton and the capitulation of the Clinton wing of the Party, much as Grover Cleveland’s Boubons capitulated in the late nineteenth century (read my essay on Clinton and Cleveland for this one).

There’s a reason Bill Clinton set up shop in NYC. His office is uptown in
Harlem, but it’s downtown in the Financial District, that was the draw for him.
Not coincidentally, of all the Democrats and Republicans running in their respective primaries in 2008, Hillary got the most “Wall Street money” of any candidate on either side. Why?
I wholeheartedly agree that the Republican CounterRevolution against the New Deal was ultimately sucessful due to Bill Clinton’s and other Democrats complicity. That, sadly, has not changed with the election of Barack Obama.
Very sad, and with continued tragic consequences. We very clearly have been betrayed by “our side.”

Nice observation. However, Clinton had been sucking in Wall Street money going back to the days when he was head of the Democratic Leadership Council.

The sad part–as I have written several times–is the our present President is relying on the same Clinton financial people who helped to get us into this mess. The point at which Barack Obama declares his independence of those people is when we will know we truly have a real Democratic alternative.

[...] The opposite when it is Congress. convenient and dishonest. Bill Clinton and Glass Steagall Foreclosed: Blame Bill Clinton’s Repeal of Glass-Steagall The Strange Death of Liberal America Credit default swapps were created but no one in the Sercurities exchange regulatory commissioned [...]

The Community Reinvestment Act, passed in 1977, requires banks to lend in the low-income neighborhoods where they take deposits. Just the idea that a lending crisis created from 2004 to 2007 was caused by a 1977 law is silly. But it’s even more ridiculous when you consider that most subprime loans were made by firms that aren’t subject to the CRA. University of Michigan law professor Michael Barr testified back in February before the House Committee on Financial Services that 50% of subprime loans were made by mortgage service companies not subject comprehensive federal supervision and another 30% were made by affiliates of banks or thrifts which are not subject to routine supervision or examinations. As former Fed Governor Ned Gramlich said in an August, 2007, speech shortly before he passed away: “In the subprime market where we badly need supervision, a majority of loans are made with very little supervision. It is like a city with a murder law, but no cops on the beat.”
Not surprisingly given the higher degree of supervision, loans made under the CRA program were made in a more responsible way than other subprime loans. CRA loans carried lower rates than other subprime loans and were less likely to end up securitized into the mortgage-backed securities that have caused so many losses, according to a recent study by the law firm Traiger & Hinckley .
Finally, keep in mind that the Bush administration has been weakening CRA enforcement and the law’s reach since the day it took office. The CRA was at its strongest in the 1990s, under the Clinton administration, a period when subprime loans performed quite well. It was only after the Bush administration cut back on CRA enforcement that problems arose, a timing issue which should stop those blaming the law dead in their tracks. The Federal Reserve, too, did nothing but encourage the wild west of lending in recent years. It wasn’t until the middle of 2007 that the Fed decided it was time to crack down on abusive pratices in the subprime lending market. Oops.
Better targets for blame in government circles might be the 2000 law which ensured that credit default swaps would remain unregulated, the SEC’s puzzling 2004 decision to allow the largest brokerage firms to borrow upwards of 30 times their capital and that same agency’s failure to oversee those brokerage firms in subsequent years as many gorged on subprime debt.

Thanks much for this well-written and informative reply.

A few comments. Many of the examples you cite in terms of testimony, etc, come AFTER the repeal of Glass-Steagall. That is when the mortgage business went haywire.

As for the Community Reinvestment Act, the repeal of Glass-Steagall also made some changes in it. The major ones involved oversight. For a good summary of those changes see:

As I have said many times, the major threat now is lack of enforcement of Riegle-Neal.

The Community Reinvestment Act, passed in 1977, requires banks to lend
to low-income neighborhoods where they take deposits. Just the idea
that a lending crisis created from 2004 to 2007 was caused by a 1977
law is silly. But it’s even more rediculous when you consider that
most subprime loans were made by firms that aren’t subject to the CRA.

Fifty percent of subprime loans were made by mortgage service
companies that were not subject to comprehensive federal supervision,
and another 30% were made by affiliates of banks, or Thrifts, which
are not subject to routine supervision or examinations. Former Fed
Governor Ned Gramlich said in an August 2007 speach shortly before he
passed away: “In the subprime marketwhere we badly need supervision,
a majority of loans are made with very little supervision. It is like
a city with a murder law, but no cops on the beat.”

Not surprisingly, under the CRA’s Higher supervision, loans made under
the CRA Program were made in a more responsible way than Other
subprime loans. According to a study done by the law firm Traiger and
Hinckley,CRA loans carried a lower rate than other subprime loans and
were less likely to to end up securitized into the mortgage-backed
securities that have caused so many losses.

And finally,(This is crucial information), keep in mind that the Bush
administration had weakened CRA enforcement and the law’s reach since
the day they took office. The CRA was at it’s strongest in the 1990′s
under the Clinton administration, a period when subprime loans
performed quite well. It was Only AFTER the Bush administration cut
back on CRA enforcement that problems arose, an issue in timing that
should put to rest the finger pointing at other people and stop those
blaming the CRA law in their tracks.

And furthermore, The Federal Reserve did nothing but encourage the
wild west of lending during those years, as well. It wasn’t until the
middle of 2007 that the Fed decided that it was time to crack down on
abusive lending practices in the subprime market.

Better targets for blame in government might be the law that ensured
that credit default swaps would remain unregulated, the SEC’s puzzling
2004 decision to allow the largest brokerage firms to borrow upwards
of 30 times their capital, and that same agency’s failure to oversee
those brokerage firms in subsequent years as many of them gorged on
subprime debt.

I can only present the facts.
What an individual does with that information is a measure if the person.

[...] The Days of Boom and Bust (you may skip first paragraph). After reading it then click and read the Death of humane (liberal) America. America and other nations are blessed to have the writer of prior blog link, and his latest post. [...]

I do not condone nor after this will permit links to anti-semitic trash. Commenters be forwarned.

The original repeal was voted along party lines and passed by the Republican majority in the Senate. The reworked repeal was veto proof because it had a 2/3rd majority in both houses. Mind you Clinton was receiving ecnomic advice from Alan Greenspan who in turn was part of the Ayn Rand cult (according to a BBC documentary by Adam Curtis called “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” – episode 1) so even if he could have vetoed perhaps he would not have, but you cannot actually blame him for repealing the Glass-Steagall Act.

Really getting tired of Clinton apologists. You might want to read Clinton’s new book where he talks about Glass-Steagall.

Nice to know we have a new villain–Ayn Rand!

Glass-Steagall there was no reason for Cliton to veto the bill was not able to be vetoed it had enough votes in congress no matter what He wanted. Now early someone stated NAFTA it was good on paper but men put bill into effect. The CEO of the seen the loop in it and used it to there advantage it ment to help out the less wealty cournty but what it really did was to allow thoese non caring american to take there workforce over seas.Now why the Goverment did not see this I just don’t understand O’ya money in there pockets is all the GREDDY bast@rds care about

[...] for the crisis, you have to go back further than 8 years. More like 13. From a liberal blog….. http://thestrangedeathofliberalameri…-steagall.html The repeal of one of the most important pieces of legislation in this nation’s history came [...]

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