|Financial De-reg Happens, 2000|
Hillary Touts Him Now For The Economy?
(photo from democratic underground.com)
President Clinton's main farm policy "achievement" was signing the notorious Farm Bill of 1996. It was a ham-handed effort at eliminating subsidies. Dubbed the Freedom To Farm Act in Washington, it was known as the Freedom to Fail Act in the local ag community. Subsidies gradually had to be reinstated to prop up farmers who couldn't otherwise survive the selloff in ag prices that occurred by the end of Clinton's tenure in the White House. Clinton simply did not understand that price volatility is such an inherent component of agricultural markets that the government always has to stand ready to help out ag producers when plunging prices, often caused by global and natural events beyond their control, threaten to put them out of business. Free marketeers might say so what?, but a productive rural economy guarantees the food supply to this nation of 300 million people. President Clinton expressed some concern about the bill's lack of a safety net, but went ahead
|De-regulated Markets, 2008|
Who Knew? Not Clinton, For Sure
(photo from wanttoknow.com)
Further kow-towing to the financial libertarians in Congress, Clinton closed out his last term by signing a couple of the most disastrous financial deregulation bills in history. The most well-known is the Financial Services Modernization Act, which disintegrated the firewall between brokers and bankers, making easy money lending to unqualified borrowers a way of life that blew up in 2008. The second is more commodity-connected and less well known, but just as insidious in effect. It was the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 1999, which allowed the derivatives market to trade independently of oversight and regulation of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. I was a broker registered with the CFTC at the time, used to lots of regulation. Although it seemed odd and a bit uncharacteristic for the regulatory reins to loosen, loosen they did, and Clinton's handiwork turned into a near-apocalypse eight years later.
I don't think Bill Clinton understood the implications of what he was doing, either on farm policy or financial deregulation. Using him and his track record as a prop for her economic platform is predictably political, but Hillary should know that doing so runs the risk of sudden exposure.