Tag Archives: bill clinton

Phil Gramm, Architect of Sequester and Recession, Looks for Someone Else to Blame

blame_25_grammNew Orleans   Phil Gramm, the former Texas Senator and head of the Senate Banking Committee from 1995-2000, wrote a “pin the tail on the donkey” piece in the Wall Street Journal trying to find someone other than himself to blame for the Great Recession.  The piece was almost unintelligible, though the headline and the first shot fired tried to blame Bill Clinton, not for when he was President, but for a campaign position paper urging more pension investment in affordable housing while he was a candidate.   Wow!  Who knew as old as Gramm must be that he can still do such a somersault?

            If he had good judgment or listened to good advice, Gramm would have kept his head down in whatever bunker he calls home.   This is the man who might rightly be called the “father of the sequester” for his leading role in the Reagan era passage of the Graham-Rudman-Hollings budget bill setting automatic deficit reduction targets.  The US Supreme Court in a more enlightened pre-Roberts era held that bill unconstitutional, because Congress was overstepping its authority on budgeting matters.  I know that almost sounds unbelievable since that seems to be the only way Congress steps these days.  Nonetheless Gramm saddled up and got the bill passed later with some changes and the sons of Gramm-Rudman to this day are what led to the painful sequester.

            Gramm can probably live more easily with that ignominy than the fact that he is also on the shortlist with a bunch of criminal conspiracy bankers as the Father of the Great Recession thanks to his work steering through the elimination of the Glass-Steagall bill, passed after the Great Depression, that had forced banks to separate their basic consumer banking operations from their no holds’ barred wild investing when commercial operations and securities were allowed to comingle under the same roof.  Many economists believe this was the trigger that led to the housing bubble that created the recent recession.  Make a note that Larry Summers who is trying to run the Federal Reserve was also deep in that do-do, which should disqualify him for the job, while Janet Yelsin, argues we need more bank regulation.

            With a record like that, Gramm obviously needs to find someone else to shoulder the blame he has earned.  Not surprisingly he wants to shift it to the poor.  His almost incoherent argument is that the government started pushing affordable housing goals for about 25 years from the Community Reinvestment Act forward and though it moved home ownership in the country to almost 70%, Gramm believes that the process of the government setting such a goal intoxicated bankers and private wealth so much that they essentially lost their heads.  He says, “…wealth cannot serve two masters and …the government was the dominant master.”  He also argues a couple sentences before that the government regulators were asleep at the switch and not doing their job. The master wasn’t mastering I guess, so the low-and-moderate income people getting a chance to build citizen wealth through home ownership with a favorable governmental policy somehow conned the rich and the banks into creating the recession.

            It all just makes your head spin, but once you get a grip, this kind of cockamamie policy irrationality reminds us why Phil Gramm, father of the sequester and the great recession, should be on the short list of folks who have almost killed the country and economy over the last 30 years.


Puppy Love for the Big Dawg, Clinton

Bill Clinton Urged Florida Democrat to Quit Bid

Bill Clinton Urged Florida Democrat to Quit Bid

Phoenix I’m pretty sure either Mexico billionaire Carlos Slim didn’t make his contribution this year to the Clinton Foundation Global Initiative and decided to take it out in trade, or the New York Times is so desperate to find something upbeat for the Demos about the midterm elections that they had to come up with somebody, but whatever the reason we are being treated to the equivalent of a sudden outpouring of media puppy love for the old big dawg, former President Bill Clinton.

Suddenly, he’s just where he wants to be again:  everywhere!  And, better than ever before, he’s unleashed and unaccountable to anybody or anything.

We get treated to a story about how he makes and breaks restaurants around the world by stopping by and chowing down whether hot dog stands in Iceland or pricey digs in 5 star Indian hotels.  We also learn that he is both a vegan, and someone who orders the biggest steak in – where was that – Spain?  Germany?  No matter, like I said, a meat-eating vegan:  accountable to no one!

He’s supposedly a big draw out on the hustings and going where President Obama supposedly can’t go or isn’t welcome or thought to be a liability.  Clinton’s popularity is way up, while Obama’s is way down.

Unleashed is a tricky place for big Bill.

Certainly he was all over the line in the primary fight for Senator Blanche Lincoln, but I guess the general readership could look the other way at his blatant union bashing and say, “well, it’s Arkansas, it’s the home state, what can you do?”

Today the story is everywhere, released by Clinton’s people, but without a doubt cleared by Obama’s political folks, as he throws Congressman Kendrick Meeks (Democrat – Florida) under the bus with a tale that he had “almost” convinced him to withdraw from the race for the Senate and support the more moderate, Governor Charlie Crist, a Republican running as an independent, against the Tea Party swoon, Mark Rubio.   I’m having trouble remembering a time where it was clearer that a candidate was knifed in the back, Brutus-and-Caesar-in-Rome-style in front of God, TV, and the full on print media, in hopes of turning the tide for the candidate that Clinton and Obama have decided they want.  Did I have to say that Meek is African-American or that he had won the primary in Florida?  No, I didn’t think so.  So, Clinton suddenly in the warm glow collects a big chit for Obama by tossing an African-American under the bus so that Obama doesn’t have to take this heat to his own base, and Clinton can still posture that folks will be ok, because, hey, remember, he was the “first black president.”

Here the dog barked for the master, but given the buildup of the “new” Bill, it could all still look like more of the “no boundaries, do my own thing” Bill of recent years.

The next move in this sweet dance between two lively Presidents is going to be very interesting with the good ol’ boy from Arkansas goes to collect on these big time favors.

Meanwhile the press will keep fawning as if they are still at the McDonald’s line on Broadway in Little Rock in the ‘90’s, and miss the story even as it unfurls in front of their own eyes, lost in the warm glow of puppy love for the big dawg.