Man, do progressives ever have to swallow a lot to support Hillary Clinton (D-Davos). The NYT reports:
A blue-ribbon commission had just excoriated Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks for fueling the financial crisis. Prosecutors were investigating whether Goldman had misled investors. The company was a whipping boy for politicians looking to lay blame for the crash.
But in spring of 2011, Lloyd C. Blankfein, leading one of the nation’s most reviled companies, found himself onstage with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, one of the nation’s most admired public figures at the time. And Mrs. Clinton had come to praise Goldman Sachs.
The State Department, Mrs. Clinton announced that day in an auditorium in its Foggy Bottom headquarters, would throw its weight behind a Goldman philanthropic initiative aimed at encouraging female entrepreneurs around the world — a program Goldman viewed as central to rehabilitating its reputation.
Mrs. Clinton’s blessing — an important public seal of approval for Goldman at a time when it had few defenders in Washington — underscored a long-running relationship between one of the country’s most powerful financial firms and one of its most famous political families. Over 20-plus years, Goldman provided the Clintons with some of their most influential advisers, millions of dollars in campaign contributions and speaking fees, and financial support for the family foundation’s charitable programs.
And in the wake of the worst crash since the Great Depression, as the firm fended off investigations and criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, the Clintons drew Goldman only closer. Bill Clintonpublicly defended the company and leased office space from Goldman for his foundation. Mrs. Clinton, after leaving the State Department, earned $675,000 to deliver three speeches at Goldman events, where she reassured executives that they had an important role to play in the nation’s recovery.
The four years between the end of the financial crisis and the start of Mrs. Clinton’s second White House bid revealed a family that viewed Wall Street’s elite as friends and collaborators even as the public viewed them with suspicion and scorn.
When Mrs. Clinton left the State Department in 2013, she followed her husband into paid speechmaking. If Mrs. Clinton was concerned about the appearance of taking hefty fees from Wall Street while considering a second presidential bid, she did not show it: In her first year on the circuit, more than a third of her paid speeches were for financial companies.
Each of her three Goldman speeches were private, and Mrs. Clinton has rebuffed requests to release transcripts of them. And at the time, she still embraced Goldman as a partner.
Global markets are jittery about many things right now, but one fear seems to override all others: The polls in the presidential race have suddenly tightened, and Donald Trump might actually become president of the United States of America — with unknown, but possibly very negative, implications for everything from trade policy to foreign relations to monetary policy.
In short, a Trump presidency is the very definition of what markets hate: uncertainty. “Trump is widely considered to be reckless and Clinton is widely considered to be a friend to Wall Street,” explains Chris Irons, an analyst with the equity research firm GeoInvesting. “In terms of which of the two would shoot volatility into the market, he is clearly it.”
This is not necessarily good news for populists. It’s one thing to be a strong critic of the way the global financial system is set up. That’s not the same thing as knowing what you’re talking about — and it is by no means clear that Trump does.
It is depressing to consider that the only Republican candidate this year who would have troubled Wall Street at all is Donald J. Trump, a traitor to his class.