July 15, 2015   |   Naji Dahi
July 15, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Hillary Clinton just delivered her first speech on economic policy. In it, she vowed to raise taxes on the wealthy and to regulate Wall Street more effectively to “fix” economic inequality in the U.S. As the Wall Street Journal reported,
“…[O]ver the course of this campaign, I will offer plans to rein in excessive risks on Wall Street and ensure that stock markets work for everyday investors, not just high-frequency traders and those with the best or fastest connections. I will appoint and empower regulators who understand that too big to fail is still too big a problem. We will ensure that no firm is too complex to manage or oversee. And we will also process individuals as well as firms when they commit fraud or other criminal wrongdoing.”
One way to tell if a presidential candidate plans to keep their promises is to research who provides their campaign contributions. Hillary Clinton has a long history in politics that dates back to 1999. Accordingly, there is a treasure trove of campaign finance data that can be unearthed. This important work is carried out by The Center for Responsive Politics.
Hillary Clinton was a senator from New York between January 2001 and January 2009. As the table below shows, she was the third highest recipient of Wall Street money during that time period. First and second place were taken by none other than President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, respectively. Furthermore, three of her top five contributors were none other than investment firms Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and J.P. Morgan Chase.
Hillary Clinton also ran for president in 2008, and once again, there is a well-kept record on the financial contributions to her campaign. Once again, Wall Street (securities and investments) is ranked third among the top ten contributors to her campaign. Just as when she was a senator, 5 of the top 10 contributors to her campaign were Wall Street firms—J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Lehman Brothers.
Having reviewed the evidence, the question then becomes: Why should the voters believe Hillary Clinton when she says she will regulate and tax Wall Street? Indeed, the voters should not take her seriously. In 2008 when Obama was running for president, he made many promises, only to break them. In 2008, though, Obama did not have much of a record, having only served in the U.S. Senate for two years. Hillary, by contrast, has an extensive decade-and-a-half long record.
Next time you hear a presidential candidate make grandiose promises, head over to opensecrets.org to see where their campaign money comes from. If a candidate promises to regulate an industry that is a massive contributor to their campaign, then that candidate’s claims must be taken with a huge grain of salt.
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