There are changes both the Clinton Administration actively championed that further entrenched corporate power over our economy and government during the decade. He pushed through Congress the NAFTA and the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements that represented the greatest surrender in our history of local, state and national sovereignty to an autocratic, secretive system of transnational governance. This system subordinated workers, consumers and the environment to the supremacy of globalized commerce.
That was just for starters. Between 1996 and 2000, he drove legislation through Congress that concentrated more power in the hands of giant agribusiness, large telecommunications companies and the biggest jackpot - opening the doors to gigantic mergers in the financial industry. The latter so-called "financial modernization law" sowed the permissive seeds for taking vast financial risks with other peoples' money (ie. pensioners and investors) that is now shaking the economy to recession.
The man who pulled off this demolition of regulatory experience from the lessons of the Great Depression was Clinton's Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, who went to work for Citigroup - the main pusher of this oligopolistic coup - just before the bill passed and made himself $40 million for a few months of consulting in that same year.
Bill Clinton's presidential resume was full of favors for the rich and powerful. Corporate welfare subsidies, handouts and giveaways flourished, including subsidizing the Big Three Auto companies for a phony research partnership while indicating there would be no new fuel efficiency regulations while he was President.
His regulatory agencies were anesthetized. The veteran watchdog for Public Citizen of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, said that safety was the worst under Clinton in his twenty nine years of oversight.
The auto safety agency (NHTSA) abandoned its regulatory oath of office and became a consulting firm to the auto industry. Other agencies were similarly asleep — in job safety (OSHA) railroads, household product safety, antitrust, and corporate crime law enforcement.
By reappointing avid Republican Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, Mr. Clinton assured no attention would be paid to the visible precursors of what is now the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Mr. Greenspan, declined to use his regulatory authority and repeatedly showed that he almost never saw a risky financial instrument he couldn't justify.
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