By David Mark Greaves
Now that Attorney General Schneiderman has reached a $5 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs, stemming from their “deceptive practices leading up to the financial crisis” in the mortgage industry, it makes it imperative to know what Secretary Clinton said to the assembled financial industry elites at $225,000 per speech. Did she condone this behavior or even mention it?
Speaking of the banking industry, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration Robert Reich writes, “The biggest are far larger today than they were in 2008 when they were deemed ‘too big to fail’. Then, the five largest held around 30 percent of all U.S. banking assets. Today, they have 44 percent”. Reich goes on to say, “According to a recent analysis by Thomas Hoenig, vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the assets of just four giant banks – JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo – amount to 97 percent of our nation’s entire gross domestic product in 2012”. Given the opportunity to speak directly to them, did the Secretary express concern about how much of the economy is in the hands of the guests at the table on the right?
What did the Secretary have to say about the 99%? Do we have to tighten our belts and be excited about the efficiencies realized when your good job is shipped overseas? What did she say to them about taxes and offshore profits?
Her banker speeches have to be made public before the convention. Refusal to do so indicates that she understands that there is nothing there that the 99% would vote for. As she runs from church to church, smiling and waving at the congregations, she has not yet met a pastor who would raise the question of what was said behind those closed doors.
The legendary pastor of Bethany Baptist Church William Augustus Jones used to say, “You eat the king’s meat, you do the king’s bidding”. It was Rev. Jones who mentored a teenaged Al Sharpton and provided sanctuary, first in his car and then in the church for controversial rape victim Tawana Brawley in 1988. Now there was a pastor who would challenge Secretary Clinton perhaps saying, “If we don’t know what you said, then we don’t know who you are”.
Hillary Clinton wants the vote, but does not want to reveal what she said to those who use loopholes to avoid billions of dollars in taxes. At a press conference last week, President Obama said that this “gaming the system” by major corporations “come at the expense of middle-class families” and we can add at the expense of the poor as well.
The Secretary has said she does not understand why a large number of Americans simply do not trust her, blaming it on “rightwing conspiracies”. There is no rightwing preventing her from revealing what she said to the bankers and money managers. That’s her doing. And if she continues to hide her speeches, then people can come to the conclusion that if she’s eating the king’s meat at $225,000 a serving, then doing the king’s bidding can’t be far behind.