Clinton’s Legacy: The Financial and Housing Meltdown

Clinton sowed the seeds of the Great Recession by helping to inflate the housing bubble.

Bill Clinton is certainly full of himself these days. That might have something to do with the fact that no one is likely to ask why he hasn’t owned up to his share of the blame for the housing and financial bust.

The former president is treated like an elder statesman whose tenure in office was so good that even some Republicans look back fondly on it. On the surface his economic record looks good, but it would be rash to credit Clinton. During his time in office the information revolution took off, boosting productivity and economic growth. And when his Democratic Party lost control of Congress in 1992, Clinton had to accept spending restraints, which meant less government obstruction to economic growth.

Clinton, however, sowed the seeds of the Great Recession by helping to inflate the housing bubble, a key part of the financial debacle of 2007. But this wasn’t because he (not George W. Bush) signed two financial deregulation bills. Although Clinton legalized interstate banking in 1994 and commercial/investment banking combinations in 1999, that had nothing to do with the meltdown.

Then why is Clinton culpable? Because his secretary of housing and urban development, Andrew Cuomo, current governor of New York and a likely 2016 presidential aspirant, accelerated easy-housing policies and inflated the housing bubble, setting the stage for its collapse.

The meltdown was the consequence of a combination of the easy money and low interest rates engineered by the Federal Reserve and the easy housing engineered by a variety of government agencies and policies. Those agencies include the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and two nominally private “government-sponsored enterprises” (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agencies — along with laws such as the Community Reinvestment Act (passed in the 1970s, then fortified in the Clinton years), which required banks to make loans to people with poor and nonexistent credit histories — made widespread homeownership a national goal. This all led to a home-buying frenzy and an explosion of subprime and other non-prime mortgages, which banks and GSEs bundled into dubious securities and peddled to investors worldwide. Hovering in the background was the knowledge that the federal government would bail out troubled “too-big-to-fail” financial corporations, including Fannie and Freddie.

The housing boom could last for a while, but the bust was inevitable. When the Fed raised interest rates, things went kaboom. The Great Recession was on; we’re still suffering its effects. Without these government housing and monetary policies, the crisis would never have occurred.

Clinton’s contribution to the crisis lay in his appointment of Cuomo to HUD. Cuomo became HUD secretary in 1997 after becoming assistant secretary in 1993. In a heavily researched 2008 article in the Village Voice, Wayne Barrett writes,

Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country’s current crisis. He took actions that — in combination with many other factors — helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded ‘kickbacks’ to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.

Barrett continues,

Perhaps the only domestic issue George Bush and Bill Clinton were in complete agreement about was maximizing home ownership, each trying to lay claim to a record percentage of homeowners, and both describing their efforts as a boon to blacks and Hispanics. HUD, Fannie, and Freddie were their instruments, and, as is now apparent, the more unsavory the means, the greater the growth.…

Cuomo … did more to set these forces of unregulated expansion in motion than any other secretary and then boasted about it, presenting his initiatives as crusades for racial and social justice. [Emphasis added.]

Bill Clinton gave Cuomo that power and backed his aggressive policies to the hilt. Bill Clinton, then, shares responsibility for the Great Recession. When will he be held accountable?

This column originally appeared at FFF.org.

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  • Ted S.||

    Oneth!

    I forgot about Andrew Cuomo's role in housing. This New Yorker doesn't understand why voters, having been screwed by one Attorney-General-turned-Governer (wicked Eliot Spitzer) voted in another one.

  • wareagle||

    it's like abused wife syndrome; they keep believing the promises to do better, to change behavior, etc. And then they act surprised when things repeat themselves.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Bill Clinton, then, shares responsibility for the Great Recession. When will he be held accountable?

    A great deal of people still won't acknowledge that artificially inflated real estate prices are a bad thing. Also in the mix is racism in any criticism of Clinton's minority homebuyers policies, I think.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    minority homebuyers policies

    AKA, "DOJ 'Civil Rights' Shakedown"

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Why did the Bush DOJ do that?

  • ||

    BOOOOOOOOOOSH

    This STILL isn't the Republican National Committee website. Please update your bookmarks.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    FDIC chief Sheila Bair (R) put the CRA myth to rest a couple of years back.

    http://money.usnews.com/money/.....stment-act

    No bank was ever "forced" to make a loan.

    Now the FHA is blamed? More nonsense. The vast majority of bad loans were privately insured. These dumbass articles never mention Countrywide, WaMu, Lehman, Bear, IndyMac, Golden West and all the other private companies that doomed themselves all by themselves.

  • db||

    Interestingly enough, the word 'forced' show up 0 times in the article you are attempting to refute.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    "required" then.

    There are enough bad regulations without making up new ones out of thin air.

  • ||

    Right, because being denied access to MA in the banking industry is hardly coercive or threatening. It's not like much of that goes on. It's not like they said "we'll fuck you up the ass with razor wire", so clearly there were no other coercive incentives involved...

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    So there was never an effort by the government to ratchet up the number/percentage of minority home buyers? And if there was, what means would the government have used to do this?

    No loan company was ever told by any government official that the percentage of minority loans approved by their company was low enough that it could, conceivably, be a potential civil rights case?

    No one in the federal government ever told a loan company CEO that they would look kindly upon efforts to increase the number of minority home buyers? Or implied that there would be a safety net for those making riskier loans?

    Of course not. Government doesn't do such things.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Sure there was. And most banks ignored the government. PNC (#7 in assets) refused to issue subprime.

    At issue is lower credit standards - see

    which required banks to make loans to people with poor and nonexistent credit histories .

    That statement is false.

  • Romulus Augustus||

    A banker friend of mine said they were approached by various "community organizers" to get with the program or face massive protests and boycotts from the "aggrieved" minorities. Senior management caved rather than stand up to the threats. This banker also remembers management training cohorts that were nearly 100% minority and that the washout rate was nearly 100%.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    What rational businessman fears a boycott from a group he doesn't want in their door?

    Your friend is a pussy.

  • wareagle||

    What rational businessman fears a boycott from a group he doesn't want in their door?

    the same businessman who has seen the likes of Sharpton get away with perpetrating a hoax. The same businessman who knows that a protesting mob outside his doors is not a good thing. The same who knows that the media is not interested in detail explanations about financial policy, it just likes a good rich-vs-poor story where villains and heroes are easily defined for a non-discerning public. That kind of businessman.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    What rational businessman fears a boycott from a group he doesn't want in their door?

    A businessman whose business is highly regulated and who is only allowed to operate with a difficult to obtain government license.

  • ||

    The kind of businessman who wants to maintain his retail banking division and has to make his branches accessible to minority customers and high-risk neighborhoods or risk losing access to MA or forced to divest of his retail division. Remember kids, "redlining" is illegal.

  • burserker||

    where do you think Barry Obama cut his teeth on crony capitalism?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    The Buttplug knows nothing, as usual. This happened all over the place, but it wasn't just "community organizers," it was the DOJ as well. (They used each other very nicely.) Most banks caved quickly. The few that fought (I worked for one, directly with the massive program we set up to fight the DOJ) spent years and a lot of money doing so. It would have been far cheaper to just cave, but they were trying to keep the blackmailer from returning again and again. In the end the DOJ quietly dropped the case. No apology, no press release, no acknowledgement. Just pretended it never happened.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You're making that shit up.

    What did the banks do? Issue a nice bit of PR about how they would work in the community?

    Big fucking deal.

    Why did Lehman, Bear, and Merrill fail? They did't write mortgage loans.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    They wrote checks and relaxed lending policies, dumbass. You. Know. Nothing.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Some did, some didn't.

    Giant JP Morgan Chase famously refused to relax standards and like old JP himself bought cheap assets from strength (Bear and WaMu).

    This was a bubble caused by the private market like the dot-com bubble was.

    Did government force people to buy shitty dot-com stocks?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Yes, and Chase was in good shape after the credit crisis. Are you trying to prove my point?

    I'm not saying this was the only cause of the bubble. But was it a significant factor? Yes.

  • Jordan||

    The dot-com bubble was trivial in scope compared to the housing bubble precisely because it was not enabled by government policy. Well, mostly.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttwipe,

    You're making that shit up.

    No, he's not:

    The Justice Department settled with such banks as Suntrust and Bank of America on lawsuits brought against them for supposedly charging more for loans to blacks and Latinos than for white Americans.

    http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/.....t-695.html

    http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/.....-1694.html

    The charges were entirely based on ignorance of economics, something you're pretty familiar with.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    No bank was ever "forced" to make a loan.

    This is true, in the strictest sense.

    No individual or firm was ever forced or required to structure their finances in a way that minimizes their income taxes by taking credits, deductions, shifting income streams or investing in favored sectors.

    And yet everyone knows that those distortions exist because they in fact do incentivize certain behaviors, whether real or as purely accounting tricks.

    Likewise, the policies that Cuomo implemented created an environment that favored firms that engaged in progressively riskier lending.

    And no that was not the only factor or even the smoking gun. There also was the GSEs buying mortgages, the Fed suppressing interest rates, local governments suppressing new development and fraudulent securitization practices.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The Fed had nothing to do with it. Interest rates are lower now but credit standards are much higher thus the market has corrected itself just by credit policy.

    And the CRA is still there. So are Fannie and Freddie.

    In fact, the GSE's had higher loan standards than the banks did.

  • Number 2||

    From Wikipedia:

    "The Community Reinvestment Act ...is a United States federal law designed to encourage commercial banks and savings associations to help meet the needs of borrowers in all segments of their communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.Congress passed the Act in 1977 to reduce discriminatory credit practices against low-income neighborhoods, a practice known as redlining.
    The Act instructs the appropriate federal financial supervisory agencies to encourage regulated financial institutions to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered, consistent with safe and sound operation (Section 802.) To enforce the statute, federal regulatory agencies examine banking institutions for CRA compliance, and take this information into consideration when approving applications for new bank branches or for mergers or acquisitions (Section 804.)"

    So Butthead is technically correct: the law did not "force" all banks to make loans to people with bad or no credit history.

    The law merely told banks with such persons in their "communities" that their government-issued permits would not be issued if they failed to make a sufficient number of such loans. As a form of "encouragement."

    ("Consistent with safe and sound operation," of course! Unless "safe and sound operation" would counsel against making the loans in the first place...).

    Whew-I'm relieved now....

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Sheila Bair -

    Only about one-in-four higher-priced first mortgage loans were made by CRA-covered banks during the hey-day years of subprime mortgage lending (2004-2006). The rest were made by private independent mortgage companies and large bank affiliates not covered by CRA rules.

    You've heard the line of attack: The government told banks they had to make loans to people who were bad credit risks, and who could not afford to repay, just to prove that they were making loans to low- and moderate-income people.

    Let me ask you: where in the CRA does it say: make loans to people who can't afford to repay? No-where! And the fact is, the lending practices that are causing problems today were driven by a desire for market share and revenue growth ... pure and simple.

  • ||

    Withholding federal highway funds unless each state decreased their speed limits to 55 (increased their drinking ages to 21...) only "encouraged" states to do so.

    Holding a gun to your head and saying you won't pull the trigger if you comply is "encouragement"...not force. After all, we never passed a law making it mandatory. You always had the option of the bullet.

  • Jordan||

    Fannie and Freddie continuously lowered their lending standards from 1993-2007. Their purchases of home loans made to borrowers with incomes below the median doubled between 1997 and 2003. Additionally, they quadrupled their purchases of loans with less than 5 percent down between 1998-2003. They played a significant role in inflating housing prices and the demand for subprime securitization.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    But FNM/FRE didn't crash the financial system. Private banks did.

    TARP was passed to buy rotten assets from PRIVATE BANKS.

  • Jordan||

    I am aware of that. But those private banks were responding rationally to incentives put in place by the Fed, the GSEs, implicit and explicit bailout guarantees, and reduced capital requirements.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The three big investment bank failures had none of those incentives (except the last on net capital).

    Lehman had no Fed loan privileges, no GSE recourse, and certainly received no bailout.

    Merrill and Bear were seized by the Bush Administration and stockholders were shafted (so they thought).

  • Jordan||

    Fed interest rate policy and GSE purchases affected the entire housing market, inflating prices and demand. And everyone had implicit bailout guarantees, due to the last 30 years of financial policy. Lehman just happened to be wrong about that, but most weren't, obviously.

  • burserker||

    butthead, plz read economics 101

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The Fed had nothing to do with it.
  • VG Zaytsev||

    God damn Squirrels

    The Fed had nothing to do with it

    The Fed has been driving interest rates lower for the last thirty years.

    Interest rates are lower now but credit standards are much higher thus the market has corrected itself just by credit policy.

    Bullshit.
    The Fed has driven interest rates to all time lows, which disincintives lending, and underwriting standards have over corrected. The net effect is tight credit markets and a lower velocity of money for individuals and businesses. Perversely, the Fed has created ridiculous liquidity for their crony institutions, creating a carry trade in treasuries and to a lesser extent other securities.

  • cw||

    Basic economics says low interest rates (artificially or otherwise) spur debt and decrease saving and investment. How is the Fed not at least partially responsible for the credit overhang that preceded the Great Recession?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I forgot two other important drivers of the credit bubble.

    Basil II giving a lower risk rating to MBS than to whole mortgages.

    And the perceived (and realized)government guarantee for TBTF institutions.

  • cw||

    Government-licensed credit-rating agencies, too.

  • Sam Grove||

    And taxpayers aren't "forced" to file returns.

    I had a postal employee tell me that "paying taxes is voluntary"...you might have to go to prison, but actually paying is voluntary.

  • ||

    Fuck you shreek, you socialist shill. The bottom line is, the government interfered in the free market, incentivizing bad behavior by the banking industry and are then surprised when the banking industry behaves badly.

    The affordable housing law required Fannie and Freddie to meet government quotas when they bought loans from banks and other mortgage originators.

    At first, this quota was 30%; that is, of all the loans they bought, 30% had to be made to people at or below the median income in their communities. HUD, however, was given authority to administer these quotas, and between 1992 and 2007, the quotas were raised from 30% to 50% under Clinton in 2000 and to 55% under Bush in 2007. Despite Frank's effort to make this seem like a partisan issue, it isn't. The Bush administration was just as guilty of this error as the Clinton administration. And Frank is right to say that he eventually saw his error and corrected it when he got the power to do so in 2007, but by then it was too late.

    Were the banks at fault. Of course they were. But the bottom line is none of it would have happened without government interference. There would have been no housing bubble and therefor banks wouldn't have acted irresponsibly.

    Don't create law/regulation incentivizing irresponsible behavior!

  • ||

    Lost the linky.

    Hey, Barney Frank: The Government Did Cause the Housing Crisis

    I want my preview button back.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Peter Wallison? The lone nut holout on the Financial Crisis Investigation Committee?

    He has been thoroughly debunked.

  • John||

    Once again skreek, debunking by the voices that live in your head and the magical dog that lives under your porch doesn't count.

  • ||

    Some stupid, know-nothing cunt trolling Reason.com?

    He has been thoroughly debunked.

  • Sam Grove||

    Another troll with no grasp of systemic incentives.

    Threats of lawsuits have no impact on bankers?

  • wef||

    No mention of clinton should go without bringing up the question, Did the voters of the united States elect a rapist? Did Juanita Broaddrick lie on Dateline NBC about being raped by clinton?

  • ||

    If I had to guess, I'd say she exaggerated. Anything said for political reasons, divide by 5.

  • Drake||

    Including the denials.

  • YinxDoo||

    Sometimes dude you just have to roll with it.

    www.GoAnon.tk

  • Fatty Bolger||

    OT: A true moral giant and a dogmatic leftist creep

    Nguyen Chi Thien, right, spent his life fighting communism. Eric Hobsbawm, left, spent his life as a communist supporter.

    Some idiot Boston Globe editor changed the headline to "Communism, in life and death." But I thought the writer's name for the piece was much more fitting.

  • Post-Coital Rat||

    A good read, but the comments tab for that article should be titled "Tu Quoque."

  • RBS||

    I liked this one:
    I find the timing of this article very troubling. With both candidates claiming that this election season is a choice between two widely different points of view and ways of leading, Jacoby in his juvenile, schoolyard way seems to be telling us all to vote for Mitt Romney because the other guy is an equivalent to Stalin or Hitler (and although I'm certainly no historian) I can say with a high degree of certitude that Hitler was no communist. It's all about association.What a terrible way to start my day. What a bad taste this article leaves when put into the context of what it is trying to achieve.

  • John||

    The stupid just burns. I forgive the writer of that comment for being stupid. We all say stupid things. But what I can't forgive him for is that he is no doubt smug as hell and thinks of himeself as being educated and dare I say errudite and of course tolerant.

    Where is the barf bag?

  • dan'o||

    Good read, thanks for linking

  • dan'o||

    Whoa, a Republican gave a speech insisting that the CRA is innocent!?! Thats smoking gun proof /sarcasm.

    Willie's groupies do need to be bitch slapped back into reality. Being a lifeguard on a day of legendary swell may be memorable to surfers, but the lifeguard doesn't get/deserve the credit.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    No bank was ever "forced" to make a loan.

    How many borrowers were "forced" to take a loan?

  • Mike M.||

    One can, I think, reasonably ask why, if Clinton's legacy is so great, he is so willing to stand by and watch while the vile Obama razes it down to the ground.

    It's certainly nice that he is quietly doing what he can to undermine Obama behind the scenes, but if he were truly a great man of courage and conviction, he would be more willing to openly call Obama out for the cretin that he is.

  • wareagle||

    why is Bill willing to "stand around?"

    1) he is a party man through and through, and will tolerate anything so long as a Dem wins an election
    2) his ego is even larger than Obama's and he believes himself bulletproof among the faithful, the media, and the historians.
    3) he gets that those who do not like never will and that those who do will never change the minds, no matter what accusations are made or what the facts show.
    4) he is a man of neither courage nor conviction; he is a political creature driven by nothing more than the expedience of the moment, someone willing to say diametrically opposed things in the same 10-minute span and stand behind both pronouncements.

  • ||

    Bubba has one goal. Get Hillary in the WH in 2016. To do so, he must undermine Obama without pissing off the Ds he needs to achieve his goal.

    That simple.

  • wareagle||

    and then came Libya, which all by itself should forever end any vision of Hillary running for anything ever again. She's part of the clusterfuck that is unfolding by the day. So far, we know that based on comments the other night, Biden is either a liar or clueless, neither of which is particularly attractive in a VP.

  • ||

    You see these mini-scandals pop up all the time. The R mouthpieces throw them out all the time, hoping they grow legs and bring down the man. They never do.

    That said, I think this one might. The administration is either grossly incompetent or they outright lied to the people. Either way it's bad (for them). The trick is to get the media to acknowledge it. I think Romney needs to harp on this on Tuesday.

  • wareagle||

    this is far worse than the garden variety Beltway scandal because it reeks of people being killed due to indifference. The warning bells were ringing over Libya and it appears they were ignored. Camp Obama's instant reaction is to accuse Romney is politicizing it instead of worrying about what happened.

  • John||

    Romney needs to harp on it Tuesday for no other reason than Obama still has no coherent answer for it. Any talk about Libya is going to make Obama either look like a fool, a lier or both.

  • burserker||

    Biden pushed Hillary under the bus on Libya, 2016 for the blue team has already begun...

  • John||

    Clinton was and is a hardcore leftist with an almost animal like cunning. Clinton always instinctively knew what to do to survive and thus tracked to the center becuase he knew that is what it took to survive. He is doing nothing about Obama because he Obama is doing exactly what he wanted to do but was too smart or too cowardly to do himself.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Clinton was only left of a proto-fascist like yourself.

  • John||

    That is why he spent the entier first two year of his term trying to create a single payer healthcare system where it was illegal to pay for healthcare with your own money.

    Shut up retard. Are you going to do us all a favor and kill yourself when your loser mesiah loses next month? Can you kill yourself and stop stealing our oxygen? Pretty please?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The dems were also pushing gun control hard in 93 y 94. It was a big part of the Rs taking the house in 94.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Hardcore Leftists do not track to the center. Opportunists, on the other hand, do. I am not even convinced that Hillary is a true Leftist. Any more than Barak Obama is a Marxist or a Moslem. He and both the Clinton's are simply self-centered opportunists who found that Leftism provided them with more power.

    Now if by hardcore Leftists you mean that they are willing to lead us all to Utopia with an Iron Fist I certainly don't disagree.

  • John||

    If Obama were just an opportunist, he would have tracked to the center the last two years like Clinton did. It is possible to be both a leftist and an opportunist willing to throw your beleifs over the side for personal gain. Both the Clintons are certainly opportunists. But even an opportunist has to have some principles to throw over the side.

    As for Obama, I think he really believes this stuff and that is why he didn't change after the 2010 midterms. It is either that or he is just really stupid and is not smart enough to change. That is possible too.

  • Brett L||

    My personal theory is that (a)Clinton lost a race once and understood on a gut-level when he was in trouble (which Obama never has). and that (b)quite frankly, Bill Clinton may be the best raw charisma politician of his generation, on a level that Reagan had established by the late 1970s. Obama would be opportunist, but coming out of Chicago/Illinois politics, has no idea how far the center is from where he started. He thought he was giving on a bunch of issues, and he was actually not even giving enough to allow his more vulnerable members in the House to find cover.

  • wareagle||

    Clinton is also able to think outside his own bubble and loved the policy-making side of it. Obama is not just insulated, he has zero desire to do the wonk work associated with either legislation or strategy. The man has articulated no agenda for a second term and no one has asked him to.

    Clinton also had time in the box as governor, had a fairly intelligent opposite in Noot, and was less worried about the trappings of the office than the nuts and bolts of the job.

  • Drake||

    Correct - it wasn't the first time Clinton went too far left and lost an election - it happened in Arkansas too.

    In both situations Clinton played the moderate, shed his leftist positions (and pretended they never existed), and cut deals with Republicans.

    Obama never had to cut a deal with Republicans in Illinois and has shown no willingness and/or ability to do so in DC.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    If Obama were just an opportunist, he would have tracked to the center the last two years like Clinton did.

    That's based on the assumption that he has some grounding in reality.

    Which, unlike Clinton, he does not.

    He spent his whole life in the proglodyte education-activist-government plantation and it seem likely that he believed their bullshit that their agenda was popular or would be if people 'woke up'.

    Note that does not mean that Obama himself ever believed it or had any intention of fully implementing it. The fact that he cozied up to Wall Street tells me that he's not a true believing socialist.

    He's more of a corrupt crony-fascist that uses hard left memes in campaign mode because he thinks that they will be popular.

  • John||

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci.....ve-it.html

    No warming since 1997, despite numerous climate models that predicted there would be. But Phil Jones assures the believers that this is nothing to concern them.

  • wareagle||

    the headline phrase "report quietly released" speaks volumes.

  • John||

    If it had gone the other way, I suspect it wouldn't have been so quiet. What a disgusting hoax that whole thing is. The worst part is that people who should have known better like Ron Bailey bought into it because that was what right thinking people and top men thought. Just sad.

  • ||

    Like Prof Curry, Prof Jones also admitted that the climate models were imperfect: ‘We don’t fully understand how to input things like changes in the oceans, and because we don’t fully understand it you could say that natural variability is now working to suppress the warming. We don’t know what natural variability is doing.

    Yet, they are good enough to base far reaching policy decisions on.

    Got it.

  • FD||

    Apologetic leftist or rightist hacks argue this in terms of a presidential time window. It's not that Sheldon is wrong. He's correct that Clinton, as he did through his years banging women in Arkansas and letting sycophants explain away his messes, slithers away without accountability, thanks to the yahoos too ignorant to face reality.
    The seeds of recession are sown in an interventionist, fiat money policy, safety net welfare for the undeserving investment banks and handout mortgages to the undeserving consumer. The Clinton/Cuomo policy mismanagement was, of course, yet another blunder in a multi-decade series of accountability avoidance. But it helped to delay paying the piper, grabbed votes and, a decade later, helped morons contort loony hair-splitting excuses for why a meltdown happens because of only one guy or one party.
    TARP was the latest in corporatist, protection racketeering, good ol' boy favors. Ironically, if the too-big-to-fail blobs were ignored, the clueless White House occupier may have well seen a modest recovery instead of the stagnation that shafted his base while ensuring the status quo, the 1-percenters, would continue drinking at the 21 Club.
    So Clinton, who in spite of being called a communicator (to the ignorant), never found a way to say anything that meant anything, continues on his merry way. Still saying nothing and reaping applause from his slaves.
    Bill shouldn't get more blame than Obama or Bush.
    And he shouldn't get less either.

  • Longtorso||

  • ||

    the clinton legacy? blowjobs

    never has one man done more for any particular sexual act than clinton did for blow jobs. heck, it took an entire country - france - to do something for the kiss, and another country - greece - to do something for anal sex but it took just one man, granted, the leaderofthefreeworld! to normalize/popularize/inspire BLOW JOBs.

    and yes, when i was working street crimes, i was actually assigned to investigate a "prostitution" ring. it turns out some very organized and entrepeneurial JUNIOR HIGH GIRLS were selling blow jobs to their male classmates - during lunch, and after/before school.

    THAT is clinton's legacy.

    and note, especially to teenage girls - if you don't want a onetime bad decision to haunt you for the rest of your life - don't frigging RECORD IT ON YOU CELL PHONE and send it to your friend, after making her promise to "don't show this to anybody else"

    (rolls eyes)

  • Robert||

    Yeah, well, what about the contemporaneous "ownership society" strategy by Republicans y "conservatives" in y out of Congress? I'm thinking Gingrich et al.

    If you'll recall, the strategy was based on the observ'n that home owners tended to be more "conservative" y likelier Republican voters than are renters. The thought was that even if it took a bit of gov't action counter to free enterrise temporarily, in the long run the promotion of home ownership would lead to more pro free enterpise gov't policies. It was plausible enough that I liked it then, but if you want to blame the likes of Cuomo y Clinton, what about activists like me?

  • Bauschan||

    "....did more to set these forces of unregulated expansion in motion than any other secretary and then boasted about it." This contradicts both the Reason article and the Village Voice article. Obviously the housing market was and remains overregulated via forced low interest rates and a now defunct policy of forcing banks to ignore credit worthiness.

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