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Clinton Says He Had Bad Advice on Derivatives (Update1) - Bloomberg.com

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Former President Bill Clinton said he should have pushed for regulation of financial derivatives when he was president, rejecting the advice of top economic advisers Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.

The argument was that derivatives didn't need transparency because they were "expensive and sophisticated and only a handful of people would buy them," Clinton said on ABC's "This Week" program. "The flaw in this argument was that first of all, sometimes people with a lot of money make stupid decisions and make it without transparency."

"Even if less than 1 percent of the total investment community is involved in derivative exchanges, so much money was involved that if they went bad, they could affect 100 percent of the investments," Clinton said. The show was taped yesterday for broadcast today.

Tighter regulation of derivatives trading is part of a package of financial reforms being pushed by the Obama administration against Republican opposition. The Senate is debating a bill introduced by Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd that would also give the federal government the authority to unravel institutions whose failure threatens the financial system.

Bush Blamed

Clinton also said the Bush administration contributed to the financial crisis with lax regulation.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:10:05 PM EST
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Clinton, "There was already a total merger practically of commercial and investment banking, and really the main thing that the Glass-Steagall Act did was to give us some power to regulate it - the repeal."


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 06:35:38 PM EST
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and what does,

... only about a third of all the money loaned today is loaned through traditional banking channels and that was well underway before that legislation was signed


The point is not to be right, but to get to right.

by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:03:38 AM EST
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have on Clinton that would make him have to kiss their ass like that retroactively (even if he does imply it was Greenspan who gave him the bad derivatives advice, not Rubin and Summers)?

Clinton: I Was Wrong to Listen to Wrong Advice Against Regulating Derivatives* - Political Punch

*UPDATE: After the show Sunday, Clinton Counselor Doug Band wrote me to say that "during the interview, reflecting on a derivatives debate that occurred twelve years ago, President Clinton inadvertently conflated an analysis he received on a specific derivatives proposal with then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's arguments against any regulation of derivatives."

Band wrote that President Clinton "still wishes, as he has said several times, that he had pursued legislation to provide additional regulatory authority in this area, even though the Republican majority in Congress would have blocked such an effort. And he remains convinced that he received excellent advice on the economy and the financial system from his economic team, led by treasury Secretaries Bentsen, Rubin and Summers; that Chairman Greenspan served the nation well during those 8 years; and that SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, and others in regulatory positions fulfilled their responsibilities in a manner that supported remarkable growth without improvident risk."

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:07:12 AM EST
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So sad, kinda sorta, to watch him in the twilight of My Life, being hustled off to Uncle Fester's garret.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 11:39:09 AM EST
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I don't think it's a case of blackmail. truman used to have a sign on his desk, "The Buck stops here". Clinton signed off on the legislation and the lack of regulation.

So now it's all blown up, he's kinda doing a Bart Simpson, as if to say "I didn't understand what I was doing, it was those guys over there".

No Bill. It was the guy holding the pen in the Oval office. Nobody expects you to understand this stuff, but you are expected to have better advice by hiring more widely. If all the guys in the room agree with each other, your hiring policy was wrong. That's your fault Bill.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:12:22 PM EST
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What's instructive is that he is forced to acknowledge that failure to regulate was a MISTAKE.  This is of course a sea change from only two years ago.  Taking actual responsibility? hah, yeah right!  The best we could hope for was to have them back pedal as we are now seeing.
by paving on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:48:47 PM EST
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