Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wall Street Hates Elizabeth Warren… But They LOVE Hillary Clinton


Why do progressives worry so much about Hillary making a deal with Wall Street to buy her the White House? What difference does it make? What can Wall Street do to hurt America anyway? Nick Confessore's and Amy Chozick's "Thorny Embrace" article last week was just the latest about the love affair between Wall Street and the titular head of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. "As its relationship with Democrats hits a historic low," they wrote, "Wall Street sees a solution on the horizon: Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mrs. Clinton was the industry’s home state senator, and the financial sector was the second-largest giver to her presidential campaign in 2008. In her post-State Department life, she has been showered with lucrative speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan and other financial firms. In her talks, she says it is unproductive to vilify the industry, and she avoids the kind of language that puts off financial executives, as when President Obama referred to “fat cat” bankers in 2009."

Mike Lux, an author and very savvy political consultant who worked in the Clinton White House, told Confessore that "People are going to be in a surly mood, a populist mood. To have a Democrat too close to Wall Street, raising too much money from them, having a ‘We’re all in this together’ message is a big mistake."

Careerists like Clinton and her ilk always push that "we're all in this together" message-- and Democratic voters always buy it. Republican predators love it-- and love Democrats who mouth it… while they laugh hysterically. What am I talking about?

Sir John Templeton was born in Winchester, Tennessee who became a billionaire by pioneering mutual funds and marketing them under the name Franklin Templeton Investments, before renouncing his American citizenship so he could avoid paying taxes on this billions. He died in the Bahamas in 2008 and left behind a far more horrid John, Jr. who has given millions of those untaxed dollars to neo-fascist organizations, particularly anti-gay ones, his specialty. Today, Franklin Templeton Investments is threatening to upend the city of Stockton's bankruptcy deal if the city continues paying former works the pensions they earned.

When you read about Hillary Clinton-- or Wall Street Democrats like Steve Israel, Jim Himes, Joe Crowley, Chuck Schumer, Steny Hoyer and Kirsten Gillibrand-- getting into bed with the banksters, you can think about the crooks at CitiGroup or you can think about the crooks at Franklin Templeton. R.J. Eskow: "Which bank is widely considered too big to fail, needed (and got) a $45 billion government loan during the financial crisis, recently failed a stress test performed by the Federal Reserve -- and has enjoyed a revolving-door relationship with both the Clinton and Obama administrations? If you answered Citigroup, congratulations. Citigroup is back in the headlines as the result of a new settlement with the Justice Department over its mortgage fraud, reportedly for the sum of $7 billion. This deal is being trumpeted as a major win for the American people. It's not. The money's not enough (and some of it probably won't be paid out), the wrong people are paying, and there will be no prosecutions for criminal behavior. From a moral perspective, the lack of prosecutions is probably the most troubling aspect of this deal, and it keeps happening. Somehow the Justice Department is able to reach one billion-dollar settlement after another to resolve charges of massive criminality without indicting a single criminal."

A few days earlier, a more banister-sympathetic Wall Street Journal ran a piece by Dan Fitzpatrick on Templeton's latest aggression against the people of America. And the problem is that Templeton is the tip of the spear and if they can get away with it… well, plenty of avaricious Wall Street banksters are watching closely. "Payments into pension funds," he wrote, "are usually considered sacrosanct, but fights are breaking out around the U.S. over who gets priority when a municipality seeks protection from creditors. The latest battle involves the bankruptcy of Stockton, Calif., and pits mutual-fund giant Franklin Templeton Investments against California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest public pension fund in the U.S." Franklin Templeton insists that retirees lose their pensions so coupon-slipping bond holders recover an investment-- which, by definition, is a reward for taking a risk. Paying into a pension isn't supposed to be a risk, which is why the returns are so low in the first place.

Many troubled municipalities are grappling with how to bring down pension costs while municipal-bond holders are trying to figure out how to protect their interests before or during a municipal insolvency. Franklin Templeton is separately challenging a new law in Puerto Rico allowing some troubled public agencies to restructure their debt, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution.

A ruling that Stockton's pensions can be curtailed could embolden more cities to use bankruptcy as a way to seek retirement concessions. In December the judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy case ruled that pensions aren't entitled to "extraordinary protection" despite state constitutional safeguards against benefit cuts. Calpers has argued in court that the ruling on Detroit's city-run retirement systems doesn't apply to California's state-run plan.

The outcome in Stockton "is being watched by everyone," said Suzanne Kelly, co-founder of Scottsdale, Ariz., pension strategy and restructuring firm Kelly Garfinkle Strategic Restructuring LLC. If the judge rules that pensions can be curtailed, Ms. Kelly added, it could push cities "on the brink" to see bankruptcy as a "feasible option."

Franklin Templeton, which manages assets of more than $908 billion, is the lone creditor challenging Stockton's plan to end a two-year run through bankruptcy, arguing the northern California port city wants to unfairly slice a debt repayment while leaving public pension contributions intact. The city is offering the San Mateo, Calif., firm about $350,000, or less than 1%, back on a $35 million loan that paid for fire stations, a police station, bridges, street improvements and parks.

…The bankruptcy judge is expected to rule on the value of the collateral supporting Franklin Templeton's $35 million loan: two golf courses and a park. It isn't known if he also will rule on the larger question of whether pensions can be reduced.

Stockton, with a population of roughly 300,000, needs the judge to approve its plan to repay creditors before it can exit from bankruptcy. It filed in June 2012 after taking on too much debt and losing tax revenue to the real-estate bust. It was the second-largest financial failure by a U.S. city and one of several California cities-- San Bernardino, Vallejo and Mammoth Lakes-- to seek bankruptcy protection in recent years.
People who vote for Republicans generally know what they're getting. People who vote for corporate Democrats should too.

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At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Tom Watson said...

C'mon Howie - this phrase is pretty offensive to an accomplished female Democrat:

"Careerists like Clinton and her ilk..."

How is HRC a careerist vs. say...oh I dunno...Barack Obama...or John Kerry...or Bernie Sanders. It's reductive.

Plus with respect, I'd suggest she's accomplished something that ranks with anyone in American public life - including her former boss and her husband:

Hillary Clinton’s Greatest Credential


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