While America is markedly more diverse and secular than it was in Washington’s day, we should strive to emulate his support for religious liberty and to give no sanction to bigotry. Surely, as free people of good will, we can do that without eradicating the freedom to express religious ideas and without banishing prayer from public life.
— The Providence (R.I.) Journal
The Clinton Library has released a nine-page written document describing an April 18, 1998, meeting to discuss the regulation of “privately traded derivatives such as swap contracts.”
Several bigwigs on President Bill Clinton’s economic team were at the meeting: Robert Rubin, Clinton’s treasury secretary; Larry Summers, Rubin’s deputy; and Alan Greenspan, head of the Federal Reserve Board.
The lone woman at the meeting, Brooksley Born, the chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, warned her colleagues that these privately traded contracts needed to be regulated or disaster might occur.
Of course, the three free-market advocates disagreed and refused to endorse Born’s suggestion.
As history has shown — to the chagrin of us all — Born was right.
Clinton’s signing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which exempted most over-the-counter derivatives from regulation, was one of the major mistakes that led to the bust of 2008.
Clinton later admitted that he should not have taken the advice of his economic team and signed the bill.
Those who have memorialized the Clinton presidency should rethink its economic results. The free-market thinking that pervaded Clinton’s team — which idealized Rubin because of his great Wall Street success — threw us into an economic maelstrom from which we are still attempting to recover. Be wary of these free-market, anti-regulation economists of either party.
Hopefully, Hillary Clinton will benefit from the mistakes of her husband if she makes what seems to be her inevitable decision to run for the presidency.
— The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, Conn.