A trio of regulatory changes and missteps on the former president’s watch let the banks run wild and encouraged the housing bubble. But he had help, of course.
On Wall Street and Main Street they call William Jefferson Clinton the “Comeback Kid,” but it’s not because of some Election Day surprise.
It’s because almost everything he did regarding financial-services regulation has come back to haunt us.
If it wasn’t apparent before, the former president’s handiwork became clear when President Barack Obama announced his plans for sweeping financial-services reforms. Obama’s efforts to bring fair dealing to the mortgage markets, rules to the derivatives marketplace and restraint to big financial companies underscore the missteps of Clinton’s second term.
We had weakly regulated markets when Clinton took office, but by the time he left, they were an invitation to lawless dealing. For the ease of it, Willie Sutton would have traded his gun and mask for a briefcase and necktie.
Clinton created a fertile environment for home-lending charlatans and hiding places for Wall Street swindlers, and upset a regulatory structure that had served the financial marketplace so well for more than six decades.