23 Apr '16     home | previous

Sanders Tops Out

Bernie Sanders likes Denmark, and Denmark has a huuuge bank, Danske Bank, a bank that boasts that its operations cover "trading in equities, debt capital markets, foreign exchange, money markets, research, and much more." It's operations extend across northern Europe and as far as Ireland.

Regarding banks in the US, Bernie Sanders said two days ago to cheers and applause:

When three out of four are larger than they were when we bailed them out because they were too big to fail, today we have got to break them up!

Barney Frank, former chair of the banking committee in the House of Representatives, and a Hillary supporter, has been saying:

The key mistake that I think people make is this. This problem is not the size of the financial institution, it`s the size of the debts they run up. That`s what caused the problem in 2008. Institutions – not the biggest, AIG and Lehman Brothers, incurred more debt than they could pay off.

Bernie's call to break up the banks bothers Frank because it's too vague. Says Frank:

You can`t say, We`re going to break them up so none of them are bigger than they should be, if you can`t tell me what they should be.

Frank describes Bernie's call for breaking the banks as popular because the banks are a visible symbol of the increased inequality that we have had. He shares the discomfort with that increase. And he describes action that has already been taken regarding banks, saying "We have severely limited their ability to run up debts...."

Sanders, meanwhile, continues to associate Hillary with his enemy-designate: the "billionaire class." Sanders: "CEOs May Like Hillary – They Ain't Going to Like Me." His surrogates are suggesting corruption because she accepted a huge speaking fee from Goldman Sachs. On MSNBC last night a Bernie surrogate was pressed by Chris Matthews to describe Hillary's fault in doing so. (Matthews is being described by a few impassioned Bernie supporters as Hillary's shill – the word "shill" suggesting swindle.) The surrogate complained of Hillary's reluctance to make public a transcript of her speech to Goldman Sachs. But the content of that speech is no mystery, and friendliness was indeed an issue. People who attended have described Hillary as saying, "We're in this together." Indeed, financialization is a part of our economy and Goldman Sachs, like Danske Bank I suspect, is going to be around for awhile.

But are there not other issues that Hillary and Bernie supporters can agree on? Vice President Biden in a The New York Times interview published Thursday pushed in that direction. He praised Sanders, saying that he liked the idea that 'We can do much more,' because we can," I assume that Biden will be voting for Hillary.

Some Sanders supporters are promising that they will not vote for Hillary. How realistic are they in their support of a pure Sanders revolution? Polls show Sanders as having lost his momentum. In Pennsylvania Hillary is described at 52.8 percent and Sanders at 37 percent. For other primaries this coming Tuesday, polls have Hillary winning in Rhode Island, Maryland, and Connecticut, and the following week in Indiana. And Hillary is ahead in the polls in California. Some Bernie supporters speak of Hillary losing to a Republican and looking to the year 2020 – when Sanders will be 79.

The idea that things should get worse before they get better hasn't always worked well.

Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.