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Sanders’s Meeting With New York Daily News Didn’t Go So Well

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Sanders’s Meeting With New York Daily News Didn’t Go So Well

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Maybe Bernie Sanders wasn’t ready for the detail-heavy lines of questioning lobbed at him by the New York Daily News‘s editorial board this morning. At the very least, he didn’t sound ready.

Sanders, who has brought his message of economic justice and tougher financial regulations to the forefront of the Democratic nominating process, appeared unprepared to explain the specifics of his plan to dismantle the nation’s largest, riskiest banks as president.

As the most outspoken of the two Democratic candidates on the need to dismantle banks that are “Too Big To Fail,” Sanders couldn’t articulate how, in his first 100 days, he would address these institutions:

Daily News: Okay. Well, let’s assume that you’re correct on that point. How do you go about doing it?

Sanders: How you go about doing it is having legislation passed, or giving the authority to the secretary of treasury to determine, under Dodd-Frank, that these banks are a danger to the economy over the problem of too-big-to-fail.

Daily News: But do you think that the Fed, now, has that authority?

Sanders: Well, I don’t know if the Fed has it. But I think the administration can have it.

Daily News: How? How does a President turn to JPMorgan Chase, or have the Treasury turn to any of those banks and say, “Now you must do X, Y and Z?”

Sanders: Well, you do have authority under the Dodd-Frank legislation to do that, make that determination.

Daily News: You do, just by Federal Reserve fiat, you do?

Sanders: Yeah. Well, I believe you do.

The uncertainty in Sanders’s response was red meat for the punditocracy: The Atlantic wrote, “Even on bread-and-butter matters like breaking up the big banks, the Democratic presidential hopeful came across as tentative, unprepared, or unaware.” On Mediaite, Sanders was described as in “way, way over his head.” The Washington Post called it a “disaster.” And things didn’t get better as the interview went on:

Daily News: Okay. You would then leave it to JPMorgan Chase or the others to figure out how to break it, themselves up. I’m not quite…

Sanders: You would determine is that, if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. And then you have the secretary of treasury and some people who know a lot about this, making that determination. If the determination is that Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan Chase is too big to fail, yes, they will be broken up.

Daily News: Okay. You saw, I guess, what happened with Metropolitan Life. There was an attempt to bring them under the financial regulatory scheme, and the court said no. And what does that presage for your program?

Sanders: It’s something I have not studied, honestly, the legal implications of that.

Given the central role that breaking up banks plays in his platform, until this morning it seemed highly unlikely that Sanders wouldn’t have some cursory knowledge of relevant legal precedent or executive authority. But the interview showed a level of unpreparedness that’s surprising, especially this late in the game.

Sanders’s bungled answer is unlikely to hurt him much in the Wisconsin primaries, where he has a slight lead over Hillary Clinton as voters head to the polls today. But reactions may be different in New York, whose primary is on April 19th.

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49 Comments

  1. johninPCFL April 5, 2016

    The real issue here is that Bernie and Donald both are under the misperception that the presidency is a dictatorship.
    If limits to a bank’s size are part of the equation necessary to break them up, then Congress sets those limits either by direct legislation or by the authorization authority of a post or position.
    If a few $billion are necessary to build a fence (even if it will be paid back later), Congress must appropriate that money via legislation.

    Reply
    1. Independent1 April 7, 2016

      All of which means, if Bernie can’t work with Congress, virtually nothing that he’s promising will get enacted.

  2. yabbed April 5, 2016

    Sanders is a goofball, an old hippie freak still in love with the promises of communism. He hasn’t a clue, clearly.

    Reply
    1. The lucky one April 6, 2016

      The one who brings in communism to the discussion is clearly the one who is clueless here.

  3. dtgraham April 5, 2016

    This is Hillary’s nonsense on Wall St corruption:

    “Well, my plan is more comprehensive. And, frankly, it’s tougher because of course we have to deal with the problem that the banks are still too big to fail. We can never let the American taxpayer and middle-class families ever have to bail out the kind of speculative behavior that we saw. But we also have to worry about some of the other players: AIG, a big insurance company; Lehman Brothers, an investment bank. There’s this whole area called ‘shadow banking.’ That’s where the experts tell me the next potential problem could come from.”

    A few observations:

    First, it’s definitive now that Hillary has no intention of reinstating Glass-Steagall. Stories have filtered out of her campaign that she has no plans along those lines, and she’s explicitly stated that she wants to find a “different way” to reduce risk.

    The second and more important observation is about Hillary’s rhetorical choices.

    Hillary has been pushing an idea that banks aren’t at the root of any financial instability problem. She points a finger instead at “shadow banking,” non-bank actors like AIG, and a dead investment bank in Lehman Brothers (interestingly, she didn’t mention an investment bank like Goldman Sachs, which has hosted her expensive speaking engagements).

    I’ve read that Hillary’s squeamishness about criticizing banks is laughable to people in the industry. Of course, that’s probably the point – that the average voter won’t know how absurd and desperate it is to point to faceless “shadow” financiers as villains when the real bad guys are famed mega-firms that are right out in the open, with their names plastered all over every second city block.

    Yes, companies like AIG and Lehman Brothers did shoulder blame for what took place in 2008, but there is no way to untangle what those non-bank actors did without mostly talking about the big banks. This stuff is all connected.

    AIG blew up because it insured this fraudulent market. Lehman blew up because it over invested in it. It was the big banks though that financed the problem, and that were the most depraved actors in the whole stinking thing.

    This is known because it was big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup that paid the biggest chunks of the $100 billion in fines that even Hillary had to acknowledge in one of the debates (maybe the first one). The question there is how to make sure companies are small enough that the really corrupt ones can be allowed to implode organically, rather than requiring mass bailouts. How do you make too big to fail companies smaller and safer? Probably, you just do it. This is Hillary Clinton’s “comprehensive” plan.

    Her plan would create a “risk fee” for banks over a certain size. If banks get too big, they would be asked to get smaller but her proposal doesn’t contain an automatic mechanism. Hillary’s plan would only give regulators the authority to do something about risky companies. Hillary did say that large firms should be required to downsize, but only if they can’t prove to regulators that they can be managed effectively. That’s pretty generic. How do regulators disprove it?

    That is a huge difference compared to what Bernie wants to do. Those kinds of differences between Bernie’s real action (Glass-Steagall, etc..) and Hillary’s ambiguous verbiage are what turned the Dodd-Frank bill into a mountain of legislative leprechaun tricks, as opposed to the sweeping, simple, FDR-style reform of a plainly corrupt marketplace that it should have been. The one that Bernie Sanders wanted. Clinton wants nothing to do with FDR’s Glass-Steagall because her bank friends don’t.

    I don’t think Hillary Clinton plans on doing much of anything to fix Wall Street corruption. The read on her intentions is too obvious. Both regulators and criminal prosecutors already have theoretical power over the market. The issue is how much political will a future President plans on exerting.

    By going out of her way to downplay the influence of bank corruption, Hillary is signaling that she doesn’t plan on leaning into the reform effort all that much. This is consistent with her history as a politician who has accepted an enormous amount of money from Wall Street (both in donations and speaking fees) and has surrounded herself with policy advisors who, in many cases, bear primary responsibility for the banking and financial sector mess.

    An idea isn’t automatically bad just because it’s simple. Hillary Clinton is the queen of nuance. In this case, that’s the enemy of what needs to be done here. That’s on purpose.

    Reply
    1. Paragryne April 5, 2016

      Hillary isn’t the topic here. Bernie’s cluelessness about his central issue is.

      1. dtgraham April 6, 2016

        Bernie’s “cluelessness” and awfulness are always the issue here. Hillary’s corrupt-inspired fake cluelessness on the big banks is always ignored at the National Memo.

        1. Paragryne April 6, 2016

          Maybe that’s because Bernie’s issues are real, and that Hillary is not corrupt.

          1. The lucky one April 6, 2016

            “Hillary is not corrupt.” hahahahahaha, C’mon be serious.

          2. Paragryne April 6, 2016

            Prove it with hard evidence or stuff it.

          3. The lucky one April 6, 2016

            You mean the kind of evidence that would put her in jail? No I don’t have that but her cozy relationship with the banksters like Goldman Sachs reveals her corrupt nature. She could easily dispel that notion if it’s incorrect by releasing transcripts of her speeches to them. Her use of e-mails, which may be more a sign of incompetence than corruption. Many issues around the Clinton Foundation exist. Her flip flopping on Iraq invasion and TPP based on polls. I’m not going write a 100 page dissertation on all of Clinton’s ethical lapses and even if I did I’m quite sure Clinton loyalists like your self would not be convinced.

          4. Paragryne April 6, 2016

            Your ‘feelings’ are not evidence. Put up or shut up.

          5. The lucky one April 6, 2016

            As I said no evidence will convince a loyalist like you so why should i bother? As for “shut up”, kiss off. Everyone is sharing their opinions here but as for my “feelings” about HRC note the following notion, well accepted by those charged with reviewing ethical behavior. In a public official the appearance of impropriety is enough to invoke censure, HRC’s bankster speeches alone are enough to create that appearance and she has done nothing to dispel it.

          6. Paragryne April 6, 2016

            Still not evidence, which means you got nothin’.

          7. The lucky one April 6, 2016

            Believe what you want, I’m sure you will.

          8. The lucky one April 6, 2016

            In what way are my “feelings” involved in her documented support of the Iraq invasion, of course once it became obvious that it was a mistake then she was against it.

          9. dtgraham April 6, 2016

            Don’t kid yourself. Breaking up the banks would involve arcane and complex regulatory moves that can trip up any banking policy wonk, including even Elizabeth Warren who supports Bernie’s proposals on banking reform. Taken as a whole, Bernie’s answers made sense if you listen to the whole 52 minute interview. I have. His answers track with a reasonably straightforward breakup plan that he introduced to Congress last year.

            I would be far more concerned with Hillary’s overall approach to the banks, and not Bernie being unsure of specific procedures.

          10. Paragryne April 6, 2016

            We will have to disagree on that.

  4. Otto T. Goat April 5, 2016

    Bernie thinks corporations are bad, but Apple gets a free pass because liberals Apple stuff and Tim Cook is a fudge packer.

    Reply
    1. The lucky one April 6, 2016

      And you know this by personal experience, right? How was it for you?

      1. Otto T. Goat April 6, 2016

        Your comment is homophobic.

        1. The lucky one April 6, 2016

          But yours isn’t? Actually my comment may be insensitive to male homosexuals but not homophobic. I’m not the least bit uncomfortable around people of any sexual orientation as long as they don’t try to involve me. I’m not the one who used a derogatory reference or did you mean the Tim Cook works in a candy store. Maybe, many of your commenst bear little connection with reality.

          1. Otto T. Goat April 6, 2016

            It’s really hypocritical for you to be making homophobic comments.

          2. The lucky one April 6, 2016

            You really are as dense as you seem. You made a comment, referring to some one as a fudgepacker, that anyone homosexual or not would find offensive. I turned it around on you as an insult that implied that you have had the experience you crudely referred to. Maybe I was crude but no where close to being homophobic or hypocritical. Maybe you should invest in a dictionary.

          3. Otto T. Goat April 6, 2016

            When you call someone gay as insult you are admitting there is something wrong with it, which is funny.

          4. The lucky one April 7, 2016

            I referred to you as gay as an insult because the bigoted term you used to imply someone was gay made it apparent that you hold gay men in contempt. I turned that contempt back on you.

            You are a classic example of the dangers of a Trump presidency. It’s not so much what he would do as president, how could he be much worse than Bush/Cheney? The danger is that cowardly bigots who have remained in the background will feel empowered by his hate mongering to become more vocal and active.

          5. Otto T. Goat April 7, 2016

            You are going through all these contortions, but the fact is you were using gay as a slur and insult, which is homophobic bigotry and laughably hypocritical.

          6. The lucky one April 7, 2016

            No contortions although trying to explain the obvious to an imbecile may make it appear so. If any gay man reading my comment is offended they can have my apology. For you however, an obvious bigot and fool.you have nothing but my contempt.

          7. Otto T. Goat April 7, 2016

            It’s obvious you still possess a certain amount of anti-homo bigotry.

          8. The lucky one April 7, 2016

            None whatsoever. I’ll readily admit I do have my own prejudices but none relating to sexual orientation and I never have had any. I could never understand why anyone cares what other consenting adults do in the bedroom. I suspect those that do express the most upset are actually gay themselves and fearful they would be found out so they gay bash to avoid suspicion but I know some are just pompous self-righteous asses. Which category are you in goatman?

          9. Otto T. Goat April 7, 2016

            There you go making homophobic statements again.

          10. The lucky one April 7, 2016

            Now I know why support Trump. You read into a statement whatever it is you want to hear.

  5. Otto T. Goat April 5, 2016

    “let me just say that I think education is an enormously important topic”

    Wow, that’s deep.

    Reply
    1. dtgraham April 6, 2016

      Yeah well, the Donald thinks that his co*k size is an enormously important enough topic for American voters to be fully informed of it in a nationally televised debate, so…

  6. FT66 April 6, 2016

    Bernie Sanders jumped onto selling his ideas while having no knowledge at all how must be implemented. Bernie, leave that to Elizabeth Warren and stop shaming yourself.

    Reply
    1. The lucky one April 6, 2016

      Perhaps that what President Sanders will do. The president sets the agenda, he can’t be expected to know all the steps that must be taken to get there. That is the job of his advisers. Do you think HRC will tap Warren as an adviser, highly unlikely.

      1. FT66 April 6, 2016

        Do you mean those who interviewed Sanders didn’t know Presidents have advisors? He needs to have at least a hint how he will carry on his work. To be frank, it was very painful to watch him rolling his eyes and seemed not to understand anything.

        1. The lucky one April 6, 2016

          No I think their agenda was to denigrate Sanders to boost Clinton who is clearly the establishment candidate, actually more so than even Cruz or Trump.

          1. jmprint April 6, 2016

            If your are running on a platform, you should investigate before you make that your number one platform.

          2. The lucky one April 6, 2016

            That’s a good point. Do you hold the other candidates to the same standard because I don’t see any of them offering concrete practical proposals to accomplish anything on their platforms?

          3. Independent1 April 7, 2016

            You also don’t see a lot of them spewing out ideas on what they’ll do when they haven’t really done their homework – like Bernie is constantly doing – making promises he can’t keep.

          4. The lucky one April 7, 2016

            “You also don’t see a lot of them spewing out ideas on what they’ll do when they haven’t really done their homework” Huh??? They all do that especially Trump but yes HRC and Cruz speak more in meaningless generalities than in anything concrete. That’s much easier to answer for later when their lack of follow through is noted.

          5. Independent1 April 7, 2016

            But other than Bernie, all the other candidates are spewing ideas and making promises on issues that have been discussed in campaigns for numerous election cycles; Bernie is trying to sell pie-in-the-sky proposals like implementing single-payer insurance which has never been a campaign issue before; and similarly, like breaking up banks and too-big-to-fail financial companies.

            Voters know that presidents have the authority to do what the candidates other than Bernie are proposing; but Bernie is trying to sell people on the notion that he can sell Congress on his pie-in-the-sky proposals when it appears he doesn’t even know if the president has the authority to do what he’s proposing; which is clearly disingenuous of him.

          6. yabbed April 8, 2016

            They just asked reasonable, rational questions. Sanders denigrated himself with his inability to answer the questions. These weren’t trick questions. They were just too much for Sanders. He’s lazy, like Trump. He yells the same tired platitudes over and over, like Trump.

  7. The lucky one April 6, 2016

    “Even on bread-and-butter matters like breaking up the big banks, the Democratic presidential hopeful came across as tentative, unprepared, or unaware.” Maybe that is because no one before Sanders has ever even made a serious attempt to do so. Certainly Clinton, bankster sycophant that she is, will not make it a priority.

    Reply
    1. Independent1 April 7, 2016

      Keep on making excuses for him!! Bernie doesn’t really know much about a lot of the ramifications of his pie-in-the-sky proposals and just how much they will cost – far more than he is counting on!!

      1. The lucky one April 7, 2016

        Not making excuses, I don’t expect Sanders to be any kind of savior. But I prefer to have an honest man in that office just to see what that would be like. It’s never happened in my adult life and certainly wouldn’t be the case with Cruz, Trump or Clinton. A person can lack knowledge or an understanding of how to accomplish something but then learn what they don’t know and develop skills they don’t have. A liar will always be a liar.

  8. SEAN PAN April 7, 2016

    The same way FDR did it in 1933. Bernie Sanders is FDR 2.0 in 2016.

    Reply
  9. yabbed April 8, 2016

    Is that a Communist Party pin in his lapel? And where are those tax returns? What is Bernie hiding? That he is just an old pol like all the others and has enriched himself as a “public servant”?

    Reply

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