For the life of me, I can't fathom why anyone would consider voting for Hillary Clinton. Forget the baggage about the emails while she was Secretary of State. She has waffled on key issues such as Wall Street reform and outsourcing jobs due to a combination of conflicted contributions to her campaign and because her husband's key legacy while POTUS was deregulating Wall Street and outsourcing jobs by signing the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) into law.
Here's a list of key issues that matter.
Sen. Bernie Sanders is adamantly opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the trade deal President Obama is negotiating.
Trade deals have been "abysmal failures," according to Sanders. "They allowed corporations to shut down operations in the U.S. and move work to low-wage countries ...and they are one of the reasons that we have lost almost 60,000 factories in our country and millions of good-paying jobs since 2001."
Not only does Hillary support the TPP, she helped negotiate it as Obama's secretary of state. She called it "the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade."
When it comes to NAFTA, Clinton is a complete flip-flopper, calling it one of Bill's major achievements and then calling it a mistake after her opponents criticized it.
As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told The Washington Post " Bill Clinton still gets screamed at about NAFTA by working people."
It's not just blue-collar Democrats who view free trade as unfair trade. A 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 63 percent of Tea Party Republicans said that free trade had been bad for the country and about half of independents said that it led to layoffs and lower wages.
That "giant sucking sound" as former Presidential candidate Ross Perot described it, didn't just go south of the border but west of it, to China if you're talking about Apple products. According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, most of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold in 2011 were made overseas. That year it earned more than $400,000 in profit per employee, more than Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil or Google. Apple used to make its stuff here but by 2004 it turned to foreign manufacturing.
To make matters worse, NAFTA didn't just result in the outsourcing of jobs, it lowered tax revenue as former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich outlined in his book, "Locked in the Cabinet." His administration had to "come up with billions to pay for NAFTA. That's because lower tariffs on goods coming from Mexico will mean less tariff revenue flowing into the Treasury... It's a well-kept secret: American taxpayers will shell out much more to pay for NAFTA than for getting people into new jobs--including, of course, people who might lose their jobs because of NAFTA. In my prior life I would have complained loudly about this bizarre result. Now I can't say a word in public."
Wall Street Reform That Isn't
When Hillary announced a plan to regulate Wall Street last October she stopped short of calling for a measure that separates investment and commercial banking.
The Glass-Steagall Act, a depression-era law that created a "firewall" between normal commercial banking and riskier investment banks, was passed in 1933. Its repeal under President Bill Clinton put the banking system at risk ahead of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.
Robert Reich has been critical of Hillary's demurral on Glass-Steagall. After a Clinton adviser suggested in July she would not push to reenact it, Reich called the decision a "big mistake economically because the repeal of Glass-Steagall led directly to the 2008 Wall Street crash, and without it we're in danger of another one," wrote Reich, now a professor at the University of Berkeley.
Making Social Security Even More Insecure
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is pushing for more generous Social Security benefits and all but two Democratic senators voted for her proposal. Incredibly, just a few years ago, Democrats were ready to join Obama in offering to reduce benefits as part of a "grand bargain" with Republicans in exchange for a tax increase to keep it solvent. Laura Meckler reported in The Wall Street Journal that Clinton supported a combination of reduced benefits and increased taxes. But why would anyone consider cutting Social Security benefits, given that we have one of the puniest government pension systems in the advanced world, along with the puniest private-sector pensions?
Supporting a Bankruptcy Bill that Hurts Bankrupt People
When Clinton was first lady and Sen. Warren was a Harvard law professor, Warren was able to get Clinton to convince her then-POTUS husband to veto a GOP-sponsored bankruptcy bill. Warren described the bill as a travesty designed to squeeze women and children who had fallen on tough times as a result of divorce, financial ruin or medical catastrophe.
However, three years later, when Clinton was the junior senator from New York, she voted in favor of a "modified" version that provided limited protections for women and children over the vehement objections of Warren and other consumer advocates. The reason for her switch? Contributions from Wall Street. During her two terms as a New York senator, Clinton collected more money from the finance, insurance and real estate Industry than any other member of Congress: more than $31 million -- a hugely hefty sum given that she was only in office for eight years.
When Clinton was running for president in 2007 she glossed over that "yes" vote and claimed, during debates, that she "fought the banks" on bankruptcy reform. Warren has complained about it ever since, one of the reasons Bill Clinton refused to campaign for her during her 2012 Senate campaign. Another is Warren's attacks on Clinton's former Wall Street allies, a former Clinton aide told Politico.
The bill "was in my view one of the worst pieces of legislation that passed in the last 25 years," said then-Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, who worked on legislation to undo much of the 2005 law.
The Driver Of Her Positions? Bad Money
Like too many politicians these days, Clinton's stance on the issues is driven by bribes: from businesses, not contributions from future constituents.
Between 2009 and 2014, Clinton's list of top 20 donors included Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, whose chief Lloyd Blankfein has invested in Clinton's son-in-law's boutique hedge fund. These donors are, as the website Truthout's William Rivers Pitt notes, "The ones who gamed the system by buying politicians like her and then proceeded to burn the economy down to dust and ash while making a financial killing in the process."
Consider the two Canadian banks with financial ties to the Keystone XL pipeline that fully or partially paid for eight of her speeches...or the more then $2.5 million in paid speeches for companies and groups lobbying for fast-track trade. According to TIME magazine and the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2014, "almost half of the money from her speaking engagements came from corporations and advocacy groups that were lobbying Congress at the same time... In all, the corporations and trade groups that Clinton spoke to in 2014 spent $72.5 million lobbying Congress that same year."
As former presidential candidate (and Alaska Senator) Mike Gravel put it, "The Democratic Party used to stand for the ordinary working man. But the Clintons and the DLC (Democratic Leadership Council) sold out the Democratic party to