[After eight debates and countless speeches, Secretary Clinton has repeatedly shared her views on Wall Street, trade and job creation. Once we parse through the focus group-tested lines, we can find clues about how she relates to the financial sector and the power it wields over our economy.
The real story will be revealed only if she releases the transcripts from the three speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs for which she was paid $675,000. Her unwillingness to do so strongly suggests she has something to hide. What did she really say? Here's a reconstruction.]
Thank you so much for this opportunity to address you. I hope it contributes in some way to helping to heal divisions and build a brighter future for all Americans.
We should all be very proud of the public servants you have provided for our great nation:
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin [applause],
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson [applause],
Senator Jon Corzine [applause],
Chicago Mayor and Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel [applause]
These great men, along with many others from Goldman Sachs, have served our country proudly. They brought to government the financial and management skills honed at Goldman Sachs --skills that help our nation provide global leadership in finance, trade and economy development. We are all deeply indebted to you for that.
Let us speak frankly. This has been a very difficult period for our country and for the global economy. Financial excesses, promoted both by government inaction and by too much risk taken on by Wall Street, put our economy in jeopardy. Through careful regulations we've now removed those risks from our robust financial system and are growing steadily once again.
In our hour of need, the federal government provided badly needed capital to shore up our core financial institutions. Some derisively call it a bailout. I see it as an excellent investment. And now you've returned every penny... with interest. Well done! [applause]
Of course, Dodd-Frank is not perfect. I know that you are working hard with the administration to iron out the rough spots. That's a vital and necessary part of the process to make sure these new rules do not create unintended consequences that could interfere with the smooth running of our financial markets. We have to be sure that we don't inappropriately regulate derivative markets which are so vital for insuring risk. And we have to be certain that the increased capital requirements do not hinder lending to businesses large and small.
But, as you know very well, this legislation is important because it sends a signal to an uneasy American public that the economy is sound and heading in the right direction.
I realize there are some strident voices out there who want to extract revenge on Wall Street -- even to "occupy it." [laughter]
I can assure you I am not one of them. [applause]
No one sector of our economy should be ever be vilified. Childish taunts and slogans whether coming from the far left or the far right are entirely unproductive. Wall Street is fundamentally sound and our economy needs your skills and hard work.
I can assure you that as I seek ways to continue in public service, I will always help our country understand the vital role you play. We need to be in constant dialogue to make sure our financial markets and institutions are the finest in the world.
Furthermore, it is important for the American people to understand that we can't turn the clock back to re-instate outmoded policies like Glass-Steagall. This is not the 1930s. Breaking up the big banks is a nice slogan but totally inappropriate as American financial institutions compete with large integrated banks and financial firms from around the world.
Not only is big not inherently bad, but big is necessary in our globalized economy. [applause]
Similarly, we need to stay away from foolish new constraints like financial transaction taxes that would only drive investors away from our markets. Such ill advised "taxes of revenge" will move money away from our well-regulated markets and into market structures around the globe that are far more ;prone to irregularities. In the end such taxes will introduce more inefficiencies into our markets and make the global financial system far more volatile.
I also believe government and financial leaders need to work together to open up global markets for our financial industry. As Secretary of State, I've traveled to more than 100 countries. I know well how other nations support their key industries. We need to do the same. [applause]
This includes negotiating free trade agreements that level the playing field for American financial institutions. We need to reduce the unfair barriers to entry that you face as you try to provide products to restricted markets. The TPP, which I helped to push forward, is particularly important in opening up markets for U.S. financial services in the Far East.
Let me be candid about how we can move forward together. I am very interested in finding ways to continue to serve my country as I did as your Senator, and as Secretary of State. In the coming months we will be launching an exploratory committee to test the waters for a possible national campaign for the presidency.
To succeed I will need your support. I will need your creativity about how to expand economic growth and opportunity in our country. I will need help in crafting new policies and proposals to reduce financial risk, while providing our country with the capital and financial services it needs.
As we have done since I represented New York in the Senate, we will find ways to work together for the sake of our country. You are so much a part of what makes our financial system the soundest in the world. It will be an honor to work with you again.
Thank you for this warm reception and the public service you provide to our great nation. [standing ovation]
Les Leopold, the director of the Labor Institute in New York is working with unions, worker centers and community organization to build a national economics educational campaign. His latest book, Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice (Oct 2015), is a text for that effort. All proceeds go to support this educational campaign. (Please like the Runaway Inequality page on Facebook.)