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October 25, 2012

The Dark Side of Bipartisanship

 

“In Washington today, “bipartisan” is a loaded term. The traditional usage of bipartisan refers to an agreement across the usual political divide — sometimes a good idea and in many cases the only way to get things done. But a darker meaning applies all too frequently — to a group in which the members, irrespective of party affiliation, are very close to special interests and work to advance an agenda that helps a few powerful people while hurting the rest of us.

Financial deregulation in the 1980s and 1990s was pushed by both Democrats and Republicans. It reached its apogee when Alan Greenspan, a Republican, was chairman of the Federal Reserve and Robert Rubin, a Democrat, was Treasury secretary. Bill Clinton was president; Newt Gingrich was speaker of the House.

There is no such trade-off. Financial crises destroy growth — and for a long period of time. If you want to undermine American productivity, as well as the power and prestige of the United States, step back and allow the financial sector to go crazy again. In the last decade, the United States lost its stability and its growth. It’s too bad the presidential candidates were not pressed on this point during the recent debates, and particularly on the cost of the crisis, estimated by Better Markets to be more than $12.8 trillion.”

Read full New York Times article here

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