2008 financial meltdown/Clinton
It has been argued that Bill Clinton helped cause the 2008 financial meltdown, partly because of his supposedly major role in causing the 2008 mortgage crisis (which has been disproven) and partly because of other actions and inactions.
The primary claim that Clinton caused the crisis overall (as opposed to being responsible only for the mortgage-related portion thereof) seems to come from a mid-2009 MSN article which lays the following charges:
- 1998: failure to push for tighter regulation on the new derivatives market, in the wake of Long-Term Capital Management's failure and subsequent $3.6b bailout (Alan Greenspan and Arthur Levitt advised against action)
- 1999: repeal of Glass-Steagall (or large portions of it), removing the wall between investment and commercial banking
While it seems entirely likely that Clinton's judgment was in error on these items, it is a bit of a stretch to say that they "caused" a crisis which occurred a decade later -- during which time an incredibly irresponsible and spendthrift president (George W. Bush):
- started two wars (US-Iraq War, US invasion of Afghanistan)...
- ...towards the cost of which he not only failed to increase taxes but actually cut taxes...
- ...and rather than using those tax cuts for those who need them most (lower and middle-class families who would be hardest-hit by any financial downturn), his tax cuts primarily benefited the rich -- the very people who could best afford to pay for a war, and many of whom stood to profit from the war through companies in which they held stock.
To the extent that this claim is being used to deflect blame from Bush or from Republican policies, it is a non-starter at best, and reflective of a Republican tendency toward blatant and unapologetic hypocrisy.
First, it is not reasonable to say that failure to take a specific action is responsible for causing something else to happen -- especially when top advisors (Greenspan and Levitt) advised against it.
Second, this claim (even if arguably true) cannot be used to support a Republican agenda. Republicans fight tooth and nail against government regulation in any form. If it can be shown that they wanted Clinton to take action while the Democrats did not, then that might cast a different light on Clinton's actions, but we would need to catch at least a glimpse of some greater principle at work (i.e. not "a liberal is against it, so we're for it").
Again, this argument cannot be used in support of Republican policies. The overturn of Glass-Steagall was accomplished by the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act (aka the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), which had long been a Republican agenda item.