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Feb 13 / Elizabeth DiNovella

From the Archives: Molly Ivins on Fiscal Folly

We’re busying working on a special issue to celebrate The Progressive’s 100th anniversary.

I’m knee-deep in the 1990s right now and found this gem, written in November 1998 by Molly Ivins. (I really miss Molly these days. She was able to be hilarious while being outraged.)

Molly writes: President Clinton is wrong. This is not a “do-nothing” Congress: They’ve done lots of damage.In a major act of fiscal folly, Congress repealed that Depression-era reform the Glass-Steagall Act. Now banks, insurance companies, and brokerage houses can merge away. This leaves banks, already in trouble from making so many marginal commercial loans, vulnerable to any disasters in their allied insurance companies and brokerage firms. When the banks get in trouble, guess who bails them out?

Speaking of bailing out banks, I also ran across Timothy Geithner’s name in 1998. In July 1998, we ran excerpts from a  transcript of a House Bank Subcommittee. Bernie Sanders questions Geithner, who was then Assistant Secretary for International Affairs for the Treasury Department, about whether the IMF is “simply a front group for giant banks, global corporations, and wealthy investors.”

Sanders shines, asking why the IMF makes loans to countries that suppress human rights, such as Indonesia. And Geithner? Well, he just sounds like a technocrat. (But we already knew that.)

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