Why Does Hillary Keep Making Mistakes At Our Expense?

And here’s another exchange from the debates courtesy of the CNN transcript of the debate.

O’MALLEY: Yes. Anderson, I want to associate myself with many of the items that the senator from Vermont mentioned, and I actually did them in our state. We raised the minimum wage, passed the living wage, invested more in infrastructure, went four years in a row without a penny’s increase in college tuition.

But there’s another piece that Senator Sanders left out tonight, but he’s been excellent about underscoring that. And that is that we need to separate the casino, speculative, mega-bank gambling that we have to insure with our money, from the commercial banking – namely, reinstating Glass-Steagall.

Secretary Clinton mentioned my support eight years ago. And Secretary, I was proud to support you eight years ago, but something happened in between, and that is, Anderson, a Wall Street crash that wiped out millions of jobs and millions of savings for families. And we are still just as vulnerable Paul Volcker says today.

We need to reinstate Glass-Steagall and that’s a huge difference on this stage among us as candidates.

COOPER: Just for viewers at home who may not be reading up on this, Glass-Steagall is the Depression-era banking law repealed in 1999 that prevented commercial banks from engaging in investment banking and insurance activities.

Secretary Clinton, he raises a fundamental difference on this stage. Senator Sanders wants to break up the big Wall Street banks. You don’t. You say charge the banks more, continue to monitor them. Why is your plan better?

CLINTON: Well, my plan is more comprehensive. And frankly, it’s tougher because of course we have to deal with the problem that the banks are still too big to fail. We can never let the American taxpayer and middle class families ever have to bail out the kind of speculative behavior that we saw.

But we also have to worry about some of the other players – AIG, a big insurance company; Lehman Brothers, an investment bank. There’s this whole area called “shadow banking.” That’s where the experts tell me the next potential problem could come from.

CLINTON: So I’m with both Senator Sanders and Governor O’Malley in putting a lot of attention onto the banks. And the plan that I have put forward would actually empower regulators to break up big banks if we thought they posed a risk. But I want to make sure we’re going to cover everybody, not what caused the problem last time, but what could cause it next time.

She is apparently using the same advisers who so badly advised Bill Clinton on deregulation.

There is no telling what will cause the next collapse. No matter what laws you write, the crooks on Wall Street will find a scheme to get around the law. That is what con artists do.

So rather than try to stay one step ahead of the con artists with billions if not trillions of dollars at their disposal, you make sure that these entities are small enough that they cannot bring down the world economy no matter what scheme they come up with. You make sure nobody is too big to jail. That is exactly why Teddy Roosevelt knew that the trusts needed to be broken up. That is why we used to enforce anti-trust laws. I’d like to think that Clinton just does not understand, and does not understand how badly she is being advised by the same con artists that thought up the last financial debacle.

How can it be that a smart lawyer like everyone believes her to be, including me, seems to understand these con artists less than a measly retired software engineer like me does? I can’t judge what is in her heart and in her mind, but I do know that her behavior is dangerous to the country and to the world.

If she is the Democratic nominee in 2016, there is no way in the world I could vote for her. If someone is going to destroy the economy and the country, I’d much rather it be a Republican. I don’t want people in the future to think that anyone who claimed to be a progressive could do as much damage as she will. Progressive is my label, and I don’t want anyone to sully it like they have already done to the label liberal.

Not in my name will I have any part in helping this woman be President.

October 14, 2015

Maybe it is exactly my software engineer experience that makes me understand this better than Hillary Clinton.

When you are part of, and especially when you lead, a team of software engineers who are responsible for a large, complex software system, you understand the issue of bugs being in your software. You have to know that you certainly cannot anticipate all the bugs that might creep in. If you could, the bugs wouldn’t be there. So a good software engineer uses techniques that make it harder for bugs to get in, makes it easier to find bugs that are there, and avoids practices that allow the damage from bugs to propagate through the system. So there are certain practices that you avoid in developing a system because you know they have unpredictable consequences.

In the real world of complex economic systems, you know that allowing any single entity to grow too large is a dangerous system practice. You know you can’t anticipate all the things that could go wrong, so you try to compartmentalize mistakes so that they will have limited effect when they occur. You build firewalls between pieces of your system to keep problems localized. This is what the Glass-Steagall act did in the exact words of Martin O’Malley above. It may be less efficient when all is going well, but it saves your bacon when things go wrong. As Murphy has said, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

These same worries about big private entities certainly apply to large government as well. That is exactly why our founding ancestors built checks and balances into our system. When we get frustrated at the imagined inefficiencies and throw out these safety measures, we eventually pay a price for our folly. I guess the one thing that the founding ancestors might not have planned for is the absolute abuse of the checks and balances that our current crop of Republicans have come to perfect. Well, maybe they actually did anticipate it in considering that what the Supreme Court has allowed with Citizens United is the kind of corruption that they knew would kill the system.

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