The Relationship Between Money and Politics

A wise man once said, if you want to keep people from getting bored, start with the point. Well, here’s the point: just because a certain demographic donates money to a campaign, does not mean that the candidate is beholden to their views. All itemized individual contributions are publicly disclosed. No campaign is trying to cover up who donates to their campaign because they can’t. If you’re worried about influence, listen to what candidates actually say.

Both of the candidates advocate for increasing regulations on Wall Street, but both also receive contributions from investment bankers who work for firms like JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Citi Group. However, their policies are not influenced by this money. Both Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton plans to reform Wall Street would presumably go against whatever special interests or leverage you might think they have over their campaigns. This concern has been most broadly articulated in relation to the Clinton campaign, and is, to this author, unfounded in reality. While it is reasonable and expected for the people to be vigilant about special interests, if you look at her actual policies, it’s pretty clear that she is not beholden to whatever interests one would presume come with these donations.

Unlike Senator Sanders, Secretary Clinton’s plan to tackle the problems with Wall Street is incredibly thorough. I have read her 4,800 word plan, and it goes beyond breaking up the big banks, who are no longer the biggest earners on Wall Street. It strengthens that provision of Dodd-Frank, but it also works to regulate futures trading and the bond market. One of the biggest players in the financial crisis was the insurance firm AIG, who would not face increased regulations under Senator Sanders plan. While calling for breaking up the banks is a good idea, it is not enough. Wall Street is not simple. There are many moving parts that interact with each other, and yes, big banks are one of those parts, but so are hedge funds, and other forms capital management. Her reforms wouldn’t solve all the problems with Wall Street, but Sanders largely misses what the problem is.

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