Clinton and Gingrich Agree: We Miss Glass Steagall

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 8 2011 4:13 PM

Clinton and Gingrich Agree: We Miss Glass Steagall

I'm reading Bill Clinton's new book Back to Work for a story, and I come across this admission about the former president's economic judgment.

I made some mistakes, too, though not the ones I've been most widely critized for: aggressively enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act and signing the bill repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law requiring commercial and investment banking to be done by separate institutions.

Right after I read this, I watch Newt Gingrich talk to Jake Tapper about financial reform. Isn't there anything, asks Tapper, that Gingrich would do to control the banks?

"Repealing Glass Steagall was probably a mistake," says Gingrich.

There we have it, 13 years after it could have mattered: Bipartisanship. But it's a little more complicated, because these are, in Clinton's view, overrated decisions. The CRA enforcement? "Making mortgages available to people in the community didn't cause the meltdown." The Glass Steagall decision? He gives himself one lash for that, but "by the time Glass Steagall was repealed, Federal Reserve rulings, beginning in the late 1980s, had already eliminated restraints on big banks' ability to engage in both commercial and investment banking activities." That didn't make the repeal a good idea; basically, Clinton says his hands were tied.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.