Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bill Clinton: World Financier

Billary Clinton is a composite figure of William and Hillary Clinton. I used the term long ago in order to represent a problem America has not faced before. Other presidents have received advice from spouses, certainly, but never to the degree that may be anticipated from another Clinton presidency. The Bush presidents have been purposeful in keeping family apart from politics, and even to avoid the appearance of doing so. The constitution allows that Americans vote for only one president at a time. To my mind, the election of two presidents is to substitute the American system of democracy for an oligarchy.

The potential problem this represents has been presented in a series of articles by the Wall Street Journal. Today’s Wall Street Journal article by JOHN R. EMSHWILLER describes Bill Clinton’s friendship and business relationship with billionaire Ron Burkle. Burkle is the head of Yucaipa Cos. and helped the Clintons recover from the legal debts incurred during Bill’s presidency. Helped, as in hired. The WSJ article notes that Bill Clinton could now receive about $20 million as the former president severs his ties with Yucaipa in the wake of his Hillary’s candidacy.

Bill Clinton was a savvy investor before he was hired by Burkle so it’s not surprising he let his winnings ride in Yucaipa even beyond its September 2007 expiration date. The Wall Street Journal article today explains in detail the degree to which Clinton’s financial interests are tied up with foreign investment companies in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. Mrs. Clinton has complained about ‘selling U.S. debt to foreign countries’. The WSJ article describes “sovereign wealth funds” as “giant pools of money controlled by foreign governments.” Mrs. Clinton herself took issue with such funds in a Wall Street Journal interview and said that “foreign funds ‘lack transparency’ and could be used by foreign governments as ‘instruments of foreign policy.’"

Reporter John R. Emshwiller wrote that Mr. Clintons’ duties at Yucaipa were never clear but his contacts with world leaders certainly aided the Yucaipa investments.

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