Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was grilled by Chuck Todd yesterday on Meet The Press for remarks he made about Wall Street’s fraudulent business model in the most recent Democratic Debate in New Hampshire. The senator, of course, was not phased, and proceeded to reiterate the same point he made in New Hampshire last Thursday, which seemed to be lost on Todd that morning.
During one of his answers in the remarkably heated debate that night, the Senator from Vermont specifically characterized Wall Street–the catch-all term for the U.S financial markets and the industry surrounding them–as a “business model of fraud”, to which Todd responded by accusing Sanders of painting with a “broad brush” on Sunday morning, skillfully but nevertheless evasively drawing attention away from the larger point that the Senator was making about the lack of legal action being taken against the wealthy financial elite in this nation, who have defrauded millions of Americans with their so-called “business as usual” investment activities. Put simply, Sanders isn’t walking back those comments, as he feels, like most Americans, there is little to apologize for regarding the lack of justice on Wall Street.
The video can be viewed below, courtesy of Daily KOS.
Todd’s admonition to Sanders about “broad brush strokes” was grounded in his belief that there are “a lot of union pension funds,” “401 Ks,” and “retirements” that are invested in Wall Street, and that therefore any broad criticism of Wall Street’s fraudulent model indicates a general lack of willingness to invest in these programs. Todd’s observation was odd and absurd, considering that he also painted a broad brush stroke in this accusation he places on Sanders and his Wall Street platform, somehow insinuating he wants to ruin the retirements of many US workers by addressing the pervasive fraud and corruption occurring within the US financial markets. This couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Sanders responded to Todd’s allegations by stating the following:
‘Look Chuck, what I said I believe to be true. A few weeks ago as you know, Goldman Sachs reached a settlement with the United States government for $5 billion. … Why? And the answer is obviously they were defrauding investors in terms of selling sub-prime mortgage packages that were worthless. That’s my definition of fraud. And other major banks also have paid huge settlement fines to the federal government. And what really burns the American people is after paying $5 billion in a settlement agreement, none of these people, none of these executives on Wall Street get charge with anything. Kid gets caught with marijuana, gets a police record. Fraudulent activity on Wall Street destroys the economy, no police record for any executive. So do I believe that the business model of Wall Street is fraud? I think the answer, obviously, is of course it is.’
Sanders’s remarks on Thursday were very bold, but boldness is precisely what the Vermont Senator has built his historical campaign on, and nothing short of boldness will likely reign in the fraudulent excesses that many on Wall Street continue to thrive on, often with little risk of punishment.
Featured image via screengrab.