Hillary Clinton rolls out plan to take on Wall Street

Story highlights

  • Hillary Clinton rolled out her plan to reform Wall Street Thursday
  • "The bottom line is that we can never allow what happened in 2008 to happen again," Clinton wrote in a Bloomberg View opinion editorial, referencing the 2008 market crash that led to the Great Recession

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton rolled out her long-awaited plan to reform Wall Street on Thursday, announcing in a Bloomberg op-ed that she wants to crack down on abuses and tax certain kinds of "high-frequency" trading.

Liberal Democrats have long waited to hear what Clinton plans to do about Wall Street, hoping that the former New York senator who has deep ties to financial institutions would crack down on institutions that have become Democratic boogeymen.
"The bottom line is that we can never allow what happened in 2008 to happen again," Clinton wrote, referencing the market crash that led to the Great Recession. "Just as important, we have to encourage Wall Street to live up to its proper role in our economy -- helping Main Street grow and prosper."
    Clinton proposes a four-pronged approach to tackling Wall Street: Increasing accountability by punishing criminal behavior, instituting a fee on excessive leverage and short-term borrowing, more oversight on hedge funds and investment banks and a tax on short-term trading.
    "People who commit serious financial crimes should face serious consequences, including big fines, disbarment from working in the industry and the prospect of imprisonment," Clinton wrote, responding to liberals who question why no Wall Street executives went to jail for seemingly criminal behavior during the 2008 crash.
    Shortly after Clinton's op-ed published, Bernie Sanders, her most formidable opponent in the Democratic 2016 field, issued a pointed statement insinuating that Clinton is a newcomer to Wall Street reform.
    "Given the image of big banks today, it is easy now to take on Wall Street. I was there when it was not so popular," Sanders said.
    Clinton has sought advice on her Wall Street plan from a host of advisers, including former Rep. Barney Frank, who called the plan a "thoughtful, comprehensive proposal."
    Not advocated for in Clinton's proposal is the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, a Depression-era law that separated commercial and investment banks until its repeal under President Bill Clinton.
    Clinton dismissed the idea of reinstating Glass-Steagall during an event in Iowa on Tuesday, and wrote in the her op-ed that while the proposal to bring back the law is "serious," it isn't targeted enough.
    "I certainly share the goal of never having to bail out the big banks again, but I prefer the path of tackling the most dangerous risks in a different way," Clinton wrote.
    On Tuesday, Clinton said she would go after "not the problems of the past, but the problems of today," a subtle knock against two of her stoutest Democratic opponents: Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
    Lis Smith, O'Malley's deputy campaign manager, said Tuesday that "Clinton's plan falls short on what should be our ultimate goal: preventing reckless Wall Street speculators from backing up their bad bets with taxpayer money."
    Clinton also looks back in the opinion piece, casting herself as someone was worried about the stability of the financial market long before the 2008 crash.
    "Unfortunately, the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress largely ignored calls for reform," Clinton writes. "The result cost 9 million Americans their jobs, drove 5 million families out of their homes and wiped out more than $13 trillion in household wealth."
    Releasing the plan on Thursday makes sense for Clinton, who will spend the weekend preparing for next week's CNN Democratic Primary debate, the first in the nominating process.
    Wall Street reform, an issue regularly addressed by Sanders and O'Malley, will likely be a topic that allows the candidates to draw contrast with one another.