Which Hillary Clinton would run for and, more important, govern as president? The onetime New York senator whom many Wall Street bankers supported and former secretary of state who gave speeches to Goldman Sachs and others for a reported $200,000 per? Or the leader of an increasingly progressive Democratic Party, who, in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel this week, affirmed the thesis of economist Thomas Piketty? "I think he makes a very strong case that we have unbalanced our economy too much towards favoring capital and away from labor," she said.
Friend or foe of Wall Street? On the one hand, it was Clinton's husband who entrusted the nation's economic policymaking to former Goldman Sachs executive Robert Rubin, who, along with subsequent Treasury secretaries Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, promoted an agenda of free trade, deregulation and privileging the interests of big banks over all others. On the other, as a senator, Clinton called for tougher regulations on derivatives and said that "Wall Street has played a significant role" in the subprime mortgage disaster and she did so in 2007, one year before the great collapse.
What makes Clinton's predicament particularly significant is that it's not hers alone. For decades, the default position of generations of Democrats has been to back economic policies that helped ordinary Americans higher minimum wages, the right to unionize, spending on infrastructure without reining in banks, corporations and the wealthy beyond the basic constraints laid down by the New Deal. They could do this for one fundamental reason: Economic growth in the United States was largely equitable; prosperity was broadly shared.