Go ahead and tear another petal off the dying flower that you use to play "Hillary Clinton loves Wall Street... She loves it not."
On Friday, during the second biggest economic speech of her campaign so far , Hillary was broadly critical of an American financial system that has become slavishly devoted to "quarterly capitalism." Because it has come to worship a false idol, she sees Wall Street as vaguely "out of balance." And like any self-respecting Type A former flower child, Hillary has a plan to clean Wall Street's chi and get it back in alignment.
That said, Hillary is sensitive to Wall Street's feelings.
“I understand that most CEOs are responding to very real pressures from shareholders and the market to turn in good quarterly numbers, and investors are always looking for strong, reliable returns, but it is clear that the system is out of balance. The deck is stacked in too many ways”
Ooh. That sounded threatening.
But what Hillary actually laid out after that opening salvo was pretty vanilla. She laid out a fistful of obtusely wonky ideas worded and packed with numbers to sound sharp and aggressive.
We all know what she said by now, so let's go through it.
First, she talked about better regulating executive pay and trying to offset the behaviors of activist shareholders. The notion of more closely regulating anything gets people on Wall Street reflexively nervous, but saying that CEOs maybe make too much, or that Carl Icahn can be a pain-in-the-ass, is hardly groundbreaking or controversial.
It's also good politics.
What's usually not good politics is raising taxes.
Yeah, let's talk about that capital gains idea. The idea of a sliding scale on capital gains for investments designed to make people hold onto their sh!t just a little longer is the kind of thing that rankles extremists like Grover Norquist, but that's only because it sets off his alert system for whenever the words "tax" and "increase" are used in the same sentence.
How uncontroversial is Hillary's idea in reality? Noted pinkos like Larry Fink have been talking it up for a while now and almost every commodities trader over the age of 50 would like to see volatile behavior reigned in just a little bit.
We know that we always seem to come back to this, but Hillary is not the liberal that Wall Street has to fear. We know that because she's making it patently obvious by saying such impotently critical things so early on in the campaign.
If Jeb! Bush manages to do the impossible and upset presumptive President-Elect Donald Juarez Trump for the Republican nomination, he will start saying sh!t about Wall Street so fast that it will cause whiplash in the C suites.
As long as Wall Street remains as popular as Kim Kardashian at a Daughters of The American Revolution meeting, this election will be full of candidates posturing against it. But almost none of them will actually mean it.
Hillary is going to keep rolling these out every few weeks, and they are going to get wonkier and wonkier but made to sound liberal and liberal-ier, but keep reading deeper and you'll see what's what. What makes Hillary seem scarier is that she's using facts and figures to decorate her paper tigers.