Collateral Damage

I think decent people should shun Bob Rubin, since he apparently lacks a conscience of his own:

As Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration, Rubin was a key proponent of the extreme financial deregulation that eventually brought the economy to its knees; after leaving government, he proceeded to enrich himself to the tune of $126 million while driving Citigroup to the edge of bankruptcy.

But Rubin is leaping back into the Washington policy-making scene next week, with a splashy relaunch of his pet think-tank, the Hamilton Project, housed at the Brookings Institution. As founder of the project, he will deliver the opening remarks and speak on one of the two panels

And the Democratic Party, rather than keep Rubin at an extreme distance, is apparently welcoming him back with open arms. The event’s keynote speaker is none other than Vice President Joe Biden.

Rubin, even in exile, has continued to be an influential behind-the-scenes player, speaking regularly to proteges (many of them alums of the Hamilton Project) who occupy top economic-policy positions in the Obama administration — they include Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, White House budget chief Peter Orszag, and key White House advisers Jason Furman and Michael Froman, just for starters.

And the Rubinites, amazingly enough, are riding high these days. They feel like they saved the financial world — at what they consider a relatively low cost. The millions of lost jobs and homes are considered unfortunate collateral damage.

[…] As for Rubin himself, what is the man who’s been almost exactly 180 degrees wrong on the major economic issues of his time thinking these days? Well, in an essay published by Newsweek late last year, Rubin worried about too much spending on job-creation, opposed forcing the riskiest derivative contracts onto public exchanges, resisted an accounting reform that would require financial institutions to assess their assets based on actual market prices rather than just making things up, and warned against what he calls impractical proposals to break up “too big to fail” banks. His most pressing concern was the federal deficit.

All in all: A decidedly Wall Street rather than Main Street agenda.

4 thoughts on “Collateral Damage

  1. If Rubin did all the deregulation, then Bush wasn’t such a bad guy after all. Furthermore, even if Bush avoided regulating important transactions, most of them didn’t need human regulator breathing down the neck because Rubin exempted them from regulation.

    Something in this scenario smell bad. The only way to resolve this quandary is if Rubin was a key proponent of the extreme financial deregulation didn’t extremely deregulate while secretary of treasury. Then, however, haunting a private citizen becomes a witch hunt. Why not do it to Paulson, Blankfein, Damon and the other criminals as well.

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