Saturday, April 17, 2010
Larry Summers and Robert Rubin served as Secretaries of the Treasury under Bill Clinton (Rubin between January 11, 1995 – July 2, 1999, and Summers between July 2, 1999 – January 20, 2001).
Both conservatives and liberals alike have called Summers and Rubin Clinton retreads.
Both Summers and Rubin were heavyweight players on Obama's transition team. Summers is, of course, now Obama's chief economic adviser.
And Rubin is back in the fold as a key Democratic adviser. As Dan Froomkin writes:
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...
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.
Nevertheless, there's still a lot of legitimate populist anger at the plutocrats who enabled the crisis, profited from it, and walked away intact. And nobody embodies that role better than Rubin.
So it is newsworthy that Bill Clinton himself is now slamming Summers and Rubin.
Clinton told ABC that Rubin and Summers were wrong on derivatives:
On derivatives, yeah I think they were wrong and I think I was wrong to take [Summers and Rubin's advice] because the argument on derivatives was that these things are expensive and sophisticated and only a handful of investors will buy them and they don’t need any extra protection, and any extra transparency. The money they’re putting up guarantees them transparency.“And the flaw in that argument was that first of all sometimes people with a lot of money make stupid decisions and make it without transparency.
These guys were largely responsible for the financial crisis. They must go.
And given that even Clinton is slamming these Clinton retreads, the Obama administration will continue to lose more credibility (and poll numbers) every day that they're kept on as advisers.