No Team of Rivals on Economics: Bob Rubin Acolytes and Goldman Sachs Alums Dominate Obama Team and Have Blocked Alternative Views from Entering White House Ranks

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rubin1115.jpgNo Team of Rivals on the economics side.
The deep ideological divide that is emerging in the economics profession between those who worried about manic neoliberalism and Bob Rubin-style turbo-charged tilts towards an increasing unregulated finance industry is not hitting the Obama administration – because it is only hiring one side of that divide.
As best I can tell Obama is stacking his team with those who George Soros disdainfully calls “market fundamentalists.”
Liaquat Ahmed metaphorically profiles the Rubin-led financial ideologues in his Depression-focused new book, The Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World.
George Soros has told me that there is a big difference between them, but honestly, I’m still straining to see the the difference between Hank Paulson’s views and those of Lawrence Summers, though i know Summers is working hard to revise his vies.
But take a gander at Joe Stiglitz’s comments on the nation’s financial crisis. His candid comments near the end of the piece that the U.S. must do something to better align the interests of failing financial institutions with American priorities and needs makes sense — and his prescriptions make sense. . .but they are starkly different than what we are hearing from Obama Land right now.
Interestingly, I learned recently — and this is a bit of a counterpoint to my argument — that Lawrence Summers called Stiglitz privately to get some counsel on what was going on. Summers apparently made clear that he didn’t want to be making the call to Stiglitz — but had to. In other words, there is someone above Summers who wants diverse inputs into his economic policy thinking. The problem is that this interest in diversity is completely missing on his actual team.
There were names here and there who might have kept some balance between those who could think through the micro-economic dimensions of economic policy and the macro types who helped contribute to today’s problems — but Obama’s selections have mostly been the latter type of Robert Rubin acolytes. I would count Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer in that mix as well as both National Economic Council Chair Lawrence Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Today, we hear the news that former Hamilton Project Director Jason Furman (good guy — and friend of mine) who also served as Obama’s campaign senior economic policy director is going to be one of the National Economic Council deputies. The other is McKinsey Global Institute director and former Goldman Sachs alum Diana Farrell, who admittedly is also a friend but tilts towards market fundamentalism like all of the others on the Obama team.
Obama has essentially brought in the same crowd of people or ideological fellow travelers who helped hatch the Clinton era manic finance fest that the Bush administration made worse.
Labor must be freaking out.
Obama chose in his decision for Commerce Secretary not to run with Leo Hindery, a Democratic CEO, who has vast experience in the broadband and telecommunications field but who helped animate many of John Edwards’ progressive campaign ideas on rewriting America’s domestic economic social contract.
Skipping over Hindery may have been the work of some others close to Obama who worship at the alter of Robert Rubin. And they too are part of the increasingly ideological incestuous pool of thinking on economic policy.
Now, word is that outgoing Symantec CEO John W. Thompson may be the next Commerce Secretary. I know Thompson only at a distance and have nothing good or negative to say about him — other than it’s great he knows something about American technology and high wage jobs given his deep roots in Silicon Valley.
But he should also know that while many IT software firms produced vast wealth in the middle of the internet industry bubble, the American job base did not get a high wage job trickle down from those sectors, at least not to the degree that was expected.
In fact, Silicon Valley — while clearly a revolutionary place — mimicked much of the pattern of Wall Street. Another go-go bubble with a few getting vastly wealthy while the rest of the country chugged along in the real economy, detached from the growth and gains of those sectors.
I realize that this is a bit of an overstatement unless acknowledging the many efficiencies American and global society absorbed from the IT boom, but still — my point is that Obama has no one on board who essentially is considered an economic heavyweight who thinks that America’s domestic covenant, or social contract, with its citizens must be redesigned.
Wait, there is one person — former Economic Policy Institute labor economist Jared Bernstein, but he is assigned to Vice President Biden — not to President Obama’s economic slots.
Obama and Rahm Emanuel have hired a group of people who are going to make the rich stay rich — and who are not designed to really change things for the middle class or the struggling lower end.
After all, it was they who said that the economy was booming, that offshoring was great, that manufacturing was not important, that those CEOs deserved that high pay and little could be done about it, and the reason that the middle class was being left behind is that they were becoming less globally competitive and/or they didn’t have the educational background or fortitude to keep pace with the highest end earners.
John W. Thompson looks interesting – but at this point, he’s not being considered as a core part of the “economic war room team” — but I hope if he is good and reads this blog post that he will get in there and demand his seat at the table (if nominated and confirmed) and that he will take his Commerce Secretary job seriously. Few have in recent decades.
Thompson is an entrepreneur, an African-American, and a former “Bush Ranger” — yep, it’s all part of the bipartisan thing. . .but what is most important is someone who can get our “winner takes all economy” to really help all boats rise again. My choice would have been Hindery — but if Thompson is going to get the job — he must take on the cause of seriously wrestling with Obama’s manic neoliberals to help promote American high wage jobs.
Here is an interesting profile and Q&A of Thompson that a friend just sent me from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Because while business is important to have in the room — so too must people think about how the whole operation — not just capital works. That means workers, families, technology, firms, and government. Hilda Solis from Labor should be in there too — but Labor always seems to be just outside the door when the big economic guns are making their plans.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

23 comments on “No Team of Rivals on Economics: Bob Rubin Acolytes and Goldman Sachs Alums Dominate Obama Team and Have Blocked Alternative Views from Entering White House Ranks

  1. TonyForesta says:

    Thanks for your balanced and erudite response David T. Perhaps the anger and frustration is clouding logic, – but I look at the simple math, and see no viable solution, – so my “alternative solution” would be a managed demolition of the current economic system, including holding those responsible for criminal behavior accountable, – and the development of a new, more balanced (fairness in policies and guidlines impacting the thehaves and thehavenots), LEGAL, lawful, forcefully regulated and enforced, and more ethical or more moral economic system. The current model overtly favors, and benefits the predator class, the superrich, and FAILED miserably as a viable system or ideology of economics. We need a new model.

    Reply

  2. DavidT says:

    Tony,
    Nice try but as I said before (and this will be my last post on this topic in response to you — I am responding out of respect), I will leave it to Krugman, Geithner, and many notables in the economics profession to make the case for their efforts at stabilizing the financial system. They may be wrong-headed but its up to you Tony explain why the great economic minds of our time are in pursuit of a foolish goal(which as you correctly note) reflects the conventional wisdom.
    With all respect you are heavily focused on where to direct your anger and evening the score. That sentiment is understandable (who doesn’t feel the outrage). But at the core of my original point in my posting is that doesn’t solve the problem any more than say (I suspect that nothing I can say will persuade you given your anger and the tone of your retort) punishing the in the most draconian of ways the Germans for their role in World War I was in the long-term interests of other Europeans.
    You believe the system is going to fail no matter what we do (I’m a little confused on this because in one place above you say this and another place you say you don’t believe the bailout of the banks will topple the system — which is a subtopic separate from my points which were not exclusively or primarily directed to “bailing out” those banks.) anyway. But how does that buffer the middle and lower class, many of whom still have jobs, still have much wealth tied up in this financial system, and have believed that through their own hard work they can achieve some success in life? At least trying to save the system seeks to address this. What is your alternative solution given that you feel this is a waste of time and resources?
    In any case, thanks for engaging me. Nice discussing this with you. I’m clear that you won’t be satisfied with my response though I’m convinced that there isn’t a response I can provide that will satisfy you given your understandable indignation with the situation.
    David T.

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  3. TonyForesta says:

    The fact that you think “…there’s point arguing”, because you “…don’t think this is a seriously debatable point” IS THE POINT – DavidT.
    What would be worse for, or “do more harm to” poor and middle class Americans DavidT? Please explain.
    Again, the point is no one – NO ONE – is contesting this holy writ flowing from on high that if the economic system rots and dies, – the world will come to end, and poor and middle class Americans will suffer even more than they already are suffering is FALSE! It is a lie!!!. The predator class will suffer far much more, well and truly and rightfully, – but will poor and middle class American suffer more than they are already suffering, or certainly going to suffer in the months and years to come as our wealth and jobs and hopes rapidly disapears?
    My other point is that the economic system IS going to collapse. The collapse is INEVITABLE!!! There is no solution to filling the blackhole of “phantom wealth”(thanks for that term erichwwk)and ponzi schemes created, invented, conjured and promoted, sold, shielded, cloaked, and exacerbated, and profited wantonly from by the predator class alone.
    Please provide some detail DavidT. What would happen? What would happen that would be worse than what is already happening, or what is certainly going to happen to poor and middle class Americans?
    And why are poor and middle class Americans burdened with the imponderable costs and unimaginable hardships of bailing out the predator class and financial systems failure, – that the America’s poor and middle class had nothing to do with creating, and who never recieved benefit, or any crumbs off the richmans table during the halcyon days of the bubble economies and criminal ponzi schemes conjured by the predator class alone. Why do America’s workers need to bail out the banks. I do not see any math, or any logic to this woefully unjust and weirldy uncontested process.
    If you can educate me, I am open to hearing your arguments and your retorts, – I wait with baited breath – but simply repeating the ridiculous fallacy that the if we don’t bail out the banks, – the financial system will collapse – is for me hollow, moot, utterly meaningless and totally unsubstantiated. Just as refusing to enter into a discussion on these matters is also telling and only serves to validate my positions.
    Please provide some evidence or some hints of evidence at least of how anything would be different or worse for poor and middle class Americans if the current “bandit capitalism” system rotted and died, which is what I believe IS the solution. That and holding the criminals in the predator class responsible for this horrorshow accountable.

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  4. DavidT says:

    Tony,
    I don’t know if the financial system in its present form is capable of being stabilized. But that’s what the Administration is trying to do and Forbes’ magazine’s ranked #1 liberal and most recent Nobel laureate, though he doesn’t love the composition of the stimulus package, believes that should be the goal of this administration as do many other economists. They may be wrong but they are better suited to debating this point with you than I am.
    In terms of who benefits from the current financial system, it may be true that its overly tilted in favor of the wealthiest. However having it collapse, in my view, would do a lot more harm to the middle class and the lower class than they have already experienced. If you feel otherwise there’s no point arguing since I don’t think this is a seriously debatable point
    Thanks again for your reply.

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  5. erichwwk says:

    Nice comment, Tony Foresta.
    The effort to save THIS financial system is actually an effort to “save” as much phantom wealth as possible.
    For those with no interest in legitimizing the creation of phantom wealth, the clear choice, as Tony implies, is to let this system collapse.
    While Tony’s estimates of the Aggragate CDO’s are what I am hearing/seeing, these are of course Gross, and not Net. One of the main problems in the crisis is that one simply does not know the magnitude of debt creation when it is created in private, and hence one has no good sense of what a dollar is “really” worth. One can play make believe by dollar injections for only so long.
    For those of us that do still believe in specialization and division of labor, some stable unit of account is required to connect transactions separated in time and space. We need to unbundle the issue of a stable dollar from the issue of “saving” existing banks and the FR. These are separate issues.
    As Keynes once said: “If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million pounds, the bank has the problem.”

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  6. TonyForesta says:

    Is the financial system in it’s present form capable of being stabilized DavidT. When you look at the simple math, – there is an enormous blackhole created by the derivative market ponzi scheme’s. The alphabet soup of collaterailzed irredeemable debt obligations a vast array of “inventive” or exotic products along these lines equal something between $500 – %650trillion dollars. Then if you compare the GDP’s of every nation on earth which hundreds of trillons below these numbers, – there is simply not enough wealth anywhere on earth to fill this monsterous blackhole. Why keep tossing tax payer dollars into a system that is doomed to collapse anyway. The only people on earth who in any way benefit from this foolish and fruitless and I dare say immoral process – are they very individuals who are responsible for conjuring, cloaking, profiting wantonly from and exacerbating the economic crisis and it’s certain collapse.
    The bonus and compenstation issue is a good example of how backward deceptive predator class thinking becomes concretetized and accepted as holy writ. Do you expect me to believe that there are not capable talented and intelligent people who can perform the exact same tasks much better, for a million and even ten million dollars a year, – and replace the current panjandrum of CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s, CIO’s, of the financial titans who have FAILED miserably as managers, leaders, and financiers making 50 or 100, or 150 million dollars a year?
    There is absolutely no justifaction for any bonus’ going to anyone in the finance sector after this horrorshow.
    Let the financial system collapse. The predator class will be hurt significantly (Allah be praised), but poor and middle class Americans will not be hurt anymore than they already are hurt, or will be hurt in the future.
    The entire financial system “the bandit capitalist” system as we know it FAILED. It was, is, and always will be a crony capitalist, predator class criminal and immoral model that FAILED completely and totally, and rightfully should rot and die, and never return. Out of the rubble and ruin that the FAILED “bandit capitalist” system and the criminals in the predator class have heaped on the entire world, – a new more balanced, more fiercely regulated, more lawful, and more moral system can and hopefully will emerge.
    The math I see, indicates that there is no way in hell to stabilize of save the financial system in it’s present form. The goal should be managing the certain destruction of the financial system “the great unwinding,” and ushering in a swift end to the criminal bandit capititalist model, and the gradual buidling of a new system based on the law, stability of the markets, and good citizenship.
    Why do we need to save this financial system?

    Reply

  7. DavidT says:

    “Obama and Rahm Emanuel have hired a group of people who are going to make the rich stay rich — and who are not designed to really change things for the middle class or the struggling lower end.”
    Steve,
    Don’t know what the basis of this is. The middle class and lower class did rather well during the Clinton Administration. Some of these gains have gone up in smoke but they were not all built on weak edifices. Weren’t Rubin and Summers central figures in that Administration? Secondly, did you not see the piece by Rubin and Bernstein in the New York Times arguing that the differences between them are not all that great? But then perhaps Bernstein should defer to Clemons on this :).
    What would Hindery bring to the table? You’ve plugged him several times Steve but on your big issue of “experience” he doesn’t pass any standards you’ve laid out before (or am I mistaken and was he a high level official in the Clinton or other administration). Or in this instance perhaps you’re a fan of corporate ceos and believe that they are somehow qualified without any government experience.
    This is an example, where you focus overly on personalities and not enough on policy. Would a different economics team do things differently? If yes, how? As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, Cheney and Rumsfeld were central players in the Ford Administration. Thus by your reasoning W.’s foreign policy must have closely resembled Ford’s foreign policy. But it didn’t did it?
    I would prefer that this team was willing to take ownership of some of these banks. But at least I’m (as is Paul Krugman) being explicit about what I would like to see. Don’t know what you would like to see other than different DNA in some of the key policy making posts.
    Finally, the issue at hand, like it or not, is not about rich or poor but about stabilizing our financial system. I don’t know what is more vital to the middle and lower class than this stabilization (whose lack is throwing so many out of work, helping contract their life savings, and so forth).I wouldn’t say that the Dems have been especially focused on protecting the wealthy though some of their efforts to shore up the system might result in that. But if the only way to shore up the system is to as a by-product help some of those tied to vital elements embedded in our financial system (and efforts are being made to limit as much as possible protecting the wealthy on this) why not?
    The underlying theme of this post sounds very much like some of the Boehner talking points. It also follows the Republican approach of focusing on what you don’t like rather than how to solve the problem at hand which requires a bit of judgment and taking some responsibility neither evident amongst Republicans. With due respect.

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  8. antiphone says:

    More like this please.

    Reply

  9. Jim says:

    Steve has identified a major staffing error.
    Although some may label them as “market fundamentalists”, Obama’s economic team is certainly not fundamentally inspired by Adam Smith or Ayn Rand. Their social and ideological domains are dominated by duopolists, oligopolists, and cartels. As a group, they are aligned with powerful and wealthy individuals more suitably identified as “crony capitalists”.
    It will be quite interesting to follow this week’s news from Davos. This year’s events have attracted about 40 heads of state (twice the usual number). American presence has greatly diminished.
    In keynote speeches Wen Jiabao and Vladimir Putin blamed US capitalist excesses for sparking the global economic crisis. Putin’s speech is worth reading, and is currently available at:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123317069332125243.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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  10. Kieran says:

    Excellent commentary – the Obama team is pure retro and illustrates mediocrity rising. Add in Geithner’s hiring of the Goldman Sachs lobbyist as his deputy. The anti-lobbyist “rule” is mocked again. Obama has no change in mind for the economy – the winners will be those who broke the system.

    Reply

  11. erichwwk says:

    .
    Very nice and important post, Steve. Hope you put the sort of energy into this issue as you put into the John Bolton issue. It’s THAT important.
    What I have written elsewhere:
    Differ with Joe on a few important points.
    One, it is irrelevant WHERE the toxic assets (assets whose discounted present value is highly UNCERTAIN – in the Frank Knight sense, ie the probabilty distribution is so unknown as to make evaluation meaningless) are stored. Moving them “off balance” does indeed solve the issue of bank capitalization, but merely puts the problem elsewhere.
    Joe nails it when he states (Barry’s and my point):
    “To be sure, shareholders and bondholders will lose out, but their gains under the current regime come at the expense of taxpayers. In the good years, they were rewarded for their risk taking. Ownership cannot be a one-sided bet.”
    I STRONGLY disagree with Joe that:
    “Inevitably, American taxpayers are going to pick up much of the tab for the banks’ failures. The question facing us is, to what extent do we participate in the upside return?”
    It does not have to be that way. Estimates of cash hoarded from the phantom wealth run as high as $9Trillion. Why is this cash, what has been skimmed from “phantom wealth” creation, and stuffed in private elitist accounts immune from being recouped? Are we setting a policy that if you steal a large enough sum, it is too much to be criminal? That only the poor are subject to laws? Are we to send the signal to receive entitlements to real goods and services from captured wealth (in essence thievery) is the recommended way to achieve the American Dream?
    No, we do NOT have to wait for the upside. We can begin NOW with a MUCH higher PERMANENT tax rate on the rich, and a freeze on their assets, a freeze on mortgage foreclosures, on usurious credit card and banking practices. Even Milton Friedman felt that the we would be better off without the debt created money and the Federal Reserve, and with a non-political, non-debt created supply of money.
    Joe has spent too much time in a universe of debt created money to see that wealth created from money (*seniorage*) is *common property* (see also *public goods*), and belongs to ALL of us, and not just those willing to make political contributions.
    (* terms all adequately defined on Wikipedia)
    Gar Alperovitz (“Unjust Deserts: How the Rich are Talking our Common Inheritance and why we should talk it Back” with Lew Daly) and David Kerton (“Agenda for a New Economy”)
    http://tinyurl.com/dyle2h
    take us back to the days before economics was bastardized into a religion. There’e a clip floating around w/ Robert Reich and two Univ.of Economists that is stunning. One can feel how flabbergasted Reich is at the childishness of the two UoC folk, almost embarrassed for them.
    As Steve says, plenty of good economists around. But to disentangle the Democratic Party from the political contributions of Wall Street- why we have such a one-sided representation– will not be easy.
    AT first I was enraged at Obama. Now I understand how difficult the challenge is, and how important it is that we keep the pressure on, and force more phone calls from the deal makers who don’t understand monetary economic fundamentals, to those that do. What Steve reports is encouraging and I thank him for sharing that.
    Also catch Barry Sanders on todays DemocracyNow.org. He nails it.

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  12. John Waring says:

    A palpable hit, Steve, a palpable hit.

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  13. TonyForesta says:

    Forgive the double post but for clarity I meant to say: -
    (Our suffering, our joblessness, or hopelessness are merely quotients in the predator class calculations, and {our government} which is owned and controlled by the predator class is tasked with insulating, protecting, immunizing, sheilding, advancing and promoting the predator class alone, to the great disservice and horrible suffering of the American people.)

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  14. TonyForesta says:

    Blistering post Mr Clemons. Both Stiglits and Soros (a thousand thanks for both links) should have a place at the economic warroom table, because they both offer striking counter arguments to the neoliberal Rubinesque fundamentalist economic supply sliders dominating the Obama economic team. The haunting fear of an echoe chamber, and the sound of one hand clapping is palpable, because as your reportage makes clear there are no progressive or counter voices or dissenting opinions, or any labor representation in the Obama economic team and worse and far more terrifying – the fundamentalist economics worshippers and practitioners that people this warroom are all responsible in one way or another for conjuring, cloaking, and exacerbating the current economic catastrophe.
    Underlying the current crisis is a rank perversion and betrayal of the basic social contract between government, industry, and the people.
    Quoting from the article by ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE posted yesterday.
    “Following the end of the Cold War, democratic capitalism gradually morphed into crony and then casino capitalism shielded by obscurantist derivatives and hedge funds and outlandish executive compensation packages before sinking into bandit capitalism.”
    Worse, the predator class who owns and controls the government is savagely focused on the singular interests of the predator class exclusively and ruthlessly obdurate to the pain and suffering of poor and middle class Americans.
    Our suffering, our joblessness, or hopelessness are merely quotients in the predator class calculations, and which is owned and controlled by the predator class is tasked with insulating, protecting, immunizing, sheilding, advancing and promoting the predator class alone, to the great disservice and horrible suffering of the American people. This is clear example of the kind “bandit capitalism” that has infected American government and economics. Only the predator class the superrich, matter or deserve or have any respresentation of voice in the conduct of the government.
    Select banks and mega corps are majikally proclaimed as too big to fail (without any question or examination of this wild proclamation)- but millions of American and millions of American families are easily and obdurately tossed to the garbage heap and labeled disposable because they (we) do not exist as more than integers, and they (we), (the poor and middle class of America) are deemed inferior, lowly, base, and less valuable or worthy than the socalled masters of the universe and lofty exceptional Olympians of predator class, the superrich.
    The fed simply printing trillions of dollars and funnelling it into the blackhole created by the the American finance sector (the derivative markets and the alphabet soup of collateralized irredeemable debt obligations) and heaping the imponderable debt on the shoulders of our children is a recipe for certain disaster. Our taxpayer bailout money is being funnelled to the offshore accounts of the predator class thieves, swindlers, and criminals who conjured, cloaked, and exacerbated the economic calamity, – the great unwinding, and the CEO’s, top managers, and share holders are reaping outrageous fortunes in the form of bonus and dividends while the entire economic system crashes and burns.
    The predator class savage disdain and heartless disregard for the pain and suffering of poor and middle class America is criminal and immoral. The day is fast approaching when poor and middle class Americans are pushed to a point of such brutal desperation, that they will lash out against their oppressors, and and the thieves and ponzi scheme swindlers and criminals who have stolen their futures, their homes, their jobs, and their hopes, – and there will be blood and a terrible reckoning.

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  15. Pacos_gal says:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, so to speak. By appointing the ones who perpetuated this fiasco of an economy melt down and not looking for answers with a different group of thinkers, Obama risks losing everything.
    If the economy stays in the tank and if no real changes are made to prevent the types of sleeze that Madoff and others have gotten away with for so long, it won’t matter one bit what Obama does on any other front including foreign policy.
    Republicans are counting on this stimulus bill to not work by 2010, so they can pick up seats and say, see we were right. If it hasn’t picked up by 2012, then Obama can kiss 8 years goodbye. Voters will give a person a chance, but they won’t give them a chance forever, unless they can be scared into it and even then the party eventually ends.
    What voter will care that Isreal and Palestine have a peace agreement, or that Iraq can hold elections and Afghanistan is on the right track, if they don’t have a job, food on the table and clothes for their children.

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  16. JohnH says:

    Charming, simply charming. On the foreign policy side, we have the neo-conmen being replaced by compassionate colonialists. And on the economic side the radical do-nothingists (savage capitalists) are being replaced by the Madoff School (pronounced “made off”) of Finance, including the likes of Rubin and Summers.
    Meanwhile, they’re all over in Davos, celebrating the success of their economic crisis. Or maybe they’re just partying like it’s 1929, or maybe like there’s no tomorrow…

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  17. WigWag says:

    When it came to economic policy the President who had a real team of rivals was Bill Clinton. Clinton hired people like Rubin and Summers but he also hired people like Brad DeLong and Joe Stiglitz. Clinton also appointed James Wolfensohn as President of the World Bank; Wolfensohn is widely regarded as the most effective World Bank President in the institution’s history.
    And the rivalries were real and intense. Stiglitz who had a senior position at the World Bank (and had been appointed based on Clinton’s urging) constantly criticized development policies pushed by the IMF and supported by Rubin and Summers. Summers hated Stiglitz so much that he tried to get him fired. The only reason that Stiglitz kept his job was because the Clinton-appointed Wolfensohn ignored the demands of the Clinton-appointed Summers.
    For his economic team, Obama has selected all of the more “conservative” (that is free marked oriented) Clinton advisors but Obama has appointed none of the more liberal (that is supportive of financial regulation) Clinton advisors.
    I guess that’s what you call “change you can believe in.”

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  18. Paul Norheim says:

    Steve, could you please take a break? You`re writing faster than I
    can read :)

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  19. Lurker says:

    Steve,
    Edgy, Important post.

    Reply

  20. DonS says:

    It’s hard to feel adequate with all those expensive briefcases and shoes in the room, ya know.
    Just look at the vibe coming out of Wall Street, as they pocket their government-subsidized bonuses:
    “Gosh, if we don’t give bonues to these guys who made and facilitated all the risky and lousy (for us) decisions, they’re going to quit”. . . and not be in a position to make even more risky and lousy decisions? Don’t you just feel the pain. Like, quit already.
    Do we see more potential Obama Hubris, thinking by the force of his personality he can shape these high finance types to get a job done that they’re not equipped to conceptualize or execute? Or does he understand exactly what is happening?
    If I were Paul Krugman, definitely not the only economist around, but he’s been right a lot, I’d be feeling used as the poster boy for Obama’s “If you’ve got a good idea, we’ll use it”.
    As to your concern in “overstating” the replication of the silicon valley bubble with the housing/Wall Street bubble and collapse, IMHO you have not even gotten close to overstatement. Getting out of the mess we are in economically, and the pain it is causing, means new thinking, NOT looking to create another bubble, But these finance types would have to do some serious soul searching to recognize a sea change is needed, and to a large extent they created the problem. It’ll take more than one or two confession and re-education sessions. And who would even organize it?

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  21. John Robert BEHRMAN says:

    Sadly, all the damned Democratic Leadership, Congressional and, now, Executive know about finance is the name and phone numbers of their top ten contributors — Wall Street and Madoff, mostly.
    Democrats have deferred to imaginary “Moderate Republicans”, bond-lawyers, and paper-hangers since the Kennedy Assassination.
    This is so stupid, it will undermine Obama’s prospects on defense and foreign policy matters, where there is serious intellectual depth.

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  22. Ben Rosengart says:

    Thanks for putting some pressure in this direction, Steve. I think
    it’s really important. We are risking letting “equality of
    opportunity” become a mere catchphrase when it should be a
    guiding principle. I sense that Obama has the right instincts on
    this, but the high priests of market fundamentalism can be very
    convincing.

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  23. ... says:

    steve, i think it’s great that you’ve chosen to focus on the financial structure in place and set to continue.. and i think you’re getting at basic dynamics that will be difficult to change with the same “ol’ same ol’” calling the shots, helping steer obama into the same ditch that bush admin continued to nurture.. i think this is a really big issue and one that can’t be left to these same insiders that have screwed things up badly for main st… wall st doesn’t give a hooey about main st and that ought to be obvious to everyone, especially obama.

    Reply

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