UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 20, 2009

RUBIN, TOP ADVISOR TO OBAMA, PLAYED MAJOR ROLE IN FISCAL DISASTER

Dean Baker, Prospect - The Wall Street Journal told readers that former Treasury secretary and Citigroup honcho Robert Rubin is playing a central role in designing President Obama's economic policy. It would have been appropriate to note that with the possible exception of Alan Greenspan, Mr. Rubin is the person most responsible for the policies that lead to the current crisis.

Mr. Rubin was a staunch advocate the policy of one-sided financial deregulation under which the government ignored prudential regulation while continuing to allow major banks to benefit from the government's "too big to fail" insurance policy. Mr Rubin also actively promoted an over-valued dollar which led to the enormous trade deficit of recent years. In addition, he had a "bubbles are fine" approach that allowed huge asset bubbles to grow unchecked.

The WSJ does note that Mr. Rubin personally profited from these policies in his role as a top Citigroup executive, but it does not point out the extent to which he was directly responsible for the policies that have produced the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. If Mr. Rubin is in fact playing a large role in determining the economic policies of the Obama administration, this should be serious cause for public concern.

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