Monday, November 24, 2008

Does Obamian = Clintonian?

President-elect Barak Obama’s picks for top economic advisers include the following Clintonian luminaries: Timothy F. Geithner as Treasury secretary, Lawrence H. Summers as senior White House economics adviser, and Peter Orszag as budget director — all past protégés of former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who happened to hold two of those jobs under President Bill Clinton.
Is this the change we can believe in?

The New York Times this morning notes that "even the headhunters for Mr. Obama have Rubinian ties: Michael Froman, Mr. Rubin’s chief of staff in the Treasury Department who followed him to Citigroup, and James P. Rubin, Mr. Rubin’s son.

“All three advisers — whom Mr. Obama will officially name today and tomorrow — have been followers of the economic formula that came to be called Rubinomics: balanced budgets, free trade and financial deregulation, a combination that was credited with fueling the prosperity of the 1990s.”

The Citi connection is particularly troubling, given the government bail out of the company Mr. Rubin the Elder helped navigate as Director.

Here’s a question I’d like to know the answer to: What happens to the 8% divedend the Government’s going to get in return for bailing out the Bank? If, as it appears, our Government is now going to be in the business of making a slightly usurious profit on the bargain, to which bottom line will the money flow?

Meanwhile, the list of names being added to the growing list of Obamalites is looking conspicuously like a return to the Clintonista White House…so the Change We Can Believe In becomes the Change we remembered from the last time we changed to change things we could believe in…I believe.

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