on rubin

...could someone please explain why Robert Rubin continues to be mentioned -- even by smart and knowledgeable people like Mr. Krugman -- as a "clear-headed adviser," someone we should listen to on economic questions?

People in Washington and in the media have short memories, so it's worth recalling a few details.

Let us not forget, for instance, that the deregulation of the financial sector was accomplished in large part during the Clinton administration, and with the guidance and support of his treasury secretary Robert Rubin, formerly of Goldman Sachs.

Let us not forget, either, that the bill that overturned regulations on the banking industry, Glass Steagall (and which bears the imprint of Phil Gramm in its name, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), was championed by Robert Rubin.

And let us not forget that the great beneficiary of that act was the newly-merged Citigroup, which went on to hire Mr. Rubin, almost immediately after he left the treasury department, for a salary of $15 million (plus stock options and private travel paid for by the bank).

Let us not forget that as late as January 2008 Mr. Rubin was insisting the U.S. was not on the verge of a financial meltown.

Let us not forget that this financial meltdown which Mr. Rubin failed to foresee has cost Citigroup tens of billions of dollars (poetic justice there) -- and will soon be costing taxpayers hundreds of billions (no poetry or justice there, alas).

Only by forgetting all of this is in possible to imagine that Mr. Rubin somehow deserves to be consulted on solutions to a financial crisis he helped to create, and whose existence he continued to deny until it was too late.

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