Obama's Wall Street Woes

Is this the change we need? The depth of the crisis we face renders the old arguments irrelevant.

So much for perfect timing. Barack Obama presented his economic team -- Summers, Geithner, Orzag -- all protégés of Robert Rubin -- just as the Treasury Department was pumping out billions to rescue Citibank -- which featured Rubin as chair of its executive committee -- from collapse. Is this the change we need?

Forget about Rubinomics redux. The depth of the crisis we face renders the old arguments irrelevant. Under Bill Clinton, Rubin championed reducing budget deficits, deregulating finance, and opening foreign markets to private investment. Now deficit spending must go up, banks must be re-regulated, trade imbalances must be reduced and manufacturing can no longer be scorned.

Obama gets this. His first initiative will be to pass a substantial and sustained recovery plan based on putting people to work with public investment in areas vital to our future. He's chosen experienced hands to get that done. In his Cooper Union address during the campaign, he laid out clear principles for re-regulating finance, and curbing the excesses that created the mess we are in.

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