Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin is basically one of the most respected men in the entire Democratic Party. The Citigroup "Senior Counselor" (he joined Citigroup as temporary chair after legislation he shepherded through congress allowed Citigroup's creation, natch) has close ties to just about every other Democratic economic policy guru with influence, and he's especially close to just about all of President-elect Barack Obama's proposed economy-fixing team. Of course, until about a year ago, there'd never been a bad word written about Rubin in the press, but the guy should probably be exiled to an island somewhere and forced to think about what he's done to our fine nation. What did Rubin do in the Clinton White House? He and Alan Greenspan joined forces to swing the Democratic Party's economic policies so far to the right that the terms of the debate never recovered. Now, economic leftism is Eisenhower Republicanism and the right-wing's economic policy is basically to hand over as much Treasury money and tax cuts as possible to the wealthy and occasionally force some underfunded mandates through congress because why not? Rubin encouraged Clinton to pass NAFTA before tackling health care, to this day he shudders at the idea of demanding worker protection before passing more free trade pacts, and then, for his final act before returning to the private sector, he resisted calls for the regulation of derivatives and strongly encouraged the repeal the Glass-Stengall act, thus leading directly to our current economic crisis. Of course he is still the Democratic party's most respected and powerful economic thinker. Then he left to join Citigroup, and we all know how well that went. So Barack Obama's economic policy team is probably made up of long-time free-market critics like James K. Galbraith and Joseph Stiglitz, right? Hah.

The president-elect’s choices for his top economic advisers — Timothy F. Geithner as Treasury secretary, Lawrence H. Summers as senior White House economics adviser and Peter R. Orszag as budget director — are past protégés of Mr. Rubin, who held two of those jobs under President Bill Clinton.

Of course they're all really really sorry that they killed the nation. Of course, the only prominent Democrats to run away from the Rubin style of Economic Eisenhower Republicanism were John Edwards, who fucked his way out of elected office forever, and Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who rather quickly recused himself from VP talk, because in addition to being concerned about economic disparity he's also an angry gun-toting lunatic. If there is any silver lining, it's that the size and scope of the disaster have turned even Al Greenspan into a non-believer in the magic free market fairie, but the current American Habit of letting those who fuck up the most be named the only people qualified to the fix the mess is a bit disheartening. At least Geithner isn't from a goddamn bank. Friendly Takeover [TAP] Rubinomics Recalculated [NYT]