Thursday, April 06, 2006

Robert Rubin and Colleagues Create New Economic Policy Think Tank

I have long thought that the damage done to our national interest by BushCo's economic policy was as bad or worse than the damage done by the debacle in Iraq. So I was delighted to see the news that Robert Rubin and some of his most prominent colleagues from the Clinton administration had created the Hamilton Project to do the serious work of figuring out how to undo the BushCo mess and return us to the path of increasing prosperity that benefits all segments of society.
Most news reports on yesterday's announcement, like this one from the Financial Times, focused on Rubin's criticism of Bush's economic policy:
Mr Rubin was sharply critical of the Bush administration’s handling of the economy. “It is on the wrong track on almost every front...We need to address fiscal imbalances, entitlements, low personal savings rates, high debt and the current account deficit. No other developed country in the world has this combination of imbalances.”
One might think that Democratic Party activists would welcome such a contribution from a national figure with the credibility of Robert Rubin, particularly given the project's conviction that "broad-based economic growth participation is stronger and more sustainable."
But David Sirota's headline on the project took a different tack:
Wall Street Dems Unveil Plan to Undermine Progressives
Now reasonable people can disagree about issues such as the country's trade policy, but to cast such a disagreement as a war on progressives seems less than useful. Why go back and fight Clintonism when we've been out of power for five years? Meanwhile, those who are in power have frittered away the federal budget surplus and undermined the policies that created eight years of economic growth that in fact did benefit a broad range of Americans.
I admit I'm prejudiced about Robert Rubin: I spent the Clinton years in city government, while Wilmington's overall prosperity rose as it hadn't done in in several decades.
It seems to me that progressives should be pleased with Mr. Rubin's criticism of BushCo's economic mismanagement, but then some people would rather fight different battles...

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