Summers and Rubin, remorseless deregulators

By Felix Salmon
April 19, 2012
new book by David Rothkopf this afternoon, I found this:

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Flicking through the new book by David Rothkopf this afternoon, I found this:

summers.tiff

It’s not entirely clear when exactly this interview took place, although it seems it was before the Obama administration set the ball rolling on what eventually became Dodd-Frank in June 2009.

By this point, of course, Summers was a millionaire many times over thanks to his work for financial services firms, and it’s telling that he seems much more worried about the prospect of too much regulation than he is remorseful about the fact that deregulation of the financial-services industry went way too far.

Later on in the book, Rothkopf finds exactly the same attitude coming from another financial-services multimillionaire, Bob Rubin:

rubin.tiff

Again, the timing of this is not clear, but the remorselessness is entirely in keeping with Rubin’s few previous public statements on the matter. It’s worth remembering that virtually the entire Obama economic team was connected to Rubin in one way or another, and that Rubin is generally understood to have been the gray eminence who basically architected Obama’s economic policy in the fraught weeks between the 2008 election and the 2009 inauguration.

In this context, it’s something of a miracle that we got any substantive new regulation in Dodd-Frank at all: we should be thankful for small mercies, I suppose. But I never cease to wonder at how difficult it is for these men to admit that they ever went too far, that they were ever wrong about anything. Making mistakes is only natural. But refusing to learn from your mistakes is downright pathological.

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