Monday, March 24, 2008

This is what I'm talking about

I keep saying it: when Sen. Clinton and her surrogates keep saying, "she's like her husband, only more so," that's not a feature, that's a bug. The latest example:
Clinton also called on President Bush to appoint "an emergency working group on foreclosures" to recommend new ways to confront housing finance troubles. She said the panel should be led by financial experts such as Robert Rubin, who was treasury secretary in her husband's administration, and former Federal Reserve chairmen Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker.
Paul Volcker is more or less irrelevant to the point I'm about to make, but Rubin and Greenspan are among the people most responsible for the current financial mess. Rubin and Greenspan both put their energies during the 1990s to pushing the financial deregulation that is at the core of the current meltdown. Rubin himself pushed for the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which was the cornerstone of US financial regulation set in place by FDR.

To put these two men in charge of figuring out how to fix the financial mess is as absurd as asking Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney to fix America's problems in the Middle East: They already tried once, and look where it got us. Any solution these people recommend will not only probably not help, it could end up making things worse.

There's a broader point here, one that is usually used to take a swing at Sen. Obama, who's been criticized by some Democrats for wanting to "reach across the aisle" and work with Republicans. Well Sen. Clinton has just recommended not just any old Republicans, but two of the most retrograde Republican Federal Reserve Chairs ever. (Volcker isn't responsible for the current mess the way Greenspan is, but he's no friend of the left, or for that matter the center either.)[See below]

I'm not much for cheap gotchas, but I think this is important enough to rise above the usual blather. The failed policies of the Clinton-era deregulation have come back to bite America in the ass, and the only thing Sen. Clinton can think to do is resuscitate the ideas and men who served her husband's administration so poorly.

UPDATE: Er, whoops: A different John corrects me and points out that Volcker is not a Republican like I thought. Don't know where I got that impression -- except for the fact that he served under most of the Reagan Administration. In any case, I said in the original post that Volcker was largely irrelevant to the point that I was making, but you should probably ignore the last paragraph.


Chet Scoville said...

Indeed. Clinton only looks good in retrospect because Bush has been so bloody awful. But the 90s were not a rosy time for everybody, and some of the policies laid down then were really destructive.

john said...

Clinton does indeed look good in retrospect, but having Sen. Clinton around makes me remember all too clearly the parts about his presidency that drove me bonkers. Among them, his subservience to Greenspan.