Writing for Bloomberg Business Week, William Cohan argues that Bob Rubin’s influence remains undiminished—and that that is a terrible thing.
Not only was Rubin secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton, but the next three secretaries in Democratic administrations — Lawrence Summers, Tim Geithner and (assuming he is confirmed) Jacob Lew — have Rubin’s fingerprints on them. This is a cause for grave concern — assuming, of course, you care about whether it’s right for Rubin to have such a long stretch of political influence.
I do, and here’s why: When Rubin was an arbitrager at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in the 1980s, and again when he was in the executive office of Citigroup Inc. (C) in the 2000s, he was one of the leading purveyors of the kind of irresponsible behavior that led to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. Not only has Rubin refused to take a shred of responsibility for his actions, but he has also managed to win the hearts and minds of two of our last three presidents. That’s no mean feat, and it says much about the cozy relationship between Washington and Wall Street.
And it gets harsher from there. This is one of the toughest condemnations of Bob Rubin that I’ve yet read. Whether it has any more impact than any of the others….