I know I’m supposed to be angry and offended and all that, but I kinda agree with Paul Krugman:
A thought I’ve had: there have been some complaints from movement progressives about the centrism/orthodoxy of Obama’s economics appointments. To some extent this was unavoidable, I think: someone like the Treasury secretary has to be an experienced hand who can deal with Wall Street, and I haven’t heard anyone proposing particular individuals with clearer progressive credentials to hold that position.
And couple thoughts of my own. First, for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the Obama administration looking like a retread of the Clinton administration, with the very notable exception of the growth in economic disparity, the Clinton administration did a pretty good job managing the economy, transforming record deficits into record surpluses, and presiding over one of the strongest economic expansions in recent history.
But it’s also important to note that these are smart people, and it would be a mistake to expect Obama’s economic appointees to attempt to duplicate the policies of 1992. A lot has changed over the past 16 years, a lot of mistakes were made (in both administrations), and a lot of lessons have been learned.
While the Clintonistas, under the direction of Robert Rubin, focused on balancing the budget, Obama’s appointees, many of whom are Rubin protegees, have made it clear that economic stimulus will be the top priority, even at the cost of massive deficit spending. Indeed, even Rubin has publicly stated his support of job creation now, and balanced budgets later.
So no, I’m not all too concerned with the centrist bent of Obama’s Rubinesque economic team. Smart, accomplished, well intentioned people… that’s always a good start.