SEPTEMBER 24, 2008
Barack Obama’s famous change motto is tough to swallow considering his arsenal of economic policy advisers consists of Clinton Administration veterans, including a disgraced Treasury Deputy Secretary ousted for lying to Congress to cover up a record-keeping scandal.
There’s a reason the Illinois senator and his one-time nemesis, the New York senator, are referred to as economic twins; they share the same shady economic advisers that operated the Clinton White House when Hillary was First Lady. She brought them on board for her failed presidential campaign and now Obama swears by them.
Let’s start with Roger Altman, the investment banker and longtime Clinton friend who got booted as Deputy Treasury Secretary in 1994 for illegally intervening in a federal investigation of a failed Arkansas bank with ties to the Clintons. Altman also broke federal rules of confidentiality by giving the Clintons inside information about the probe then lying to a Senate Banking Committee about his illegal actions. At the time Altman headed the Treasury agency (Resolution Trust Corporation) charged with cleaning up the nation’s Savings and Loans crisis.
Obama’s senior economic adviser is Lawrence Summers, the former Clinton Treasury Secretary who went on to ruffle feathers as the president of an Ivy League university. Summers, who eventually resigned from that post, publicly said that the shortage of elite female scientists stems from “innate” differences between men and women.
The rest of Obama’s coveted crew includes another Clinton Treasury Secretary and longtime economic adviser, Robert Rubin, who supported tax hikes and spending cuts to reduce the deficit; Laura Tyson, the chief economist during Clinton’s first four years in the White House and Gene Sperling, Clinton’s National Economic Council director and chief economic wonk for Hillary’s primary campaign.
The fact that this Clinton all-star roster is dictating Obama’s economic policy (with the intention of sticking around if he gets elected) makes any sort of change highly unlikely.
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