Robert Rubin

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Robert Rubin in 2014

Robert Edward Rubin (born August 29, 1938) is an American retired banking executive, lawyer, and former government official. He served as the 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury during the Clinton administration from 1995 to 1999, after serving as the inaugural director of the White House National Economic Council from 1993 to 1995. Before his government service, he spent 26 years at Goldman Sachs, eventually serving as a member of the board and co-chairman from 1990 to 1992. He is currently a senior counselor at Centerview Partners, an investment banking advisory firm. Rubin is the author of the New York Times bestseller In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington (2003) and The Yellow Pad: Making Better Decisions in an Uncertain World (2023). He was a founder of The Hamilton Project, an economic policy think tank that produces research and proposals on how to create a growing economy that benefits more Americans. He is also co-chairman emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, a trustee of Mount Sinai Health System, and chairman of the board of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a community development support organization.


Philosophy, Probabilistic Thinking, and Uncertainty[edit]

Fiscal Policy[edit]

  • We have an imperative need to address our unsustainable longer-term fiscal trajectory with sound economic policies. Few elected officials want to face this fact, but, at the very least, they should not make matters worse.
  • Unconventional monetary policy and stimulus can be part of a successful economic programme for a period of time. But they are no substitute for fiscal discipline, public investment and structural reform.

Financial Markets and Government[edit]

Monetary Policy[edit]

Poverty and Inequality[edit]

Child Tax Credit[edit]


Climate Change[edit]

Criminal Justice[edit]

Quotes about Robert Rubin[edit]

  • [May] twelfth was a day I had hoped would never come; Bob Rubin was returning to private life. I believed he had been the best and most important Treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton in the early days of our Republic. Bob had also been the first head of the National Economic Council. In both positions he had played a decisive role in our efforts to restore economic growth and spread its benefits to more Americans, to prevent and contain financial crisis abroad, and to modernize the international financial system to deal with a global economy in which more than one trillion dollars crossed national borders every day.
  • Bill Clinton and his two treasury secretary enablers, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, instituted a system of unregulated capitalism that has resulted in financial anarchy. This anarchic form of capitalism, where everything, including human beings and the natural world, is a commodity to exploit until exhaustion or collapse, is justified by identity politics. It is sold as “enlightened liberalism” as opposed to the old pro-union class politics that saw the Democrats heed the voices of the working class. Financial anarchy and short-term plunder have destroyed long-term financial and political stability. It has also pushed the human species, along with most other species, closer and closer towards extinction.
  • Robert Rubin stands out as the poster child for the revolving door that exists between Wall Street and Washington. Rubin started his career by making a fortune at Goldman Sachs, where he worked for twenty-six years, including two years as its co-chairman. In 1993, President Clinton appointed him head of the National Economic Council, and in 1995 he became treasury secretary. While in government he spearheaded financial deregulation, including the repeal of Glass-Steagall. He also prevented the regulation of derivatives. In 1999, Rubin returned to Wall Street, and after brokering a deal with Republicans to legalize the $70 billion merger between Citicorp and Travelers Group, he was hired by the newly formed Citigroup and received about $15 million a year for his services. Less than a decade later-a decade in which Rubin earned more than $126 million at Citigroup-taxpayers bailed out his megabank because of the enormous risks Rubin and others encouraged it to take. In 2010, the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) voted unanimously to refer Rubin to the Justice Department for "potential fraud" for misleading investors about Citigroup's exposure to subprime mortgages. When DOJ declined to act, Phil Angelides, chair of the FCIC, said, "It's been a disappointment to me and others that the Justice Department has not pursued the potential wrongdoing by individuals identified in the matters we referred to them. At the very least, they owe the American people the reassurance that they conducted a thorough investigation of individuals who engaged in misconduct." I couldn't agree more.

External links[edit]

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