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The Picture of Obama's "Minimalism"

10/21/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • David Sirota Newspaper columnist, radio host (AM760), bestselling author

You want to understand what Barack Obama's "minimalism" on economic issues really looks like? Then take a look at this picture of Obama's emergency economic meeting on Friday, and look at the guy sitting directly to Obama's left. Yes, that's Bob Rubin, as I noted in my column this week - "the NAFTA architect who gutted market regulations as Bill Clinton's treasury secretary and who then tried to rustle up government favors for Enron as a $17-million-a-year executive at Citigroup, a bank embroiled in today's implosion."

This guy - a person who had a very clear hand in getting America into this crisis - is the guy who Obama is relying on to help him get America out of the crisis, not the progressive economic experts who have been sounding the alarm for years, not the sober academics that have studied the problem, but a big corporate donor who is directly embroiled in the scandal himself (Oh, and by the way, at least in that photo, there aren't any of those progressives elsewhere around the table - there's Lawrence Summers and Laura Tyson - both top economic advisers in the Clinton administration when it backed the financial deregulation that is fueling this crisis...and, of course, we know Obama has hired Rubin protege Jason Furman as his campaign's top economic adviser).

Forgetting about the campaign implications of a Democrat continuing to align himself with Wall Street, this is precisely the fox-in-the-henhouse problem that needs to end if our economy is going to be fixed. It is, in other words, exactly this kind of "minimalism" from Obama that our country and our economy cannot afford right now. And if you can't see that or argue that pointing this out is supposedly some awful sin or plot to help John McCain (who I've written time and time again is far worse), then you are too afflicted by Partisan War Syndrome (or perhaps too personally wealthy to be affected by this crisis) to really see how bad this is, and how important this is beyond one election.

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