Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

About That Clinton "Surplus"

David Brooks today repeats one of the more curious Democratic exaggerations:

While Ted Kennedy's people still dominate the organizational and rhetorical parts of the campaign, the policy shop has been turned over to the Rubinites — the superintelligent Clinton administration alumni who, if they were a little more demonstrative, would gather at mass rallies waving Robert Rubin's little blue books of fiscal rectitude and chanting the inspiring slogans that spread frenzy in the bond markets: "Cut the Deficits! Lower Rates! Cut the Deficits! Lower Rates!"

The federal budgets of the later Clinton years - like the California budgets of those same years - were flushed with proceeds from taxes on sales of hugely inflated stocks resulting from the ill considered internet-dotcom "boom." That ersatz "boom" occurred on Mr. Rubin's watch - and made many of his Wall Street community rich, including the freshly and imprudently convicted Frank P. Quattrone, but represented a serious wrong turn in the direction of investment in this country.

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