"Keep your enemies close" and all, but isn't it going too far to put the people responsible for the financial crisis in charge of the economy?

Here's a funny story:

In 1997, a woman named Brooksley Born, who was head of a financial regulatory body called the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, proposed federal regulation of derivatives. If the proposal had been accepted, it would have significantly limited the current financial chaos.

But the people in charge of financial regulation - Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and Larry Summers - didn't like the idea. They told Born that even talking about regulation could damage the markets, and in meetings they harshly criticized her. According to one of Born's subordinates, "Greenspan told Brooksley that she essentially didn’t know what she was doing and she’d cause a financial crisis. Brooksley was this woman who was not playing tennis with these guys and not having lunch with these guys. There was a little bit of the feeling that this woman was not of Wall Street." (In this context it might be useful to remember that Summers, at least, has stated that women are biologically inferior to men in science and engineering. Since he wasn't addressing high finance, we don't know whether he would extend this judgment to the markets.)

But Born refused to back down, so Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers got Congress to freeze her commission's regulatory authority for six months. Later, Congress permanently withdrew derivatives from the purview of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Bill Clinton signed the bill into law. Born resigned her post.

In the years since, Summers became president of Harvard, where he alienated pretty much the entire faculty with his authoritarian style and theories about women's biological capabilities. Rubin took a job as "consigliere" at Citigroup, where he makes $10-15 million a year for offering advice like his 2006 gem on the need to increase risk and add exposure to housing market. Citigroup has taken heavy losses. Born is now retired.

Among Born, Rubin, and Summers, can you guess which two are Obama's top economic advisers and possible Secretaries of Treasury? I'll give you a hint - it's not the woman.

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