By Simon Johnson
In 2006 Robert Rubin and his allies created the Hamilton Project, housed at the Brookings Institution, to think about what a future Democratic administration would do. (Senator Obama attended the opening.)
From a tactical standpoint, this was a brilliant move. It developed people, including Peter Orszag and Jason Furman (directors of the project), trained a team, and created an agenda.
Unfortunately, financial reform was not – and perhaps still is not – on this agenda. The financial crisis more than blindsided them; it overturned their entire way of thinking about the world. At least in part, this explains their slow, partial, and unsatisfactory response. In any case, it hasn’t worked out for them – or for us.