On President Obama's Treasury Secretary Nomination

Andy Kroll for Mother Jones, on the wild and wacky mind of Jack Lew:

Here's a crucial piece of information about Lew: He has said he doesn't believe financial deregulation was a major cause of the financial crisis. In 2010, Lew testified before Congress that the deregulation of Wall Street in the Clinton era-the repeal of Glass-Steagall, say, or the ending of real regulation of complex derivatives-wasn't a critical factor. "The problems in the financial industry preceded deregulation," Lew told members of the Senate budget committee in September 2010. He added that he didn't "personally know the extent to which deregulation drove it, but I don't believe that deregulation was the proximate cause."

Lew knows that period of deregulatory zeal well, having served as President Bill Clinton's director of the Office of Management and Budget from May 1998 to January 2001. Lew has spent much of his career in government, is a savvy negotiator and budget wonk, and is respected by Republicans and Democrats. Republicans, though, have been grumbling about him more recently-after all, in 2011, he outsmarted the congressional GOP in intense budget talks. And liberals have criticized Lew for his post-Clinton work for the mega-bank Citigroup, where he ran a unit that profited off shorting the housing market.

To those who believe otherwise, I've got a bridge to sell you. The perverse underbelly of capitalism is exposed yet again. The free market isn't exclusively good all the time.

Given Obama's statements regarding the crisis, his selection of Lew is curious, to say the least. Then again, I think one of the commenters after the piece nailed it when he called Obama a "Republican Lite". Moves such as this just reaffirm to me the notion that Democrats and Republicans aren't that much different. They may wear different shoes, but they effectively walk the same path. The path to as many dollar signs as possible.

(via Jim Ray)