“Nobody was prepared for this,” Mr. Rubin said in an interview. He cited former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as another example of someone whose reputation has been unfairly damaged by the crisis.As many people go on to document in the comments section of Yglesias's post, countless perfectly respectable economists and policymakers were of course quite well-prepared for every aspect of the current crisis and had been sounding alarm after alarm to that effect to no avail for years.
Unless Rubin's assertion that, in effect, "nobody could have predicted" this crisis amounts to the useless but apparently self-exculpatory vacuity that nobody who was raking in the cash through this pyramid scheme expected this precise amount of shit hitting this precise fan at precisely this moment, one has to wonder if he is just being, well, facetious in saying these things.
For me, there is something far worse than Rubin's denial of the obvious fact that better people than he warned of the danger of what he was doing and were right and he was wrong and his wrongness hurt many people more than he is capable of understanding and yet he won't ever hurt at all for all that. What is far worse still is that as one of the principal authors of this ruinous shitstorm wanders through the swirling shit wreckage aftermath (or, rather, floats above the stench in a bazillion dollar dirigible bought and paid for with royalties from his authorship of the shitstorm itself) here is Rubin shedding his tears not for the victims of his irresponsibility nor in shame at his own refusal to listen to those who knew better, but in frustration that Alan Greenspan, another of the chief architects of this wonderful world of shit, has been "unfairly" damaged in his "reputation" by this debacle of theirs.
Honestly, what is one supposed to even say to people like this?
Atrios captured the spirit of my own reaction quite nicely when he wrote that "it's very wrong to hurt the feelings of our elite overlords by suggesting that they have some responsibility for, well, anything. It makes them very sad. And the sadness of very rich people is something which hurts us all."
Even more flabbergasting to me is the realization that Alan Greenspan's "damaged reputation" still commands incomparably more authority, respect, attention, and filthy lucre than that of the overwhelming majority of his detractors even right now, on the very subjects about which they were right and he was wrong so catastrophically. Robert Rubin has neither tears nor even ears for any of them even now.