Obama Tilt Toward Rubinomics Stirs Warning From Organized Labor
By Kristin Jensen and Matthew Benjamin
Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) — AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka delivers a slap at former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in a slide show exhorting union members to back Democrat Barack Obama for president.
Blaming unfettered global trade and inadequate government regulation for lost manufacturing jobs and a staggering economy, Trumka’s presentation cautions that “it will do us little good if, when the next Democrat moves into the White House, Wall Street takes command of our country’s economic policy.”
Trumka leaves no doubt that the rebuke is aimed at Rubin, Wall Street’s most prominent Democrat. It’s “hard to tell the difference” between Rubin and Republican Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the presentation says. Trumka’s critique reflects the concern among organized-labor officials that Rubin and like- minded Democrats may win the behind-the-scenes battle to shape Obama’s economic thinking.
“I’m hearing Rubin’s name more and more associated with the campaign’s economic policy,” says James Torrey, a top Obama fundraiser and chief executive officer of New York-based Torrey Associates LLC, a hedge-fund investor.
Rubin, who became chairman of Citigroup Inc.’s executive committee after leaving President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet, represents policy priorities that would favor free trade and more emphasis on deficit-cutting budget discipline if Obama beats Republican John McCain on Nov. 4. Meanwhile, Trumka and his boss, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, are pushing trade policies that would protect U.S. industries, universal health care, and spending on highway construction and other projects that would create union jobs.
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