I haven’t finished beating the Peter Orszag Citibank thing into the ground yet, so here’s some more. Ezra Klein thinks the money wasn’t so important to Orszag, that Orszag would be bored by academic research, think tank work, writing NYT columns etc. and that he needs the excitement of trying to become president of Citibank. Maybe the idea here is that his inner activist can try to change the system from within, but Klein seems to think that an Orszag-led Citibank would be a good thing in and of itself.
Moe Tkacik reminds us that:
When Orszag’s old mentor Rubin quit his Treasury post he asked AIG’s Hank Greenberg for a job, but Greenberg says he was unimpressed with his offer “to make eight million dollars a year just to travel the world”; Citi was more than happy to pay him more than $100 million over the years for such a gig. Citi is also the venerable institution that tried to recruit Tim Geithner to be its CEO as the subprime Ponzi scheme first began spiraling out of control, and it is the bank from which Geithner poached Orszag’s replacement as budget director Jack Lew.
This always weirded me out, that Citi gave Rubin a $100 million pay-out and tried to recruit Geithner as its CEO. It makes it very difficult for me to believe any of these people are interested in serving anyone other than our Galtian overlords.
On the other hand, reading the New Yorker profile of Orszag (which Tkacik accurately describes as “exceedingly dull”), it seems that Orszag was at least, serious about paying for things in a way his Republican counterparts never are, and rightly obsessed with bending the cost curve of health care. We should also note that in a few months, David Brooks et al. will be pushing a much less competent, honest former OMB head, Mitch Daniels, for the White House.
So there you have it, I guess: Democrats are corporate whores too but they are more serious about governing than Republicans.