Robert E. Rubin (1995 - 1999)

When President William Jefferson Clinton swore in Robert E. Rubin (b. 1938) as the 70th Secretary of the Treasury, he was already one of the most knowledgeable and best prepared leaders of finance t/p>o assume the office. Before entering public service, Secretary Rubin worked for twenty-six years at Goldman Sachs & Company, one of Wall Street's venerable investment firms, where he rose to the position of Co-Chairman. He was originally appointed by President Clinton to be Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and to serve as the Nation's first director of the National Economic Council (1993 - 1995), which coordinated economic policy throughout the Clinton Administration. With his vast experience in financial markets and collegial temperament, he helped President Clinton and his economic team develop an economic policy based on vigorous deficit reduction, global open markets, and investments in education, training and the environment. This program helped to spark and sustain the longest economic expansion in the Nation's history to date, transforming the Nation's budgetary position from deficit to surplus, and producing the lowest national rates of unemployment in decades.

Portrait of Robert E. Rubin.

Sec. Robert E. Rubin
Aaron Shikler
Oil on canvas
58 1/2 x 42 5/8 x 2 1/2"

After succeeding Lloyd Bentsen as Treasury Secretary, Secretary Rubin faced threats to the Nation's creditworthiness and to the stability of the global financial system. Secretary Rubin used his statutory authority to safeguard the Federal Government's finances and make timely payments of the federal debt when Congress did not raise the debt limit during an extensive budgetary confrontation. During his tenure financial crises flared in Mexico and Asia, posing real risks to global financial stability. Secretary Rubin led efforts with the IMF, the Federal Reserve and others to stop both crises from overwhelming the global financial system, thereby protecting the American economic expansion and spurring Mexico and Asia towards economic recovery.

Secretary Rubin's tenure at Treasury was extraordinarily varied. He spoke out about growing "interdependence" among nations and urged Americans to appreciate the benefits of increasing economic integration in the post-Cold War era. He worked forcefully throughout his tenure for fiscal discipline and open trade, while strongly advocating policies to provide greater skills and support for workers and low income Americans, particularly those in the inner city. Rubin strongly supported aid for developing nations and acted to reform the architecture of the global financial system. He worked to reform the IRS and for financial modernization. He also championed the priorities of Treasury's law enforcement agencies, including policies to redesign the Nation's currency to thwart counterfeiting, decrease the accessibility of guns to former felons and to minors, enhance Presidential security, interdict drugs at U.S. borders, and combat money laundering. Upon Secretary Rubin's retirement, President Clinton called him the "greatest Secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton."

About the Artist

Aaron Shikler was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1922, studied at the Barnes Foundation in Marion, Pennsylvania and earned a B.A. and a M.A. from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia. He received additional instruction at the American University, Shrivenham, England and the Hans Hoffman School, New York. A nationally acclaimed artist, Shilkler is represented in the White House Collection by the portrait of President John F. Kennedy and the official First Lady portraits of Mrs. John F. Kennedy and Mrs. Ronald Reagan. The portrait of Secretary Rubin was painted in 1999.