Lawrence Summers, it appears, is leaving, because his two year pass at Harvard is about to run out, and he'd lose his tenure and have to re-apply. SO much for the "ask not what my country can do for me, ask what I can do for my country attitude." That's a joke. Summers is all about what's good for him and his.
Summers, known for his brains, is credited with being one of the chief architects of Obama's failed top down, save the too-big to fail banks and pretend to throw money at infrastructure economic recovery program, signed into law in February.
The good news could be that Summers and his approach, which helped lead to the economic disaster we're living through, will soon be gone. The bad news is that he will probably be replaced by someone worse. Obama is getting better at picking people whose bios don't scream of "fox in the henhouse" syndrome.
Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, reports, or, one might even say, ebulliently gloats, that Obama is looking to replace Summers with a more corporate pedigree-- apparently, a number of female executives. The article reports,
Two people familiar with the matter said the president is considering a senior corporate executive as a successor to lead the National Economic Council, answering criticism that the Obama administration lacks private-sector experience and is aloof from corporate America.The WSJ mentions Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox corporation as a prime candidate, and lists some other possibilities,
Other candidates include Deputy National Economic Council Director Diana Farrell, who came to the White House from McKinsey & Company, and Laura Tyson, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who served in the Clinton administration as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.Are they kidding? Obama's not corporate friendly enough? Well, he still has Geithner, another bankster.
"This is a big victory for anyone who voted for change in 2008 only to see Summers work from the inside to water down Wall Street reform, block President Obama's promise to protect Net Neutrality, and urge other pro-corporate positions. While we feel bad for Harvard students and faculty who have to deal with Summers again, Harvard's loss is America's gain. When President Obama fills this important economic position, Americans need him to appoint a champion for regular working folks, not Wall Street tycoons -- someone in the mold of Elizabeth Warren, Byron Dorgan, Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, and Sheila Bair."
This kind of response would make progressives and liberals and most Democrats happy. But then, we have to consider what Summers, under Obama's direction, actually DID, as the Progressive Change Committee reports,
But, as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee documents,
Summers consistently tried to water down Wall Street reform. Newsweek's Michael Hirsch: "chief economic adviser Larry Summers still questioned whether Volcker's proposals were feasible...Obama hadn't acted much like FDR in the ensuing months. Instead he had faithfully channeled Summers and Geithner and their conservative approach to stimulus and reform." Summers also opposed breaking up the big banks -- see Huff Post and Simon Johnson.When President Obama entered office, he did a Clinton administration transplant, filling a plethora of appointments with former Clinton staffers and people who worked for them. Summers, Geithner and former OMB director Orszag worked former Clinton Treasury Secretary economic disaster creator Robert Rubin, who made wover $50 million (possible over $100 million) working for Citibank, including helping to block regulation of derivatives trading and repeal Glass Steagall. Of course, Rubin, before working as treasury secretary, was, for 20 years at Goldman Sachs, including as co-chairman. Tim Geithner, Wikipedia reports, was Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (19982001) under Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. Summers was his mentor, but other sources call him a Rubin prote'ge' Geithner was also president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, director of Policy Development and Review Department at the International Monetary Fund and was a senior fellow at the COuncil on Foreign Relations (CFR.) Rubin is now co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations as well.blocked Susan Crawford, a big Internet freedom advocate, from advancing Net Neutrality within the White House -- eventually forcing her out. (Net Neutrality prohibits Internet providers from picking which websites work fast or slow for their customers based on the financial interests or political views of the Internet providers. This non-discrimination rule has been a crucial part of the Internet's level playing field, until challenged in recent years by big cable and phone companies.)
Summers has a history of supporting de-regulation and prevention of supervision of trading in derivatives and the like. Another globalist, he was also cheif economist for the world Bank. It's hard to imagine Summers not being invited by Rubin to have some role in the COuncil on Foreign Relations, and, of course, Summers will surely go back to collecting big speaking fees.
Realistically, we can expect Obama to select someone who will continue the policies of Summers, who can work well Geithner or his replacement. That means they will be strong supporters of globalization, opponents to strong corporate oversight and regulation and friendly to the interests of global corporations. This would be inconsistent with Obama's professed interests, on the campaign trail, in reining in transnational tax avoidance.
But I could be wrong. Summers departure does offer president Obama an opportunity to throw progressives, main street and mainstream Democrats a bone-- some positive action that would actually help Democrats at the polls. So far, while he's helped with fund-raising, it doesn't seem like the White House team has been willing to actually make appointments or take substantive action to help main street. Even his latest infrastructure funding proposal will have a very limited and long term effect on the endangered middle class.