People Are Not Paying Enough Attention To Larry Summers

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So the big guy will do what it takes to make people pay attention to him. Even if that means contradicting himself by calling into question (a) policies he presumably had a hand in crafting back when he was telling President Obama and his old buddy Lil’ Tim Geithner how to run the economy and (b) policies he’s championed since heading back out into the real world to make some money. To wit: His former protégé should not have spent all of that time undermining what Ben Bernanke was doing by issuing all of that long-term debt Larry called for to pay for bridges and airports and whatnot.

In a paper presented Tuesday at the Brookings Institution, Mr. Summers and three co-authors argued that the crosswinds had reduced the Fed’s impact by about a third, slowing growth and leaving more Americans jobless….

On Tuesday, Mr. Summers, who at one point was widely assumed to be Obama’s top choice to be Fed chairman, brushed aside those apparent contradictions. He embraced the role of a provocateur who was, in effect, criticizing his former colleagues — not least the former Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner.

Now as Provacteur, Summers Says Treasury Undermined Fed [NYT TheUpshot blog]

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Larry Summers Supposedly Too Rough Around The Edges To Be Named Fed Chairman

Who should replace Ben S. Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve when his term ends in January 2014? If anyone cared to ask us, we'd say no one: we like our Fed Chairman soft-spoken, bearded, and just as comfortable in dad jeans as they are in their bespoke Jos. A. Bank suits. But nobody asked and, according to Andrew Ross Sorkin, Bernanke has told "close friends" that regardless of whether or not Obama wins a second term, he's ready to move on. Apparently qualified successors are few and far between and while Larry Summers is said to be "at the top of the list," the fact that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner may finally be granted freedom from his own personal Guantanamo Bay and will also necessitate a replacement who will have to work closely with the new Fed Chair poses some staffing issues, on account of the perception that Summers is somewhat difficult to work with. ...[Summers is] a serious economist who knows his numbers and has a worldview that is similar to the president’s. He would be expected to continue the loose money policy of Mr. Bernanke. But one of the knocks against Mr. Summers is that he has a reputation for not playing well with others. He has had his own run-ins with the president. And if you consider the Treasury secretary and Federal Reserve chairman as a tag team, you would have to be confident that whomever you pick for Treasury secretary would get along well with Mr. Summers. So he called some former students assholes. So he'll cut a bitch for getting between him and his steady stream of Diet Coke. So he chooses to sleep through co-workers' particularly boring presentations. So he makes female colleagues feel like "pieces of meat." So he shoots people unequivocal death stares that say, "I could have you killed and no one would find out" for the mere suggestion he might want to consider wearing socks. Is all that to say he's not an otherwise affable guy who'd make a fine workmate and prized addition to an office softball team? Casting Dual Roles At Treasury And The Fed [Dealbook]