Three down, two to go. Obama’s daily economic briefing team: Peter Orszag, Christina Romer, Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, and Jared Bernstein
A month after President Obama took office, in a post titled Geithner’s Rescue Plan, I called on him to dump both Geithner and his chief economic architect, Larry Summers:
Obama likes to brag that he can walk and chew gum at the same time; that he spends at least an hour a day on the economy. Now, I understand that systemic problems demand systemic solutions. But unless he dumps Wall Street insiders and enablers Timmeh Geithner and Larry Summers, they will bring him down and all his worthy projects to a screeching halt.
Spank my monkey if half my dream hasn’t come true:
Barack Obama’s economic guru, Larry Summers, is to quit at the end of the year, the latest in a string of departures from the team that shaped the administration’s efforts to tackle America’s worst downturn since the Depression.
Summers, a Clinton-era treasury secretary who is one of Obama’s most experienced aides, announced last night that he intended to resign as chairman of the president’s national economic council in order to return to academic life as a professor at Harvard University.
Their loss is our gain. (I’m thinking particularly of all those ‘math challenged’ females he pissed off while he was Harvard’s Chancellor.) Since that first post, I have had on occasion reiterated my call for Summers’ firing. From the Urantian Sojourn‘s Greatest Summers’ Hits:
“On December 12, 1991 while serving as chief economist for the World Bank, Summers authored a private memo arguing that the bank should actively encourage the dumping of toxic waste in developing countries, particularly “under populated countries in Africa,” which Summers described as “UNDER-polluted.” [quoting Max Blumenthal)
Larry Summers and the Goldman Gang will be President Obama’s downfall if he doesn’t wise up.
“We’ve reached the point where the only people defending the administration’s Wall Street policies are the people benefiting from them — or their good friends, Tim Geithner and Larry Summers.” (quoting Arianna Huffington)
Where after posting an interview of Elizabeth Warren, I suggested that she be given Summers’ job.
Clinton cursed us with NAFTA, GATT, the WTO, Bob Rubin and Larry Summers. Yet Dems at least seem to be dimly aware of their part in creating the social injustice that has turned Main Street into Elm Street, of their role in putting Freddy Krueger on the board of Goldman Sacks.
[Obama] could start by shaking up his immediate staff, including Rahm Emanuel (who’s been sunning himself in Israel these last few days); fire Ken Salazar at The Department of the Interior (whose nomination was fiercely opposed by environmentalists, for very good reasons we are seeing); and get rid of Wall Street insiders like Larry Summers and Timmy Geithner who are busy behind the scenes screwing the pooch of financial regulatory reform. Instead, Obama’s gone in the opposite direction, succumbing to the pressure of demagogues like Glenn Beck by firing the one guy who could be using the Gulf tragedy to implement real energy policy reform, Van Jones.
Here I point out perhaps Summers’ greatest crime of all. Quoting Harry Kaufman, senior policy analyst at the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response:
“Who saves money by using these toxic dispersants? Well, it’s BP. But then the next question—I’ve only seen one article that describes it—who owns BP? And I think when you look and see who owns BP, you find that it’s the majority ownership, a billion shares, is a company called BlackRock that was created, owned and run by a gentleman named Larry Fink. And Vanity Fair just did recently an article about Mr. Fink and his connections with Mr. Geithner, Mr. Summers and others in the administration. So I think what’s needed, we now know that there’s a cover-up. Dispersants are being used. Congress, at least three Congress folks—Congressman Markey, Congressman Nadler and Senator Mikulski—are on the case. And I think the media now has to follow the money, just as they did in Watergate, and tell the American people who’s getting money for poisoning the millions of people in the Gulf…”
As President Clinton‘s former Treasury Secretary, Summers was a key architect of the deregulatory scheme that subsequently destroyed our economy. What was Obama thinking appointing him in the first place?
[Image found here.]