The Summers Of Our Discontent

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:

Obama’s finance guru Larry Summers resigns:

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:

And Now, For The Rest Of The Pirate Story:

“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)

Is Goldman Sachs Losing It?:

Larry Summers and the Goldman Gang will be President Obama’s downfall if he doesn’t wise up.

Fighting The Banksters

“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)

Kiss Your Middle Class Ass Goodbye (Update)

Where after posting an interview of Elizabeth Warren, I suggested that she be given Summers’ job.

Nightmare On Main Street

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.

Sometimes You’re The Windshield, Sometimes You’re The Bug

[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.

Crimes Against The Planet

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.]

7 Comments

  1. Whatever he was thinking, it’s academic now; maybe someone could introduce him to Paul Krugman; he’s an academic too, reasonably brilliant, and as far as I know without criminal accusations dogging his heels. Perhaps someone with a vision who knows how to solve the problem could help the country, you think?

    But the most damaging problem hasn’t been Summers’ ineptitude and or corruption, but rather the Republican’s obstruction; what could be more destructive to our nation than nearly fifty percent of our “leaders” working in lockstep to ensure Obama’s— and therefore our nation’s policies fail— no matter who might be benefiting from them, no matter how many are suffering from them.

    When will Obama and the Democrats realize the Republicans intend to destroy our country if need be, in order to prove they intend to “take it back” to the supposed good old days of white Republican greed, gore, and glory.
    Not gonna happen.

    The simple truth is the world economy can never hope to settle down as in the past; even as society itself must become reconciled to a long and arduous procession of changes, adjustments, and readjustments. Hold on to your butts.

    1. Propagandee Propagandee

      Summers was raking in huge speaking fees from Wall Street just before engineering their bailout. As WAPO reported 4/4/09:

      Lawrence H. Summers, one of President Obama’s top economic advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees by several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations.

      Nothing like paying it forward if you’re a WS bankster.

      As for your point that “the world economy can never hope to settle down as in the past; even as society itself must become reconciled to a long and arduous procession of changes, adjustments, and readjustments”, The Boss sang about that 25 years ago:

      Now main streets whitewashed windows and vacant stores
      Seems like there aint nobody wants to come down here no more
      They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
      Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they aint coming back to
      Your hometown, your hometown, your hometown, your hometown

      As for the Rethugs, they couldn’t give a shit about the middle class. What pisses them off so much is just when they thought they had finished them off under Reagan and the two Bushes, along comes an uppity Kenyan anti-colonialist who succeeded against all odds in throwing them a lifeline. They’re going to make him and his party pay and they’re astro-turfing a bunch of low information voters to do it.

      1. Indeed; check out this scream for help from MoveOn:

        “In Wisconsin, Sen. Russ Feingold is trailing by at least 6 points.
        In Nevada, Majority Leader Harry Reid is tied with tea-party extremist Sharron Angle.
        Nationwide, Republicans have a 63% chance of taking over the House and unseating Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to New York Times analyst Nate Silver.

        It’s not too late to turn this election around—but grassroots progressives need to step up to the plate and fight as hard as we did in 2008. We’ve got to save the Progressive Heroes, expose the corporate money behind the right-wing Republicans, and recruit a grassroots volunteer army to get out the vote.

        If we can raise an additional $375,000 today, we can dramatically expand our election plan—run a wave of TV ads defending the heroes, launch an an attention-getting grassroots media campaign to expose the corporate money behind right-wing Republicans, and expand our volunteer turnout program in key congressional districts.

        That’ll take at least 3 donations from folks in _____. Can you chip in $5? http://bit.ly/cc7pil

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