Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summers's gone!

Larry Summers, Robert Rubin protégé and unrepentant free-marketeer, has announced his resignation from the Obama Administration, effective shortly after the midterm elections.

“I will always be grateful that at a time of great peril for our country, a man of Larry’s brilliance, experience and judgment was willing to answer the call and lead our economic team. Over the past two years, he has helped guide us from the depths of the worst recession since the 1930s to renewed growth. And while we have much work ahead to repair the damage done by the recession, we are on a better path thanks in no small measure to Larry’s wise counsel," said Our President, fingers crossed behind his back.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Summers is leaving because he is approaching the end of a two-year leave of absence from Harvard, and if he doesn't go back by January he loses his tenure. Maybe they have it right. Given the attitudes of Harvard women, without tenure he just might be be joining the other 14.9 million unemployed Americans.

Also according to WSJ, his most likely replacement will be Anne Mulcahy, the recently retired CEO of Xerox. She is credited with "saving" the corporation by, among other things, cutting 30% of its workforce — but perhaps, as a more "hands on" executive type, she will turn out to be less ideological than her predecessor.

Needless to say, I'm not at all sorry to see Summers go. That leaves Timmy Geithner as the sole survivor of the original Obama economic team, so maybe he'll be "resigning" soon too. How much difference will the changes make? It's hard to say. Elizabeth Warren's appointment offers some room for hope, but I still can't imagine our next Treasury Secretary being Robert (the right Bob) Reich or Joseph Stiglitz. Too bad.

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