Friday, July 26, 2013

Yellen or Summers?

In a front page article, today's Times suggests there are "some gender overtones" stirring in Obama's choice to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve.  Personally, I'm pulling for Janet Yellen, but not because I think it's time for a woman to be at the helm.  It's because I think Lawrence Summers is a terrible choice.

Back in the Clinton administration, Summers, along with his guru Robert Rubin, was instrumental in talking Clinton into signing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act into law.  In case you've forgotten, that's the one that overturned Glass-Steagle, encouraged already large financial firms to transform themselves into too-big-to-fail behemoths, and made the 2008 financial crisis inevitable.

Why oh why would Obama want to install one of the architects of too-big-to-fail as the single most important regulator of the fat cat firms?  Could it be because Wall Street wants him there?

Janet Yellen, we are told, was an important voice in Bernanke's ear, encouraging expansionary monetary policy.  As head of the Fed, she is unlikely to tighten up too soon — and it's pretty clear that she would continue quantitative easing and low interest rates for as long as they're needed.  Well, they're still needed.

The last thing we need is the return of the Rubinites.

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