Larry Summers At Treasury: A Fox in the Henhouse

by: Matt Stoller

Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 13:21

Right now, the rumors are that Larry Summers is the choice for the Treasury Secretary post.  As Dean Baker suggests, this would not be a good thing.

It would be a really bad start to his administration if President Obama picked a Treasury Secretary who shares a substantial part of the blame for the bubble economy and the financial crisis. It will not be easy to pick up the pieces and get the economy back on its feet, but we would be going in the wrong direction to put one of the people responsible for getting us in this mess in the top economic position in the Obama administration.

Summers was one of the key proponents of the banking deregulation of 1999 that led to the current financial crisis.  In addition, Larry Summers has argued that women are innately less gifted in science than men, that 'Africa is Underpolluted', that child sweatshop work in Asia is sometimes justified, and that job destroying trade agreements are good for America.

People get stuff wrong all the time.  That's not bad.  But if you got the big stuff wrong, repeatedly, while being warned against it, you shouldn't be rewarded with a promotion.

I set up a petition here, and I'll be sending the comments onward to John Podesta and Michael Strautmanis of the Obama transition team.

Update:  There's also this possible scandal.

Matt Stoller :: Larry Summers At Treasury: A Fox in the Henhouse

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Is it still possible to (0.00 / 0)
start new 'MyBO' groups?

As I mentioned in a previous post on Obama's cabinet, (4.00 / 2)
I would like to see the netroots take up the anti-Summers cause as we took up the anti-Bayh cause.  Matt, I'm glad to see you post on this.  Let's keep it up.

see also (0.00 / 0)

potential scandal which could come up during nomination

Terrible first impression. (4.00 / 3)
A Summers appointment would make a terrible first impression for an administration that campaigned on "change". It's not like Summers has done something so brilliant that there's nobody else in his class -- far from it. The impression will be that Obama has decided to placate the Clinton deadenders, quality be damned.

There are plenty of new and better choices out there, including Nobel Prize winners. Obama's early days will be judged by the kind of people he surrounds himself with. A Summers nomination is guaranteed to get him off to a hobbled start. It just doesn't make sense. Is there an upside I'm missing here?

There is no upside (0.00 / 0)
Unless you are Larry Summers, or a chief beneficiary of the deregulated status quo.

If Obama fills his cabinet with people like Summers, I'm liable to go out of my mind. Somebody please take Obama to one side and explain what "change" means.

[ Parent ]
Error (0.00 / 0)
After I sign it lets me send something with the subject "Sign This Letter - Tell Harry Reid: No Immunity for Lawbreaking Companies!"

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

Some Bipartisan Options (0.00 / 0)
Obama has indicated he will include some Republicans in his administration in an attempt to be bipartisan. It will be interesting to see how he does this. Here are some ideas:

Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine as Secretary of Commerce. Only if the Democratic Governor could appoint a Democrat to replace her.

Colin Powell for Secretary of Education.

Keep Secretary of Defense Gates for two years.

Reed/McCain Special Committee to Reduce Defense Spending.

not Colin Powell for anything (0.00 / 0)
no torturers in the cabinet.

[ Parent ]
IQ thing... (0.00 / 0)
The comment about women was stupid to make, but actually factually correct. All he was trying to say was that the standard deviation of IQs is higher for men than for women. This means that men have slightly longer tails on the distribution. This includes the left and right tails. On the right tail, we're talking super-super genius here (the type that make even Paul look dumb). This is factually correct from an IQ distribution standpoint. Does this matter anywhere but the most elite of the most elite institutions? Of course not. Less than a tenth of of one percent of all professors fit in this category!

Anyway, it's stupid thing to say, but it was factually correct. The guy just doesn't know when to shut up. Sometimes what's technically correct is not politically correct and can be easily misunderstood.

I just wanted to make the point that he got a lot of heat for being "sexist" when his comment wasn't sexist at all. It was stupid to say, but not incorrect.

Why I favor this site. (0.00 / 0)
The ability to sniff out right from wrong in an individual's character and associations.


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