If Everyone Hates Larry Summers, He Can't Be All Bad
If people on both sides of the political aisle hate Lawrence Summers, then perhaps he's the right man for the job.
Summers dropped out of the race to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve because he thought getting confirmed would be a difficult battle as a number of Democrats in the Senate spoke out against his candidacy. The Democrats who opposed Summers (one of President Barack Obama's top economic advisors during his first term) did so because they saw him as being too much on the side of Wall Street.
Wall Street hardly embraced Summers as its 'BFF' as the second news broke that he was withdrawing, stock futures began to rise. So, neither the Democrats who have a contempt for those on Wall Street who make money nor the people actually making said money seem to like Larry Summers.
This, of course, is why the president should make Summers his choice immediately.
The job of Fed chairman is a lonely one that often involves making independent, non-political decisions to meet the Fed's so-called dual-mandate to maximize employment and keep prices stable.
Summers clearly has the economic resume to handle the job. This is a man who entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 16 where he got his undergraduate degree before moving onto Harvard for his Ph.D. He then went on to become a noted economist who later served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton, was president of Harvard and, later, Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama.
So, with a resume that includes working for Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, one would think Summers would have a certain credibility with Democrats. That is not the case though, because on occasion, Summers actually favored less regulation of Wall Street.
To the Wall Street crowd, Summers is a crazy liberal and to the Democrats, Summers is too tight with big banks, fat cats and others groups that have names that sound good in a candidate's commercial. Larry Summers makes die-hards on both sides uncomfortable because he dares to do what he thinks is correct and not adhere to any clear political agenda.
Summers may not be the right person for the Fed, but should he really drop out of consideration because Democrats fear he won't follow the party line that success and making money are bad things? And, should Wall Street really celebrate losing a thoughtful candidate who has been sympathetic to their needs, just because he may not be quite sympathetic enough?
Daniel B. Kline is a Benzinga staff writer and editorial consultant who can be reached at dan(at)notastep(dot)com.
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