The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Monday, September 16, 2013

The Case Against Larry Summers -

So, on paper, Summers is a superb candidate to succeed Bernanke in a post that the brilliant 58-year-old Harvard professor has pined for since his earliest days in Washington, according to longtime associates. Obama is reportedly fond enough of Summers that he may name him in the next few weeks, passing on a chance to appoint Janet Yellen, the widely admired current vice chairwoman, who is said to be the other major contender, as the first female Fed chief in history.

And yet Summers is a very risky choice for chairman—far riskier than Yellen, who would undoubtedly win overwhelming confirmation and was recently rated the Fed's most accurate forecaster since 2009 on issues from growth to jobs to inflation.


They're yellin' for Yellin! I think she would be good for me since inflation might trigger house value increases out in East County, along with a gigantic earthquake, enough to sink all the houses in La Jolla. But I guess that's not a good enough reason.

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After Summers' performance at Harvard, I wouldn't put him in charge of a proverbial sweetie shop.

Posted by: dearieme | Sep 17, 2013 1:07:42 AM

I'm no great admirer of Janet Yellen, but back in the early nineties, John Taylor of Stanford was the macroeconomist on the Council of Economic Advisors, and Larry Summers was an adviser to the government of Lithuania. Robert Lucas commented that John Taylor was advising the government of the US, and Larry Summers was advising the government of Lithuania, which he thought was about the right division of labor.

Posted by: William Sjostrom | Sep 17, 2013 5:41:22 AM

Actually, Summers' performance as Harvard president was very good. He stood up for free speech, although granted he did a poor job defending his own comments. Mostly, he pissed off the huge egos in the arts and sciences crowd, who needed some serious slaps to their self-importance.

Posted by: William Sjostrom | Sep 18, 2013 2:07:53 AM