Lawrence Summers and the Man of Hope and Change
Lawrence Summers is soon to resign as Director of the National Economic Council. All I can say is: good riddance! Summers is Wall Street to the core and his initial appointment was one of the first public signs of the true nature of Barack Obama.
Summers has always been a key intellectual ally for the strong and powerful. As an economist, he wrote papers concluding corporate and capital gains taxes were inefficient and lobbied successfully for their reduction. He recommended cuts in unemployment insurance and welfare. As Chief Economist at the World Bank, he promoted the dumping of toxic waste in third world countries since they had the lowest wages. Summers became Secretary of the Treasury in 1999 where he pushed for yet more capital gains tax cuts and insisted on drastic austerity measures for countries undergoing currency crises. During the Enron manipulated energy crisis in California, he and Enron CEO / convicted felon Kenneth Lay lectured the Governor that the problem was government regulation and excessive environmental standards which needed to be relaxed in order to reassure the markets. He actively supported financial deregulation and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act thereby enabling vastly expanded speculation. On Milton Friedman’s death he claimed he was a “Friedmanite”. (See the Wikipedia entry for more information.)
The important point here, though, is not the Wall Street friendly orthodoxy of Summers; it’s that Obama could see fit to elevate this man to such an important position in government.
But it gets even worse! According to the Wall Street Journal, two influential advisers say Obama is planning on bringing in a “senior corporate executive” to replace him.
Pretty funny, huh? This man of Hope and Change.