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Anti American



July 24th, 2013 at 6:55 am

Open thread for night owls: Hasn’t Summers done enough damage? Why not Christina Romer for the Fed?

Night Owls

A week ago, Barry Ritholtz wrote Anyone But Larry Summers … That was before learning that Summers is apparently President Obama’s choice to replace Ben Bernanke. As my colleague Laura Clawson wrote Tuesday, Summers is not only a sexist but also has been a disaster across a wide range of economic policies. In January 2009, he wouldn’t even present President Obama with a $ 1.8 trillion stimulus proposal that Council of Economic Advisers chairwoman Christina Romer said was needed to create enough new jobs to restore the crippled economy.

If payback were working properly, in fact, Romer would be the one getting the job at the Federal Reserve. There are other choices, too. Such as the Fed’s Vice Chair Janet Yellen or Brooksley Born, former head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that Summers, Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan both ignored and smeared so they could carry out their devastating deregulation agenda.

Of course, there’s zero chance that we’ll be surprised with someone for Fed head who is as modestly far to left as President Obama’s two best Cabinet choices—Hilda Solis and Tom Perez—as Labor secretary. But a fella can still wish even when he can’t hope, eh? Here’s Ritholtz:

Despite his alleged brilliance, he seems to exhibit what can charitably be described as the worst judgment of any economist ever in existence. Granted, discussing economists with poor judgement is an embarrassment of riches, but Summers manages to surpass that crowd in ways never previously imagined.

He is essentially a smarter version of Alan Greenspan — only lacking Greenspan’s keen judgment, insight and humility (in case it escaped your notice, this is sarcasm ).
Consider Summers “brilliant” track record:

• He has consistently argued for privatization and deregulation of the financial sector;

• He oversaw the repeal of Glass-Steagall via the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act;

• He approved the (previously illegal) merger between Citibank and Travelers;

• He oversaw (and indeed encouraged) concentration in the financial sector, thinking bulked up banks are a virtue. This led to the rise of the TBTF institutions (formerly known as mega-banks);

• He successfully fought Brooksley Born, then chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to rein in financial derivatives;

• He oversaw passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, preventing ALL Federal regulation of derivatives. The CFMA also exempted derivatives from state insurance oversight and antigambling laws;

• Thanks to Summers, derivatives still have no minimum reserve requirements, no disclosure obligations, no transparency and no exchange listing/reporting requirements. […]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008Downing Street Memo – July 23, 2002:

Six years ago today, Matthew Rycroft, private secretary to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, wrote a secret memorandum to the U.K.’s ambassador to the U.S., David Manning. The memo contained the minutes of a meeting held that same morning between Blair and a few senior foreign policy advisers. It was exposed by the Sunday Times nearly three years later. Two paragraphs stood out.

Rycroft spoke about a trip that Sir Richard Dearlove had recently taken to Washington. Dearlove, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service or MI6, is referred to officially as “C”:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

And there was this:

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

Many people who were attentive to the White House’s public statements saw hints that a decision already had been made to invade Iraq well before that secret memo was sent to its select group of addressees.


Tweet of the Day:

If Weiner wins I am NOT signing up for text alerts from the Mayor’s Office.
@AskMoxie



On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin discusses wingnuts actively misreads Obama’s record to portray him as a hypocrite on “shoot first” laws. Plus: Nate Silver’s move to ESPN. Gop unhinged: skewed Obamacare claims from IN Gop & why they’re garbage; Kilgore’s “Uh, Yeah, This Is a Different GOP”; Chait’s “Anarchists of the House”; Sargent & The Hill on Rs abandoning constituent service to sabotage Obamacare. “How Goldman Sachs is making your beer more expensive”; US Marshals lose track of millions in equipment. How “warrior cops,” cheap tech & privatization combine to erase the unwritten checks & balances against govt power.


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