Obama's Clintonesque Instincts

The freakout begins:

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.

It would be interesting to hear Dean Baker's theory of how Larry Summers "shares a substantial part of the blame for getting us in this mess." His post does not say. And it goes without saying that Stoller does not explain it. I hope Krugman weighs in on this.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    At least there aren't any rumors (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:27:01 PM EST
    of Bob Reich getting a job. I'm SURE Krugman would have something to say about that.

    Summers I would oppose mostly because he has a high probability of seriously embarrassing the administration. but I don't think I have any policy problems with him.

    Well, he picked Biden (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Democratic Cat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:37:42 PM EST
    who certainly had a high probability of saying something embarassing! If the policy is right, I think you cross your fingers and go with it. Summers has said some nutty things in the past, but he is a brilliant economist.

    I certainly hope that Obama tries to emulate Clinton in all the positive ways, including picking from among Clinton's best advisors and policy people. I am more hopeful for this administration than I was two days ago.


    I could see that being the reason (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:09:14 PM EST
    for opposing him.

    Interestingly, just I did not hear much from the progressive blogs criticizing him for his behavior while Harvard President, not many are citing that as a reason why he should not be Treasury Secretary.

    There is a real sexist streak in the progressive blogs.


    I think the proggy blogs ... (5.00 / 3) (#86)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:03:11 PM EST
    are pretty silent on all civil rights issues.

    Even in the recent discussion of Prop 8, I saw a lot of comments on proggy blogs that made me cringe.

    One commentator, who got a lot of rec's, said it wasn't a civil rights issue. Huh?

    I think the operative word in the phrase "progressive blog" is not "progressive."


    I suggest that you visit Green Mountain Daily BTD. (none / 0) (#151)
    by ctrenta on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 08:17:37 PM EST
    Summers sucks (none / 0) (#159)
    by BigElephant on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    Summers had a LOT of problems at Harvard.  I have several friends on the faculty and he was largely despised for numerous reasons.  He may be a fine economist, but there are a lot of fine economists.  My general rule is to hire both good and excellent people when possible.  There are people that fit this mold today.  

    IMO, Summers would be the first major mistake Obama has made in the past 2 years.


    Why would Krugman object to Reich? (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Manuel on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:40:33 PM EST
    They have a lot in common and a shared ideology.  The economic situation calls for putting aside personal differences.  All hands are needed on deck.  In any case, here is an article hinting that the Reich/Summers argument has dimminished.  These are smart, competent people who know what is at stake and whose views evolve.  That is what differentiates them from the Bush crowd.  This article gives me more confidence in Summers at Treasury because the Reich point of view is more relevant than ever.

    After the last year or two, (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:19:43 PM EST
    I hope you don't seriously believe that anyone really gives a crap about things like this?

    Insults about the abilities of women from Summers? I think we can be 100% sure that no one - not one of the lefty blogger boys, no one in the mainstream media, no one but a handful of women - will say a word about this.

    If they don't like Summers for the job, it surely won't be because of objecting to this point.


    Are you loving this, Dr. M? (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Cream City on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:11:14 PM EST
    I am.  Larry fricking Summers!  Talk about a tone-deaf administration already. . . .

    I wonder if koolaid can reduce cognitive dissonance?  If so, large quantities of the sweetie stuff must be being mixed, poured, and consumed in record quantities by some women in academe whom I know.  They emailed madly a couple of years ago about Summers.  Now?  Crickets.  Bwwwaaahhh.


    It's unbelievable CC (5.00 / 2) (#114)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:21:54 PM EST
    I keep trying to overcome the despair....  as soon as I feel better, it all starts again.

    Do you think there will be at least a token female in the administration?


    probably McCaskill (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:32:36 PM EST
    and Napolitano has been mentioned too.

    I hope Summers is not chosen.

    I take extreme exception to him.


    Thank you coigue (5.00 / 3) (#120)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:34:27 PM EST
    To offset my negativity, I'll mention that I'm extremely happy that Obama is considering RFK Jr. for EPA - now that is a wonderful, strong, and bold choice.

    as long as he sticks to the environment (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:41:35 PM EST
    I agree.

    Yeh, I would consider (5.00 / 3) (#130)
    by Cream City on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:02:19 PM EST
    McCaskill to be a token female, all right.

    Not to mention a token sentient being in her own right.  Perhaps the question to ask is:  Which Cabinet decisions do you want to see being made by McCaskill's teenaged daughter?


    By text message. (5.00 / 2) (#131)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:05:12 PM EST
    dear O (5.00 / 3) (#135)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:16:37 PM EST
    inv8 afghan 2day

    2morrow paki.


    huh??? (none / 0) (#136)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:17:28 PM EST
    I am not in the know on Claire.

    luv yr txt msg, lol (5.00 / 2) (#137)
    by Cream City on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:28:42 PM EST
    and like, fer sher, y'know?

    Ah, you must have missed that the Senator from the fine state of Missouri, when announcing her support for Obama, said it was because her teenager told her to do so.  

    A niece of mine, the age of McCaskill's daughter, told me to vote for Obama, too.  I respect the youngster, so I asked her to explain why.  She floundered for a while, and then said it was because he is a "potential hero."

    She wants to major in either History or English.  But at least she's not planning to major in Logic.


    My neice told me she was voting for him (none / 0) (#139)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:29:51 PM EST
    'cause he's hot.

    Since she lives in ND, I said I'd take it.


    Cream City, this one's for you (none / 0) (#143)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:20:56 PM EST

    The Onion's take on Obama supporters - my son sent it to me today, and it is so spot on and hilarious, I know it will cheer you up!


    Oh, that's marvelous -- thank you! (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by Cream City on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 07:25:10 PM EST
    Love the Obazombies.  But I think the cop, constantly being directed to blogs, is the best. :-)

    Here's one for you -- go to southparkzone.com for season 12, episode 12 aka last night's episode of South Park.  The creator boyz are libertarian so didn't have a dog in the hunt.  So every one of the candidates gets it but good (gotta love the real Palin revealed).  But it most skewers the Insufferable Ones Who Are the Ones They Have Been Waiting For.  

    Btw, re that slogan, I was not bothered by its ungrammatical structure when I first read it years ago, since it was said first by a Navajo shaman.  But hearing it from a Columbia and Harvard grad when it comes up on the teleprompter . . . well, I just wanted to pull out my red pen and mark it with marginalia as "awk"!


    So called liberal (5.00 / 3) (#138)
    by Jjc2008 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:29:31 PM EST
    (as well as Hillary disser and hater) Lawrence O'Donnell just explained how "no one is going to care if Summers was politically incorrect."  His rolling eyes and condescension explained a lot and I think represents a lot of the blogger boy, lefty pundit mentality.

    ya, 'politically incorrect' (none / 0) (#144)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:24:53 PM EST
    That's what they all use to trivialize gender bigotry, but you can bet they would be outraged if they same kind of comments had been made about black vs. white innate abilities.

    I just said the same thing on (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Jjc2008 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:41:42 PM EST
    Huffpo where some female was saying "women need to get over it because Summers is brilliant".  
    I wondered whether people would just get over it if Summmers had quipped that whites are innately better than blacks or that asians were innately better than whites in math and science.

    But of course people like O'Donnell and all the other boy pundits roll their eyes at the notion of sexism.


    "women need to get over it . . ." (5.00 / 2) (#148)
    by nycstray on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 07:15:26 PM EST
    well if that just doesn't set me off all over again.

    H*ll will be freezing over, I suspect, before I do.


    Here's something else to ponder. (none / 0) (#154)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:08:46 PM EST
    Who will replace Obama as Senator from Illinois?  NPR mentioned Jesse Jackson, Jr. (She didn't shed any tears for New Orleans.) or Emil Jones.  

    yea, it's just us dirty feminists trying to (none / 0) (#146)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:44:20 PM EST
    take away their freedom of speech.

    Well, if I learned anything this campaign season (5.00 / 3) (#147)
    by Jjc2008 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:53:52 PM EST
    it is that sexism is still quite acceptable in the so called progressive world.

    Ugh, we have to hear that "pc" line (none / 0) (#150)
    by Cream City on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 07:35:29 PM EST
    again in this New Dawn of America?  Not surprising, really, since so much else from Nu Dems sounds so darned Republican.  I had the line tossed at me so many when I was bringing issues of race into discussion of American history.

    I got so weary of hearing that conversation-ender that I finally would reply that to include issues of race (ethnicity, gender, etc.) in discussion of American history is not "politically correct" -- it is, simply, historically correct to do so.  To put it another way, anyone who attempts to discuss this country without such inclusivity is going to be incorrect in what they would do with the country, period.

    So let's consider this:  If we want a secretary of the treasury, an architect of a plan for economic recovery, who recognizes and understands the role of all American workers . . . why in the world would we want one who doesn't recognize and understand but only demeans 45% of them?  And if ever we are to fully realize our country's economic potential, why in the world would we want an architect of economic recovery who doesn't realize that continuing to keep down the majority of Americans might just be the problem?

    Ah, well.  Affirmative action is gonna be dead, anyway, re race -- that is so clearly on the agenda, but I've only read one analyst who has been listening closely (and especially to Tuesday night's speeches).  So gender and the rest are  under the bus already.  Might as well put Larry fricking Summers at the wheel.


    CDS (none / 0) (#2)
    by Amiss on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:29:21 PM EST
    still alive and kicking. Truly disgusting.

    I think they just consider Summers (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:30:37 PM EST
    to be too close to Rubin, whom they hate because of NAFTA.

    Okay do tell (none / 0) (#32)
    by jerry on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:09:42 PM EST
    Can you clarify what you are saying?

    I regard both Krugman and Reich very highly.  What don't I know?


    My recollection (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:14:57 PM EST
    is that Krugman thinks Reich is a purveyor of "pop internationalism" and essentially a charlatan.

    My own personal problem with Reich is that he supported Bill Bradley over Al Gore for mostly CDS reasons.


    Thanks for the clarification (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by jerry on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:23:38 PM EST
    While I think Krugman is a genius, I have to admit Reich's videos are much funnier.  And I find myself in general agreement with most of Reich's editorials.

    And so, because I value both men so highly, I will politely pretend your link didn't work.  

    Did you know that "CDS" has now become ambiguous?  It's no longer just Clinton Derangement Syndrome.  Kevin Drum wrote a post today, CDS Demonization that turned out to be about Credit Default Swaps.

    Truly, thanks for the clarification.



    By the way, (none / 0) (#75)
    by jerry on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:41:50 PM EST
    (I of course did click on your link.)

    I can't tell you what either Krugman or Reich currently think of trade, especially regarding free trade vs. fair trade.

    My understanding though, from reading his op-eds and blog, is that Krugman has come pretty far in discussing the problems of free trade that are fixed with fair trade.  (Somewhat similar to Alan Blinder.)

    I've also been surprised at times to read Reich's blog and find that he is a bit more skeptical of fair trade than I would have thought from hearing him on Marketplace.

    So head in the sand, I will continue to think these two smart, funny, (Jewish) guys, are best friends.


    The campaign drivel is over. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Fabian on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:32:47 PM EST
    We now return you to your regularly scheduled program of fact free bloviators.

    The financial crisis has been going on for 3 months now?  Plenty of time for people to do a little research on what happened, whodunit and why no one saw it coming.  

    Robert Reich lays the blame on Alan (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by hairspray on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:16:03 PM EST
    Greenspan in 2003. In order to fuel the housing boom, Greenspan lowered the interest rate to 1% and the number of people in the market for real estate exploded. That was the bubble that finally had to sink.

    Summers was central (none / 0) (#51)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:25:43 PM EST
    Bank deregulation as I mention upthread.

    you have zero credibility (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:33:24 PM EST
    You know (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:35:21 PM EST
    Clinton's people were mostly pragmatic.  It's not like anyone wants to bring back the purveyors of a failed ideology to do the exact same thing all over again.  In the past year, I've seen a lot of willingness on the part of people like Rubin and Summers to reflect on what they got right and what they got wrong, which is all you can really ask.  And Bill Clinton himself shows the same sort of introspection, I think.

    I don't believe Clinton's people are the only ones capable of managing the economy, far from it, but I think the strident opposition to them is a little bit irrational and Naderesque.

    I keep waiting (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by Fabian on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:41:46 PM EST
    for someone to tell me exactly what horrible things these people were responsible for.

    Did they spent the last seven years in the Bush administration?


    Let me put it this way (5.00 / 5) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:54:32 PM EST
    I find it hard to believe that the value of the dollar in 2000 is why we have a crisis in 2008.

    It was deregulation of the banking system (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:20:34 PM EST
    that people are talking about. Remember that happened in the Clinton administration as did deregulation of media ownership - both of which have not turned out so well.

    Summers was part of that banking deregulation as Treasury Secretary which was centrally responsible for the mess we are in today..
    (btw Stoller does mention that in his post along with some other things about Summers he is not thrilled about - complete with links).

    Summers is an incredibly intelligent person that is a product of an impressive pedigree. And yes he could change his tune on things he got wrong. The question is will his changes be right this time.

    I've followed him somewhat over the years including reading his column in the Financial Times. His ideas seem to be modernized domestically, but he is still a Free Trader which is the biggest push back to domestic improvement there is. It affects unions, and wages, and healthcare, and jobs themselves. So unless he and Obama address Free Trade in a way that benefits the US domestically even the 'smartest guy in the room' as some call Summers is not going to have much positive impact domestically.


    Agree Pepe (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:28:22 PM EST
    free trade was a loser of an idea.  A policy that seriously damaged too many communities. For my money solid, healthy communities equal a strong nation.

    What do you mean by banking deregulation? (none / 0) (#70)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:38:48 PM EST
    I assume you mean the repeal of Glass Steagall.

    Do you have any evidence that this actually deregulated any banks? Because i know it did not.


    If not deregulation (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by standingup on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:06:28 PM EST
    what would you call the effects of Gramm-Leach-Bliley?  I suppose loosening of regulations could be a better term but it certainly changed the way banks were regulated.  

    Personally, I think the current crisis was aided by the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and the SEC 2004 change to the Net Capital Rule.  All of these facilitated and contributed in their own way to the subprime market collapse, credit crisis and insolvency of many institutions.  


    From the Business Journal (none / 0) (#82)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:55:39 PM EST
    The 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act broke down barriers between banks, securities firms, mortgage lenders and insurance companies. That deregulation repealed Great Depression-era bank regulations with the approval of former president Bill Clinton.

    The Gramm bill encouraged lending during the strong housing market but has put banks, investment houses and insurance companies in peril since the housing bust which started two years ago. The measure allowed those lending money to sell off those loan portfolios to other companies, thus disconnecting the lending risk.

    That pretty much sums it I hope.

    So yeah the Clinton Administration was central to the current crisis as were they central to other deregulation including media ownership. They did good on some things but made a mess of others.

    Like I said, Summers seems to have thought through some things. Will he get it right this time? Will Obama listen to the right ideas from the right people when he has hardly a clue how things work? Who knows. But when you have the same guys coming back in who screwed some things up then I'd say people have a legitimate concern to voice as some evidently are.


    Knowing history (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Manuel on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:33:10 PM EST
    Assuming some intellectual honesty, one could make the case that having people with the experience of having made errors is a good thing.  Particularly if they have learned from them.  That is the kind of thing a confirmation hearing could bring to light.  Summers is, by all accounts, a smart guy.  His economic philosophy isn't significantly at odds with Obama's.  

    I made the same point (none / 0) (#103)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:51:24 PM EST
    as you already in this thread earlier.

    The question here is should this be examined. The diary and many posts are making a case for it should not be examined. Others here, including myself, and many other blogs think it should be examined.

    Why the discrepancy of opinion? Easy. There are people here that no matter who Obama picks for his team and going to push back on any criticism. And then there are others who rightly will examine the impact of each appointee. It happened yesterday with Rahm. People who hated him in on November 3, 2008 and before now think he is a great guy. What changed about Rahm? Nothing. Other than Obama choosing him.

    So when you have people who do not want to examine appointees and have a knee jerk reaction to defend  Obama at all costs then in my opinion they have no valid opinion as their minds are made up as too their actions before the fact. That mindset may be loyal to Obama but it does nothing to keep him honest or give us the government we want. So much for all the pre-election talk of holding his feet to the fire. With some it is more Carte Blanche.


    It helps that my expectations are low (5.00 / 0) (#141)
    by Manuel on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:11:55 PM EST
    I think Obama is entitled to pick his team and to be judged on results not on the personality traits of those he picks.  Obama said he would assemble a team with diverse points of views.  That sort of thing can only be judged once the team is complete.  Emanuel was chosen to play the bad cop to Obama's good cop as well as for his knowledge of the system.  Summers would not be a terrible pick.  I don't see anything yet to attack or defend.  Let's see some policies or discussion of policies and then we'll have something we can agree with or oppose.  Personally, I would like a little more of Reich's viewpoint represented but it is Obama's call.  One thing I deplore is the way all these political conflicts are always personalized.  I guess it's human nature.

    I didn't cite (none / 0) (#156)
    by Pepe on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:28:18 AM EST
    personality traits. I was talking about bad policy decisions in the past which help put us in this financial mess and the unbending support for Free Trade. I f you don't think that is worthy of discussion then like I said some people are Carte Blanche when it comes to Obama and could care less about things most real progressives are against like Free Trade that decimate the middle class of this country. If that is where you are at, and it must be because you don't have a word of concern about it, then that is where you are.

    You say Summers would not be a terrible pick but you cite not one reason for that. Just say it and it is so without any reasoning at all. Those are the types of comments that baffle me. Others post fact driven posts and then you come along and your rebuttal is 'I don't think he would be bad'. Not very persuasive.


    I have followed up in the open free thread today (none / 0) (#158)
    by Manuel on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 12:05:18 PM EST
    Here is a link.

    When I talked about personality traits, I wasn't referring to your posts.  I was referring to the objections to Summers that attack his character.

    With regards to free trade, the Democratic economist consensus (which I mostly support) acknowledges that free trade is the basis of the world economy and that (as with capitalism itself) the goverment's role is to blunt any excesses or unintended consequences.  I believe Obama, Summers, and many others share this outlook.


    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:10:47 PM EST
    Commercial banks could act as investment banks.

    Who believes that is the cause of today's problems and how do they explain this belief?


    Naderesque (none / 0) (#121)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:34:39 PM EST
    that's a good word for it.

    Am I the only one who notices (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by Landulph on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:10:29 PM EST
    a weird sort of cognitive dissonence here? Stoller et al oppose having anything to do with Clintonites because they hold them responsible for the financial collapse (that happened 8 years after the Big Dawg left office, but that's another matter) but have no problem (like our President-elect, or so he says now) with "reaching out" to the Republicans who really ARE responsible for the Crash of '08, together with all the other catastrophes of the past octanum. Makes my head spin.

    A bit of googling BTD... (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by jerry on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:18:03 PM EST
    Summers and Rubin were linked with Greenspan to the tearing down of various attempts to regulate derivatives.

    "Fresh Air", and on "This American Life" have done some terrific work explaining the financial crisis and what caused it.  And much of that work has involved speaking with Michael Greenberger Michael Greenberger, a former director at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

    Greenberger's boss was Brooksley Born, The Woman Greenspan, Rubin & Summers Silenced - by Katrina vanden Heuvel

    ...more than a decade ago, a woman you're likely never to have heard of, Brooksley Born, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission-- a federal agency that regulates options and futures trading--was the oracle whose warnings about the dangerous boom in derivatives trading just might have averted the calamitous bust now engulfing the US and global markets. Instead she was met with scorn, condescension and outright anger by former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and his deputy Lawrence Summers. In fact, Greenspan, the man some affectionately called "The Oracle," spent his political capital cheerleading these disastrous financial instruments.

    On Thursday, the New York Times ran a masterful and revealing front page article exposing the culpability of Greenspan, Rubin and Summers for the era of dangerous turbulence we live in.

    Katyrina Van den Heuvel (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:22:01 PM EST
    is not credible to me with due respect.

    Nor is Amy Goodman.

    I simply do not believe anything they say. Sorry.

    And I find it difficult to accept the premise that an Administration that left office in 2000 is the reason why we have problems 8 years later.

    Seems like the usual CDS suspects to me.


    Katrina is who I found by Googling, the SOURCES (none / 0) (#56)
    by jerry on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:29:56 PM EST
    were Michael Greenberger and Brooksley Born and this story was reported by:

    The New York Times
    Fresh Air
    This American Life

    Regardless, your original question was "It would be interesting to hear Dean Baker's theory of how Larry Summers "shares a substantial part of the blame for getting us in this mess." His post does not say."

    Without speaking for Baker, I am trying to explain to you what has been reported regarding Summers and Rubin and what Baker may be referring to.

    Apart from that, I suspect I like Summers more than you seem to given your prior post today.  My very remote and third party understanding of what happened at Harvard was an ill founded witch hunt that was not reality based in the slightest, but based on the political correctness and the smear and identity politics of "modern feminism."


    Summers and Harvard (5.00 / 0) (#124)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:37:46 PM EST
    Oy, the myth-making that's gone on about this.

    Summers was in trouble from almost the moment he set foot in the Havard president's office, and it had zippo to do with women or women's issues or anything even remotely related.

    Simply put, the guy was not able to function in the rather genteel and collegial style Harvard, and I'm sure many other academic institutions, expect.  He was blunt, abrupt, impatient, tactless, and basically antagonized nearly everybody he dealt with, stuff and particularly the very touchy professors. One of his very first actions was to privately upbraid Cornel West to the point that West departed for Princeton in a huff and half the superb Afro-American Studies department quickly followed him out the door.

    The clumsy comment about women and hard science disciplines was the last straw, and the faculty who were most offended by him seized on it as an excuse to raise a huge public stink and schedule a no-confidence vote.  When it became clear he would lose that vote, he resigned rather than essentially be run out of town on a rail by his own faculty.


    What I heard (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:08:54 PM EST
    from my colleagues at Harvard (mostly scientists) was a little different.

    He was popular with the business school faculty, extremely unpopular with arts and sciences faculty. He had a penchant for making racially insensitive and gender insensitive remarks long before the straw that broke the camel's back. He was a horrible administrator with no people skills. When people, like West, took offense at his comments and approach, he silenced or punished them.

    In addition to that, he ran the place like a for-profit corporation rather than an academic institution. This is not exactly uncommon lately, but it is also not very popular with academics, and often leads to discontent and no-confidence votes (as at my own institution with our dean).

    He deserved to be run out on a rail.


    Good story, except (none / 0) (#153)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 08:53:55 PM EST
    he didn't silence or punish Cornel West (silence Cornel West???) so I think the Legend of Summers has gotten pretty far beyond the reality.

    Not a story, just the facts m'am (none / 0) (#157)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 10:38:57 AM EST
    Also, please don't try to change the meaning of what I said - I didn't say that he silenced or punished Cornell West, I said that he tried to (and he did - hence the departure of West for Princeton). And this was his SOP for most people that he disagreed with - it's very well known how many he alienated. His imperiousness and dogmatism was not exactly a good fit in academia.

    Interestingly (none / 0) (#127)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:41:21 PM EST
    Most of the mythmaking about Summers' departure has come from the right, because they enjoy creating martyrs to political correctness.  It's their version of the story where Summers was run out of town by unwashed feminist hordes and there were no other issues.

    Most of the mythmaking... (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by jerry on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:59:51 PM EST
    That's a logical fallacy, because "most of" some group thinks something, well then, anyone who thinks that must be part of that group.

    I got most of "my story" from a pretty well-respected economist blogger who was yet another part of the Clinton Administration.

    And I got the rest of my story from other liberal blogs.

    Actual truth too: if you do the reading you'll find lots of liberals, free speech zealots, and other/former feminists who are pretty appalled with the speech policing and other antics of modern feminists.  To criticize modern feminist tactics says nothing about where you lay politically.

    In many ways, free speech, due process, equal protection, bodily autonomy, modern feminist positions are strictly against what is considered the progressive liberal view.  Just see Duke Lacrosse and many other examples.  They are also unscientific points of view as well.  

    Another even more current example: the feminism I grew up with, and identified with since the early 70s cried, "keep the government off our body."  This was the right position as far as I am concerned.  The current feminist position is just the reverse, demanding that government mandate an injection of a poorly tested vaccine that has has no long term testing done into prepubescent school kids, and then demanding through the techniques of political correctness that anyone who disagrees is a rightwing religious nut.  And they do this contrary to what scientists and doctors say is appropriate and in particular contrary to what the woman doctor in charge of testing the vaccine says is appropriate.

    Modern feminism sadly, often takes positions contrary to progressive liberalism, and then demands people agree with them or risk being called rightwing or misogynists or worse.

    Your attempt to lump anyone who criticizes feminism in with the rightwing is, well, lame.  And if you did the research, you'd realize just how lame.


    Huh? (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:12:50 PM EST
    My attempt to do what?  Are you even responding to the correct post?  I did nothing of the sort, and you really should back off a little.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:33:19 PM EST
    I thank you for the link.

    It seems to have disproven your thesis if it is to be believed.


    BTW (none / 0) (#50)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:25:19 PM EST
    Your link seems to absolve Summers:

    MG:  There is no regulation.  In fact, when I was in the government, we argued very strenuously that these kinds of hidden bets could be very disruptive to the financial system and they played as important a role as securities and bonds did - which are regulated.  We wanted them to be regulated.  That was a battle that we lost out on.  In December, 2000, on the floor of the Senate, Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced a piece of legislation that completely deregulated these markets not only at the federal level but, for the most part, at the state level.  So they are completely outside the law, so to speak.

    TG:  What was this legislation?

    MG:  It was called the "Commodity Futures Modernization Act."  It was a 262-page bill added as a rider to an 11,000-page omnibus appropriations bill as Congress was recessing for Christmas in 2000.  I would say there was no one except the drafters of the bill who understood what it did.  I can assure you that the drafters of the bill were not members of Congress!  They were the lawyers for the investment bankers on Wall Street.  They convinced Senator Gramm to introduce this.  They freed the system from any regulation.  And we've been embarking on financial fiascos ever since.


    My understanding... (none / 0) (#64)
    by jerry on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:34:16 PM EST
    Is that indeed the gun was fired by Phil Gram, but the gun was loaded by Summers, Rubin, and Greenspan in terms of the "environment" they created towards the discussion of regulation.

    I'm telling you, in answer to a question you asked, what I've heard reported, my expertise in this is zero, zilch, nada, nil, nothing, bupkis.


    That is speaking of a completly differnt piece (none / 0) (#99)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:29:19 PM EST
    of legislation. It does not absolve Summers at all form the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act whcih was passed a year earlier.

    And some perspective on Glass Steagall (none / 0) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:29:10 PM EST
    First of all, my own view is that between the two pieces of legislation, the more famous one - which was eliminating the distinction between investment banks and commercial banks - was the least problematic.  The lesser known piece of legislation - Phil Gramm-sponsored - which had no hearings in the Senate, no Senate report, came up on the floor, was really just a complete surprise to everybody, is this deregulation of these instruments - the credit default swaps, OTC derivatives, etc.  My view is that I don't care who the institution is - whether it's a bank, investment bank, hedge fund, private investor.  What I care about is that these are toxic investments that have been deregulated without any forethought at all except forethought by Wall Street.

    Emphasis mine.


    Yeah right (none / 0) (#102)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:34:03 PM EST
    It just popped up one morning and then passed the House and Senate and then got signed into law by Clinton who never consulted with the Secretary of Treasury on it's negative impact on the system or the positive impact on the companies it affected.

    Good Lord.


    It seems that Vanden Heuvel is popular here (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:30:55 PM EST
    An interview which is linked to here makes the point that the legislation that did the deregulating was Gramm's in the last days of the Clinton Administration that actually did not involve Rubin at all and apparently had no input from Summers.

    Gramm-Leach-Bliley (none / 0) (#96)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:24:53 PM EST
    was passed in November 1999, a full year before the 2000 election and almost 15 months prior to Clinton leaving office.

    I used to love reading The Nation until it for the most part tuned into the Lefty version of The Weekly Standard.


    That's the repeal of Glass Stegall (none / 0) (#108)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:06:59 PM EST
    That's correct (none / 0) (#140)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:43:05 PM EST
    And the Clinton administration was right in the middle of it. Including Summers. As I said earlier, maybe he has changed and can get it right this time, maybe not.

    More hyperventilation (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:33:30 PM EST
    from Steve Clemons, who really needs to stick to foreign policy:

    I will keep an open mind, but we are beginning to see trends that if Obama does bring back Summers -- and possibly keeps Gates at Defense -- that he is not ready to make the first term of an Obama administration about the new great leaps forward we need. He may be crafting a hybrid of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush holdovers.

    Indeed, there is a chance that Obama I could turn out to be GW Bush III & Clinton III.

    Oh please.  As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, bring in a basin.

    Heh (none / 0) (#72)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:40:15 PM EST
    The funny thing is Steve, who I consider a friend, is really wired to the Establishment.

    And therfore knows (none / 0) (#87)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:09:23 PM EST
    more than most what is what as to who did what.

    It's funny that a poster upthread offers their opinion and then poo-poos Clemons' thoughts and opinions. Truly funny.


    The saga continues (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by Roschelle on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:18:50 PM EST
    These guys are amazing! They already have a president-elect website up and running detailing what can be expected throughout this transition process. It's strikingly similar to the Barack Obama website that helped make his campaign an online success.

    Krugman (none / 0) (#5)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:32:56 PM EST
    has any number of opportunities to go public in the next few days.  

    Since election anxiety has been replaced by staffing anxiety, I sure hope he has something in tomorrow's Times.

    Then there's chief economics advisor; please don't let it be Goolsbee.

    If Obama wanted to stick it to the GOP (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:21:07 PM EST
    He'd pick Krugman-- seriously, it'd be hilarious to see the GOP's reaction; and it'd be awesome to see Dem's acting like they had no idea why the GOP was so angry. Just feign ignorance of Krugman's editorials, and ask why the GOP was so opposed to the most recent Nobel Prize in Economics winner (are non-writing related winners called "laureates" as well?) being treasury secretary (who actually has more control the Fed or the SecTreas-- what can the Treasury Secretary do to directly effect the economy?).  

    If Krugman is a nonstarter (and this is probably the case), then how about Volker-- make it a "crisis manager" appointment (give him like a year); it was painful but he's basically the guy who saved us from the late 70s turmoil and he's well-respected by both sides of the aisle (a Carter and Reagan man), at least give him a shot at the Fed.


    Just the thought of that (none / 0) (#119)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:33:59 PM EST
    makes me all tingly

    It seems, BTD, you are (none / 0) (#8)
    by scribe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:40:15 PM EST
    back to attacking in all directions at once with a revolver in each hand and a sword in the other.

    While that might work with the cavalry, it doesn't work with lawyers.  

    Summers, Rubin, and the rest of the Clinton economic team bear a part of the fault - a small part, given that the legislation was written by and for Repugs and their patrons/employers - for the mess we're in.

    Catastrophes like the ones we've seen in the various markets over the last couple months don't just happen, and they don't just happen overnight.  They take years to develop.

    We need a new team, with a fresh look at things and no need to justify what they'd done.

    Moreover (and unsurprisingly) you fail to address the other argument I made earlier - that because Summers and Rubin have not failed out of the world because of their failed policies, they have no reason to think they might have been wrong or could have done better, and won't re-evaluate, let alone change, their prior attitudes or predilictions or policies.  People only change their approaches, attitudes, and policies when they fail - because if it succeeds, it must be right.

    Giving these retreads another crack at a big job means they won't change - because they would not have gotten another shot if they were failures.

    The long and short of it is that we need to reconfigure our economy from the bottom up, so as to miminize the kind of opportunity and profit that cheating, scheming, and chicanery have yielded over the last 25 or so years and instead create real wealth and prosperity.

    Care to put forth any you think (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:44:11 PM EST
    could do the job but have no connection to past "failures"?

    Jamie Dimon (none / 0) (#19)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:54:45 PM EST
    Seems like a pretty smart guy that understands economics pretty well.

    Buffett's made enough for (none / 0) (#21)
    by scribe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:57:08 PM EST
    a hundred people over.

    Let's make him give back.


    Seems a good idea to me (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:59:53 PM EST
    But the folks who invested in Berkshire Hathaway may not be too happy.

    If you recall, Berkshire Hathaway (none / 0) (#30)
    by scribe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:08:33 PM EST
    has been a "closed" fund for many years now.

    The people who invested with him and it, have more than made out like bandits.  And, FWIW, Buffett does not run that all by himself, either.


    We know Buffett is skilled at making money (none / 0) (#58)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:31:17 PM EST
    for himself and those invested in his company.  But he a "Main St." type of guy?  Advocated raising property taxes in CA.  

    He was right about that (none / 0) (#155)
    by FreakyBeaky on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 01:09:24 AM EST
    Property taxes in Cali are just totally irrational wacko regressive.

    Buffet is an investor (none / 0) (#67)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:35:06 PM EST
    and a long term investor at that. He recognizes market trends to invest in. That is pretty much his bio in a nutshell. What makes you think that qualifies him for Treasury Secretary?

    I saw the guy interviewed on Charlie Rose regarding the financial crisis. He solution was to pump all the money that was necessary into the financial system so that the stock market would come back! Big surprise. An investor is hardly who we want as a guardian and architect of the economy.


    Volker (none / 0) (#47)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:22:50 PM EST
    Volker or Krugman (can someone please delineate the duties of a Treasury Secretary- because nearly all the basic economic control measures appear to be delegated to the head of the Federal Reserve).

    You wrote a lot of words (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:53:39 PM EST
    but said nothing.

    It's news to me you have three hands. (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:14:15 PM EST
    Evolution (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:17:57 PM EST
    It's actually an old, old (none / 0) (#79)
    by scribe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:49:06 PM EST
    malapropism (I guess that's the word) which was used to describe the crazed tumbling mess coming at you kind of attitude and behavior of cavalrymen.

    It's analogous to saying something is "this month's plat du jour".  A deliberate mangling of grammar to yield a stronger description.


    Link? (none / 0) (#116)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:31:58 PM EST
    How come we can only ever see two of them??? (none / 0) (#122)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:36:59 PM EST
    Oh, never mind.



    Hey, I'm a lawyer. (none / 0) (#20)
    by scribe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:56:31 PM EST
    Whaddya expect?

    Heh (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:59:12 PM EST
    BTD (none / 0) (#10)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:44:09 PM EST
    BTD, speaking of transition plans, several months ago you said you would be moving on to greener pastures after the election because you have no interest in "the politics of crime."

    The election's over (heck, in reality it was over months ago) and you've had plenty of time to dance in the end zone.

    Clearly, you deserve your own blog.

    Perhaps J can set up a parallel TL blog specifically for you like she did for the Duke Lacrosse case?

    Anyway, what are your transition plans?


    Sounds like a don't let the door (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:45:23 PM EST
    hit you on the way out.  I hope BTD doesn't take your advice.  

    I'm sure your'e not alone. (none / 0) (#14)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:46:22 PM EST
    Disagree (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by squeaky on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:46:20 PM EST
    As far as I am concerned BTD has been a valuable asset to TL. Hope he sticks around.

    Heh (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:52:52 PM EST
    I tell you what - convince Jeralyn that I should move on and I certainly will.

    I discussed this with her and she indicated to me she wanted me to stay. If she agrees with you then I certainly would go.


    of course I want BTD to stay (5.00 / 3) (#115)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:28:02 PM EST
    TalkLeft is lucky to have him and grateful he chooses to blog here.

    Hey, if it weren't for BTD (none / 0) (#126)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:40:40 PM EST
    I'd never know how great you and TChris are!

    lol (none / 0) (#25)
    by squeaky on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:01:34 PM EST
    Good answer.

    So you were for leaving (none / 0) (#27)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:01:55 PM EST
    before you were against it?

    Ah well, too bad.


    Who's making you read them suo? (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Teresa on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:05:17 PM EST
    I was here before BTD came and I'll stay if he leaves but I can promise you, I'll follow him anywhere. I agree he deserves his own blog and it would be highly successful but I think the commenters here suit him. The moderation keeps him calmer. :)

    That's why I suggested the parallel blog (none / 0) (#53)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:28:00 PM EST
    like J did for the Duke blog.

    Rolls Royce doesn't bundle ketchup with their cars, for example, and likewise it might be better not to bundle the ubiquitous topic of pure politics (which you can find on countless, literally, other websites) with the completely unique and targeted topic of the politics of crime.


    Then you could block comments by (none / 0) (#59)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:32:45 PM EST
    past and present prosecutors also.  

    I agree (none / 0) (#69)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:37:10 PM EST
    The problem I have is that the other two principal writers could certainly dedicate themselves to writing about that.

    Why not urge them to return to those topics? I have always made plain that I know nothing about that but surely your efforts would be better spent urging them to write about topics that interest you?


    The other principle writers (none / 0) (#83)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:57:28 PM EST
    are very cognizant of the shift TL has taken over the past year or so, both in content as well as tone, among other things.

    What course they decide take, now that the election is over, remains to be seen.


    All depends on Palin, doesn't it? (5.00 / 2) (#95)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:23:41 PM EST
    You funny. (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:24:58 PM EST
    I'll follow him anywhere (none / 0) (#125)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:39:36 PM EST
    except for swords crossed.



    stay (none / 0) (#123)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:37:43 PM EST
    I can't wait to see what Krugman (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:50:37 PM EST
    has to say considering he was  weeks behind Reich, Kuttner and Baker for jobs stimulus, in fact he was a year behind Baker for the jobs stimulus.

    Friedmanism is no more dead than Keyneysian is alive.  The best policies in every situation usually blossom from hybridization.

    EVery economic principle ultimately plays itself out as the human condition takes over, identifies the cracks and exploits its weaknesses.  

    All the more reason to change the treasury secretary every 2-3 years to keep a good system of checks and balances.

    Keynes was a genius, Friedman was a genius, Krugman has not reached "was" yet.

    Er, no. (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Landulph on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:01:51 PM EST
    Friedman was an egomaniacal crackpot whose disciples have given succor to some of the worst dictatorships of the 20th century, and whose theories have produced poverty and misery around the world for the overwhelming bulk of the people they have affected. Read Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine." I'll take Kruggers any day of the week, thank you, never mind Keynes--who really WAS a genius.

    Genius (none / 0) (#36)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:13:16 PM EST
    Nobel Laureate.  

    His stain as Ms. Klein states in her book is a stain, but it does not change the fact that the man was a genius.

    I hope Krugman gets a job in the admin, because it is much easier to write about the failures in any program than it is to design one that is foolproof for the human condition.

    When Krugman does that, I will saint him.  Until then, he is just another genius whom i admire greatly but do not believe Krugman is the "answer".


    Perhaps. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Landulph on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:17:21 PM EST
    For myself, I am not impressed by credentialism--Nobel or otherwise.

    This is actually a good point (none / 0) (#65)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:34:31 PM EST
    I think most people need to understand just how hard this is going to be for both Obama and whoever he chooses-- its far, far easier to rail against the man, than to actually be the man (criticizing and proposing alternatives when you have no means to implement them is a great way to sound smart without actually achieiving much-- heck, that is Friedman's claim to fame he was basically the ultra-conservative who railed against Keynes and seemed brilliant; then when he and his disciples implemented his policies well, Klein details the results very throughly).  

    Let's not kid ourselves and pretend the Clinton people weren't gung-ho free traders-- you can find the NAFTA debate on YouTube and that's Al Gore arguing the pro-NAFTA side (its odd that the sanest man economically ends up being one of the nuttiest people ever to mount a major Whitehouse campaign).

    Free trade is actually really hard to come down on either side, because while its definitely better for us to have extensive Labor and Enviromental protections, doing so will basically kill any agreement ( why on Earth should a developing nation agree to our standards-- even a sliding scale is debatable, the more eco/labor friendly a treaty-- or the quicker said provisions are implemented--, the worse said treaty is for an India or a China; such standards reduce incentives for outsourcing which is one of the primary benefits for the less developed country). At the same time its moronic for us to agree to any treaty without such protections, the primary reason we do so is because Corporations have undue political influence.


    Not to put you (none / 0) (#38)
    by jondee on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:14:39 PM EST
    on the spot, but Friedman was a genius how, exactly?

    His ideas seem to be (none / 0) (#48)
    by jondee on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:22:59 PM EST
    a perfectly ingenius negative barometer for what not to do. Maybe thats his genius.

    have you read (none / 0) (#62)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:33:37 PM EST
    his permanent income hypothesis?  Brilliant.  Or a monetary history of the US?

    I don't care for the mans politics although I do like that he advocated the legalization of drugs and prostitution, but to not give a Nobel Laureate proper consideration for his intellect and contributions to society is ridiculous.

    Again, when Krugman holds an office and oversees and implements policy, he can move to sainthood.  Until then, he is just another theoretical genius.


    Friedman = evil genius at best (none / 0) (#85)
    by Xclusionary Rule 4ever on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:57:50 PM EST
    consumers try to smooth out consumer spending based on their estimates of permanent income

    That's the permanent income hypothesis, which is said to explain why Bush's cash stimulus rebate checks did not work.  People spend based on their projected lifetime earning level.  I'm not ready to call this level of thinking genius.

    On the other hand, I am ready to call out neo-liberal Chicago school fascism for what it is. I was fully persuaded by "The Shock Doctrine" that a person like Friedman with a talent for statistical analysis can still be politically naive and even dangerous.


    Bush cash rebate? (none / 0) (#92)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:16:35 PM EST
    Or was that the congress?  I recall screaming that without a jobs package in the stimulus it was a big waste of money.

    I won't argue with you relative to the brilliance of the piece, nor will I argue in favor of his politics, but the man was still a genius.


    Friedman? (none / 0) (#74)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:41:36 PM EST
    A genius? Really.

    I can't imagine being more overrated. To me, Ol' Milt fell in love with Econ 101 and just stayed there.


    Dean who? (none / 0) (#29)
    by koshembos on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:08:15 PM EST
    Dean Baker has become a complainer in chief. With a thinner than thin record, he pronounces sentences on the issue he should be fishing for clue about.

    The Clinton affluence was mainly due to the high tech revolution. The bubble, which one does he have in mind, in housing started earnestly around 2003=2006, I hope he doesn't blame Clinton/Summers for it. This is the direct reason to the current collapse.

    The part of the economy that got to us from Clinton is the rise of the CEO royalty and their occupation of the American industry. This occupation started way before Clinton.

    The most irritating aspect of of blogs is the ability of bubble heads to talk their bubbles of.

    Apparently (none / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:10:52 PM EST
    Baker thinks it was lack of regulation of CDSs in 2000, not the housing bubble.

    I agree with you.


    CDS (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:19:58 PM EST
    is why Lehman failed and AIG is on life support which were the initial crumblings of the financial system.  If you tallied up all of the at risk mortgages you would be looking at maybe a trillion and a half.  CDS is 56 trillion.  Perhaps you do not recall the fed puming 75 billion into the market in October of  2007.

    No one, except Born wanted to regulate derivatives in the 90's and 00's.  

    For that matter, if the economy continued to grow rather than contract for 12 of the last 16 months, and the economy was still growing, and wage differentials had not grown so disproportionately, we may not have had a housing bubble to the extent we are seeing.  

    Be that as it may, trying to pin everything on a housing bubble without taking into consideration derivatives, contracting economy, 2 wars and 9% of the federal budget being used to pay down debt instead of investing in America, is pretty shallow thinking....


    Indeed (none / 0) (#66)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:34:52 PM EST
    And it is interesting to wonder what Summers did in 2000 somehow being the last word. What happend for the last 8 years?

    Yes... (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Addison on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:13:58 PM EST
    ...even blindly accepting that Summers' two short years as Treasury Secretary was the cause of the downturn eight years later, it's pretty amazing that for those eight years Bush officials managed to not fix whatever the supposed fatal flaw was.

    I mean, if it takes more than four times as long to fix a problem as it does to create it, if that's what they're saying, I hope that means Obama and some other Democrats get to be president for 32 years to fix the various Bush-created problems.


    I think Bush said it best (none / 0) (#76)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:44:16 PM EST
    "Wall Street got drunk"

    and horrible checks and balances, but that is the administration in a nutshell.  I cannot believe sometimes how inept it really was....

    And for the record, I am not against Summers taking the post, I am still trying to read up on Bair as Baker seems high on her and I have been seeing the same 3 names for the job.  I loved her standing up a few weeks ago and talking about stemming foreclosures, but beyond that I have not read anything by her and need to do so first.


    See this is true (none / 0) (#71)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:38:55 PM EST
    And now that we've won we should own up to it to an extent-- Phil Gram may have been the primary legislative force behind market deregulation but its not like anyone was twisting Schumer or Biden's arms, or threatening to override a Clinton veto- all major parties (both big and little "p"-- to differing extents- bought into the deregulate, boom, "Dow 30,000" mania.

    The sad part of Baker is that he been so correct (none / 0) (#35)
    by jerry on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:12:27 PM EST
    and prescient.  Apart from his being correct about most of this, your complaints are terribly accurate.  And Krugman is shrill.

    This is the same Summers (none / 0) (#63)
    by jondee on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:33:49 PM EST
    whose idea of an enlightened approach to the problem of toxic waste production in the U.S was to ship it to poorer nations?

    Ah, yes! (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Landulph on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:36:17 PM EST
    I remember that infamous article as well. Now THAT is a valid reason to oppose Summers, not a CDS-inspired belief that he has been telepathically controlling Henry Paulson.

    Well from a sclerotic (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by jondee on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:48:08 PM EST
    it's-the-economy-stupid perspective, it makes (lethally) perfect sense.

    Free Trade means some Free Trade pigs are freer than others.


    he owned up to that later (none / 0) (#77)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:45:37 PM EST
    I will see if I can find the quote

    Actually I think (none / 0) (#81)
    by jondee on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:51:41 PM EST
    he tried to pol-weasal out of it, ie I was being ironic, didnt really mean it, April Fools etc etc

    really? (none / 0) (#84)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:57:31 PM EST
    I didn't know that, will look it up though.

    Yes -- specifically, Africa (none / 0) (#113)
    by Cream City on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:16:58 PM EST
    was Larry's pick for which continent to pollute by moving our nastier industries there.

    Maybe he meant, uh, except Kenya?!

    This potential appt is a howler on so many levels.


    Oh boy, it's not just a freakout (none / 0) (#80)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:50:28 PM EST
    I do not think (5.00 / 3) (#90)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:12:46 PM EST
    the blogosphere actually owns any long knives, or if they do, they're mighty dull ones.

    I suppose it's gratifying that the blogs are not falling into a pattern of praising every reported decision of Obama's as sheer genius.  On the other hand, engaging in this kind of freakout over everything is a great way to get tuned out altogether.


    Didn't Obama say he tuned out (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:26:53 PM EST
    the blogosphere, or at least DK, months ago?

    Indeed (5.00 / 4) (#101)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:33:49 PM EST
    "One good test as to whether folks are doing interesting work is, Can they surprise me? And increasingly, when I read Daily Kos, it doesn't surprise me. It's all just exactly what I would expect."

    Perhaps Obama should spend more time reading TL.  We're not always on our best behavior, but the discussion is a little less predictable.


    Or to put it another way (5.00 / 3) (#104)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:00:48 PM EST
    We knew all along that Obama had centrist economic advisors.  We knew that he was half-hearted, at best, in terms of wanting to do something about NAFTA.  He said flat-out in his closing argument that his economic policies were like Clinton's and that people should support him for that reason.

    Bloggers made the choice to support him notwithstanding all of this.  So why flip out now and try to submarine an appointment, when you're getting exactly what you should have expected to get?  Save the cries of betrayal for when you actually get betrayed.


    They figured it was more meaningful (none / 0) (#106)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:05:37 PM EST
    that he was running against Clinton. Remember, most of these guys came from supporting Edwards.

    Well hey (5.00 / 3) (#111)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:11:47 PM EST
    I came from supporting Edwards too, but the idea that Obama was going to offer some notable leftward shift on economic issues as compared to Hillary was always rooted in CDS.

    I don't mind them grumbling about Summers - it's all well and good to try and tug elected officials in your direction - but I just can't get on board with the decision to go full-blast against him and railing about the World Bank letter and all that.  You lose credibility if this is how you are going to be about every appointment.


    I don't really disagree. (5.00 / 0) (#112)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:14:34 PM EST
    Bubbles (none / 0) (#88)
    by Xclusionary Rule 4ever on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:10:39 PM EST
    It seems to me that 21st century American capitalism is prone to bubbles.  IT in the 80s, dot com in the 90s, then housing.  A prosperous nation has extra money to invest and investors follow a herd mentality, resulting in a bubble of money thrown at what is perceived to be the most profitable sector of the moment.  
    I think it was Bill Clinton who described it this way and said that the problem in 2000 was allowing excess profits to go into real estate development instead of something politically advantageous like alternative energy or infrastructure. Bush decided on the "ownership society" instead of the "great society."  
    I'm not sure the economy can be contained or controlled any more than the Mississippi river.  But tax policy and government incentives can encourage investment to some degree, and regulation is clearly needed to protect the populace when Wall Street bubbles break. A solid numbers person is needed to help facilitate Obama's sound political instincts.  Someone who knows his or her place.

    More on Dean Baker (none / 0) (#93)
    by DFLer on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:17:47 PM EST
    BTD: Baker has always railed against and warned about the housing bubble.

    On his own blog, "Beat the Press" Baker expands the reasons re Rubin and Summers:

    Rubin and Summers were both major advocates of the one-sided deregulation of the financial industry under which we maintained the security blanket of "too big to fail" for the Wall Street big boys, but gave them the green light to take whatever risks they wanted in order to enrich themselves. It would be difficult to imagine that President Obama would embrace people with such a dismal track record.

    A commenter adds:

    Rubin and Summers were brokers of the deal that, in 1999, eliminated most of the regulation that had protected the banking system from just the kind of speculation that brought down. Rubin and Summers argued (along with Greenspan) that bankers wouldn't do something that would bring their banks to the brink of ruin. Hmmm.

    And Summers should be remembered, in addition to his rather unusual views on the mathematical competence of women, for a World Bank memo issued just before Christmas in 1994 in which he suggested that moving toxic industries to Third World countries was a good thing because people in those countries didn't live long enough for the toxics to do their full damage.

    The deal about glass Steagall? (none / 0) (#105)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:05:20 PM EST
    If Baker is railing about that, then he knows nothing. I assume he is talking about the commodities regulation issue.

    Here's two examples why Summers is responsible. (none / 0) (#152)
    by ctrenta on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 08:40:16 PM EST
    He's running DE Shaw, one of the private Hedge Funds that ruined the worldwide economy. Here's what he/they did to Lehman Brothers.

    And then there's this beauty of a letter sent to none other than Kenneth Lay. Check it out.

    Hope that helps.