Is Larry Summers on the way out?

Joshua Green thinks so:

I think Summers is going to leave sooner rather than later, possibly before the mid-term elections, and if not then, soon afterward.

Why? Because Summers is frustrated by his role, and his colleagues are clearly frustrated with him. Alexis Simendinger had a devastating item in last week's National Journal suggesting that Summers's "legendary self-regard" and "ego the size of the national debt" had gotten out of control. Some of Summers's frustration no doubt stems from his wanting to be Treasury secretary. When that plum went to Geithner, Summers cast his eye on the Fed chairmanship and agreed to bide his time until Ben Bernanke's term ended at the NEC--a staff position well below his old job as Clinton's Treasury secretary. Most administration officials tactfully avoid pointing this out, because Summers has a fragile ego. But that's why Joe Biden is so great. "How many former Secretaries of the Treasury would come in not as Secretary of the Treasury?" Biden blurted out to the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza last fall.

But Summers didn't get the Fed job either. Apparently that didn't sit well. Administration insiders told Simendinger that Summers demanded a series of perks as compensation, including cabinet status, golf dates with the president, and a personal car and driver. In the "No Drama" Obama administration, such behavior stands out. [...]

Summers always seemed a bad fit for NEC director because the job entails dispassionately presenting the president with the counsel of his competing economic advisers. Summers doesn't do "dispassionate" and he didn't want to limit himself to fielding others' advice--he had plenty of his own to offer. In other words, he was supposed to be the referee, but he also wanted to play power forward.

Summers was one of President Obama's worst appointments, in my opinion, but I wouldn't expect the president to reshuffle his economic team unless a mostly-jobless recovery continues, or the worst-case scenario of a douple-dip recession develops. Anyway, Summers' departure wouldn't make much difference if Green is right about Timothy Geithner being "ever more secure at Treasury."

What do you think?

Tags: Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama, Obama Cabinet, Economy (all tags)

Comments

4 Comments

Replacement?

Summers out Krugman in? or Stiglitz? Volcker maybe a bit too old I think.

by vecky 2010-04-09 12:40AM | 0 recs
Hopefully this is true.

But only if he gets replaced with someone who will be in our best interest...

My dream senario?  Move Volker into the NEC role (to replace Summers), then trade out Geithner for Stiglitz as Treasury Sec., and then move Geithner into Volker's current slot.  Fight to get a standalone CFPA and appoint Warren to run it.

Now that's an economic team set up to do well for the American people.

by The BBQ Chicken Madness 2010-04-09 08:01AM | 0 recs
Larry Summers Out?

Like all DC rumors, I'll believe it when Summers actually says it and even then I'll have my doubts.

by jsfox 2010-04-09 11:35AM | 0 recs
Geithner won't be going anywhere

I'm afraid little Timmy Geithner won't be leaving Treas. Secy. for the simple reason that his replacement would need to be confirmed by the Senate.  Given how disfunctional that body is, virtually anyone Obama nominates will be opposed by the idiot party. 

by weinerdog43 2010-04-11 11:45AM | 0 recs

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