Give Summers' Genius More Leeway

To combat crisis, perhaps Obama's economic genius should be given free reign: Scheiber
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2009 3:13 PM CDT
Larry Summers, chairman of the White House National Economic Council, appears for an interview on ABC's "This Week."   (ABC News)
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(Newser) – The most common worry over Larry Summers’ directorship of President Obama’s economics advisory council has been that his hard-charging intellectual style would alienate politicians the administration needs, writes Noam Scheiber in the New Republic. But considering Summers’ experience as Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, as well as his prescient 1991 paper on crises of business confidence, it’s possible the current trouble might be best dealt with by simply getting out of his way.

Summers would probably be running Treasury if it wasn’t for the furor over his controversial comments about women as Harvard’s president, Scheiber writes, which would’ve left him in direct control of more policy levels to combat the crisis. Indeed, Summers’s tendency to cede to Secretary Timothy Geithner on Geithner’s pet issues is “one reason why the bank bailout seems, in terms of its aggressiveness and boldness, the least Summers-like of all the administration's economic plans.”