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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Larry Summers Rehabilitated

As an economist, Summers is a good politician. Taking responsibility in a very roundabout way. The guy was aggressive and caustic in his enforcement of deregulation. Mr. "Timely, Targeted, Temporary" (also "ineffective) when it came to the 2008 Bush tax cut stimulus. Led the cause for the lower public works stimulus amount under Obama,.. so badly designed. Now federal spending is discredited as an antidote to this recession. Not to say O'Hoover was difficult to convince. 700,000 fewer government (all levels) jobs today than at the start of his presidency.
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Now with secular stagnation. There have been people who have talked about this for years, decades, and they did a much better job of predicting the crisis. Keen, Michael Hudson, Ann Pettifor, James K. Galbraith (where was he on the inequality question -- he runs the institute). Summers was on the cover of TIME with Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan, taking credit for the "New Economy." Maybe he should take a little more of the blame.

Okay, so I read the above and wrote before I listened. Summers new critique in the first block is right. And I should be happy he is such a good politician. If he is staking out this territory, as a politician, it must mean there is some chance we go that way. I could quibble with details, and complain about Summers neat way of casting things in the most favorable light ... Infrastructure, climate change mitigation, education, health care rationalization (not Obamacare).

When Tom says, "What happens if we try this stuff and it doesn't work?" Well, we've got shiny new infrastructure, we've got good education and health care, we've taken care of the looming disaster of climate change, people have incomes and financial security... What is "doesn't work" about that?

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