Weeks before the great stock market collapse in October 1929, proto-Chicago School economist Irving Fisher predicted that "stocks have reached what looks to be a permanently high plateau." Such a prominent and epic failure in forecasting the outlook of equities prices cost Fisher much of his personal fortune, as well as his academic and popular prestige.
Now, suppose that even after earning such immense discredit, and even after his economic views had been roundly discredited by the stock market crash and economic collapse, the headline of the New York Times on a day in early March 1933 read:
One would be inclined to think it was a bad joke. Yet, though the names have changed, in effect, that's exactly the joke President Obama has played on all of us by appointing faux-progressive neo-liberal stooge Larry Summers to head his National Economic Council. You know, I'm sorry, I've tried to forget about this, but I just can't. Day after day, I just get more and more outraged at the incredibly poor judgment Obama has shown here.
And, lest you think I'm exaggerating, let us review some of Mr. Summers' vomit-inducing words, ideas, and deeds. Here it goes:
Larry Summers: The Friedmanite Anti-Progressive
First and foremost, we have the absolutely glowing (word has it that Summers had to change his pants three or four times while he was writing) obituary of the High Priest of the Cult of Laissez-Faire, Milton Friedman, on his oh-so-tragic death in 2006 at the age of 94. You know what they say - only the good die young. Indeed, considering how his ideas have bankrupted the country; turned at least one generation into mindless, zombie-like worker/consumer corporate serfs; created a culture which glorifies greed and abhors collective responsibility; destroyed both the American capital markets and middle class; aided a right-wing war of attrition against our education system; and paved the way for the corporate fascism we now enjoy, by that standard, perhaps he did depart too soon. Anyways, back to Summers' man-crush on him:
"If John Maynard Keynes was the most influential economist of the first half of the 20th century, then Milton Friedman was the most influential economist of the second half.
Not so long ago, we were all Keynesians. ("I am a Keynesian," Richard Nixon famously said in 1971.) Equally, any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites."
Umm... excuse me...
Sorry about that. So, as I was saying, first off, who the hell gave Larry Summers the authority to proclaim all Democrats to now be Friedmanites?! Besides the fact that
nearly all of the Democrats I know detest Milton Friedman, this statement demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, where Summers' loyalties really lie - with the corporate oligarchy, the Wall Street criminals, and the dogmatic right-wing. Given the success neo-liberals have had in advancing their agenda, I don't think it at all dubious to say that Obama is taking advice from a guy who advocates an even greater degree of corporatism, and favors even more reactionary economic policies, than those argued for by Ronald Reagan. This is not the fracking change I voted for! What the hell kind of a scam is this?!
Before we proceed though, let me warn you that it gets worse, so if you have any spare airline vomit bags around, it might not be a bad idea to put a few in arm's reach.
Larry Summers: Outright Fascist
Perhaps neo-fascist or synarchist would be more accurate, but either way, it's about right. Fascism is an authoritarian ideology which aims for a single-party state, views the individual as meaningless and completely subservient to the state or ruling class, the take over of government by corporate interests, and which favors Social Darwinism as a guiding principle in most state affairs, but especially in regards to foreign relations. Neo-fascism/synarchism is a superficially different form of it; under neo-fascism, the single-party state is replaced by an illiberal, phony form of democracy in which people are conditioned to believe that they have a voice, but in reality, are only allowed to discuss issues within a certain narrow, pre-established spectrum of debate that the oligarchy allows. As for voting, it may or may not be directly rigged, but with a tiny elite in control of the entirety of the public's exposure to the process, elections are nothing more than a paper-or-plastic exercise in imaginary democracy.
By advising Obama to "stay the course" on the ruinous Chicago School economic policies, Summers is the lying embodiment of one of the characters behind the curtain which we're not supposed to pay any attention to. Larry Summers is the preeminent example of this; someone who infiltrates the party that could be a "problem" for the oligarchs, and neutralizes it from within.
Another good example of Summers' fascist proclivities is the recently-released "Summers Memo" from his time at the World Bank, and it really shines a light on what's going on in that diseased little brain of his. Notice especially how he's not once concerned about actual people, merely some vague notion of "efficiency." This tendency to reject notions of human welfare and individual happiness, and instead embrace "efficiency" according to the workings of financial markets or some other contrived metric, is a hallmark of fascists.
DATE: December 12, 1991
FR: Lawrence H. Summers
'Dirty' Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Least Developed Countries]? I can think of three reasons:
- The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.
- The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost. I've always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City. Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.
- The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity. The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostate cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostate cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is 200 per thousand. Also, much of the concern over industrial atmosphere discharge is about visibility impairing particulates. These discharges may have very little direct health impact. Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing. While production is mobile the consumption of pretty air is a non-tradable.
The problem with the arguments against all of these proposals for more pollution in LDCs (intrinsic rights to certain goods, moral reasons, social concerns, lack of adequate markets, etc.) could be turned around and used more or less effectively against every Bank proposal for liberalization.
Summers has dismissed this as something he didn't write but merely signed his name to in order to "stimulate debate." Personally, I think he's full of shit, because this is vintage Larry Summers: provocative, intentionally offensive, foot-in-mouth-type rhetoric. Remember this clown's nauseating reassurances that discrimination is a non-issue? Or that time he "messed with the wrong negro?" I'll let you judge for yourself, but I think it's pretty clear he's completely full of shit.
Larry Summers: Oligarchy First
As Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, and finally full Treasury Secretary, Summers never hesitated to (ab)use his authority to help out his wealthy buddies when in need, or to create altogether new opportunities to help financial parasites profit on the backs of anyone earning less than 6 figures. For instance, along with Bobby Rubin (whom I hold in similarly low regard) he was a big proponent of bailing out Russia and Mexico, countries in which Wall Street held large positions, during currency crises. However, when South Korea experienced a run on its currency, ole Larry had a sudden change of heart, and suddenly became a hawkish proponent of radical austerity measures - the decimated asset prices in Korea that resulted, and Wall Street's ensuing windfall are, I'm sure, totally unrelated.
And I'm sure everyone is now familiar with his totally shameless shilling for Wall Street during the debate over the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed the Glass-Steagall protections that would not have permitted the present financial holocaust to come to pass. Summers touted the bill as "historic legislation that will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy." How's that "new economy" and "21st century financial system" working out, Larry?
Larry Summers: Reason for 2000 California Energy Crisis Was Not Enough Enron's
Of course, the icing on Larry's cake (and he does enjoy his cake, as evidenced by his half-dozen or so chins) in the Clinton Administration was his handling of the 2000 California Energy Crisis. As the crisis unfolded, Summers traveled out to California with fellow laissez-faire ideologue Alan Greenspan, and none other than Kenneth "Kenny Boy" Lay of the fraudulent shell-game called Enron. Summers' advice to Governor Grey Davis on the deregulation crisis? Too much government regulation is to blame. Relax environmental standards and allow for more Enrons.
Larry Summers: "Economist" Who Knows Nothing About Economics
When we use the phrase "the economy" in common parlance, what we're usually talking about is actually the aggregate product, capital, and labor markets. This is not "the economy."
The real economy is a dynamic, physical, corporeal structure of resource extraction/recycling and the alteration of such resources in a creative manner by human beings, with the objective of increasing our power over the universe so as to enhance human welfare. Thus, to truly understand "the economy" - well, the very first thing is to stop referring to it as "the economy," and instead call it what it is, economy - one needs to think of things at their most basic constituent level, beginning with the creative power of the human mind and working up. That means thinking not so much about GDP, but physical output per square kilometer; not corporate earnings, but energy generated per capita; and so forth. Most importantly though, it means viewing the economy as a device to increase human welfare, not as a mechanism with which to suck wealth from workers and producers in order to transfer it to unproductive financial parasites.
Summers would have no idea what I'm talking about here, because to him, the material level of the economy is perfectly reflected in the conceptual framework of the market system, especially the financial sector. This corrupt epistemological and economic subjectivism is, at bottom, what's screwed us over, and now these same fools think that if only we dump enough taxpayer money into the bankrupt financial system, it will start working again all by itself.
It actually rather reminds me of Gorbachev's Perestroika in the USSR, specifically this time I recall him saying, when asked about the sorry state of agricultural productivity, "If we can just get the system to work, the potatoes will plant themselves!" So, proceeding on this basis, they spent all of their time and devoted all their resources to getting the system to work so that the potatoes would planted, rather than on getting the potatoes planted, harvested, and distributed efficiently, which was the operative function. That is precisely the same thing that Summers is doing now: trying to get the financial system to work so that the corn will plant itself, rather than on increasing the amount of corn (or fuel-efficient vehicles, computer chips, or iPods, or nuclear reactors, or whatever) that can be produced and consumed, which is physically what is meant by income.
So, got that? Larry Summers is not an economist! He is an analytical accountant!
Conclusion: Summers Must Waddle His Fat Ass Out The Door NOW!
Remember folks, this is the fool briefing the President on the economy every single day. Again, this incompetent right-wing fascist, formerly on the take from a large hedge fund and Citigroup, is the President's top economic adviser.
Now, if Summers just adored Wall Street due to his money-obsessed Friedmanism, that would be one thing. But it's not, oh no. Summers doesn't just love Wall Street, he is Wall Street. Wall Street is who he identifies with, Wall Street is who he cares about. It is an absolute outrage that he'd get hired as a freaking janitor in the White House, much less be awarded such a post as topic economic adviser. He does not have the best interests of the country at heart; he is totally incompetent in the field of economics; his and Geithner's bailout plans will sink the US Dollar, the world economy, the Obama Administration, and very possibly the United States, if they are allowed to continue with their hyperinflationary madness.
So, that's it. Larry Summers must go, and he must go now. The entire economy, the entire country, maybe even the entire world is at stake. President Obama, Summers is a moronic, corrupt, cynical right-wing hack! Your administration will not survive if you keep following the insane advice of this madman! Fire him now! Do it today!