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Lawrence Summers, Director of the National Economic Council speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, January 30, 2010.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann (SWITZERLAND) - RTR29N9G
Fail upper Larry Summers
The most surprising thing occurred in Washington in recent weeks, a development significant enough to warrant attention: Post-Occupy Wall Street politics touched down in the U.S. Senate. It happened in the form of building opposition to President Obama's reported consideration of Larry Summers to be the next Federal Reserve Board chairman. Needless to say, President Obama engaged in a vigorous defense of Mr. Summers before fellow Democrats, as is to be expected. The administration has never wavered from the Clinton/Third Way economic model of fiscal restraint, free trade, low taxes, financialization and light regulation. But for the first time I can remember, a sign of opposition to this economic model has begun to appear in the halls of Congress, where, Wall Street has long been the strongest force in both parties. This is a significant development for Democrats and America.

More below.

Next to former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, there is perhaps no more notable public official most identified with Third Way economics than Summers. Summers is born and bred elitist, attending only the best schools, having the best connections, and ascending to the top of the east coast power centers by being chief economist of the World Bank, Treasury secretary, president of Harvard, and chief economic adviser to President Obama. Much like many American chief executives, failure on the job hasn't stopped him from getting handsomely rewarded and promoted. While at the World Bank, said that global warming wasn't an economic problem, though he has since retracted that statement after been proven wrong. While Treasury secretary, he said there was no risk in the derivatives market, though he has since retracted that statement after having been proven wrong. As president of Harvard he lost a billion bucks worth of Harvard's endowment betting on ... you guessed it ... derivatives. As president Obama's chief adviser he has been the architect of President Obama's economic record of weak, slow growth and high unemployment. Larry Summers has consistently been the poster child for "fail up" so it is no surprise that he is being considered for another promotion. Who wouldn't give a give a guy who blew a billion dollars control of the nations money?! That's a qualification these days.

Occupy Wall Street seems like an minor event today, but if current trends continue in hindsight it is going to look like a turning point in American history. All across the country, opposition to the economic and political establishment and their order is growing. The same people who told us nothing could go wrong with bank deregulation and turning our economy from one of production and innovation to one of flim flammery and an ever growing list of financier's card tricks, are now under growing pressure from the discontent in the country. The wealthy establishment in the country have overplayed their hand, but the full effects of their mistake are only slowly manifesting themselves. It will still be many years before we see real change in Washington as entrenched as the current American economic policy is firmly entrenched in all business sectors and in the elites of both parties. But something significant happened: More than a dozen Senate Democrats announcing open opposition to a president of their own party of an appointment.

By Washington standards, Larry Summers is the perfect choice for the Fed. He has failed at just about everything he's ever done, he's rich, and he is friends with the right people. Janet Yellin is being touted as a better choice, but I doubt she would be significantly different excepting in the fact that she is a woman and an important barrier would be broken with her appointment, especially in the all-male world of central banking. However, the opposition to Summers is a good sign. It is a sign that the fortunes of working people and the middle class in this country have suffered because of this man, Larry Summers, has finally gotten some attention in high places. Ten years ago ... even five years ago ... Summers would have been hailed and feted for his "keen insight" or whatever. Pundits would sing his praises. Everyone would vigorously defend him, from the president on down. CNBC would give us a glowing 1-hour documentary of his life and times. But now he's under fire. So much so, that Democrats are attacking him in the presence of the president, prompting the president to push back hard on Summer's behalf. I think that is a direct result of the gripping stagnation affecting most of the people in the country. Resistance to the current economic order is building and the opposition to Larry Summers in Congress is an example of that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  an especially good sign that this opposition (48+ / 0-)

    is forming in an institution known as a millionaires' club.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:04:11 PM PDT

    •  Obama needs a wakeup call from Michelle (6+ / 0-)

      The dude is a total sellout. I am to the right of many here when it comes to school and economic issues. But man, the actions of Obama is tempting me to become a lefty temporarily to cause a course correction for what has happened the last 30 years.

      •  Unfortunately BO never had core principles per se, (15+ / 0-)

        he is a not a progressive, but instead a peculiar species of soulless centrist technocrat and as such is relatively unaffected by the misery of others - this explains how he is temperamentally comfortable with drone strikes and their inevitable "collateral damage", massive bank bailouts, but zero foreclosure protections, investigative journalists are persecuted, but Wall Street mega-criminals walk. He believes in nothing and everything - if he knows he can sell it or at least get away with it, he becomes its advocate. The clue for all of us should have been this - he never fights a fight he thinks he might lose - this is the signature of those who lack authentic inner principle - also known as a "core". Contrast this with Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, Elizabeth Warren - they would never shrink from a battle - and they do not come to a knife fight with "reasonable concessions" - they bring a machete.

      •  Why just temporarily? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        david78209, RenMin, mad cat, johnmorris

        I was about to leave an "n/t" at the end of the subject line, but thought better of it, because I think this is worth real discussion.
        IANAE, but it seems to me that empirical.data, both from our own country (USA!  USA!  USA!!) and from the rest of the world over the.past century, and especially the last 30-40 years, suggest that a highly regulated capitalism in a context of an activist, justice-oriented democratic state is the most effective mechanism yet devised for generating a balance between maximizing "wealth-creation" -- what the econogeeks refer to as "efficiency" -- and maximising the provision of opportunity for everyone to accomplish the most of what they want with their lives -- what normal humans (as opposed to Publicans, Teaheads, and libertarians) call "freedom" and "personal responsibility."
        Right-wingers on the 'net generally appear unable to conceive of this middle-ground, and like to pretend (and perhaps some are so stupid as to really believe) that the only options are utterly unfettered "free-market" capitalism (as if such a thing has ever existed, or ever could in the real world) and the dictatorial communisms of the late SovUnion and its satellites, China, North Korea, and Cuba.
        You clearly know better.
        But if you don't agree with my assessment above, what would you consider a realistically attainable ideal?

        •  When I meant temporarily (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          david78209, RenMin

          I only meant what measures I would support now would be more to the left. But what I would support wouldn't be temporary measures.  However, once we get good balance in regulations, then I would emphasize other policies and not keep pressing for more and more regulations. But certainly, any left friendly measures I may support now are not meant to be temporary, if that is your concern.

          •  I thought your "temporarily" was referring to... (0+ / 0-)

            ...your own adoption of general economic leanings, rather than to the gummint's policies per se.
            After the credit collapse of '07-'08 (and even more so now, with the utter failure of austerity measures in the UK and the PIGS, contrasted with the partial successes, despite Publican obstruction and sabotage, of fiscal and monetary stimuli here in The Homeland), I would have thought that the entire free-market fundamentalist facade would have collapsed under the weight of reality.  
            I had far more than just hoped, but also seriously expected, that we'd return to the consensus views on economics that guided the western world from.the 40s thru the 70s (greatest era of wealth-and-opportunity creation in history), briefly reappearing in the Clinton 90s after being eclipsed in the Reagan [counter-]revolution of the 80s.
            (If even the Randroid Alan Greenspan could now bring himself to admit the "flaw in his ideology," how could anyone else still hold on to the disproven theories?)
            Sadly, I underestimated the power of the corporate media -- and possibly the willful self-delusion of a populace of which 19% believe themselves to be among the top 2% (US News & World Report survey, 2000).
            But I still hold out hope that intelligent people will believe their own memories of the facts over the propaganda we're still being fed daily...

  •  A nice sign from Congress (10+ / 0-)

    And since we're early in the 2nd term of the Obama administration, it doesn't appear it's simply the typical matter of distancing oneself from an outgoing President. It's too early in the term for that and Obama still remains somewhat popular.

    So I take it as a good sign.

    Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
    Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

    by BentLiberal on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:08:23 PM PDT

    •  Previews of coming attractions (11+ / 0-)

      I see this battle coming into its own in the 2016 campaign cycle.  Republicans got creamed last time running a living, breathing plutocrat for the White House.  Democrats are being persuaded to allow the electoral equivalent of Larry Summers to be jammed down our throats rather than deciding on a candidate for ourselves.

      There's a pretty good chance that the Fed will be raising interest rates by that time -- especially if Larry Summers wins the job.  If so, the economy will have stalled and Obamanomics will be even more discredited than five years of it have already shown.  

      People are getting tired of standing by and watching the middle class getting slowly strangled.  That feeling will find potent public expression at some point, probably not very far away.  If the left doesn't seize that moment, the right will.  And that won't end well for anybody -- maybe not even the billionaires.

      We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

      by Dallasdoc on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 06:00:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Post-Occupy Wall Street-exactly right. (10+ / 0-)

    That's an important thing to recognize about this opposition to Summers. Great point.

  •  Summers is so stupid (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    techno, dksbook, Dallasdoc, mon, fugwb, milkbone

    that he doesn't realize how stupid he is.

    But he'll still be nominated.

    Sigh.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:12:21 PM PDT

  •  . . . (6+ / 0-)

    "It will still be many years before we see real change in Washington as entrenched as the current American economic policy is firmly entrenched in all business sectors and in the elites of both parties."

    Or else we could just nominate Elizabeth Warren in 2016 and be a good chunk of the way there.

    •  The only "good thing" about a Summers nomination (14+ / 0-)

      would be to watch Warren tear him into little bloody pieces during the confirmation hearing.

      The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

      by raboof on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:14:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But would they allow her to do so? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mon, fugwb

        I think not.

        It is a rigged game especially if you are a Democrat in that chamber.  Oddly, worse than if she were a member of the Republican opposition.

      •  bloody pieces (0+ / 0-)

        One of the problems with Warren tearing Summers to bloody pieces is that this guys IQ is off the charts.  I am a Ph.D. economist and I have watched his mind work.  Warren is bright, but this guy is Krugman bright.  Good Luck.

        •  I've been watching Summers since he was at (12+ / 0-)

          The World Bank making crackpot suggestions like the Third World is under-polluted.

          If that is your idea of bright, it's no damn wonder the economics "profession" has become the laughingstock of human endeavor.

          The man as spent his adult life redefining the word fool.

          •  You realize that Summers is.. (0+ / 0-)

            considered a fairly liberal economist.

            And your dislike of the profession is noted, but the tenure requirements in most departments at Harvard (not the victim studies departments) are the strictest in the world.  Tenure at Harvard in most departments goes hand in hand with brilliance.

            I can find no published articles where Summers suggests the third world is under-polluted.

            I can also argue that without Keynes the New Deal would not exist.  So economists can have huge influence.  Of course, you may hate the new Deal too, but that is a different question.

            •  "victim studies departments" seriously? /nt (4+ / 0-)

              Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

              by annieli on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 06:37:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Ted Cruz went to Harvard too. I'm told he is smart (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              techno, emobile, mad cat

              also!

              Tenure at Harvard in most departments goes hand in hand with brilliance.
              Painting Harvard with such a broad, generalized brush makes you sound like not such a good judge.

              Everyone that went to Harvard or teaches at Harvard or has tenure at Harvard is smart.  Yeah.  

              What was the focus your doctorate BTW?

              •  Ph.D. Econometrics and Game Theory (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                claude, JohnnySacks

                I am not saying that I agree with all the research results, but the peer review process followed by journals in most all professions insures that most people who get tenure at top schools are very smart.  In my field, there are 8 major journals which really count towards tenure.  They all have published 1 in 20 acceptance rates.  And all economics department discount joint publications.  So saying Harvard is full of really smart people in the Economics department is nothing special.  Most top 20 schools are this way, particularly if they are not in "soft" disciplines.

                Do the math.  The few at the top are brilliant.  John Taylor of Stanford is about as conservative as they come.   Type in the Taylor rule to see his influence.   Krugman at Princeton is about as liberal as they come.  He is the expert on currency crisis.  Both have insights that are difficult to master but are profound.

                And guess what, having understood the arguments, you are free to disagree!  But to call them stupid is either arrogant or ignorant or both.

                •  I appreciate your reply. However, perhaps there (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  techno, emobile, mad cat

                  might just be other metrics that have relevance and significance in this particular case.    Publications in academic journals show a certain type of discipline, orthodoxy, and training, not necessarily the "smartness" needed to do the job.

                  For example, IMO a "smart man" would not have said the things he did to get himself fired.  He messed up a good thing because he too thought he was too cool for school.  

                  The baggage Summers brings with him embodies arrogance, privilege and elite access.  Just the same attitudes and shit we don't need.

                  •  Many analytical people have no political sense (0+ / 0-)

                    For instance, you can be criticized severely in academics for saying that more men are interested in math and engineering than women (they are) as he stated.   "Uncomfortable' or non gender symmetric  facts are prima facie evidence of sexism in this hypersensitive 1960's born academic world.   Larry is living in a world where he thinks there are differences between women and men (his neurology department tells him this but the rest of the school doesn't want to recognize this).  Tsk, tsk, Larry, learn the PC playbook!

                    Your right, Larry does not get that higher education is about ism's-capitalism, socialism, racism, classicism, etc.  Nerdy economists like him just don't get it.  You don't simply model and analyze data, you have to have an agenda.

                •  This is a picture perfect example (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mad cat, Sunspots, smartalek, basquebob

                  of why living in academia frees one from the concerns of the real world. People who are really smart can be blithering idiots on other subject matter , even subject matter that heavily influences their field of study if looked at within the framework of when untested theory becomes real world policy.

                  But just in case you forgot:  Elizabeth Warren was also a professor at Harvard.

                  Economics is one of the only so called sciences where economic theory is never tested until it becomes policy that influences large parts of the population. Look at problems that we now have in the economy and trace them back to causality and usually you'll will likely  find some junk economics at the other end who's rigid followers will claim no blame because most economic theory is formulated in the sterile environment of ones brain , which never accounts for the compromises that are part and parcel of any theory that becomes policy.

                  That's good for a people who specialize in in a science that is really not a science. Because then they can always get get called back to the big table whenever believers of that basic economic theory are running the show.

                  "Well it would have worked if it wasn't for those damned, er, democrats that voted against it. "

                  If one can't prove a theory on a small scale like say an experiment, that one can't claim to be a brilliant scientist.

                  When Summers tried to participate in the real world of derivatives, his so call brilliance blinded him to the realities of a  real world loss of a billion dollars. That it effected Harvard in a negative way , with the size endowment that they have, is simply a show of astounding stupidity.  

                  The fact that the Tenure track is so rigid at Harvard has absolutely no bearing except for those that are buried with head firmly in the sand  in a elite world so far removed from reality. One so rigid that they never account for the realities of when theory becomes policy and applied to millions of people.

                  “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

                  by Dburn on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 07:10:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Which reveals that there's more to it than IQ (0+ / 0-)

                It's possible to have IQ, and be very capable in certain ways, and yet make incredibly foolish decisions, or have outright incorrect worldviews.

                Summers may have high IQ, and yet when it comes down to it, he has been flat out wrong about too many things.  

            •  I used to admire economists (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dburn, smartalek, basquebob

              But that was before all the sane ones were run off.  I mean, name me one school in USA where Keynes, or Gardiner Means, or Adolf Berle, or Thorstein Veblen or Ken Galbraith could get tenure in the econ department. ONE

              If Summers is a "liberal" I am an airplane.  (Sheesh)  This is one of the guys responsible for the repeal of Glass-Steagal, after all.  I would call him a reactionary clown.

              I have the Summers pollution memo but I cannot lay my hand on it tonight.  But it was a global scandal.

            •  Intelligence is poorly understood (0+ / 0-)

              The measure of it is devised by academics who not surprisingly value exactly the kind of intelligence they exhibit, which is the kind which enables one to excel in an academic environment, but which can lead one to miss the forest for the trees. This type of intelligence could be defined as linear, narrowly focused, reductionist.

              Which is why academics thought the young Einstein, who is now thought to have been on the autistic spectrum, or with ADHD, or both, was not very bright, and why people like Summers are thought to be brilliant.

              Einstein would never have found a place in the academic world, if he had not later pushed his ignored writings into the public arena. It certainly wasn't academics who first recognized his brilliance. He had to go out and push his ideas into the minds of the peers of his respective field.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 11:12:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think she'll have any trouble (6+ / 0-)

          just because he thinks his IQ is off the charts.

          The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

          by raboof on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 06:22:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  toddleem, with respect, I'd love it if you could.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mad cat, Sunspots

          ...define, and/or provide a few examples of, Mr Summers' ostensible brilliance.
          Though it's obvious that many very bright people can and will occasionally do very un-bright things, it seems to.me that the only operationally valid definitions of "smart," "intelligent," or "bright" must include, at a minimum:
          ...a track record of being generally (at the very least, more often than not) empirically right in perceptions, analyses, problem-solving, predictions, planning, and implementation -- especially in any fields in which one is trained and/or deemed "expert;"
          ...a demonstrated.ability to usefully absorb and respond to feedback, including but not limited to, learning.from one's own mistakes;
          ...an ability to communicate accurately and effectively with others, especially others.with whom.one must work, and.upon whom.one must be able.to.rely, for operating in undertaking action.
          Seems.to.me, based on what I've read about Mr Summers -- long before these.current discussions have been.underway -- that he's a long way from reliably satisfying any of these criteria.
          Strikes me.that he's the Democrats' equivalent of the neocons who.brought us to a most parlous place in Iraq...  
          ...and is one of.the core.characters from both parties.directly responsible for the credit debacle of '07-'08, the.aftermath from.which we're still struggling to.extricate ourselves.
          But I'm happy to be corrected, and open.to persuasion, if there are facts you can.provide.to the contrary.
          Thank you in advance, should you choose to.do.so.

        •  So he's smart, but gets everything wrong? (0+ / 0-)

          Sorry, but that doesn't impress me.  I don't care about how his mind works.  I don't care if the formulations his thoughts go through are amazingly intricate.  In the end he comes to the wrong conclusion on very important matters.  

          So, if he's amazingly intelligent, he's also incredibly lacking in common sense, to the point that his intelligence ends up being negated.  Not a good trait to have.  

  •  He is the Republican ideal of a good Democrat (15+ / 0-)

    Pro Corporate, pro Wall Street, pro deregulation, anti Glass-Steagall. What's not to like?

    /sarcasm

    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Groucho Marx

    by technolinguist on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:13:07 PM PDT

  •  I don't know. (6+ / 0-)

    My feeling is that he has Senate pushback more because he's an egotistical jerk than because the Members are concerned with economic policy.  Senators like to be the only egotistical jerks in the room.

    The only two Senators who I think have a clue about what sound economic policy is - in order - are Warren and Sanders.  The rest to varying degrees are easily hoodwinked by self-proclaimed "experts" in the field - and whatever the "conventional wisdom" is on a given day within the elite club in which they are members.

  •  Too little too late from the Democrats (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, Tigerlady, dksbook, betelgeux, Odysseus

    I am perplexed how a thoughtful guy like Obama continues to act like a first class idiot when promoting these guys when it comes to do with economics or anything financial. They squandered an opportunity to clean house when they controlled the senate and the house for at least a year.

    Free market is good for us. But I have no problem with common sense regulation and size checks. The corruption and cronyism is the bigger problem than any conservative ideology that is not way too far right wing crazy. Democrats have been complicit in this corruption and lack of accountability. You got CEOs who share in the profits but assume NONE OF THE RISKS. Do they lose money when their company goes under years later? No. THey just forgo opportunities to get even richer.

    •  Maybe he thinks about things differently (6+ / 0-)

      than you do.  Has that ever crossed your mind?

      I think that it is pretty clear that he believes in trickle-down economics at this point. He has staked his legacy and presidency on it in both the short and long term scenarios.

      Bill Clinton seemed like he cared about working people, but he signed Glass-Steagall into law.

      "Thoughtful people" sometimes do draw different conclusions.

      Personally, I think that Bill and others like Summers expected an economic collapse at some point, but probably thought they'd be well retired or near dead by the time it happened.

    •  Uhmm, they never "controlled the Senate and the (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, smartalek, antirove, Eikyu Saha, mad cat

      House for at least a year."

      Whatever you are smoking or drinking I would like to sample it.

      Dream on.

      In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

      by Sixty Something on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:30:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •   ↑ ↑ This ↑ ↑ yes, x 100! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        antirove, Eikyu Saha, Cassandra77

        Since the Publicans successfully kept Al Franken.from being seated until mere months before the death of the late Sen. Kennedy, the Dem's did not "control" the Senate for.more than those.few months, at the absolute.maximum.
        And that's before.we even address the unprecedented abuse.by the Publicans of the filibuster and "hold" traditions of the Senate, or consider the.obvious reality that, unlike.the Publicans, who.find it relatively.easy even now to impose uniformity on.their caucus, the Dem's have always been a fractious.lot.at best.  Conservadems and "blue.dogs" have always denied the Dem's the.consistency that Publicans can largely take for granted.
        So in.any meaningful terms, the Dem's have never "controlled the House and Senate" during Obama's time...
        ...and the claims we often hear to the contrary are.just another of the many Publican zombie.lies.
        Never let this.lie.go.unchallenged and unrefuted!

        •  Obama OK'd giving Lieberman his chairmanship (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dburn, Sunspots

          THe deal was he would be a virtual Democrat and he would have been the guy to give a prettty damn good majority for that year. Maybe I am off by a fe wmonths. But Democrats had enough senators. We had to endure that traitor Lieberman being given back his senior status and that is how we supporters get rewarded by the senate democrats?

        •  Plus they kept the filibuster (0+ / 0-)

          and handed control of their majority over to the crazies.

        •  Bullshit... (0+ / 0-)

          Dems controlled the Senate with 59 votes.  They could have relied on reconciliation to pass a better health care bill with only 51 votes.  They could have brought out the nuclear option back in 2009.  

          There is no excuse for the poor performance of Obama/Dems in 2009/2010.  

  •  I have it on good authority from some (11+ / 0-)

    center-right, authoritarian, know-it-all kossacks that Occupy was a bunch of drug-abusing stoners too high to have done anything but party and that Occupy was a worthless waste of time.

    Occupy Wall Street seems like an minor event today, but if current trends continue in hindsight it is going to look like a turning point in American history.
    Are you stoneded?

    Apparently, Mr. BBB, you have failed to consult them and I am certain they are going to be displeased with this indication that Occupy was able to influence teh US government in a positive way.

    Please delete this useless and false posting immediately before you are set straight by this contingent who....oh, who cares?

    Can't continue with the snark.....

    Occupy rocked and should continue because they CLEARLY made a significant difference and, as far as I am concerned, the model has not remotely reached its potential.

    One of the best things ever to occur.

    •  Occupy.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo, smartalek

      was a joke. It started as a seriously awesome movement of coalescent leftist organizations all wanting an end to money in politics. Then these organizations started talking about monetary policy in general, especially inequality, and all that was great.

      Then the anarchists took over with their ridiculously inefficient notions of consensus and anti-leadership, making it more an indictment of the entire social structure of humanity, including an indictment of representative democracy itself. After that, the movement was bound to fall apart under its own weight.

      Humans are hierarchical creatures. We need leaders. We need organization. When we don't, we get squabbling Hoovervilles of legitimately pissed off, but pitifully underorganized people who couldn't change a damn thing if their life depended on it.

      At best, OWS had the effect of changing the channel on right-wing deficit mumbo jumbo and shined a spotlight, however brief, on inequality. Sadly, they failed to become the leftist answer to the Tea Party like they should have. Had they organized grassroots organizations at the local and state level, as well as the federal level, why, 2012 might well have become a blowout year for Democrats rather than just a pretty decent one.

      /two cents

      •  You're misinformed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fuzzyguy

        Occupy began using the consensus model. Anarchists did not "take over Occupy" but rather were instrumental in founding it. Google David Graeber, one of the original founders, and a well-know anarchist.

        And humans do have a history of working together, horizontally, with mutual aid, and are not necessarily hierarchical.

        OWS in a short  time accomplished what no other group had before, which is making the 1% vs the 99% an international household meme.

        It also brought together the disaffected youth and introduced them to activism.

        It was never a "coalition" of other groups which was somehow stolen by anarchists. The anarchist (non-authoritarian socialist) roots were there from the beginning.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 04:34:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for sharing this diary. It is not only (7+ / 0-)

    heartening to see Democratic members of Congress pushing back, but it is also encouraging to read diaries that cut through the political spin coming from the White House and simply expose the truth.

    Obama's support of Larry Summers proves once again that the president has a habit of making speeches about issues that appeal to the American middle class, while his actions reveal his close ties to Wall Street.

  •  You can retread a tire once, but not... (7+ / 0-)

    ...two or three times.

    He's had his day....

    IMHO.

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:19:59 PM PDT

  •  I don't know very much about Yellen, (17+ / 0-)

    but I do know that Larry Summers should be making license plates, not monetary policy. And Geithner should be right alongside him.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:23:44 PM PDT

    •  Don't forget Rubin! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnnySacks

      Phil Gramm, on the other hand, should be called home to be with his Lord as soon as possible.
      And I dearly hope his Lord finds the hottest.possible spot in the Lake.of.Fire.for His most faithful.servant to spend his eternity.

  •  Big Bank Regulation (9+ / 0-)

    In my mind, the biggest failure of the Obama administration is its failure to regulate big banks.   Big banks are bigger than pre-2007 and everyone knows they are too big to fail.  Being too big to fail means you can take risks with Federally insured depositors money and count on some sort of bailout to protect you on the downside.

    One of the problems with government regulation is that the industries they regulate tend to "capture" the regulators.  This is true in railroads, trucking, utilities etc.  The only remedy is simple but straightforward regulation.  For instance, in terms of banks, high and clearly stated capital ratios go a long way towards solving the big bank risk problem.

    The problem with simple but strict regulation is that it is no fun for the politicians and the people who run banks.  It is very hard to game strict capital rules that require cold hard cash and equity behind every asset-no off balance sheet financing-but that makes it hard for banks to earn great returns.

    You can't just put this issue solely on the GOP.  I got a feeling that Goldman Sachs buys a lot of Obama and Democratic favors.  

  •  More on concentration (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scott5js, smartalek, salmo

    Of course, a huge concentration of assets in a few banks makes the whole system more unstable-a problem with one means a problem for the financial system.

    But the large banks love the lower cost of capital they get by being in bed with the government.

    Note that Canada did not have the home finance problem we had-they had simple capital but strong capital ratios in place.

  •  naive (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smartalek, Eikyu Saha, salmo

    I am naive, Summers is the banker's choice--usually Goldman Sachs gets who they want because they bankroll candidates--and that's what I don't understand.  Obama will not need political donations in the future--his public service ends January, 2017--thus, theoretically,  he feels no pressure.  So what's up--is he impressed with Summers intellect?  Is he getting some Republican promises if Summers is appointed?  Does he feel Yellen or Kohn will be filibusted?  Finally, is he a closet Republican--a fan of the U of Chicago's economic theory?

    Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

    by melvynny on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:31:40 PM PDT

  •  These days? (6+ / 0-)

    "Larry Summers has consistently been the poster child for "fail up" so it is no surprise that he is being considered for another promotion. Who wouldn't give a give a guy who blew a billion dollars control of the nations money?! That's a qualification these days."

    I think you need to go back and read Matt Taibbi's account of Alan Greenspan in his Griftopia chapter entitled "The Biggest Asshole in the Universe".

  •  that and summers keeps looking worse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, salmo

    as the years go by.

  •  I have a general idea of who may be leading... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, salmo, Dburn

    ...the Senate Democrats' opposition to Larry Summers. It begins with Elizabeth and ends with Warren.

    My parents made me a Democrat. Scott Walker made me a progressive.

    by DownstateDemocrat on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:33:30 PM PDT

  •  respectfully, reconsider the Yellen comment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BvueDem, salmo, smartalek

    just one article on her time at the Fed and other places:
    http://money.cnn.com/...

    Saying Yellen is not significantly different is like saying Bernanke isn't different from Greenspan. You might not like either one, but their differences are huge. I understand it can be popular to yell "burn the whole place down" but it's not very helpful in the long run unless you're making charcoal.

  •  You know, you are right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, salmo

    and thanks for highlighting this. It is good news.

    I've been feeling sort of shell shocked lately, with all the news of Power kicking the crap outta the People. I don't know whether to crawl in a hole, travel one way to Scandinavia or what. Opposition by so many Democrats IS a sign that maybe all is not totally lost yet.

    I think I'll follow you in hopes of being led to more good news. ...and maybe I should not seek out the bad news so much.

    I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

    by pajoly on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:35:21 PM PDT

  •  He could pull a Lieberman and appoint Summers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, salmo, smartalek

    anyway. I've given up expecting him to decide against the status quo.

    "Life is short, but long enough to get what's coming to you." --John Alton

    by Palafox on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:41:12 PM PDT

    •  And I would bet significant bux that he will (0+ / 0-)

      I always bet against the outcome I'd politically prefer.
      That way, I get some modest form of compensation when my side loses.
      And, of course, I win far more bets than I lose.

  •  Is Mr. Summers a front for someone else so they (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leema, salmo

    become moere acceptable?

  •  Pushing Obama away from Summers feels like Death (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, Eikyu Saha, salmo

    ...in Tehran, a story told by Victor Frankl in his wonderful book, Man’s Search for Meaning and one I'm reminded of every time I'm faced with a chance to reschedule a flight to get home earlier or get a free tkt:

    A rich and mighty Persian once walked in his garden with one of his servants. The servant cried that he had just encountered Death, who had threatened him. He begged his master to give him his fastest horse so that he could make haste and flee to Teheran, which he could reach that same evening. The master consented and the servant galloped off on the horse. On returning to his house the master himself met Death, and questioned him, “Why did you terrify and threaten my servant?” “I did not threaten him; I only showed surprise in still finding him here when I planned to meet him tonight in Teheran,” said Death.
    Hard to believe Obama really wants Summers but if so could his 2nd choice be worse?
  •  Remember the ARRA Dodd Frank& uh the clean air act (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SottoVoce

    I strongly contest the claim "The administration has never wavered from the Clinton/Third Way economic model of fiscal restraint, free trade, low taxes, financialization and light regulation. "

    The ARRA was by far the biggest stimulus in US history.  It was the opposite of Clinton's fiscal policy.  You have decided that $700 billion dollars are negligible.  Yes it should have been twice as big and, of course, the economic circumstances were totally different.  But it just wasn't fiscal constraint by the standards of all previous US policy or of policy in any developed country at the time.  Roosevelt stuck to fiscal restraint.  Obama did not.

    Obama has pressed for higher taxes (as did Clinton).  Yes the higher taxes are still very low, but each clearly went as far as possible.  Recall that the Clinton tax increase passed by 0 votes in the House -- there was a  tie vote (The Marjorie Margolis Mezvitsie was a heroine and sacrificed her career switching to yes).  They each obtained the very highest taxes on the rich which were possible.  We can learn nothing about them from the fact that those taxes are low.

    Obama has tightened regulation.  Clinton deregulated (there wasn't much left for Bush to do to guarantee a crisis).  

    Your claims are plainly false.  I think that if Obama agreed with you, then either policy would be as it is if he were smart or more conservative if he were stubborn and refused to compromise.   When you have gotten a health care reform bill through congress, then I won't object to you describing Obama's economic model as "third way".

    Also "Clinton/third way"  is not historically accurate.  The third way twits did not support the Clinton health care reform. There is a huge gap between Clinton and the third way jerks.  "Clinton/DLC" yes simply a fact. "Clinton/third way" uh uh didn't happen that way.

    In my heart I'm sure that Obama's views are well to the right of yours and quite close to Clintons.  But, at least until recently, we have no proof, because he had to deal with political reality.

    Now the particular case of Summers is striking.  He was indeed a leading deregulator.  His views on policy made it a bit difficult for him to decide which party to support. He really only became a Democrat when the Republicans went crazy (I mean in 1981).  

    Obama's clear desire to make him Fed Chairman is the first really solid evidence that Obama is as you imagine him to be.  

    I should note that Larry Summers was my dissertation supervisor and that if it weren't for him I'd probably be unemployed.

    I recall a call from a reporter the day after election day in 1988 in which the reporter must have said "huh looks like you bet on the wrong horse".  In any case Summers certainly insisted at length that he really agreed with Dukakis more than Bush Sr and hand't just tried to get on the side that was winning.  

    •  Where to begin, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smartalek, basquebob, Asak

      I don't know where to begin.

      Perhaps by quotes?

      The ARRA was by far the biggest stimulus in US history.  It was the opposite of Clinton's fiscal policy.  You have decided that $700 billion dollars are negligible.
      Wrong on all counts. By far the biggest was the interstate Highway system under Eisenhower. I made a comment about this a few weeks ago:

      Secondly, the vast majority of the Recovery Act (joke of a name now), was some of the least stimulative stuff: tax cuts and transfer payments. Only a small percentage (about $65 billion) was really truly stimulative.

      When Eisenhower signed the Federal Highway Act, (3+ / 0-)
      that appropriated $25 billion in 1956. The GDP in 1956 was $437 billion. That's 5.7% of GDP for the largest infrastructure project in world history. Today, that would be about $798 billion.
      That's real stimulus. All of it spent on actual things, not tax cuts and transfer payments. And Eisenhower kept it up to...and so did Congresses after he was long gone. Not a two year, temporary plan of mostly tax cuts and transfer payments.

      The Recovery Act (and moreso the Fed) simply stopped us from spiraling down. It saved us from a full-scale depression. But we most certainly did not recover, and it definitely did not bring about the sustained, robust growth it touted.

      They each obtained the very highest taxes on the rich which were possible.  We can learn nothing about them from the fact that those taxes are low.
      The highest taxes possible would have been to let the Bush tax cuts expire. Guess what...that happened. The Bush tax cuts did expire because they missed the legal deadline. Then, President Obama and the GOP in Congress passed ANOTHER tax cut including on the top rates that had expired. Those things are all true and not in dispute. So you'd be wrong in saying Obama obtained the highest taxes he could. Because he could have done that by doing absolutely nothing. President Obama isn't a tax raiser. He's been cutting taxes since the day he took office. On business, on individuals, and yes...on the rich, which he did in 2010 and earlier this year.
      Obama has tightened regulation.  Clinton deregulated (there wasn't much left for Bush to do to guarantee a crisis).  
      Mixed. He's tightened in some areas, loosened up in most others. He's got a guy in his office whose job it is to loosen up regulations, but no guy for tightening them up. But is the regulatory scheme overall one of strict, heavily enforced regulation with penalties that act as a deterrent for bad behavior? Of course not. Its slightly better than Clinton, but its still lax and weak regulation. You need only look at the record of his anti-trust department to see this.

      Overall, the end results speak for themselves. President Obama has had a limited economic agenda focusing most of his stimulative work with tax cuts. His fiscal policy has been one of cutting spending and reducing deficits. His regulatory policy, while more active than the rock bottom dormant Bush years, is still too weak to act as an effective deterrent. President Obama has continued to sign and negotiate new 'free trade' deals and hasn't done much to mitigate the terrible effects of the old ones. And of course the financialization of our economy continues as the financial sector has INCREASED its percentage of GDP since Obama took office.

      That's a continuation of the Clinton/DLC/Third Way policy with a few minor tweaks.

  •  The only thing the Fed chair can do..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smartalek, salmo

    Creating new money is currently the only counterbalance we have against Republican intransigence on the long overdue phase two of the stimulus. As long as the Democrats are so dependant  on Wall Street money to finance our campaigns there will be no reform. President Hillary wouldn't be as big a disappointment as Obama because I would expect almost nothing from her. President Warren? Now we're talkin'.

    My hovercraft is full of eels.

    by shoeguy on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 06:09:36 PM PDT

  •  Yeah yeah, we have heard that before (0+ / 0-)

    Remind me of the joke of the old  Yenta who starts feeling little sick, a cold develops that escalates to full blown pneumonia, after several months she ends up at the hospital on her death bed, and then after several more months she becomes a widow......

    In the immortal words of Rod Tidwell: Show me the money.

    Queror Ergo Sum. -- Rene Descartes Shakshuka

    by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 06:27:00 PM PDT

  •  Yellen, the first female Fed Chair looms closer/nt (0+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 06:33:24 PM PDT

  •  MA-05: Karen Spilka, tunning to replace Ed Markey (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smartalek, salmo

    has sent a letter to President Obama urging him to pick Janet Yellen:

    http://bluemassgroup.com/...

    Find out more about her at her web site:

    http://www.karenspilkaforcongress.com/

  •  Is "fail up" the same as The Peter Principle? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo

    I have seen the phrase "fail up" here on DKos recently.

    Larry Summers has consistently been the poster child for "fail up" so it is no surprise that he is being considered for another promotion.
          emphasis mine

    I've known of The Peter Principle for some time and I'm wondering if it's the same thing.

    Ref. link (WikiWikipedia):http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    •  off the top of my head... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo

      ....and not properly researched (so:  grain of salt), there's a very substantial difference -- and "failing up" is worse.
      IIRC, the Peter Principle boils.down to:  someone does a good job, and gets promoted, and this.cycle repeats until they attain a posting at which they don't do a good job, and are hence not promoted.any further.  But they are not demoted or lateralled, either, and.thus wind up for the long term in a place of substantial (I believe the Principle sez "maximum," but forget why) incompetence.
      "Failing upward," by contrast, means that someone has conspicuously, possibly catastrophically, failed in one or more postings, but because of either institutional or personal loyalties, or because the failure was either not damaging to or actually served the interests of the decision-maker(s) in question, the person in question is rewarded by bring promoted to a position of even greater influence or authority.
      The Peter Principle actually is somewhat defensible as seeming to make sense from certain perspectives.  Failing upward is far more perverse and insidious in its impact.to.most people affected.
      I'd be happy if.anyone will correct any omissions or errors in my understanding.

  •  A nice sign, but they will fold and Summers will (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklynbadboy, smartalek

    get it.  Wait for it.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 07:14:55 PM PDT

  •  Time for a nationwide general strike? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smartalek

    Like say on Election Day, even if only for an hour? For horrible socialist goals like a living wage, the right to unionize, bank re-regulation, an end to corporate 'personhood,' etc. No DC rally-on-the-mall, but local protests in front of the crooked banks, the Walmarts, greedy corporate hq's etc?

    Election day is perfect - both a regular workday and a symbol of our democracy, the one that seems to not so slowly being taken away from us.

    Just thinking out loud, that's all...

    A nationwide general strike this election day? Why not?

    by Miscweant on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 07:45:03 PM PDT

  •  I'm hoping for Yellin-- then Warren. I'm expecting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, smartalek

    to get Summers--then HRC. Crap!!

    Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.-J. Toobin "New Yorker"

    by chuck utzman on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 08:13:24 PM PDT

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