Previous post:

Next post:

The Curious Case of Larry Summers

by Keith Koffler on July 31, 2013, 4:49 pm

Sometimes I really wonder. I really do.

Like, for example, here’s a question for you. What is the only area of American life where people are routinely awarded for failure?

Think about it. What do you think?

Attempted murder.

Why do you generally get less of a sentence for attempted murder? I mean, your intent was exactly the same as if you had committed murder. It’s just that you screwed it up.

Of course, I thought that was the only time we rewarded failure in this society, until I started really covering politics as a reporter.

Which brings me Larry Summers.

Larry Summers asleepEverybody in Washington is talking today about the possibility that Summers will be appointed Federal Reserve Chairman by President Obama. And many also are discussing the economy’s distressing 1.7 percent percent second quarter economic growth rate, which is only a bit less distressing than the 1.1 percent first quarter growth rate. AND NOBODY IS LAUGHING OUT LOUD?

No, not about the economic growth rate, but about the fact that Larry Summers was President Obama’s chief economic aide for nearly two years, and the economy IS STILL SPINNING AROUND IN THE TOILET, and now he’s up for Fed chairman. Why is he being considered for a giant promotion?

The White House of course routinely says Obama and his trusty Larry Summers may not have solved every problem, but they prevented things from being worse after the financial collapse. Which is a little like saying, I’m sorry my dog pooped on your lawn, but at least he didn’t poop in your house.

I mean – apologies, new metaphor – even if you claim you saved the corporation, at some point stockholders want a return on their investment or you’re out anyway, right?

Larry Summers has a proven record of failure. Which in the nation’s capital really doesn’t present much of a problem. Because, I mean, in Washington, it’s all other people’s money anyway.

{ 1 trackback }


Scott July 31, 2013 at 5:01 pm

People like Larry are the reason Dan Hicks wrote “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?”.

Or perhaps little less PC,,,Larry Summers is like a cold sore.

Keith Koffler July 31, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Reminds me of another song by some Australian group years back – “If you leave me, can I come too?”

Bonnie July 31, 2013 at 10:11 pm

……….or, get your tongue out of my mounth, I am kissing you good-bye. We could dedicate that one to San Diego Bob Filner.

Traveler767 August 1, 2013 at 3:44 am

If we are going to start thinking of relevant song titles, this made me think of a song that Fred Astaire sang in “Royal Wedding”, – “How could you believe me when I said I loved you, when you know I’ve been a liar all my life?” Any others?

Star August 1, 2013 at 11:51 am

What are you saying–he’s Fiscal Herpes?

gracepmc July 31, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I cannot imagine why the man who is intent on making all Americans wards of the state would want to hire a failure. It is beyond me.

rawheadrex July 31, 2013 at 5:10 pm

The Potomac mantra is :”I may not be right,but I’m not far from wrong.”

Al47 July 31, 2013 at 9:10 pm

That’s a good one.

Girly1 July 31, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Not only was Summers a principal architect of the 2008 financial collapse (de-regulating credit default swaps), along with Greenspan, he lost $1.8 Billion while ‘managing’ the Harvard Endowment Fund during his tenure as President. He fits in nicely with Obama’s plan to destroy the country.
***My bet is Janet Yellen will get the spot.

How Larry Summers Lost Harvard $1.8 Billion

Sadie July 31, 2013 at 5:59 pm

A drop in the bucket for Harvard. If figures are current, investments of Harvard Management has a value of close to $30 billion. While the market flailed the group still raked in 7%.
Summers’ net worth is $20 million.

Girly1 July 31, 2013 at 6:19 pm

No doubt…Harvard is doing well, Sadie. But at the time Summers left Harvard the loss was 27% of $6B . He wanted to invest 100% of the cash assets but was forced to settle for only 80%. He left without so much as an apology.

Sadie July 31, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Delayed employer mandate on Obamacare will cost $12 billion. By sheer coincidence, no apology from Obama.

Maybe Summers is a bargain. sarc off/

Martha Trowbridge July 31, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Well, here’s the real deal: as President Of Harvard University, Summers had access to the records of Harvard Law School student “BHO II” class of ’91.

He knows too much.

rulierose July 31, 2013 at 6:15 pm

that’s totally sick and paranoid, Martha.

I like it!

Girly1 July 31, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Holy cow! It all makes sense now….

Mandy Manners July 31, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Either promote him or he’ll get a very bad case of the flu.

Julie Brueckheimer July 31, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Keith, you show no credits, but did you take the photo? BTW, I loved when Rush said that Obama has brought into fruition all the things discussed in faculty lounges the past 30 years. Larry Summers is one of those ‘lounge lizards’.

rulierose July 31, 2013 at 6:20 pm

actually Keith, there’s one other job that sorta rewards failure–football coaches.

sure, if you’ve had a few losing seasons you’re going to be fired. but you’re also a cinch to be rehired somewhere almost immediately

in the pros, there just aren’t enough football coaches. we may need to start importing them.

in college, even a losing season at an NCAA Division I school can get you a nice gig at a small off-conference college somewhere in north Florida.

Sadie July 31, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Add one more – meteorologists.

Star August 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

Didn’t this used to be called The Peter Principle?

Elaine July 31, 2013 at 6:25 pm

We know Obama’s intent is to destroy America as both a Constitutional Republic and a capitalist and free market country. So of course he reawards failure. And corruption. And liars. And deviants. And Marxists. And blacks who are racists. And America’s enemies.

srdem65 July 31, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Sometimes the answer is very simple; they can’t find anyone else they trust to do the job or they can’t find anyone qualified willing to be the point man/woman in an impossible situation.

There are a 100 and 1 reasons why our economy is swirling, and one person, no matter their position, can turn it around. Regulations, restrictions, impossible goals, and of course, Obamacare all need to be addressed and revised or eliminated by Congress to even start a full recovery. Not gonna happen soon.

Jeff July 31, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I suspect Summers is being used by political operatives inside the White House to make Janet Yellen appear reasonable. And to provide a semblance of suspense. Do not listen to what Obama is saying. Summers is unqualified and exactly the wrong personality type for the Fed. Obama and everyone inside the Fed knows this. Yellen, on the other hand, is a real danger. She has spoken of the need for a zero Fed Funds rate until 2017. Remember that inflation is the friend of government: it drives down the debt load and increases revenue. Her mission will be much higher inflation, justified by “full employment.”

Rod July 31, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Since when was being competent a pre-requisite to having a high-level government position? The list of “competent” elected or appointed government officials is pretty small and shrinking by the day…

Melvin July 31, 2013 at 8:02 pm

This is shoddy analysis.

How is Summers responsible for all things economically bad under Obama?!

Sadie July 31, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Melvin, the analysis did not imply all. Obama had plenty of help. Summers is as pure as a newborn babe.

Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees last year from firms that have direct financial interests before the government or are intimately involved in the White House’s bank relief programs. [May 2009]

Skagen Funds, $60,300, (1/10/2008)

Skagen Funds, $59,400, (1/11/2008)

JP Morgan, $67,500, (2/1/2008)

Itinera Institute, $62,876 (1/8/2008)

Citigroup, $45,000 (3/3/2008)

Goldman Sachs Co., $135,000, (4/16/2008)

Associon de Bancos de Mexico, $90,000, (4/3/2008)

Lehman Brothers, $67,500, (4/17/2008)

State Street Corporation, $45,000, (4/18/2008)

Siguler Guff & Company, $67,500, (5/7/2008)

Hudson Institute, $10,000, (05/28/2008)

Citigroup, $54,000, (5/30/2008)

Investec Bank, $157,500, (6/13/2008)

Goldman Sachs, $67,500, (6/18/2008)

Lehman Brothers, $67,500, (7/30/2008)

Tata Consultance Services, $67,500, (9/21/2008)

State Street Corporation, $112,500, (10/2/2008)

McKinsey and Company, $135,000, (10/19/2008)

Charles River Ventures LLC, $67,500, (11/112008)

Pricewaterhouse Coopers, $67,500 (9/9/2008)

American Chamber of Commerce In Argentina, $135,000 (10/7/2008)

American Express, $67,500 (5/7/2008)

DeniseVB July 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Top 5 worst picks for Ambassadors.

Nice people, huh?

Sadie July 31, 2013 at 10:16 pm

And once you get the post, you get to keep it.

Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, a major Democratic donor, was accused of soliciting prostitutes, some underage, in a park in Brussels—behavior his security team was well aware of. But an investigation into Gutman’s activities was called off by Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, and Gutman remains in Belgium.

Investigators found what they called “endemic” use of prostitutes by several members of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail, in countries as varied as Russia and Colombia, but received at worst light punishments. The investigation was later “shut down” by the Special Investigations Division. (These accusations are, apparently, separate from last year’s Secret Service scandal.)

Attempts to interview Brett McGurk, whose nomination as ambassador to Iraq fell apart after it was revealed he’d had an extramarital affair with Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon, were blocked by Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills.

Girly1 July 31, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Obama is itching to turn Texas from Red to Blue:

Alexa Wesner – Ambassador to Austria
After starting Be One Texas, an organization dedicated to boosting Democratic politics in Texas and raising a lot of cash for Obama

Julie Brueckheimer August 1, 2013 at 12:06 am

I know the Dominicans are upset that Obama has nominated a gay as ambassador to their country, but I’m not sure about Spain. Do you know?

swedishlady August 1, 2013 at 2:01 am

Julie, I believe that the new US ambassador in Stockholm, Mark Brzezinzki, is gay. The Rainbow flag was raised on the embassy during the Pride festival and the ambassador gave a rousing speech on the subject. Dressed in a pink shirt.

gracepmc August 1, 2013 at 2:52 am

Not gay. Hopelessly connected and married. Although this pix of him …

Mandy Manners August 1, 2013 at 8:43 am

Ah, yes. Another child of that Hamas-loving bastard, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

judybeth July 31, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Remember “Peter’s Principle”? Summers is being promoted to his ‘highest level of incompetency’! From the readers comments, I can tell that they know about it! jb

SaveUsGod August 1, 2013 at 12:21 pm

The 1.7 growth for the 2nd quarter is only because they changed the GDP calculation. If it was the same as the old, 1st quarter would be .6 and 2nd would be .9. This is the “new” calculation to “have the data better reflect the so-called knowledge economy.” Better known as Obama’s phony calculation to make him look better. Funny part is, the numbers are still REALLY bad!