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I wonder if he/they would even recognize or understand this argument put in this way.

And speaking of belt tightening - you said in that post something I don't think the administration gets:

Cutting back on your Christmas and Hanukkah gift list incites an internal argument in which you don’t know which voice inside your head is the angel’s and which is the devil’s.

Every time someone has that internal argument they have a chance to listen to the devil. Given enough chances, it will happen.

It's part of the American myth that we got out of the Great Depression because we pulled together and we as a country became stronger. Whether or not that's actually true (I wasn't around and don't know enough about the era to really say one way or the other) is besides the point. We want it to be true.

But at least back then we had leaders and politicians who were trying to figure out a way for everyone to pull together. Now, as you observe, we only have leaders and politicians who want to sit around and wait for us to figure out how to do it ourselves.

And so given all that I wonder if (assuming) we get out of this we will not emerge smaller and more willing to listen to our devils.

But, as you say, the System will be fine.

Jason Lefkowitz

An important related point:

It's easy for them to see economic swings as abstractions, because to them, they are abstractions. For the technocratic class there will always be work, lending their glittering personages to corporate boards and university faculties and high-rent consultancies, regardless of whether they have covered themselves so far in their career with glory or with infamy.

Larry Summers, in other words, is not worrying about whether he'll be able to get a new job when he leaves the White House. I doubt if the idea would ever even cross his mind. As a paid-up member of the technocratic class, he is insulated from such petty concerns.

This is why the statements of Summers and his fellow technocrats so often sound disconnected from reality: they experience our common reality differently than we do. We hear the economy crashing and recoil in fear at the sound; they hear the crash too, but the sound is distant, muffled by thick layers of privilege.

So it's no wonder that they can take comfort in the cyclical nature of the economy -- the cycles don't effect them. Their bases are covered no matter what the economy does.

mac macgillicuddy

"Be grateful we can still pay the cable bill."

Which, despite the fact that technically the "economy IS improving," more and more people cannot do.


C'mon guys! Clap louder! Listen to Bobby Gibbs and Joey Biden. The Obama Administration has been the Second Coming of FDR, Truman, and Johnson all put together! Get with the plan! Don't be such party poopers.

Now, where did I put my tumbrel? Somebody needs a ride.


Jason Lefkowitz: Spot on, 1000%.

They want me to wait for the system to self correct? Well, will they allow me to move in with them when I'm evicted because I didn't have the rent money? Will they give me the money to put my stuff in storage? To pay for storage going forward? Or am I supposed to lose everything? And I do mean everything.

Ralph H.

You're being too hard on Summers. Sure, he's one of those guys who's far too smart for his own good and too well-educated to connect with the rest of us, but he generally speaks truth to power and powerless alike (which has gotten him into trouble in the past). Like many of Obama's economic advisors his first concern was stabilizing the banks and beyond that he probably wanted a larger stimulus than was politically feasible. Anything this administration has been able to do on the economic front has been accomplished in the teeth of relentless GOP obstructionism, aided and abetted by the media. I wouldn't want to have a beer with Summers, but I'll usually listen to what he has to say. Not that I'll understand it, of course....


Obama chose as a key adviser a man who had to leave the ultimate no-lifting sweet Establishment gig, President of Harvard, because said man shot his mouth off in a particularly ignorant and worse, impolitic way. So he deserved what he got for the choice.


No, we aren't being hard enough on Summers and his ilk. They deserve to lose their investments and have to exist on Social Security alone like so many of us will. They deserve to lose their health insurance and financial security. Lose income and discover that they fall through all the cracks possible -- no food stamps, no housing help because you can't apply for welfare if you don't have someone who will guarantee half of your rent payment when your state will only give you $284 a month toward rent, because there are no new Section 8 vouches (Congress cut the money a while back). If I sound bitter, I am. If I sound like I want revenge on these bastards, yes I do.

Joel Patterson

Compare Summers' detached views with those of Marriner Eccles, FDR's key economic advisor and appointee to the Federal Reserve, in 1930, after as a banker, he'd withdrawn credit to shore up his bank:
"I awoke to find myself at the bottom of a pit without any known means of scaling its sheer sides... I saw for the first time that though I'd been active in the world of finance and production for seventeen years and knew its techniques, I knew less than nothing about its economic and social effects."
Check out Robert Reich's After Shock. That guy understands what the System is doing to people.

moby doug

Summers is a leading light of the Rubinista banking cabal which, by deregging the financial octopus, set the stage for the gigantic collapse/swindle/heist of the Fall of 2008. How "smart," Ralph H, was that?

Moreover, Summers, as a good Rubinista, has done little to rein in and/or the big banks SINCE the great Fall 08 swindle. So we can expect something like it to happen again. Thanks a lot, Larry!

Essentially, the Wall Street billionaires have been bleeding America's working and middle classes to death for decades. It's a war, and Larry S is NOT and never has been on the side of the common man. It's very sad, and a dreadful betrayal, that Obama, elected by a progressive landslide, named him his Economic Adviser.

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