Here Are The Final Three Replacements Vying For Larry Summers' Extra Wide Chair

Tyler Durden's picture

The man who probably more so than anyone else can be singled out as the person (behind the scenes) responsible for the destruction of America, first with his successful drubbing of every vestige of regulation, then his isolation of Brooksley Born and her all too prescient concerns on structured products and derivatives, and finally, with carrying over his debilitating management practices from Harvard over to the US in general for the past two years, just had his farewell speech, which in typical fashion can be summarized as follows: "I am smarter than you peasants, go to hell." For a more official summary of his valedictory, here is WaPo's Dana Milbank: "Summers's final performance was very much in character. He arrived 10
minutes late for the speech, his suit jacket open, his shirt pulling
tightly at the buttons, his suitpants stained on one of the knees. His
hair showed signs of bedhead, but it could have been mussed by Summers
during one of his morning meetings. He jiggled his legs while listening
to the introduction by EPI President Larry Mishel, who had some edgy
words for his guest. Although both men grew up in Philly, Mishel said,
"when he moved to Boston, he adopted the Boston Red Sox as his baseball
team. Me? I'm still a fan of the Fightin' Phils." Summers rushed to rebut this point - by insulting the home team. "If I
lived in Washington, I might still be a Phillies fan, too." There were
groans in the audience." And of course, it is not like it was Summers fault for doing anything to bring unemployment down even as total US debt under his watch increased by over $2 trillion: "On Monday morning, he went to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal
think tank, to give his "perspectives on the past two years." But in his
remarks, he spoke of not a single wrong decision he made."
So now that the disastrous, and hopefully final, reign of this distant Tatooine descendant is over, here are the three finalist to fill his extra wide chair, two of whom promise to do absolutely nothing to break Wall Street's stranglehold over the White House, and thus increase the odds for a widespread populist mutiny with each passing day.

From the Huffington Post:

As Larry Summers nears the end of his term as director of the National Economic Council, the list of potential replacements has been whittled down to three, according to Obama administration officials familiar with the deliberations: Treasury adviser Gene Sperling, Wall Street banker Roger Altman and Yale president Richard Levin.

The three represent a range of ideologies, from sympathy for Wall Street to vigilant consumer protection. At this critical point in the economic debate, the president's choice will send a powerful signal about the administration's leanings. If it's Sperling or Altman, critics say, the country can likely expect a continuation of a Wall Street-sympathetic approach to policy for the next two years.

The stakes are high, both for how the administration is perceived and how it determines policy. As Peter Orszag, Obama's former director of the Office of Management and Budget, has taken a senior position at Citigroup, pundits like Joe Klein and Jim Fallows are griping about the government's ties to Wall Street.

"This move only reinforces my growing sense that the Democratic party has to pry control of its economic policy away from the Wall Street caucus -- the Rubin, Summers, Geithner, Rattner and now Orszag etc. gang," Klein writes.

And while it is obvious that hiring former Wall Streeters to replace the DE Shaw man will do nothing to boost the middle-class' chances of survival, going the university route will likely be an abysmal failure as well (just ask Harvard's endowment fund):

While it's difficult to say how assertive Levin would be as NEC director, his views make him stand out from the pack. As HuffPost  has reported, his appointment would signal a departure from previous administration policies, a move toward the Elizabeth Warren camp of tight Wall Street regulation and proactive job-creation.

Of course, our money is on Sperling: after all he is Goldman's guy, and Goldman is in dire need of replacing its agents in the administration. After all, it took Jan Hatzius almost one year to get heard over the din and start dictating US fiscal and monetary policy. We are confident Goldman will want a faster turnaround the next time it determines a change in policy is required.

Sperling has made his share of Wall Street cash. Before becoming adviser to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, he did time at Goldman Sachs. The year before taking office, he reportedly earned nearly $900,000 as a Goldman consultant.

In other words, the more things are about to change, the more they will stay the same. Anyone hoping that the new NEC director will be an improvement on Summers will be sorely disappointed, as the prerogative remains sternly the same: steal as much money from the middle class, as fast as possible. Still, the one man who is probably angriest of all is Mark Zandi: the completely irrelevant Moody's man, whose head has only occasionally emerged from within the administration's gluteus maximus in the past year, must be shaking in abject futility as he realizes all that hosannas of the Obama economic miracle have been for nothing. 

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Rodent Freikorps's picture

Military tribunals and ropes. It is the only way.

Arius's picture

FINALLY...i thought he was irreplaceble...

Tyler - on the phrase "I am smarter than you" i think he better fits the detective character telling it to Kaiser Soussa...

not so smart in final analysis...just a bulldog

Vergeltung's picture

no more "Ivy league elites", please!

TexDenim's picture

Hey, I am an Ivy League Elite, and you like me, don't you?

snowball777's picture

"...distant Tatooine descendant..."


Don't miss Timmy's cameo at 0:26

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"Washington DC. You will not find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."

Pants McPants's picture

Slightly off topic, but this morning I heard this boob speaking on NPR.  He can barely speak more than two words before pausing or inserting an "umm" or "uhh"  Aside from his unintelligble remarks, the man struck me as an extremely unhealthy individual.

Silva Plata's picture

Umm, that's because uhh...he's a bloated umm...alcoholic...uhh...

Bearster's picture

Sorry Tyler, it's not that we don't have enough regulation, but far too much.  It's not that we don't have enough enforcement, but far too much.  As designed, the system props up the wealthy incumbents and prevents healthy competition from emerging.

And of course, wall street has captured washington as washington has captured wall street.  It is a seemingly-symbiotic relationship.  At least until it destroys the host body.

Ultimately, you gotta think about whether private companies in a free market without government coercion can make a profit destroying wealth.  If you believe that, then you should want a pure marxist dictatorship of the proletariat with no corrupting private property or private production or private action allowed.

DonnieD's picture

The ultimate enforecement tool of capitalism is failure, which has been removed from the equation. Once this happens, all other conversations about regulation are moot.

DB Cooper's picture

+++ the answer is often simple but rarely understood

Rick64's picture

 Larry Summers is a failure if you judge him by his financial accomplishments unless you are a bank . 

Spalding_Smailes's picture

Just as Harvard ?



......"It happened at least once a year, every year. In a roomful of a dozen Harvard University financial officials, Jack Meyer, the hugely successful head of Harvard’s endowment, and Lawrence Summers, then the school’s president, would face off in a heated debate. The topic: cash and how the university was managing - or mismanaging - its basic operating funds.

Through the first half of this decade, Meyer repeatedly warned Summers and other Harvard officials that the school was being too aggressive with billions of dollars in cash, according to people present for the discussions, investing almost all of it with the endowment’s risky mix of stocks, bonds, hedge funds, and private equity. Meyer’s successor, Mohamed El-Erian, would later sound the same warnings to Summers, and to Harvard financial staff and board members.

“Mohamed was having a heart attack,’’ said one former financial executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of angering Harvard and Summers. He considered the cash investment a “doubling up’’ of the university’s investment risk.".....

Rick64's picture

 Citing failed interest-rate swaps that forced Harvard to pay banks $1 billion just to terminate the junk contracts, Bloomberg reported.

Which investment bank benefitted from Larry's deal? Can't find that info anywhere.

weinerdog43's picture

Well, I think it would only be about 6 banks actually.  There have been more bank failures since the Great Depression under his watch. 

Rick64's picture

 Those bank failures constitute consolidation thus even bigger TBTFs.

Caviar Emptor's picture

Warren! Warren! Your country needs you! 

Plus if things don't go so well, he can pay for some mistakes out of his own deep pocket! 

It's a win-win for the entire world!

AR's picture

Washington loves rumpled, old "has been or misconstrued" academic losers in their cabinets. In fact, we can't remember when either Gene Sperling or Roger Altman ever had a fresh, new idea to grow anything, not alone a dead and dying economy. Maybe more retroact will do the trick. We laughed here in our shop when these 3 were announced. No matter how bad things get, Washington always drifts back to the same old losers from another Administration's past failures and policies.

Rick64's picture

 When Obama is serious about change he will install a person such as William Black until then its business as usual.

Sean7k's picture

Why would anyone think this choice matters? Government is run by the banking and corporate elites for the elites. Government cannot create jobs, it can only create debt. Jobs are productive- government jobs are consumptive.

Banks will get what they want because the government does not control the FED, it is the other way around. The Treasury department is nothing more than a legitimizer of FED actions. Which is why all the appointments are from wall street, the FED or banker university.

These people are traitors and weasels. They should be shot and left to rot in the gutter. Their words should fall, unread and discarded into the round files of the bureaucracy. This corporate state on the banks of the Potomac, the Vatican of America, should be erased from the face of the Earth. Perhaps then, the people of America can live in Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

TexDenim's picture

Levin would be great. He is comfortable working in the background, has low ego needs, and is the antithesis of Summers in terms of his personality. Yale has thrived under Levin's tenure.

Steroid's picture

In Rome they would have killed each other. Lucky Romans!

43 Steelie's picture

No Mark Zandi? 

He'd fit all the qualifications for the role:

- Perpetually wrong

- Huge d-bag


Arius's picture

probably save him for the treasury...tim was hospitalized last week or am i wrong?

wiskeyrunner's picture

So what happens when unforeseen conditions occur such as sub freezing temperatures in Florida, or floods in Iowa has the Federal Reserve thought about this. What happens when real supply constrains occur due to natural disasters. We just may get this run away inflation, and the Federal Reserve will be to blame for trying to actual stoke inflation.

lamont cranston's picture

The thought of Hah-vahd going broke is quite humorous. Seriously, with the exception of Volcker back in then 80s, can anyone name a competent leader associated with the Fed, Treasury or the CEA?

Arius's picture



Gordon Freeman's picture

The single most annoying thing about EVERY mention of Larry Summers is the endless repetition of how smart he is.

This is just preposterous and insulting.  The truth is that he's a crafty little organization man, and has done a masterful job of feathering his nest, and for that, I suppose he can take credit--but smart?  Uh-uh


dhengineer's picture

They say the same thing about Barry... he apparently is sooooo smart that he is instantly bored by the discussions and minutia of the job... IMHO, that's just a cover for either a) a totally lazy schmuck,  b) not that smart but too arrogant to admit it, or c) both.

If somebody continually tells you how rich they are, they probably have leased or borrowed everything in their possession: wife, house, car, wristwatch... the same goes with so-called intelligence. 

goober's picture

If nothing else, the meltdown since 2008 has shown everyone just how foolish it is/was to turn over so much power to the so-called professionals and or smart ones with their PHDs and MBAs ? The elites have had quite a run indeed and now there is discontent from thier malfeasance/incompetence/greed. Hopefully more will pay attention going forward. I am actually surprised some have not been executed by people that have lost their homes and families and lifes work. Like so many other events, just because it hasn't happened does not mean it won't ? 

Widowmaker's picture

What's the difference between Larry Summers and a bucket of shit?

The bucket.

AND even a bucket of shit won't lose your endowment, or steal from you.

realitybiter's picture

Summers probably has more potential energy than the shit, though.  Fat burns hot and last s quite a while.

realitybiter's picture

Summers = Man Bear Pig


Reagan has a pretty checkered past on picking some gigantic losers.  Summers, Greenspan.  Love him or hate him, Reagan takes full responsibility for this academic know-nothing.  Hey, all -n-all, I liked Reagan.  I HATE Summers.  Guy only knows the truth if it makes his banker buddies money.  manbearpig

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

George W. Bush co-opted the Reagan administration pretty early on. Getting shot by the son of the close family friend of your Vice President will tend to make you more agreeable in that regard.

svendthrift's picture

Not a single non-jew in the US left?

realitybiter's picture

Summers should be "exhibit A" why you can't have folks in public office that have never been in business for themselves.  Guy didn't even have a summer job.  Too busy becoming the youngest hahvahd professor.

realitybiter's picture

The moment BO picked him, I told my wealthy, big-lib neighbor, "well, there goes your hope and change.  Your guy sold us out before he even got started.  Nice"

nowhereman's picture

My thoughts indeed.  The moment BO named his economic team, I knew it was over, and everything that has occurred since, confirms it.

99er's picture

Plus Ca Change

"Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus, the incoming chairman of the House banking committee, suggested Congress and federal regulators should play a subservient role with banks.

"In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks," Bachus told The Birmingham News in an interview."


Sean7k's picture

They don't even attempt to hide it anymore. Banker whores, sucking at the fount of impotency, find redemption in graft, resolution in greed. These are America's leaders- and people still clamor for government?

We couldn't do a better job ourselves? With private property laws and private administration of community services? 

I will always remain amazed that people see government as a necessity.

Whats that smell's picture

BO has turned out to be a republican in blackface, I seriously think even a clueless Mccain would have been better.

nowhereman's picture

Sometimes it's very hard stiffling the gag reflex.

glenlloyd's picture

Well finally Jabba leaves...couldn't have come faster. And too bad for Zandi, then again he's a is a boob anyway.

mhjhnsn's picture

Hey, if Zandi's as smart as he thinks he is, why isn't he working at Goldman?

I mean, MOODY's?

lynnybee's picture

........ just make him go away, please !   Hasn't he done enough damage to last a lifetime ?   my lifetime, my kids & grandkids lifetimes ! ?   GO AWAY, LARRY SUMMERS & take that ROBERT RUBIN with you !!!  .........


goober's picture

Titheads run amok.

beastie's picture

The problem with these appointees is none of them know how to change direction or admit when they are wrong. They should have to produce real trading accounts with real returns. If they can't show positive consistent returns then show them the door. Some real job experience would be useful too. College, non profits and comunity crusades are not jobs.

It's time for something bold and fresh. Mortgages across the board reset to 4%. Bondholders etc. should be told take it or leave it and be happy. Rewrite every single mortgage across the country, clean up titles etc. That will provide plenty of paper pushing jobs and put actual cash in pockets not year end tax breaks. Easier said than done and will never happen. I can dream though.


goldsaver's picture

OT- What the hell happened with this mornings silver take down? Now that I have FRNs to buy more silver, the bitch fails to take it down!

OT2- Silver Keisers sold out this weekend as soon as they became available. Shit.

Miles Kendig's picture

Larry Summers is a marvelous poster child for the current administration.  In this Andrew Mellon will probably be better regarded by history than Larry Summers, Tim Geithner or Ben Bernanke. (I bet WB7 can make an excellent graphic representation of these four, with Hoover & Obama added for flavor, with Justice Brandeis underfoot)

Just as there is little doubt as to the future flow of policy during this administration the sad fact is that when the republicans take the reigns of power, whenever that may be, the economic policy won't be vastly different with respect to Wall Street.  In fact, as often noted on these pages, it will most likely be even more favorable to the banking cartel.

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder - Frederic Bastiat

In this I salute Larry Summers, subverter of the law for the sake of the prerogatives of seemingly lawful plunder

DB Cooper's picture

+++ the answer is often simple but rarely understood