Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is Summers As Fed Chair A Done Deal?

CNBC has a report based on an "inside White House source" that Obama has all but decided to appoint Summers as Fed Chair and will do it fairly soon in order to calm the unhappy markets, whose voice demanding an early decision has been transmitted by all the VSPs at WaPo and the NYT, etc.  "Get a decision soon; we don't care who."  See http://www.cnbc.com/id/100988773

So, the question is to what extent this is a trial balloon or an effort to mold the outcome and prepare everybody for the worst.  It is noted that Summers is still "being vetted," and that while Fed insiders at Jackson Hole seem to know he has the edge, some are still raising doubts, the most trenchant being "Has he devised a strategy to be effective within the institution?" (given his lack of experience with the Fed and his notorious arrogance), along with supposedly some lingering concerns about his links to Wall Street, which certainly do not bother the VSPs pounding for his appointment sooner than yesterday.

OK, so we know that Larry and Barry really bonded back there in the foxhole of the early crisis days of the Obama presidency, and Barry just really wants his guy and is annoyed as all get out that all these whiney economists and liberal politicians, feminists, et al are just not jumping on board with full enthusiasm, with presumably this propensity being strongly encouraged by anti-Yellen Gene Sperling.  He is working hard to get us used to what he wants, blankety blank, and we should all just shut up and accept it.

What strikes me as being the really sorry story here is that there are no reports, not even hints of any reports, of him even remotely "vetting" Janet Yellen.  We know he barely knows her, but has he even given her a chance?  How about having her in for a job interview and discussing her view of the world, the Fed, and so on, rather than just listening to the slimey propaganda of Sperling and the rest of the Rubin cohort that surrounds him?  This is what he seriously needs to do before he really makes this decision once and for all.  He looks to be on the verge of making a really big mistake otherwise.

Barkley Rosser

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