Monday, September 9, 2013

"Why Janet Yellen, Not Larry Summers should lead the Fed"

An appointment of Larry Summers to the Fed Chair fits perfectly the definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

In that vein, Joseph Stiglitz argues contra Mr. Summers @ NYTs, with a great in-depth analysis of the background and the stakes in this appointment:
The controversy over the choice of the next head of the Federal Reserve has become unusually heated. The country is fortunate to have an enormously qualified candidate: the Fed’s current vice chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen. There is concern that the president might turn to another candidate, Lawrence H. Summers. Since I have worked closely with both of these individuals for more than three decades, both inside and outside of government, I have perhaps a distinct perspective.

But why, one might ask, is this a matter for a column usually devoted to understanding the growing divide between rich and poor in the United States and around the world? The reason is simple: What the Fed does has as much to do with the growth of inequality as virtually anything else. The good news is that both of the leading candidates talk as if they care about inequality. The bad news is that the policies that have been pushed by one of the candidates, Mr. Summers, have much to do with the woes faced by the middle and the bottom.