Noted for July 31, 2013
James Hamilton: Econbrowser recession indicator index up to 30.5%: Noted for July 31, 2013

Why Does America's Left View Larry Summers as a Right-Wing Hyena?

When I go back through the stuff he has been writing for his FT columns since he started in late 2006, it looks solidly in the progressive redistributionist Keynesian center-left:

  • The global middle cries out for reassurance: October 29, 2006: Two groups have found themselves in the right place at the right time… those in low-income countries… able to plug into the global system… those who already own valuable assets…. Everyone else has not fared nearly as well…. What the anxious global middle is told often feels like pretty thin gruel.
  • Only fairness will assuage the anxious middle: December 10, 2006: If the anxious middle’s concerns about fairness are this serious when the unemployment rate is 4.4 per cent, they will be far greater whenever the economy next turns down…. John Kennedy famously challenged Americans: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” In the years ahead, this question will be put with increasing force to US corporations.

  • Lack of fear gives cause for concern: December 26, 2006: Changes in the structure of financial markets have enhanced their ability to handle risk in normal times…. We do not yet have enough experience to judge what happens in abnormal times… innovations that contribute to risk spreading in normal times can become sources of instability following shocks to the system as large-scale liquidations take place…. The record does suggest that crises occur in about in one out of every three years. At least as far as the markets are concerned, perhaps the main thing we have to fear is lack of fear itself.

  • This is where Fannie and Freddie step in: August 26, 2007: I am among the many with serious doubts about the wisdom of the government quasi-guarantees that supported the government-sponsored entities…. But surely if there is ever a moment when they should expand their activities it is now, when mortgage liquidity is drying up.

  • Beware moral hazard fundamentalists: September 23, 2007: The world has at least as much to fear from a moral hazard fundamentalism that precludes actions that would enhance confidence and stability as it does from moral hazard itself.

  • Wake up to the dangers of a deepening crisis: November 25, 2007: Three months ago it was reasonable to expect that the subprime credit crisis would be a financially significant event but not one that would threaten the overall pattern of economic growth…. Without stronger policy responses than have been observed to date, moreover, there is the risk that the adverse impacts will be felt for the rest of this decade and beyond.

  • Beyond fiscal stimulus, further action is needed: January 27, 2008: The essential element… is increased levels of capital…. It is preferable for the economy that banks bolster their capital positions by diluting current owners than by shrinking their lending activities. A critical element of regulatory policy should be insisting on increased capital in existing financial institutions.

  • Six principles for a new regulatory order: June 1, 2008: There should be a strong presumption against having regulators competing…. Allowing institutions to determine capital levels based on risk models of their own design is tantamount to letting them set their own capital levels…. Regulators need to try to assure the resilience of the system…. The focus of regulation must shift from the prudential practices of individual institutions to the health of the financial system. The proper focus of government regulation is not on how good a job managements do of looking out for their shareholders and bondholders. It is on the potential external consequences of their actions.

  • What we can do in this dangerous moment: June 29 2008: There is the real possibility that significant financial institutions will encounter not just liquidity but solvency problems…. Regulators should… do what is necessary, including possibly seeking new legislative authority, to assure that in the event of an institution becoming insolvent they can manage the resolution in a way that protects the system…. It was fortunate that a natural merger partner was available when Bear Stearns failed – we may not be so lucky next time.