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Delong Smackdown Watch: Straw Hyena Edition: Paul Krugman Wishes Larry Summers Would Give a Big Speech About Financial Regulation and Systemic Risk: What He Thought in 2005, Why He Thought It, and How His Thinking Has Changed

It would, I think, be a very good idea.

Paul Krugman:

Economists Behaving Badly, Redux: Brad DeLong asks why the left views Larry Summers as a right-wing hyena. I think that’s a straw man, or maybe a straw hyena….

The moderate left do[es]n’t trust Summers, even though much of his commentary over the years has been very much center-left--and since leaving office he has become one of our most prominent fiscal doves. Where does this mistrust come from? Well, let me give you an example: Jackson Hole, 2005…. Raghuram Rajan had presented a paper warning that the risks of financial instability were much higher than most people were acknowledging…. Leading off on the rest of the discussion (pdf) was Larry Summers, who wasn’t polite…. Now, lots of people got this stuff wrong — although you want to bear in mind that we’re not talking about the 1990s now, we’re talking about 2005. And we all make mistakes. But have either Summers or Kohn ever acknowledged that they got it wrong, and explained why?

And you can see, I think, why “the left”--while not, in fact, viewing Summers as a hyena--is a bit upset that the only people President Obama has mentioned as alternatives to Janet Yellen are Summers and Kohn.

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