Who Should Replace Larry Summers?


Now that Larry Summers is confirmed to be stepping down by the end of the year as President Obama's director of the National Economic Council, the speculation turns to who will replace him. With the business community always skeptical of Obama, word is the president my want to pick a CEO — a female CEO, if possible. Others think this is a terrible idea, not because of politics, but because CEOs don't really have any business (pun intended) holding a position meant for an economist.

Ezra Klein, WP:

[W]hoever replaces Summer doesn't just have to replace him as a voice in Obama's ear. They have to replace him as the manager of the policy process. And given how many new voices will be suddenly be central to that process and vying for Obama's attention, it's going to be a difficult job. The early word is that Obama would like a CEO and a woman, and there are rumors about former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy. Diana Farrell, Summers' current deputy and a former director at McKinsey, has also been mentioned.

Glenn Thrush and Kendra Marr, Politico:

Larry Summers isn’t leaving the White House until the end of the year but President Barack Obama’s team already knows the ideal candidate to replace him on the National Economic Council — a woman CEO. The pick doesn’t have to fit that bill precisely, but it’s highly likely Obama’s pick will be either a woman or a business leader — and preferably both, said several people familiar with the situation.

Peter Morici, The Street:

Oft-mentioned Laura Tyson is the perfect fit. She is a champion of industry and manufacturing, is liberal and is an accomplished economist — she is rather flexible in her interpretation of economic evidence. She is not the Harvard theoretician Northeastern liberal establishment economists would recommend, a.k.a. Alan Blinder from Princeton, but the establishment can't oppose her because of her tour of duty as Clinton Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.

James Pethokoukis , Reuters:

His replacement as director of the National Economic Council will be an interesting tea leaf. Obama’s recent replacements for WH budget chief, Jack Lew, and head of his council of economic advisers, Austan Goolsbee, were steps toward the center. Another centrist (like Jason Furman) could hint at The Pivot, a POTUS effort to work with a congress next year that will likely be far more Republican. And a liberal pick (Jared Bernstein) though, could be a signal to Obama’s base that the president intends to double-down on Obamanomics 1.0. Markets would like the former, not the latter.

Derek Thompson, Atlantic:

Many observers see the opening as an opportunity for the president to bring on one of two underrepresented groups: women and corporate executives. In fact, the top pick for Summers' replacement is both: Anne Mulcahy, former Xerox chief executive. Those calling for Obama to pick a CEO aren't necessarily wrong, but their reasoning is: CEOs are not uniquely smart about the economy.

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Huffington Post:

Imagine the spike in consumer confidence we'd see if Paul Krugman or Joseph Stiglitz got the nod. (Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?) Since the Republicans won't work with the Administration anyway, there's no downside.

Alright, alright — I know. He won't do that. But if not Krugman or Stiglitz, then who? Given the Administration's appropriate emphasis on finding a woman for the slot, one interesting choice might be Janet Yellin, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She's been a little more pro-growth and pro-employment than many of her peers.

Jennifer Rubin, Contentions/Commentary:

This females-only-for-the-economic-team-captain gambit is ludicrous — the type of overt discrimination that, if evidenced in the private sector, would be illegal. It once again reveals that politics and groveling to special interests are much more important to the Obami than is sound governance.

Matthew Yglesias, Think Progress:

[T]he larger issue is that influence in a White House staff job comes from the President deciding he wants to listen to what you have to say so if Summers was wielding a lot of influence you can’t “replace” that influence by bringing in someone from the outside who the President doesn’t know and who was picked because his political team thought it would “look better” to bring in a woman CEO.