The former Harvard President and Treasury Secretary offers important thoughts on the negative consequences of aid to the less fortunate.
By Matt Taibbi and cross-posted from his substack account.
Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, director of the National Economic Council under Barack Obama, president of Harvard, and Chief Economist at the World Bank, wrote a post-Christmas editorial for Bloomberg entitled, “Trump’s $2000 Stimulus Checks are a Big Mistake.” It’s a classic:
Some argue that while $2,000 checks may not be optimal support for the post-Covid economy, taking stimulus from $600 to $2,000 is better than nothing. They need to ask themselves whether they would favor $5,000, or $10,000 — or more. There must be a limiting principle.
The genesis of this Summers article is a perfect tale in microcosm about how America’s intellectual elite manages to lose elections to people like Donald Trump. It’s a two-step error. First, they put people like Summers in charge of economic policies. Then, they let them talk in public.
Summers the day before Christmas appeared on Bloomberg to offer his initial thoughts on why $2000 checks must be bad: he looked at which politicians were supporting the plan, and worked backward. “When I see a coalition of Josh Hawley, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump getting behind an idea, I think that’s time to run for cover,” he said, adding: “When you see the two extremes agreeing, you can almost be certain that something crazy is in the air”…