I just saw Larry Summers interviewed on WGBH last night. I have always detested him. First, for his role as part of the Wall Street elite, knowledgeable of what was happening w/ the derivatives industry and part of the "gang" that silenced Brooksley Born when, in 1993, she attempted to alert Congress to the need to monitor the Derivatives market and the dangers of credit default swaps.
His behavior towards Born (in front of Congress) was bullying and misogynistic...followed by similar behavior as short-lived president of Harvard.
BUT...the Larry Summers I saw interviewed last night appeared to be a new and relatively humbled man. He fell short of admitting to making a huge mistake by opposing regulations of the derivatives industry, probably afraid of prosecution, arguably something that should worry all those who knew about the threat and did nothing. BUT, he appears to be very much in support of Elizabeth Warren. Because as he now says about Warren (not unlike Brooksley Born), Warren is extremely aware of the need to regulate Wall Street to protect the middle class.
I'm not taking sides about Warren vs. Brown here. I admire them both. I'm just pointing out two important things:
1) the fact that it appears that even the most arrogant of our leaders can, in fact, grow and change. At least Summers appears to be willing to accept that, in hindsight, some of his decisions were just plain WRONG and to endorse those who are correct in their assessment of the fall out of Wall Street's willingness to sacrifice the country's future for short term greed.
2) Meanwhile, it is OUR responsibility, as voters, to educate ourselves about all the issues, and vote accordingly. Because we have trusted people like Greenspan, Summers, Robert Rubin, and Ben Bernanke (all White House appointees under administrations prior to Obama, who has maintained some of these appointments), as voters we must learn that we must NOT stay ignorant, leaving important decisions up to those who allegedly "know better." We cannot just trust those running for office to "know what's best" for us, espcially when it is based on irrelevant ideology.
Such as who claims to be the "best Christian," or anyone who puts religious ideology ahead of the pressing needs to address the complexities of the Global Financial crisis....i.e. Luke 20: 25 and Mark 12:17: "render until Ceasar what is Ceasar's." (But, to quote a comment from a Facebook friend "Just because Caesar asks for it doesn't make it right.")
Below is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Brooksley Born and her attempt to alert Congress and others to the possible pending financial crisis that could result from credit default swaps within the unregulated derivatives industry:
"CFTC regulation was strenuously opposed by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, and by Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. On May 7, 1998, former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt joined Rubin and Greenspan in objecting to the issuance of the CFTC’s concept release. Their response dismissed Born's analysis and focused on the hypothetical possibility that CFTC regulation of swaps and other OTC derivative instruments could create a "legal uncertainty" regarding such financial instruments, hypothetically reducing the value of the instruments. They argued that the imposition of regulatory costs would "stifle financial innovation" and encourage financial capital to transfer its transactions offshore. The disagreement between Born and the Executive Office's top economic policy advisors has been described not only as a classic Washington turf war, but also a war of ideologies, insofar as it is possible to argue that Born's actions were consistent with Keynesian and neoclassical economics while Greenspan, Rubin, Levitt, and Summers consistently espoused neoliberal, and neoconservative policies."