Amidst rumors that Ben Bernanke will not accept a third term no matter who wins the election, pundits are speculating who would be Obama’s choice to replace him—and Andrew Ross Sorkin says that Summers is “at the top of the list.


Sorkin notes that Summers has a reputation for “not playing well with others”—I hate this construction, which really trivializes something much more disturbing than that phrase implies and suggests a lack of serious thought—but adds:

He’s a serious economist who knows his numbers and has a worldview that is similar to the president’s. He would be expected to continue the loose money policy of Mr. Bernanke.

Some people would say that Summers is exactly the kind of person you’d want as Fed chair: “brilliant” and not particularly respectful of popular opinion.

I would argue that Summers is exactly the wrong kind of person for the job; the last person you should appoint to an undemocratic job with enormous power is someone who has no patience for democracy, is contemptuous of those beneath him, and has no sense of self-doubt. Whatever one may think of Bernanke, he gives the impression of having a soul and a heart—that he is empathic. I wouldn’t associate any of those things with Larry Summers.

If I were Obama picking someone to replace Bernanke, I’d go in a very different direction; I’d pick Joe Stiglitz.