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U.S. President Barack Obama (L) stands behind AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka before he speaks at the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, August 4, 2010.  REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLIT
President Obama is probably somewhat less pleased with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka right now.
Add AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to the long list of people saying Janet Yellen, vice chair of the Federal Reserve, would be a better choice for chair than would wrong-about-everything deregulator Larry Summers. When it comes to strengthening employment versus fighting inflation, "History would indicate that she is for a much more balanced approach, and thus a better approach, than Larry Summers has," Trumka said at a Christian Science Monitor roundtable Thursday morning.

That Trumka would feel this way ranks as no great surprise, but given the irritation President Obama has repeatedly expressed toward those suggesting to him that Summers would be a terrible choice, it stands out that he would say so publicly at this point. Obama's attitude in dealing with opponents of Summers may be why Trumka appears to have weighed his words carefully, saying that he was not endorsing Yellen or ruling Summers out entirely:

"[Summers] may come out and say, 'I am fully in favor of enforcing full employment as well as inflation.' If he's sincere about that … that's a different story," he said. "Until we get all the facts, I'm not going to make a decision and declare right here."

Trumka said that Fed presidents dating back to Paul Volcker under President Reagan have disproportionately emphasized controlling inflation over pursuing full employment when conducting monetary policy, even though the law requires it to pursue both goals. Trumka argued Yellen's track record makes her a better fit for the job.

"She's been very balanced in her approach forever. Not just last week, but forever," he said. "She's been right on predicting what's going to happen in the economy. I think those are important factors."

Senators opposing Summers have reportedly faced pressure from the White House to sit down and be quiet; in that context, even this measured criticism of Summers and support for Yellen from Trumka is newsworthy. Clearly the president does not like hearing criticism of his former economic adviser, yet given the strength of the argument against Summers—at least from those outside Summers's immediate circle of admirers—it's important that the president does hear it.

Tell Democratic senators: Don’t cave to White House pressure on Summers.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Props to Trumka (4+ / 0-)
    Trumka said that Fed presidents dating back to Paul Volcker under President Reagan have disproportionately emphasized controlling inflation over pursuing full employment when conducting monetary policy, even though the law requires it to pursue both goals. Trumka argued Yellen's track record makes her a better fit for the job.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:52:27 PM PDT

    •  Send the email (0+ / 0-)

      to the White House. I sent mine already saying please not Summers. The leaks that keep coming out mean that the WH is still trying to figure out whether the Prez can safely get away with appointing Larry Summers.

      You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.

      by mstep on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:30:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "pursuing full employment" = More QE. (0+ / 0-)

    Yellen is definitely in the more QE camp (as I am).

    It is worth pointing out that QE has been disparaged often here at DKos though.

    (as in "giving more money to the banks" - which is a completely inaccurate depiction of it.)

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:58:08 PM PDT

    •  QE removes interest income from the economy. (0+ / 0-)

      Even Keynes said that monetary policy in a liquidity trap is like pushing on a string. It seems to deprive retirees of interest payments on their savings more than anything.

      The Fed cannot run the economy.  Look at Japan--they pump up the QE machinery, stock prices spike up, the yen dives, and then what?  Deflation worsens.  Over and over.

      The Federal Reserve wasn’t supposed to be the sole determiner of policies to end economic recession, but an impotent Congress pretty much ceded the job. With Congress barely able to order lunch without inciting gridlock, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has played an outsized role in deciding how to create jobs and growth in an economy with too little of either.

      QE actions caused stock prices to rise.  But does anybody here really believe that the high flying stock market is based on sound fundamentals?  (Not that QE caused unsound fundamentals, of course.)

  •  Is it only me, or . . . (0+ / 0-)

    is the process of nominating a candidate for this position taking an extraordinarily long time?

    When they call roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty'. --Teddy Roosevelt

    by thenekkidtruth on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:58:44 PM PDT

  •  Will Obama tilt towards Labor or Wall Street? (0+ / 0-)

    My guess is Summers.
    When the big boys want something, they usually get their war.  

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:17:23 PM PDT

    •  Wall Street wants Yellen, not Summers. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      delver rootnose, johnny wurster

      Oddly enough.

      I don't know exactly what to make of that.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:51:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Summers is the (0+ / 0-)

      bankers’ best friend in politics. From the bankers’ point of view, his record is perfect. Summers late 1990s' advocacy of financial deregulation is well known. In 2008-2009, he championed the bank bailouts while also fighting attempts to cap the bankers’ bonuses and to set limits on risky bank behavior, including Summers’ opposition to the Volcker rule.

      Summers not only shot down proposals by Senator Dodd and others to limit Wall Street bonuses, but took an even more audacious stand: that the AIG unit that helped trigger the entire calamity by writing reckless credit default swaps should also get their mega-bonuses after the fact. Summers explained to a shocked nation that he did not want to “violate the contracts” of these employees, even as the world economy lay in ruins at their handiwork.

      When Summers left DC, he made a beeline back to Wall Street (DE Shaw, Citigroup, NASDAQ, etc.).

  •  Wow, both Trumka and Wall Street want Yellen (0+ / 0-)

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:23:46 PM PDT

  •  I wonder if the issue with Summers (0+ / 0-)

    is that Pres Obama strongly prefers those with a history of loyalty to him personally - not an uncommon approach for politicians. This is a style Pres Obama has shown many times before.

    Summers has a history of being loyal to Pres Clinton and then Pres Obama himself.  Yellen has no history of personal loyalty with Pres Obama.

    The leaking of Summers as a potential candidate may have been a tactic to lets the objections to Summers becomes old news, and then nominate him with the objections to him having been exhausted.

    Summers is not in the top three of who I would like to chair the Fed, but Pres Obama has more of a say on this than I do.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:31:50 PM PDT

  •  I just do not get the relationship with Summers. (0+ / 0-)

    From all of the reporting and some public statements as well, President Obama seems to like this guy and I just don't get it.

    I also do not feel as if we know all of the players and plays happening behind the scenes. Obviously Summers has support in the Senate that suggests to me that some of our Senators are silent supporters who are happy to let President Obama take all the hits right now.

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:02:14 PM PDT

    •  Who do you want in a face-off with Congress? (0+ / 0-)

      Summers in a landslide is the right answer.

      That said I prefer Yellen for her Fed comity and experience as a Bernanke clone.  

      "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

      by shrike on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:03:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the congress does not "face off" (0+ / 0-)

        with the chairperson of the fed. they meekly ask questions, hope the chairperson deigns to respond and hope they dont just say "have things to do" and leave.

        it's easier to replace a president than a fed member.

        A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

        by cdreid on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:48:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When a majority of the President's supporters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid

    are telling him to at least consider Yellen instead, it's time for the President to swallow some pride and do so.

    Not to dig in his heels and lean on people who disagree with him.

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:48:57 PM PDT

    •  He's been considering her all along. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shrike, johnny wurster

      I have about as much faith in the reports that Summers is the leading candidate as I did in the stories about Erskine Bowles being the next Secretary of the Treasury.

      Notably, both sets of rumors began with stories in which Ezra Klein cited his super-duper-inside White House sources.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:54:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  IDK if Summers is more of an inflation hawk, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans, cdreid, Faito

    I  know for sure he is less interested in regulating the financial sector than Yellen.

    Even if there is no difference between the two of them on monetary policy, it is important to remember the huge regulatory role the Federal Reserve plays.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:49:24 PM PDT

  •  Yellen is also better qualified, more experienced (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies, cdreid, Faito

    than Summers.  It would have been great to hear Trumka say that.

    Sometimes women are more qualified than men.

    "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:54:00 PM PDT

  •  What surprises me... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans, Heart of the Rockies, cdreid

    ...is that Trumka is supportive of the president at all anymore.  It is not like the president or any of the Democratic party leadership seem focused on labor issues or helping out unions or the working stiffs.

    Just my $0.02 though.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:09:39 PM PDT

    •  the other party (0+ / 0-)

      is anti-labor. It's not like there are a lot of choices.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:20:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  individual targetting regardless (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        delver rootnose

        of party. the unions did a little  of this last election and it sent shockwaves through dc. if the actual left did this instead of the current authoritarian worship we wouldnt be faced with a choice between  bush sr and reagan every election. not that our elections are anything more than theatre for the masses.

        A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

        by cdreid on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:52:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Disturbs me that Trumka seems to feel he has (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid

    to tip toe around it and please Obama.  And that Obama seems to hellbent on nominating Summers.

  •  Usually those whose careers consist of going (0+ / 0-)

    from one debacle to another while rising upwards do so based on their charm, which makes Summer an anomaly.  

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:30:26 PM PDT

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