James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Why Larry Summers may not make it until 2011

May 24, 2010

David Warsh dismisses reports that Larry Summers may stick around longer than many in Washington expect:

Defense is one possibility. Who wants to be seen as a lame duck while there are eight months to go on the clock – including the mid-term-elections? Offense is equally likely. No doubt the president would like to keep his chief economic adviser for another eighteen months.  Perhaps the administration is lobbying Harvard.

Summers’ other opportunities weigh in the balance: a successful marriage to Harvard English professor Elisa New (between them they have six children, all from previous marriages); the prerogatives that come with being one of Harvard’s fewer than twenty university professors, including the freedom to teach precisely what and where he wishes (or not at all); membership on the executive committee of an economics department that is one of the three or four best in the nation; and, of course, the famous day-a-week of consulting time that Harvard professors are permitted to spend in the moneyed world.

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