Summers sees an end to economic free-fall in 'next few months'
Apr 9th 2009 5:00PM
Updated Dec 4th 2009 1:12PM
Speaking to the Economic Club of Washington, Summers assured listeners that the "sense of a ball falling off the table" is receding, and that he is reasonably confident that within a few months we'll no longer feel a sense of free-fall.
Other administration officials have been singing the same tune lately. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on 'Face the Nation' Sunday that, "There are encouraging signs... but it's going to take some time."
Friday, Fed Chairman Bernanke said, referring to actions to bolster the credit market, "As best we can tell, these programs are working."
All was not beer and skittles in Summer's speech, however. He stated that he still sees 'substantial downdrafts' in the overall economy, including strains in the credit market. Summers also continued the administration's efforts to position healthcare reform as a necessary part of a full recovery.
Responding to public calls for increased regulation of investment products, Summers said that an effort was underway to put in place a 'systemic risk regulator' -- someone who would also deal with the toxic assets currently clogging up bank balance sheets. Perhaps the creation of this new position will appease those calling for Obama to appoint a "Bank Czar."
Summers disputed the claim by critics that he didn't do enough as Treasury Secretary under Clinton to safeguard the country's financial system and that he enabled the explosive growth of derivatives. The world "changed in profound ways," in the years since he had Geithner's job, he said. Very few people recognized the problems that would result, he said.
Summers also didn't mention that sometimes the way free-falls end is with a splat. Such negativity isn't in the adminstration's songbook.