Former Obama Economist Says ‘Team Transitory Proved Dead Wrong’ in 2021

The director of former President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council landed some solid punches and dished out some harsh warnings for the Federal Reserve in a recent Washington Post op-ed.  

Lawrence Summers, in an op-ed that was fiery and published in, took the Federal Reserve to task. The PostApril 5. He wrote, “I have argued repeatedly that Federal Reserve policy remains dangerously behind the curve in ways that will lead to poor economic performance in the years ahead, and that a rapid change in direction is needed.” Summers warned progressives that if inflation continues to spiral out of control, the same economic turmoil that helped elect Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher may spell doom for President Joe Biden in 2024. He was a well-known economist who served as the Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration. His performance started off strong. “Team Transitory proved dead wrong through 2021. It may well be wrong in 2022.” 

Summers slapped the Fed for repeatedly calling inflation “transitory” in speeches. But the Fed wasn’t the only one that got it wrong on inflation. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki cited “economic experts” as recently as May 2021 who she claimed stated that inflation would be “temporary, transitory. However you want to refer to it.” 


Summers was also critical of Biden supporters who are too optimistic. One popular claim Summers refuted was that inflation “might look scary now, but it will come down” as more people find jobs and supply-chain issues are ironed out. The important question, Summers emphasized, isn’t “whether inflation will come down” from its current levels. “It is whether it will come down to an acceptable level.” 

Summers then stated “the optimists have their macroeconomics wrong.” Summers argued:  “True, more job seekers might restrain wages. But more workers earning and spending raise demand and prices.” 

This isn’t the first time that Summers has blasted the Fed for pushing fairy tales on inflation. He criticized the Fed’s forecast of a massive drop in inflation during a Peterson Institute for International Economics virtual event. He flatly rejected the Fed’s ambitious predictions to reduce inflation: “I think it would be charitable to label it a hope, rather than a dream, and absurd to suggest that it is a likely prospect … on the current policy path.” 

Conservatives are being attacked. Contact The Washington Post at (202) 334-6000 and demand it report fairly on Biden and the Fed’s disastrous economic policies.

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