Thomas B. Edsall in the New York Times:
Larry Summers, who withdrew his candidacy for the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve under pressure from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party in 2013, has emerged as the party’s dominant economic policy strategist. The former Treasury secretary’s evolving message has won over many of his former critics.
Summers’s ascendance is a reflection of the abandonment by much of the party establishment of neo-liberal thinking, premised on the belief that unregulated markets and global trade would produce growth beneficial to worker and C.E.O. alike.
Summers’s analysis of current economic conditions suggests that free market capitalism, as now structured, is producing major distortions. These distortions, in his view, have resulted in gains of $1 trillion annually to those at the top of the pyramid, and losses of $1 trillion every year to those in the bottom 80 percent.
At a Feb. 19 panel discussion on the future of work organized by the Hamilton Project, a centrist Democratic think tank, Summers defied economic orthodoxy. He dismissed as “whistling past the graveyard” the widely accepted view that improving education and job training is the most effective way to reduce joblessness.