Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I see that Larry Summers is leaving the government to go back to Harvard at the end of this year. I am sure we are all delighted to see him go, but before we draw any optimistic conclusions concerning a shift in Obama's economic policy, I would just point out that Harvard has a very strict policy about leaves. If a tenured professor takes a leave of more than two consecutive years, he or she is required to resign his or her tenured position. The rule was enforced even in the cases of MacGeorge Bundy and Henry Kissinger, both of whom elected to remain as National Security Advisers. Summers, who is nothing if not self-interestedly ambitious, probably figures that having now totally fouled up at least three jobs [World Bank, Harvard President, Presidential economic advisor], he might have a hard time finding a paying job if he allowed his tenure to lapse.