- Lawrence Summers, Obama's National Economics Council chair and once Clinton's Treasury Secretary, interviewed by FOX News' Stuart Varney on February 9, 2009:
VARNEY: Do you think that this stimulus package will save us from economic catastrophe?
SUMMERS: I do.
Without this stimulus package, without an effort to backstop the economy, we are going to be caught in a vortex of declining employment, falling incomes, reduced spending, increased financial distress, less lending, reduced employment, reduced spending, and so forth.
VARNEY: Does it save us from a Great Depression?
SUMMERS: This package -- this package, combined with a -- the -- a robust financial recovery program, of the kind that Tim Geithner -- Secretary Geithner -- is going to announce tomorrow, in my judgment, offer the best possible prospect of arresting the decline.
To be sure, there are enormous uncertainties. We are going to have to keep monitoring this economy. Problems that were not made in a month or a year are going to take a long time to fix. But what we know is that there are now millions of people who need work -- 600,000 more in January alone -- and that there is tremendously important work to do in our country: Creating a green economy, repairing schools, so that our kids have a decent chance to learn to compete in the 21st century, making our health care system work, and that it has to be the right thing to do to bring those without work together with work that badly needs to be done.
- Lawrence Summers, Obama's National Economics Council chair and once Clinton's Treasury Secretary, interviewed on PBS April 21, 2001:
[T]he idea that a huge spending program is the way to stimulate the economy, or the idea that the way to get better at high tech is for the government to take over the technology industries, these kinds of ideas basically have become passé because they've been disproven; they don't represent a reading of experience. So the debates that we have are within paradigms that are set by research, whether it's how best to use marketing incentives to help the environment, [or] whether it's how best to have fiscal policies to help the economy. The political debates take place within a universe that is shaped by the development of new ideas. Of those new ideas, none is more important than the rediscovery of Adam Smith and the idea that a decentralized system relying on price signals collects information and provides much more insurance than any kind of centrally planned or directed type of system.