The president's former top economist sees a stagnant economy on the horizon in the months leading up to the election.
It's generally agreed that the president's chances of reelection hinge on the state of the American economy over the next few months. A sudden plunge into recession would likely loft Mitt Romney to victory by lending credence to his argument that Obama's policies haven't worked, while a sudden surge of growth would have the opposite effect.
But Obama's former top economist doesn't think either scenario is likely to happen.
"The good news is, the chance of recession in the U.S. is very odds-off" over the next six months, Larry Summers, who served for two years as director of Obama's National Economic Council, told an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Saturday afternoon. But, he added, "the bad news is that the most likely outcome is probably growth at a rate that is insufficient to keep pace with population growth and productivity growth."
The subtext of Summers' comments: If Obama is hoping for the economy to rescue his campaign, he'd better think again.
"You're likely not looking at a substantial reduction in unemployment or a substantial increase in the fraction of the population that are working," Summers said. The economy, he added, is "not likely to feel, over the next six months, terribly dynamic."