According to a "Team Obama" source, Larry Summers will likely be announced as the next Fed chair in a few weeks, CNBC reports, though he is "still being vetted." This is bad news for Fed vice chair Janet Yellen, the other top contender for the job. It might also be bad for President Obama's reputation — he's been criticized for making his economic team a "boys' club," and his choice for Fed chair has become his sexism test. By picking Summers, he fails.
In fact, Obama's not doing as well as he could to generally promote women in his administration. The New York Times reports that the administration "has named no more women to high-level executive branch posts than the Clinton administration did almost two decades ago." Women currently hold about 35 percent of cabinet-level posts. At this point in Clinton's presidency, women held 41 percent of the posts. Obama's deputy chief of staff, Alyssa Mastromonaco, told the Times, "The president’s commitment to diversity is second to none, and his track record speaks to it." It's true Obama has made some high-profile female appointments lately (Susan Rice and Samantha Power), and he's appointed a record number of women as judges, but he's not exceeding anyone's expectations.
Summers probably is Obama's top pick to lead the Fed. Obama's defended Summers to the press, while ignoring the sexist attacks against Yellen. According to multiple surveys, most economists think Yellen is the best candidate for the job, and she has the support of a lot Democrats in Congress. Summers, on the other hand, is generally less well-liked (and he's been known to make sexist comments himself). Jared Bernstein, a former Obama economic adviser, told the Times, “All else equal, I would not lightly dismiss the opportunity to break a glass ceiling." It seems Obama might.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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