Economist Lawrence Summers, who served as Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton and as director of the U.S. National Economic Council under President Barack Obama, published a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday that gives heavy odds for a backslide into a new recession.
“With growth at less than 1 percent in the first half of this year, the economy is effectively at a stall and facing the prospects of shocks from a European financial crisis that is decidedly not under control, spikes in oil prices and declines in business and household confidence,” Summers wrote. “The indicators suggest that the economy has at least a 1-in-3 chance of falling back into recession if nothing new is done to raise demand and spur growth.”
Summers moves through the travails of the debt deal, pointing out that growth has been slow: “On the current policy path, it would be surprising if growth were rapid enough to reduce unemployment even to 8.5 percent by the end of 2012,” he wrote.
However, it’s worth noting alongside Summers’ criticism of Obama and Congress’ handling of the debt ceiling negotiations that he himself was formerly an outspoken voice in the nation’s economic battles, and that the problems he is now pointing out led to his resignation.
Summers ended his bleak diatribe on a bitter note: “Soon, relief will give way to alarm about the United States’ economic future.”