In the Times:
3 September 2013

¶ You can’t tell from the online edition, but the Business section of this morning’s Times juxtaposes two stories that transforms one headline into a caution about the other: “In a New Book, McKinsey & Co Isn’t All Roses” and “Summers’s Odds Up, Stimulus Ease Seen.” The world would be a much better place if into its dustbin were dropped both the egregious consulting firm and the former Harvard president. They represent the well-dressed Nothing that rises to the top in today’s establishment. On the subject of McKinsey, Adam Ross Sorkin quotes wisely:

Whatever bad advice it has offered over the years, clients keep coming back for more. “They have follow-on work not just because they’re good at what they do, but because they are trained in how to manage these kinds of client relationships,” Alan Kantrow, former editor of McKinsey Quarterly, told Mr. McDonald. “They understand the core reality is the relationship and conversation.”

Business? What business? It’s “relationship and conversation” — eyewash and hot air! And Benjamin Appelbaum’s report on the wide uneasiness that accompanies rumors of Lawrence Summers’ nomination to head the Fed highlights the resemblance of the West Wing to a frat house of knuckleheads.

But the president’s top economic advisers uniformly support the selection of Mr. Summers. They regard him as a creative thinker and an experienced crisis manager, qualities they value in particular because they expect the Fed may confront difficult choices as it begins to retreat from its six-year-old stimulus campaign.

They also insist that Mr. Summers supports the Fed’s efforts to revive the economy and would continue those efforts.

But Mr. Summers has criticized the Fed’s purchases of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities, warning that bond-buying on such a scale could distort financial markets. He said it was “less efficacious for the real economy than most people suppose.” As a result, many investors suspect he would seek to end those purchases more quickly than Ms. Yellen.

Those “top economic advisers” support Summers because its the soundest way to further their own careers.

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