The Center for American Progress today names former National Economic Council Director and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers as a Distinguished Senior Fellow. Summers will work with CAP’s Economic Policy team and will co-chair a new project with the Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP, Britain’s former Foreign Minister, aimed at spurring economic growth that is more broadly shared. In this role and in his work at CAP, Summers will address the country’s greatest economic challenges and share new ideas on middle-class job growth. Summers brings his vision for addressing the country’s long-term fiscal challenges, his experience fighting for a strong middle class, and his passion for reducing inequality and ensuring opportunity for all to CAP’s Economic Policy team.
“As our country continues to confront challenges to establishing economic growth that is more broadly shared, there are few thinkers with Larry’s insights, keen intellect, and policy creativity,” said Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress. “I’m thrilled he will be joining the Center for American Progress as we work to develop new ideas to solve the country’s problems.”
“This is a moment of great opportunity but also great risk in economic policy,” said Summers. “Beyond the challenge of completing recovery from the financial crisis and recession, and assuring that federal borrowing returns to a sustainable path, policy must address deep structural changes that lie behind increased inequality and joblessness. I look forward to working with CAP on economically sound and politically viable approaches to these challenges.”
In 2009 President Barack Obama called on Summers to serve as the director of the National Economic Council. In this role, Summers led the president’s economic team as they guided the country out of the Great Recession. Upon his departure from the White House, President Obama said, “I will always be grateful that at a time of great peril for our country, a man of Larry’s brilliance, experience, and judgment was willing to answer the call and lead our economic team.”
Before serving as the director of the National Economic Council, Summers held numerous other senior policy positions in Washington and held office as the 27th president of Harvard University. In 1999 the U.S. Senate confirmed Summers as the 71st secretary of the Treasury. In that capacity, he served as the principal economic adviser to the president and as the chief financial officer of the U.S. government. During Summers’s tenure as secretary of the Treasury, the United States used budget surpluses to repurchase Treasury debt for the first time since the 1920s and extended the life of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. Summers was a key figure domestically and internationally in securing significant expansion in debt relief for the world’s poorest and most indebted countries, which led to the increased availability of funds for primary health care and education in a number of countries. During Summers’s tenure, the United States marked the longest period of sustained economic growth in its history.
On July 1, 2001, Summers took office as the 27th president of Harvard University. During his tenure as Harvard’s president, Summers focused on laying the foundations for the university in the 21st century. His ambitious plans encompassed significant growth in the faculties, the further internationalization of the Harvard experience, and expanded efforts in and enhanced commitment to the sciences. Summers was also responsible for a groundbreaking financial aid initiative that improved efforts to attract the strongest students regardless of financial circumstances and assured that students without substantial family income could attend the university at zero cost.
Currently, Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and the Weil Director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. Summers writes a regular column for the Financial Times, The Washington Post, and Reuters. He consults widely with businesses and governments.
Summers is a recipient of numerous awards, including being the first social scientist ever to receive the annual Alan T. Waterman Award of the National Science Foundation, established by Congress to honor an exceptional young U.S. scientist or engineer whose work demonstrates originality, innovation, and a significant impact within one’s field. In 1993 Summers was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40. As secretary of the Treasury, Summers was awarded the department’s highest honor, the Alexander Hamilton Medal.