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Larry Summers: Based On Current Data, Fed Should Not Raise Rates

Larry Summers is pictured in the WBUR studios in 2014. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Larry Summers is pictured in the WBUR studios in 2014. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The stock market reacted positively this week to comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. She called the economy’s performance this year somewhat mixed, but she said growth is on track and it is “appropriate for the committee to proceed cautiously in adjusting policy.”

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson sat down with economist Larry Summers, who served as secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Bill Clinton, about Yellen’s comments, the economy and the presidential election.

Summers says he believes the Fed is correct to watch the economic data carefully, but that unless the patterns change, he is not sure it would be appropriate to raise interest rates.

“On current data, I don’t think there is a warrant for raising rates, but the world’s an uncertain place, and the data could easily change,” he told Jeremy Hobson. “I certainly would not favor a policy of ruling out a rate increase.”


  • Lawrence Summers, economist and professor at Harvard University. He was secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Bill Clinton from 1999 to 2001 and president of Harvard from 2001 to 2006. He tweets @LHSummers.

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