Society and Culture, Media and Technology

Larry Summers Strikes Again (Net Neutrality Edition)

Here’s an interesting post about Larry Summers inserting himself into the political action over net neutrality.

White House senior adviser Susan Crawford resigned last week to little fanfare, but some White House insiders say her leaving may reveal growing tensions inside the Obama Administration about just how radical the administration has become in developing policies.

Crawford, who was one of the leading voices during the Obama transition period, and then stayed on as Obama’s key adviser on technology and communications policy, was credited with putting in place the general policy overlays in those subject areas that guided many of the Administration’s hiring and appointments to the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Department. She was a strong proponent of Net Neutrality regulations, which would allow the government to regulate the Internet, and in her role sitting on the president’s councils on economic policy, she supported strong government interventions and controls of private business.

But White House sources say that she ran afoul of senior White House economics adviser Larry Summers, who claimed he and other senior Obama officials were unaware of how radical the draft Net Neutrality regulations were when they were initially internally circulated to Obama administration officials several weeks ago. “All of sudden Larry is getting calls from CEOs, Wall Street folks he talks to, Republicans and Democrats, asking him what the Administration is doing with the policies, and he isn’t sure what they’re talking about,” says one White House aide. “He felt blind-sided, and Susan was one of those people who heard about it.” In the end, the proposed regulations were slightly moderated from the original language FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, a Crawford ally, circulated.

The White House has a full plate these days, and it’s possible Summers felt it made little sense in the middle of a recession to begin regulating one of the sectors of the economy that has been doing pretty well lately.

Comments are closed.