Rubin's New Right Arm

At MIT and then Harvard, Lawrence Summers, 40, was known for the scope of his economic work: unemployment, taxation, and the efficiency of financial markets. Now, Summers is getting a policy job to match.

On June 13, Summers was nominated to replace retiring Deputy Treasury Secretary Frank Newman. In most Cabinet departments, the No.2 person runs the bureaucracy. That's not Summers' plan. He intends to hang on to much of his former portfolio as Treasury's top international representative. With his new job, he'll also be involved in budget, tax, and financial policy--all familiar from his pre-Washington life.

Back then, Summers called for boosting savings and creating incentives for private investment. Now, he'll have to be more circumspect: Such favorite notions as a tax credit for capital investments won't fare well in a White House hell-bent on reelection. But Summers is tight with Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and his interest in the economic aspects of social issues chimes with Rubin's strong social conscience. Watch for Summers to spread his wings.

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