Happy Friday, and welcome to your daily dose of what I'm reading.
Perhaps you haven't heard that Larry Summers and Janet Yellen are being considered for Fed chairman
They are both Keynesians, but hardly two peas in a pod. As academics, neither focused on monetary policy. Summers went on to work in various government posts, including at Treasury. Yellen went to the Fed, where her views on monetary policy are closely aligned with Chairman Ben Bernanke's. Aside from Summers's comments on the effectiveness of QE, his monetary views are pretty much unknown, which isn't the same thing as saying he doesn't have any.
Don't equate those untucked shirttails with a sloppy mind
Summers's Harvard colleague, Robert Lawrence, says the focus on the man's polarizing personality ignores his strengths, which include reducing complicated concepts to a concise nugget. Summers's ability to think outside the box -- a quality his supporters and detractors agree on -- may be desirable in a Fed chairman. Then again, maybe not.
Maybe brilliant shouldn't be the key consideration for Fed chairman
Slate's Matt Yglesias agrees that no one is better than Summers at thinking on the fly. I've heard the same thing again and again from everyone who has sat with the Harvard prof in meetings or engaged with him in social discourse. But is that what's needed at the helm of the central bank? Yglesias says we need someone who knows when unemployment is too low and inflation too high. That opens the field to a host of other candidates.
Paul Krugman weighs in for Yellen
The New York Times columnist says it's wrong to equate "gravitas," which some say Yellen lacks, with possessing a Y chromosome. I couldn't agree more, and I don't say that often! Of course, Krugman being Krugman, he quickly digresses to just how right he's been about everything all along, and how wrong everyone else has been.
Six of one, half a dozen of the other
Finally, Ezra Klein points out that the entire Yellen v. Summers debate has been about regulatory, not monetary, policy. That alone is enough to give Summers's critics heartburn. And it's one good reason why, given the Fed's increased regulatory authority, confirmation hearings for the next chairman should probe the candidate's views on the subject.
(Caroline Baum is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow her on Twitter.)